476 of 511 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: NewVerified Purchase
Boxee has addressed some of the concerns I highlighted in my review with firmware updates. Please see the bottom of the review for updates.
Out of the box, the Boxee Box runs the familiar beta version of the software, which is familiar to me as a prior Boxee user. Everything works fine, from what I tested, though the edges of the screen were cut off a tiny bit (not enough to cause a problem). While exploring all the options, I found that a firmware upgrade to version 1.0 of the Boxee software was available. I installed it, the unit rebooted, and it automatically started a quick-and-simple screen calibration utility. That calibration was useful, because the stock firmware had some overscan problems (that is, the edges of the screen were cut off) on my TV.
Version 1.0 brings with it a new, simplified user interface. I immediately had trouble finding my way around, and was a little disappointed that the experience was different than what I was expecting. My main problem with the new interface is that it now takes several more clicks to access local files (that is, anything on your attached drives or home network). That's my stuff, and that's what I primarily want a video player to be able to play. The old interface allowed you to toggle between your videos, and all available videos, very easily, once you understand where the option is. With the default firmware, after a minute of configuration, I was able to select "Shows" from the home screen and see just my shows. Now, I have to use other, more complex and time-consuming methods to do the same thing, such as "Files > Shows" or "Shows > Files".
The new interface does make it easier to start searches (just start typing), and is very attractive. I just would rather that it allow me to put my videos front-and-center. Networked content is fine, but my own content should have primacy over it. I think that new users will not have a problem with the interface, but experienced users should know that changes are in store for you.
I had no problems streaming SD and 720p HD H.264 and DivX files from my NAS to the Boxee Box via my wireless-N network. Internet videos play well, but some Internet video sources are kludgy. Playing a video on Fancast, for instance, will open a web browser, showing the web page and the video in a small box. You have to use the remote to move the mouse cursor to the tiny "full screen" button and click it to get the video to play full screen. Good luck doing that on the couch, 10-20 feet from the TV! This is a big deal because the new Boxee software puts networked content front-and-center, in the "Most Popular" movies and shows pages. It's wonderful to be able to watch (ad-supported) shows that you haven't paid for, but it's a pain that you have to hunt for the full screen button, which looks different on every website, to do so.
Apps, on the other hand, are fantastic. TED and YouTube work exactly as you would expect, and there are dozens more available. Netflix and Hulu Plus apps have been promised; Boxee is working out the arrangements and hope to have these available by the end of the year (early next year for Hulu Plus). I hope for their sake that they do. Competing devices all support Netflix, and Netflix is, in my opinion, one of the most compelling sources for staming content.
Linking your online Boxee account to Twitter and Facebook seems like overkill at first, but it actually is pretty compelling to be able to watch videos that your friends are sharing. The RSS app is great, too. Through the Boxee website, you can subscribe to a whole bunch of video and audio streams (podcasts). Then, you can launch the RSS app and browse through the stream. It's very nice. I don't bother sharing what I watch on TV with my Facebook friends and Twitter followers, though, but I could if I wanted to. I think that if a large number of people I know used Boxee, this would be a lot more useful.
Another quibble I have with the UI is that "Watch Later" queue shows your most recent additions on top, and you can't sort it. To find the next episode of a series you've been watching from the queue, you have to scroll down. If I'm going to the trouble of queuing videos, doesn't that imply that I want to watch them in order, not in reverse order?
The unique shape of the box is controversial, but it is very small and you should be able to tuck it away somewhere. The remote uses RF, instead of IR, to communicate with the box. Therefore, unlike most (if not all) of your other components, you don't need a line of sight. I actually decided to put the BoxeeBox behind my TV; I can't even see it, but the controller works perfectly fine! The only thing better would be to have Boxee software integrated directly into my TV.
The box is very capable. Until new video formats arrive on scene, I don't see an immediate need for Boxee or D-Link to refresh the hardware. I just hope they continue to improve the software and make the updates available to the Boxee Box.
The hardware is great. The box is small and silent (from across the room at least), the RF remote is fantastic, and the hardware overall is a good value over buying an ATOM/ION nettop and IR remote, and installing Boxee (beta) yourself.
Honestly, Boxee got off on the wrong foot with me for introducing so many changes to its UI at the same time it launched this product. Boxee 1.0 looks great--better than ever, really--but it is so simplified that it now takes extra button presses to get to my own content, and I think that was a bad move. I like the product, though, and will get used to the new interface soon enough.
