The Boxee Box by D-Link has finally taken Boxee’s popular internet TV interface and provided it with it’s own multimedia box. The Boxee software was popular for supporting a huge range of media formats, in an easy-to-use interface, but does the Boxee Box by D-Link stay true to these features, and is it worth buying?
The Boxee Box by D-Link Specs At A Glance
Average Price: $179.99
Size: 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.6
Resolution: Up to 1080p
SD Card Slot: Yes
USB Ports: 2
Storage Space: None
Internet: Wi-Fi, Ethernet
Web Browser: Yes
Amazon Video: No
The Boxee Box By D-Link: The Good
Design: The Boxee Box by D-Link has one of the most distinctive designs of all the multimedia streaming boxes currently on the market. It’s designed to look like a cube with one edge chopped off, giving it a slanted look that really stands out. The green accents make this a really recognizable product, and there’s no doubt that it’ll make an impact on the way your home theater setup looks. That said, some people may not like a product with such a striking design (see below for some issues).
User Interface: The interface on the Boxee Box by D-Link is smart and modern, and has some excellent graphics that make it easier to browse through the range of TV shows and movies on offer. Everything is split into categories on the homepage, including your own personal media collection, so it’s easy to find your way around the device.
Qwerty Remote Control: The remote control is as unique as the design of the Boxee Box itself. On one side it looks like a minimalist and stylish remote. Turn it over, however, and you’ll see that it comes with a full Qwerty keyboard. A keyboard is an excellent addition to any media box, especially one like this that comes with a web browser (see below). It makes it easy to search through your content and type in web addresses.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is becoming more and more standard on media streaming devices of today, but it’s still worth mentioning as a benefit on the Boxee Box by D-Link. If you prefer, you can also connect to the internet with a wired Ethernet connection, but the included Wi-Fi makes it easy to get up and running and browse online content.
Web Browser With Flash: One thing that makes this box stand above many of its competitors is the fact that it comes with a web browser. This effectively means that you can browse the internet, and even connect to online streaming websites thanks to the fact that the Boxee Box supports such a wide variety of file formats, including Flash (unlike Apple TV). Unfortunately, however, there are a few issues with this (see below).
Ports: There’s a good range of ports on the box, including the ability to connect older standard definition TVs if you want to. Or you can stick to HDMI if you have an HD screen. Two USB ports are useful for those who want to load their own content onto the device.
Content: When it comes to the range of content built into the device, you’ll get Netflix, Vudu, video podcasts, Pandora, MLB.TV, YouTube and NHL. This is a good selection for most users, though doesn’t quite live up to Roku’s standards. Note that, as with any digital media device, some of these will require a paid subscription.
Supported Files: One of the biggest selling points of the Boxee Box by D-Link is the fact that it can support so many different file types. And, because it comes with two USB slots and an SD memory card, it’s easy to load your content up and watch your own home videos, photographs and listen to music. In this area, it actually beats most of its competition like Apple TV, Roku and Logitech Revue. Western Digital is the only other streaming device that boasts the same range of file formats.
Stream From Networked Devices: The Boxee Box is also able to stream content from PCs, Macs and hard drives connected to your home network, which is useful for those who don’t want to bother connecting up an external hard drive.
The Boxee Box By D-Link: The Bad
Price: Although the Boxee Box by D-Link offers relatively good value for money, many of its competitors have come down in price since it was first released. Although most of them don’t offer fantastic file support like the Boxee does, there’s one that can: WD Live TV. And this box comes in at around $100: far cheaper than the Boxee, though it doesn’t have the benefit of a web browser.
Selection of Free Content: Many owners of the Boxee Box by D-Link have been disappointed by the range of content available for free. Although it’s great to see popular subscription services included, the free selection does leave a lot to be desired, and some TV shows aren’t correctly labeled by Boxee. Hulu Plus is also noticeably missing from the device, though Boxee plan to add it in a future firmware update.
Design: As mentioned above, it’s clear that D-Link have gone to some effort to make the Boxee stand out when viewed alongside any other digital media device. For some, the design might just stand out too much. It’s also impractical for most TV cabinets where you’d normally stack one device on top of another. Because it’s not flat, you can’t do this.
Blocked Streaming Website: The best thing about owning a digital streaming device with a web browser, in theory, is the fact that you can stream media from a variety of websites. Unfortunately, however, websites like Hulu have started blocking Boxee users, just like Google TV. That said, the browser is still a huge bonus and something you won’t find on rivals, including the main rival WD Live TV.
Remote Control: Although the remote is a fantastic design, it can feel a little cramped to type on the Qwerty keyboard, and it’s all too easy to find yourself accidentally pressing buttons on the other side of the remote while you type.
Is The Boxee Box By D-Link Worth Buying?
The Boxee Box by D-Link certainly has a lot going for it. Although more expensive than rivals such as the Roku and Apple TV, it does come with its own web browser, a decent selection of content streaming apps, a well-designed user interface and the ability to recognize almost any file type. In this respect it’s perfect for users who want the ability to play their existing media collection on the TV screen. The only other product worth considering, in this sense, is the WD Live TV. Coming in around $80 cheaper, it may be the better choice if you don’t mind giving up the web browser.