The Boxee Box from D-Link is a itsy-bitsy HTPC loaded with features. It certainly looks like a cutting-edge allotment of hardware, but can Boxee scream on its promise of easy access to web narrate?
Home theater PCs have long been a substantial design to enhance your entertainment. The Internet offers a seemingly endless buffet of speak, both free and paid, and accessing that sing can in some cases compose your faded selection of cable or satellite channels feel ancient.
Yet there are also problems with HTPCs. They’re often plump, they’re expensive to choose or create, and they’re often not distinguished fun to expend. Using a PC with a home theater means dealing with an operating system designed for desktop computers and all the maintenance that comes with that.
D-Link’s Boxee Box promises a solution. It offers most of the functionality of an HTPCvar ezzns22 = 0.60:504557,0.80:504559,1.10:504648,3.50:504665,1.30:504650,5.00:504669,0.15:504144,0.40:504554,0.70:504558,3.00:504664,2.40:504659,4.00:504666,0.05:504099,0.90:504560,1.70:504654,2.00:504657,0.45:504555,1.80:504655,2.80:504661,2.60:504660,0.10:504141,0.30:504551,0.35:504552,1.20:504649,1.90:504656,2.20:504658,4.50:504667,0.20:504145,0.50:504556,1.00:504647,1.40:504651,0.25:504548,1.50:504652,1.60:504653,;
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, 4000) ; (the ability to characterize TV excluded) with a lower sign brand and a better interface. So, should you invite Boxee Box into your home?
The Boxee Box certainly commands attention. It’s shaped roughly like a cube, but tilted at an angle, so that it looks as if the hardware is sinking into whatever surface the Boxee Box is placed on. Most of the unit is matte sunless plastic, but the face has a composed piano shaded enact and the bottom of the map is coated in neon green.
While the funky effect looks mountainous and will likely be a conversation starter when it’s spotted by visitors, the practicality is questionable. The Boxee Box isn’t particularly thin in any direction, and since the cube is tilted rather than level, it doesn’t have flat surface that could potentially wait on any other draw. Despite being designed specifically for the home theater, Boxee Box doesn’t seem like it would fit well inside one.
Once you have found a safe status for the Boxee Box – most likely on top of something or tucked away into an awkward corner – you’ll need to control it. Boxee Box thankfully ships with its hold remote which is designed specifically for the way. On one side, the remote is blooming. It has only three buttons and a direction pad that is frail to proceed between menu options or control a mouse cursor. Flip it over, however, and you’ll score cramped keyboard.
The remote is comfortable to exhaust in most cases. It’s light and thin, and the buttons are responsive. However, spicy it too hard can cause unintended actions, as your hand will likely activate buttons on the underside of the remote. It’s an wrong gain, but having faded the insane remotes that are shipping with Sony’s Google TVs, it certainly could be worse.
Despite the advantages of HTPCs, they have one tremendous problem: the interface. The default interface of Windows (and most any Linux distro) isn’t colossal for utilize from a couch. There are programs that can combat this, but I’ve never primitive an HTPC that felt as easy to exhaust as a Blu-Ray player, no matter what software was installed.
Boxee Box solves this predicament with style by offering an interface that consists largely of vast icons and sizable buttons. When you initiate Boxee Box you are dumped into a home veil that offers navigation options (such as shows, movies and apps) as well as a few recommended picks. It’s all very easy to understand and very easy to exercise with the provided remote. By default, most of Boxee’s interface follows this big-icon acquire, but you’re usually given the option to switch between an icon understanding and a list belief. While I personally consider the icons are always better, it’s nice to have a choice.
While most of the interface is easy to spend, there are some sore points. The web browser, for example, feels clunky and isn’t noteworthy fun to utilize with the supplied remote. I also would like to search for more customization, as there are some features I simply don’t consume. The recommendations on the home cloak, for example, have never impressed me. I would rather replace them with my accepted apps.
The Boxee Box comes with an Intel Atom processor ticket, which isn’t likely to inspire great confidence in the hearts of anyone who has ever musty a netbook. The trace is a bit misleading, however, because the hardware inside the Boxee Box is rather unlike what you’d secure in an Atom netbook. It’s a system-on-a-chip. The Atom-derived CPU, the memory controller, and the GPU are all on a single chip.
As a result, performance is far above what you’d examine from a mere Atom processor. Yet it also remains slower than I’d like to peep. The scrape is not video playback; I had no command playing 1080p scream from any source on the Boxee Box. Instead, the slowdown occurred in the interface itself. Scrolling through a list of shows, movies or apps is sometimes jerky, and the web browser could certainly be quicker.
But those issues are nothing compared to the elephant the room; occasional hardware lockups. Although quite rare, I did experience several hardware lockups while watching video on the Boxee Box. These require a manual restart via the button on the Boxee Box. I’m not obvious if these lockups are due to hardware stress, or if they’re more of a software negate, but they pain this otherwise well-polished product.
The Boxee Box has its problems. The construct could be better, the hardware could be quicker, and there seems to be some stability issues that composed need to be worked out. All of these problems work against the Boxee Box, and they could indicate quite frustrating for some users.
Yet, in spite of its problems, the Boxee Box ekes out a recommendation. Despite all the issues, the Boxee Box makes it easy to lean aid on your couch and bask in web advise from a variety of sites. Rather than being forced to sit in front of your PC or paddle out your laptop, you can contemplate video in all its glory on your HDTV. Anything you could ogle on your PC – including YouTube videos and webcasts – can now be enjoyed from the comfort of a couch.
The effect is also in Boxee’s favor. You can catch up a Boxee Box for about $180 on Amazon.com. That’s a vast impress. It’d be hard to ignore the Boxee Box’s problems if it were $400, but at $180 it’s a bargain.
Anandtech: Boxee Box The Inside Story
Boxee: What are the technical specs of the Boxee Box?
Image Credits: D-Link, Inc.