I still think this is a geeky product that is trying to be usable for non-geeks, and just hasn't gotten all the way there yet. I'm a little disappointed in that, and hope that the software will be updated eventually to make it easier and faster to access both local and online content.
It is difficult for me to rate this product 3 stars, but I think that it just isn't quite up to snuff yet to earn 4 or 5. Some software updates and agreements with content providers could improve the user experience greatly (fix that full screen problem or provide a shortcut, please!). I am eagerly anticipating the Netflix app, and plan to award an additional star once it arrives.
Boxee updated the firmware on Thanksgiving to improve playback issues and stability. This resolved an issue I ran into infrequently (after I wrote my review), in which some local MP4/H.264 files would start playback with sound but no video.
This is an important update to the user interface!
Boxee updated the firmware to allow users to put local content up front in the "Shows" and "Movies" sections (the top-level, giant icons on the home screen), or to allow online content to take precedence. This is accomplished in the least geeky way possible: After updating the firmware, you are simply sked whether you use the box mostly for local or online content. If you pick "local," the main "Shows" and "Movies" sections default to local content, and online content is buried one level deeper in the menus. You can toggle this preference, and refine it independently for Shows, Movies, and Apps, in Settings > General > Menu. Bravo to Boxee for listening to their users and pushing out this change.
The update also added an hourly scan option for your local content folders, and an icon in the "Local Shows" and "Local Movies" screens that allows you to kick off a rescan immediately. Hourly scanning is a huge upgrade from the daily scanning option, and the new location of the rescan command is a lot easier to get to than it used to be (in Settings > File Sources > [Share Name]).
Boxee also added sorting (A-Z, and Newest First) for Shows and Movies, though, sadly, not in the Watch Later queue. There are also new A-Z lists in the Local Shows and Local Movies sections, to help you browse faster.
There still aren't Netflix or Hulu Plus apps, unfortunately. I think the Boxee Box's UI and playback are shaping up incredibly nicely, though. Now they just need to match their competitors' online content choices.
Boxee upgraded the firmware to include Vudu support, a new sort option to ignore (if you want to) "A" and "The" when performing a title sort, and various minor fixes. The browser is now much more readable on the TV, and many more online videos open in full-screen. I also discovered a two-click method to put online videos into full-screen if they don't open that way: [menu] > [middle button] (select the double-arrows icon). Vudu's 1080p online movie rental app offers compelling content and great video quality. The Boxee Box still, desperately, needs Netflix and Hulu Plus to catch up with and overtake the competition. Nonetheless, I'm now convinced that this is the best video streamer for local content, and a quality competitor to Google TV and Roku for online content. Netflix should arrive soon; I will award another star then, because then it would be on par with competitors' feature sets.
After a long wait, and behind schedule (unfortunately), the Netflix app finally arrived on the Boxee Box with this firmware upgrade. The Netflix interface is quick, and the hi-def streaming looks fantastic. Hopefully Hulu Plus will arrive soon.
162 of 191 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: NewVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I received the Boxee Box immediately after its release in 2010 and, after testing, wrote a scathing 1-star review. Since that time, the Boxee Box has received several firmware updates. As of July 2011, I no longer feel the Boxee Box merits 1-star and am thus reworking this review. Consider this review up-to-date as of July 2011.
Let me begin by stating that I am new to the Boxee platform. I've occasionally watched a missed episode of network TV on my MacBook attached to my TV; but only as a last resort. I probably visit youtube.com about 4 times per year and never for more than a 10 minute period. I pay for DirecTV and Sirius XM and have 4 networked DVRs. In short, aside from the fact that I've been hacking computers since the early 80s, I am apparently not part of the target demographic for this product.
- The box is nearly silent. This is a very good thing.
- The box is very small (about the size of a box that a baseball would come packaged in).
- The box consume 12 watts of power while running, while idle, and while on standby. If you turn it all the way off, it consumes 0 watts. It seems to run just over 100 degrees while powered on.
- While the unit itself is small, the mini power brick in the power plug is larger than typical-sneaky and annoying.
