The Boxee Box is officially here. What started out as an open source project is now a full-fledged media box for your HDTV with a few surprises and tweaks that make rivals such as AppleTV still look like a "hobby." So what's so great about this box compared to all the other ones that want to hook up with your HDTV?
First up is a revamped user interface that is completely streamlined and controlled entirely by a remote with a QWERTY keyboard on its back. "On screen keyboards suck," said Boxee CEO Avner Ronen. The home screen now has five major hubs: Friends, Watch Later, Shows, Movies, Apps and Files — all pretty self explanatory. It can't get any simpler than this.
Video Playback For Virtually Anything
Boxee Box plays virtually every obscure media codec you can think of. For the foreign film enthusiast, tons of subtitle formats are supported — everything from .SRT, .SSI to .SUBS work right out of the box. Torrent freaks will be happy indeed. All we want is a box that plays whatever we throw at it. With Boxee, converting your files to another format is a thing of the past. Universal file support is what Boxee is all about and we couldn't be more happy with the idea.
Web, Apps, Netflix and HuluPlus
A device today without a web browser is a dinosaur doomed for the dusty attic. Boxee Box has an unobtrusive and cleverly hidden Webkit-based browser built in. Everyone loves apps. GoogleTV has them, why not Boxee Box? Yeah, it'll have them, and it'll be easy to develop — most apps will be ports of existing HTML5 web pages or web apps. Finally, Netflix and HuluPlus support will be coming by the end of the year — about time.
The Last Box You'll Ever Need?
D-Link's Boxee Box wants to be the Jack of All Trades media box for your living room and it looks like its off to a good start. With apps, support from major video on demand companies and a slick interface, Boxee Box looks like it'll be able to hold up its own against competitors. For $200, you would think there would be some internal storage right? Nope. What we see as a missing feature, Boxee sees as next year's update. Even still, that just feels like nitpicking an already solid package. If you have boatloads of video files that you just want to play on your big screen, this might be the media box you're looking for.