If you’re like me and love new gadgets the Boxee Box is probably something that catches your eye. At the same time, if you’re like me you know quite a bit about tech stuff and have certain expectations, wants or needs. At first, glance this seems like something that is really going to deliver on that premise, but it pains me to admit that I’m not all that impressed.
I BOUGHT THE BOXEE BOX BECAUSE:
I’m not a big fan of having a million cables running across my lounge. The appeal for me was knowing that it had a browser with flash, could stream local files from my PC and network and provide access to my most frequently used services without needing additional hardware to make it possible.
Based on description and appearance, the Boxee seems like a dream-machine but during the first twenty-four hours of using it, I quickly realized that it may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.
User installation guide is easy to understand and basic initial setup is a breeze
Very stylish UI
Sleek remote with handy keyboard
Nice selection of applications to be used
Offers both premium services and free content
HTML5 web browser with Flash
Social network integration via sharing option
Access to many services and personal data such as YouTube and Flickr
Streaming content via LAN or Wireless connection
Supports 1080p resolution and graphics are smooth and polished
Supports popular streaming services such as Netflix and Vudu
Capable of playing podcasts and fetching RSS feeds
The HD content looks great
Configuring Boxee to scan for local media is a painfully long process
File sharing feature setup requires many tweaks on both PC and Boxee Box hardware
Frequently times-out/goes idle while scanning media files, resulting in incomplete library
Disconnects media sources after rebooting PC, Boxee or both
RSS feed app not up to par, difficult to find/add feeds that aren’t suggested by Boxee
Web browser navigation is strange and unintuitive, requires precision and patience
Opens a large portion of apps in it’s native web browser, no real tailored user experience for most applications
Free movie content is lacking, mostly knock-offs of classics, questionable quality that resembles high-school film projects
TV show selection looks promising, but number of episodes actually available free of charge is meager
The Pandora, Flickr and YouTube apps provide an amazing experience that is fun, unique and far superior than using the sites on a computer.
Premium (paid services) include MLB, NHL, Netflix, Grooveshark music and Vudu. They offer excellent content and excellent HD quality.
Best for doing the bare minimum such as signing up for any premium services you want to use on your Boxee.
Pretty cool remote, but because there’s no track-pad it can be frustrating to navigate through the browser. For this, you need to be extremely accurate and patient. Scrolling down a page is fairly unpleasant and blowing up a video to be full screen is tedious.
You can add services and RSS feeds using both the Boxee itself or your standard computer and the Boxee website, via your account. It does a good job of quickly making new items accessible in my “watch later” queue and feeds list. You can only add feeds in a specific URL format. I tried adding Abduzeedo to my feeds list using the original Abduzeedo feeds URL and was unsuccessful. I have all my feeds organized using Feedly, but unfortunately Boxee can’t access Feedly in any way, even via the browser. The RSS feeds application is basically useless to me because of this.
SHARING LOCAL MEDIA:
Horrible process. It took 4 hours to scan all my media and when it finally scanned it all, I was missing over 1,000 songs, yet all my photos and videos were in place. Inevitably it goes idle, even after setting idle time to 60 minutes. Disconnects media sources shortly after scanning. You can read more about this issue by doing a Google search for “Boxee Box disconnect issues.” It seems a lot of Boxee owners are having the same issues.
Not what it claims. The TV show listings and capability was lacking. I knew I wouldn’t be able to find every episode of every show ever made, but using my computer and my HD cable box I’m able to find far more shows and episodes and that I can’t get using the Boxee Box.
Overall, I just find it ridiculous to keep such an expensive device if it doesn’t do what I want it to do.
It really does not even do what it claims it can do so that’s why I am returning it.
It’s attractive and undoubtedly a very cool idea, it just isn’t what I had thought it was going to be at all. After an entire day was spent fussing with various features and settings, I packaged it right back up to be returned. I wanted to avoid going PC to TV, but I am now using an HDMI cable to hook my computer up to my HDTV instead and I am far more pleased with this set up than using the Boxee Box.
I believe that it will improve over time since it’s still a very new product and in general I think streaming devices will get better, but for right now my preference is to have access to anything and everything I want with great quality rather than being offered a thousand features that only get the job half-way done. If you’re looking for something basic that does the bare minimum, you might enjoy using this product. It’s got a lot of character and potential, but it’s not ready to replace any of my devices as of yet, not even a cable box. That’s just my opinion.