The remote control gets (some) raves and is probably one of the coolest things about this device. It is also the main hardware component of the solution that makes the Boxee Box a hassle. The remote control is RF which means it cannot control most devices in your house. And likewise, your other remotes can't control the Boxee box unless you add an IR adapter. Forget about hitting one button to turn on the Boxee Box and your TV. This is a major source of frustration for me as the Boxee Box remote is essentially 3 buttons and a 4-way navigation tool. Because the button layout is perfectly symmetric, and the buttons are black, I frequently hold it upside down and hit the wrong buttons. This is annoying and often disruptive to what I'm watching/listening to as I will accidentally exit the pandora or viewer apps! I've had the Boxee for over 8-months now and this still frustrates me every time I use it.
What is cool about the remote control is that when you flip it over, it has a decent sized keyboard! When using the search features, this keyboard works like a charm.
In practice though, my usage doesn't result in much data entry so I don't get the payoff of the keyboard. Unfortunately, I DO prize being able to reliably pause/fast forward/rewind the Boxee Box remote control is not too good. This can't be fixed with firmware...
I did find one way to improve upon the remote situation- I plugged in a wireless mouse and keyboard. The wireless mouse made navigating the Boxee Box menus noticeably easier.
Unfortunately, the mouse does not work for jumping to a spot in a song or a video. Also, when surfing the web on the Boxee Box, the wireless mouse is unable to scroll content up and down and the roller wheel is completely disabled.
The video quality of some of the Internet content is surprisingly good. Generally speaking, if you're paying for the content, it will look as good as the best high def feed from your cable/satellite provider. And generally speaking, if you get content for free, it can be pretty bad.
The Wired application has a bunch of movie trailers and I honestly couldn't tell that I was watching "downloaded" content. The picture quality rivaled the HD quality I get over the air from DirecTV. I found this impressive. I have a 6Mb/s internet connection which is certainly not a slouch so I'm sure that helps. Video quality can vary greatly though. Some of the stuff on youtube borders on unwatchable (though that is the nature of youtube, not Boxee Box).
My wife and I tried to watch an episode of CSI Miami on the Boxee Box and eventually gave up. It wasn't because CSI Miami is pointless and stupid, it was because the experience of trying to pause or navigate through the program was too awkward. At one point I tried to pause the show but accidentally hit the "menu" button. This took us out of the show and lost our spot. Then we tried to relaunch it and fast forward to our old location. This proved fruitless with the Boxee Box remote control.
During the 2010-2011 Women's basketball season, I ended up watching quite a few games on the Boxee Box as the only way to get them was on the Internet. I had to be careful not to touch anything once I got the game on screen but generally speaking this worked well and I enjoyed it over watching the same content on my laptop.
I am a Netflix streaming customer and the Boxee Box has a Netflix application. The application works well. Playback is first rate with excellent video and sound. The remote control rears it's ugly head here as the Netflix app does not obey the Boxee Box's pause button. This is supremely annoying. I can't pause Netflix without experimenting (sorry, I don't remember the button press).
Considering how well the Netflix application works on other platforms, I'm giving the Boxee Box implementation a "C-". This can improve with updates.
The Boxee Box Pandora application works great. I was able to sync up to my Pandora account and play playlists of music that I like. Pandora is a great product-- but it is hardly exclusive to the Boxee Box. It takes a LOT less time to simply pick up my iPhone, launch the Pandora app and airplay to my AppleTV.
I have a large library of music that I've ripped into MP3 format on my mac. I was able to share my music folder on the mac and Boxee immediately found it on the network- it wasn't easy enough that my wife could figure out how to do it but I had no problem. But things fell apart when I tried to actually listen to my music. The problem is that Boxee can't see your itunes playlists. So you're left with playing music one directory at a time. This kills this feature for me- my directory structure is broken down by artist and then album. I rarely want to listen to just one album at a time. Because I didn't layout my music according to genre, etc..., I have no easy way to listen to songs.
I know nobody loves Apple, but implementing a way to import iTunes play lists would be helpful.
I have a UPnP storage device on my network and uploaded a bunch of ripped DVDs. I also uploaded videos that I had downloaded from the Internet over the years- many in a wide variety of formats. When it comes to playing about any video you can think of, the Boxee Box is an A+ performer. It sees my UPNP server on the LAN and with a couple of clicks I'm in watching a movie. It always remembers where you left off and generally works perfectly. Fast forward, rewind, pause, everything!
As a comparison, I tried to view UPNP content on my DirecTV DVR. It was a terrible, teeth gnashing experience that ended with my DVR crashing and rebooting. Again, kudos to Boxee Box on their execution of this feature.
