D-Link recently sent over a Boxee Box for me to test out. And test I have. The first thing you’ll notice is it’s less than standard form factor. It’s literally a box. I like the look a lot, but if you’re looking for a device that will fit perfectly with your rectangular audio/video components you might not like it.
- Intel Atom Processor
- 1080p HD resolution output
- 5.1 surround sound
- Optical and Stereo Audio
- HDMI video/audio out
- Wireless N/Wired Internet
- RF “Point-Anywhere” Remote
- 2 USB ports for external storage
- SD card slot for photos/video/music
- Full HTML5 compliant Webkit browser
- Support for Flash 10.1
- High Profile HD Streaming
When you start the Boxee Box up you’re presented with a main screen from which you can navigate to the Apps, Movies, Files, Shows, Watch Later, and Friends areas. From the main screen you can pretty well navigate through the entire device.
From this area you can download and use a wide variety of Apps that are all available for free on the Boxee Box. Apps include everything from Netflix to Pandora, TWIT.TV, ESPN, and more. Notably missing for now is Hulu. One of my favorite apps is the Reddit.tv app.
The movies screen lets you take a look at the most popular movies available through the VUDU video service and for what price. My only wish is that it would show if the movie was available through Netflix as well. After selecting a movie you can view a quick snapshot of the sinopsis and a trailer.
You can also watch movies that you have on a locally attached drive via USB, it’s included SD card reader, or through a network drive or even through a shared folder on you Mac or PC. What’s really awesome about Boxee is that your downloaded movies get proper tags, cover art, IMDB info, etc…
There’s also a TV shows section. You can find information and episodes from current TV shows that are available on the Boxee. Most shows that are shown in this section will take you to the actual website of the network and then play them through their website with the use of flash. Again, I’m still waiting for Hulu to show up on the Boxee Box which will allow for more TV content. But overall the selection is pretty good as is.
Through the “friends” section of the Boxee Box you can keep in touch with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Buzz. When friends view videos with the Boxee, you can then browse through the videos they watched and watch them yourself. It’s a cool feature, if you have friends.
The “Watch Later” feature on the Boxee is there for the videos that you have added with the Boxee Bookmarklet available on your web browser. You can install this Bookmarklet by visiting http://boxee.tv/services and clicking on the “watch later” section and following the on screen instructions. This is a pretty awesome feature if you see a lot of videos during your workday that you’d like to watch but can’t with co-workers/your boss walking around.
The Boxee also has a full featured web browser that can even view flash video and websites. It’s not the greatest browser ever, but most of it’s downfalls aren’t the Boxee Box’s fault. The internet as it is simply isn’t designed for the big screen.
The wireless RF remote is awesome and allows the Boxee Box to be controlled from just about anywhere in the house. The back of the remote also includes a full QWERTY keyboard for entering text into the Boxee. My only wish is that it was back-lit, grey lettering on black keys isn’t the most visible combo.
Overall the Boxee Box by D-Link is a solid device. I love it’s ability to stream HD video, it definitely beats my Xbox 360. The Boxee Box plays almost any format of video, so no more converting for my picky Xbox!
The Boxee does need some improvements to the user interface. Overall the Boxee Box is quick, but in some areas it gets bogged down and it could be a little faster. There are portions that just don’t seem polished yet. Despite its flaws, I’ve really fallen in love with my Boxee Box.
As the Boxee Box continues to receive updates and new features we plan on keeping you updated as well. Look for Boxee Box updates in the near future!