Just as many anticipated, social media startup Boxee has announced a deal with an undisclosed "hardware partner" to sell a standalone device equipped with its media center software. The so-called Boxee box will be presented in mockup form this December 7th and will reportedly be only the first of several devices we'll see running Boxee in 2010.

The move will put them in competition with a slew of devices from Apple, Roku, and other video providers. For those not familiar with Boxee, it's a free cross-platform media center program that combines Internet media with personal content, and includes features such as playlists, audio visualizations, slideshows, social networking and an expanding array of third-party plug-ins.

Currently under development, alpha releases are available for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux as well as the Apple TV. The first beta version will also arrive on December 7 at an event at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, bringing an all new user interface, queue, navigation and search features.