Granted, you have to do a lot of extra work to get your videos into a storage device on your LAN, but if you have such a video source, this is a great product for watching it on your TV.
Sorry, but I'm not getting the whole "add social media to your TV" thing. Gimmick!
We were able to sync the Boxee Box with my wife's FaceBook accountn but we never could figure out how to see FaceBook alerts while watching content. We'd hear sounds when notifications came through but there was no obvious way to get to them. We were so gunshy about touching the remote and losing our spot in a show that we decided they weren't worth it and just got out her iPhone/iPad to see what was new...
With no local storage, the Boxee Box is not useful if your network is down or the content sources are unavailable (PC turned off). There is no way to save content to your Boxee for advanced buffering if you have a slow internet connection. You can plug in a USB key or a powered USB drive so it's not the end of the world.
They seemed to have done a good job with the CPU and memory selection- the unit is very snappy and fluid. I was pleased with this.
With firmware updates, the Boxee Box has gotten fairly stable. It doesn't crash very often. There are some quirky bugs. For example, about once per week, all of my "Favorites" disappear. This always annoys me but if I restart the Boxee Box, things come back.
If you're going to only use Netflix or other common paid services, spend 1/3 as much and get an AppleTV. If you've got a bunch of ripped music and don't have Apple devices, get the Boxee Box. If you've got a ton of ripped video, get the Boxee Box.
Make sure you have a fast Internet connection (probably 3Mbps is the minimum I'd go with). Also, if your Internet provider is implementing data caps, you might not want streaming products like the Boxee Box as they consume a lot of data with frequent usage.
The ideal Boxee Box would tweak the remote so you could use it without having to look at it, and add a hard drive so it could be self contained. Oh, and switch to a NORMAL form factor so it will stack with the rest of my gear.
I'm sure a Boxee Box 2.0 is in the future; maybe it'll address some of my complaints.
141 of 167 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2010
Style Name: NewVerified Purchase
Some perspective on me: I have never written a review but felt it was necessary in this case. I have been streaming video accross my network since the Buffalo Link Theater (7 yrs ago). I consider myself somewhat of a computer\electronic geek. I, like many others, have been excited about the release of the Boxee Box. I have tried several other similar alternatives (X-Box, LG Blu-ray player, WD...etc) and NOTHING even comes close to the experience I've had so far with the Boxee.
-qwerty keyboard on back of remote (brilliant!)
-User interface (needs to improvement though)
-Zippy fast getting around (except for downloading cover art for thumbnails)
-Lots of content providers (more to come for sure, Netflix, etc)
-Streams every file I have thrown at it (my movie collection is over 500 strong with different formats).
-there are many more
-As others have commented (the qwerty remote is unreadable for me without extreem light (come on, grey on black letters!)
-no options to customize the user interface more (advanced settings?)
-many apps load a webpage with the video in a small window with the "full screen" option small and difficult to brows to with the remote (needs much improvement).
If you want to look at your digital piture collection, play your digital videos\movies, listen to your music collection and play content from the web all through a great interface on your DH TV and through your Home Theater system, this box is a must for you. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
I am confident this box will only get better.
75 of 91 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2011
Style Name: NewVerified Purchase
I was a user of the Boxee beta for around a year before the launch of the Boxee box, and I was excited to see what would come from the team when they had dedicated hardware to work with. Unfortunately the fruits of their labor are lacking in most areas.
Depending on what you are looking to get out of this machine, there are several better, cheaper options out there, most prominently the Apple TV 2, if you are willing to put in the effort to get XBMC on it.
Out of the box, I was impressed with the size and unique design of the Box, but actually using the Box is a whole different matter. On a whole, the software is buggy, unstable and SLOW. I aimed to make use of just about every aspect of the software: I have a large collection of media on a server, I use Netflix, and my wife liked having web content from MTV, Lifetime, etc available. It doesn't do a particularly good job at any of this.
Are you just looking for something to stream Netflix and Hulu et al? Get a Roku 2 XD Streaming Player 1080p for around half the price. The implementation of Netflix on the Boxee Box is terrible; by far the worst version I've used, and I've tried it on the xbox, ps3, roku, Boxee, AppleTV, and Windows Media Center. On Boxee, it is sluggish in every respect. The UI lags behind button presses, and animations are choppy. The viewing experience is terrible as well; I thought Netflix just had poor performance in general, as this was the first device I tested it on, but imagine my surprise when I tried it on other hardware and the initial buffer time went from close to a minute to about ten seconds. The remote works differently in this application than anywhere else; pressing pause does nothing, as you're supposed to us the "ok" button here. Pressing "back" exits Netflix completely, instead of stopping the current video; you press "down" to stop. Just stupid, half baked design. Even on the comparatively cheap and simple Roku, streams start more quickly and the UI is smooth.
Are you looking to stream local media? The Apple TV MC572LL/A (2010) is $80 cheaper, and it takes about 10 minutes to get XBMC on it, which works far better than Boxee does (Boxee is a fork of XBMC, and they share the same format compatability). Boxee aims to present your files neatly organized and tagged. It fails at this. It takes hours for the box to identify files, and starting with a firmware update issued several months ago, it started creating duplicate entries for TV shows. Loading the list of my files took about a minute every time you entered the menu. This is a task that XBMC pulls off in about 2 seconds. Again, the UI here is sluggish and slow to respond to button presses.
Are you looking to stream content from individual web sites? Don't bother. Boxee doesn't have deals worked out with any of these sources, so the Box loads the web page (sometimes in the background, sometimes not) and plays the flash video. And here's the kicker: flash on this things sucks. It is terrible, worse than on a cell phone, tablet etc. It crashes the Box regularly, and not just simple "oh the video stopped" type crashes, but hard-reset type crashes. And by regularly, I mean daily at best.
I had my box for about six months. I had to restart it on a daily basis, youtube was completely useless, as it would crash the thing even more frequently (the Box just loads the youtube "lean back" interface, which is a flash application), Netflix sucked, local media playback sucked, and after about 200 reboots the thing just died. Oh, and Boxee doesn't actually support this thing, D-Link does, which was a fun surprise; it took their support a week to respond to my request with "talk to d-link".
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2013
Style Name: New
Only leaving this review because this item is still for sale and obviously people are still buying it.
The Boxee team has dissolved. They went to work for Samsung. Updates to this box are not going to happen. The forums have shut down, development stopped, and bugs aren't going to get fixed. They won't open source everything either.
Please don't waste your money on this dead product. Buy something else instead.
129 of 164 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2010
Style Name: NewVerified Purchase
A few more updates and now we have both VUDU and Netflix Support.
Netflix and Vudu both look really nice on the BoxeeBox, I'm actually really impressed.
I no longer see as many 'no video' issues with apps like I used to. All of the apps work pretty well with only the occasional 'fail to go full screen' problems. The remote feels easier to control in these situations (not sure if it's a fix or I'm just getting used to using it) and making videos full screen is not that hard.
I no longer run into any video or audio issues like I did in the past.
It would be nice if BoxeeBox allowed deleting of local files after you view them, but I can deal with it for now.
Still missing from the Boxee Box:
Amazon Video Streaming
If you want to watch those, you need another device.
The Boxee Box is perfect if you have a lot of local media that you want to watch. The remote also makes finding video on Youtube very easy. It would be close to perfect if Hulu and Amazon were supported.
All in all, the BoxeeBox team has obviously taken the criticism to heart and worked to fix the product. I can now honestly say that I would buy this device again and recommend it for anyone looking for a small, quiet, all in one device. It will be imposible for the BoxeeBox team to make everyone happy, but they have done a great job trying. Thank you guys for actually taking the time to read your users reviews and fix the issues we complained about. That alone makes this device worth all of the trouble I had in the past.
Please note that the reviews below are older. The bottom one I left so you can still see how upset I was when I purchased this device and how they have fixed the issues.
After using the system for several days with the latest software update, I am pleased to say that it now offers you the option of making your locally stored media a priority. This saves you several clicks each time you want to watch something you have stored locally on your network. As for the internet media, there are some fixes but still some problems. Most of the apps or videos you click on will display in full screen now. This was one of my big issues with the first release. Network performance over wifi seems to be more stable and has yet to show any issues viewing locally stored media. Many of the only videos (I'm looking at you Youtube) still display over-lay ads which slow down the video and are basically impossible to rid yourself of. This is a youtube issue, not a boxee issue but still annoying. Based on what I see now with the boxee box, I would buy this device again. I am still eagerly awaiting Netflix and Hulu support.
OLD Review, No Longer accurate information
I have been using the Boxee software for almost 2 years and have mostly loved it. Boxee was the first XMBC spin off to truly attempt a mainstream hardware launch. I pre-ordered the Boxee Box the day it was up back in September. For months, I have been giddy with anticipation of it's arrival. Then I got it today. Upon opening the box and setting up the device, It looked just like the software I was used to. I always admired Boxee for saying "Try it" and actually having good software to try, knowing that one day the sweet sweet hardware would arrive. Then, about 15 minutes into my wonderful experience and before I had the chance to test everything out, it forced me to update. I was then left with an overpriced popcorn hour that glows green.
I'm too tired to write all of the issues here, but here are a few pros and cons:
Very small device, Takes up little space.
Nice remote design (save for a few issues) as long as you have light.
Plays most of my locally stored media very well.
It has an OFF button
No Netflix support.
No Hulu support.
No VUDU support (Even though it features the app icon on the screen!)
Many of the apps don't play ANY video at all (like the open university app), stating that the video files are not the correct format or are corrupted (Then why have the app on the screen?)
Several apps simply open up a web page in the built in webkit browser with the video showing on only a tiny fraction of the screen. You must painfully navigate to an extremely tiny 'full screen' button to watch full screen video.
Many other apps also just link to youtube videos and show the progress bar at the bottom of the screen with no way to minimize it (unless you are lucky enough to get the 'glowing green bar')
Navigation and layout of locally stored media is abismal. There is no easy way to organise your local media. This wouldn't be a big deal if there was any decent online media to watch.
Typing numbers on the remote is difficult. You must hold down a 'num' button the entire time.
The remote is impossible to see in a dimly lit or dark room. It has no back lighting.
The remote does not function the same across all apps. In Youtube Leanback (which is really neat), the pause/play and back/menu buttons are completely useless. You have to use just the center button and the directional keys. This issue is compounded by the remote being difficult to see unless in direct light.
For the thousands of videos and movies this device has, it is almost all independent and ad supported. I don't mind video ads but the pop up ads that display (since you are basically watching youtube on a browser) are impossible to minimise and block the video.
Boxee may be salvaged in the future but for now, this is basically an heavily overpriced popcorn hour with a worsened layout.
I strongly urge you to wait until these issues are resolved. When these issues are resolved, I will re-do my review and adjust accordingly.
END of OLD Review, No Longer accurate information
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2012
Style Name: NewVerified Purchase
After the anouncement of Boxee's new product. Boxee has announced there will no longer be any "Major" updates for this device. See this blog post:
This device has been riddled with bugs since I purchased it a year ago. The Netflix app is glitchy and will randomly increase the audio volume periodically so you have to pause and restart playback to restore regular volume. This device does not shut down properly and it is a two minute affair if you want to turn off the box. This company is already abandoning support of this device after less than two years since it's conception. They promised frequent updates and added media sources, but it has taken half a year for another buggy update. I would strongly advise against purchasing this buggy player and supporting a company that does not support its devices at the expense of their customers.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2011
Style Name: NewVerified Purchase
I'm not going to go really in-depth with the features of the Boxee Box because others have already done that and much more ably than I could. But I did want to weigh in and say that I think the average score is artificially low due to the unfinished software that Boxee shipped with. MANY of the issues Boxee had when it shipped (especially compared to it's PC software counter-part) have been fixed. Shipping without Netflix support was a huge mistake, but thankfully that's been fixed.
I bought a Boxee Box because I wanted a player that could handle HD files I had stored locally. When it comes to that, there is no competition. Before Boxee I was using my XBox 360 which was a HUGE pain to set up in my network and had limited file support and would choke on even 720p files. Boxee plays every video file I have and it plays them flawlessly (provided my file is good quality). 16GB 1080p files, not a problem. MKVs with multiples subs, not a problem. Flash drive, network, whatever. I do have it hard-wired so I can't comment on the speed of the wi-fi.
There have been periods when I've left the Boxee on for weeks at a time (I do turn it off from time to time, just in case) with no ill-effects. It does produce a slight hum, but for me it's not very noticeable.
If I had written this review when I got my Boxee when it released (November 2010) then I would have gone 3 or 3.5 stars, but with every update Boxee refines their interface and capabilities. Since adding Netflix, I can now absolutely recommend Boxee Box without reservation.
As for downsides: The remote might be oversimplified. Without the embossed logo, it would be impossible to tell which side is up. The QWERTY keyboard, which is an awesome addition, is impossible to use in the dark.
Navigating online sources can be a pain, depending on how well they're set up.
More online sources will be nice as they bring them on. And more dedicated apps versus using the web pages for the sources.
ONE serious caveat: if ALL you want is Netflix streaming, and for some reason you don't have a Wii, XBox, PS3, or Blu-ray player that has Netflix, then Boxee Box is probably overkill and you can stick with something like a Roku or Apple TV.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2011
Style Name: NewVerified Purchase
Like some of the other reviewers, I was waiting until they released the Netflix app. Now that we finally have the long awaited app, I can say with full confidence, that this is hands down my favorite media set-top box out there. One of my friends was bragging about his Ap*leTV. I then proceeded to compare the two. Don't get me wrong, the other product is kinda cool...sorta...for people who don't know what they're doing, but for those of us who have local content, the Boxee Box is the undisputed champion. Some people don't like to have all their discs lying around, and it is nice to be able to convert ones physical dvd and blu-ray collection to mkv files, put them on external hard drives (the boxee works great with my 2-bay internal hard drive hub), and play them with ease on the Boxee, with 1080p hd video, beautiful surround sound, subtitles, and a fantastic interface. The Boxee Box is the codec king and will play just about any file you'd like to throw at it.
Want to watch the latest South Park episode on Southparkstudios.com? With Ap*leTV, you're subject iTunes, in all it's expensive misery. With the BoxeeBox, it pulls up any episode you want to watch by going straight to the website, blowing it up to fullscreen, and in a few moments, you're watching it in hd! There's a giant slew of other free shows and movies available, as well, with more being added all the time. I've enjoyed how it can seamlessly blend my options from the internet, sources like Vudu, and my local content.
The design has been an item of controversy for some. I know it's funky, but I love it. It's always a conversation starter when people visit, and when I boot it up, they're blown away. The keyboard on the remote is a great design, but for some who prefer a traditional mouse and keyboard, I plugged in a wireless usb dongle for an old junky no-name wireless mouse/keyboard, and much to my surprise, it worked just fine! No installation necessary. Makes using the already great interface even easier for some.
My only complaint is how hulu blocks us from streaming their videos through the boxee browser. It used to when the Boxee was first released, but then they blocked access. This is not Boxee's fault, but instead Hulu seems to be the one to blame here. I understand them trying to push Hulu plus and all, but wait until the Hulu plus app is out, please!
Other than the lack of Hulu, if that's not a deal breaker, go for it! It's wonderful having a cheap alternative to a Media Center PC that also happens to use only around 13 watts of power.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2011
Style Name: NewVerified Purchase
I've had this hooked up for around a week now and love it. I have been watching the the feedback and reviews on Amazon and other Boxee Box sellers since this first went on sale. I'd been wanting to order this since day one but I just couldn't pull the trigger... All of the reviews were such a mixed bag that I didn't know if it would really fit my needs, some loved it, others had it boxed up and on the way back to Amazon the next day.
My main use of the Boxee Box is playing DVD ISO files stored on a Windows Home Server box in my home office. I keep all of my videos, music and photos on the WHS. These network file folders were so easy to setup and find with Boxee Box. When looking for movies from the Boxee Box menu I can choose just my local video files and they all show up with correct cover art, descriptions, perfect! The ISO files play exactly like the physical DVD, menu navigation, setup, extras, etc. My photo and music folders load just as easily.
The remote... works very well, love the two-sided thing with qwerty keyboard, but like most people say, it is virtually impossible to use or read the keys in anything but a fully lit room. Luckily you almost never need the keyboard side, the navigation and simple buttons on the remote take care of 90% of the needs.
There is a large amount of apps for it including Netflix which works very well and has a good interface. I've been browsing though many of the apps to see what is useful and not. I really need to add apps to favorites or hide apps I don't want. I think there are nearly 200 apps to sort through and it's still quite long even sorting by app categories.
Boxee Box is sitting in my home theater room in the lower level of my house. It's plugged into a Netgear wireless extender/bridge I use for internet connection to my theater components. Two levels apart I've had no wireless or streaming problems, everything is fast and smooth. The Boxee has not locked up at all and no reboots have been needed after the first week. I leave it on all the time and have it set to scan my network media folders once a day to check for any media I may have added to my server.
If you've been waiting it out like I was, now may finally be the time to get one of these. I'd been trying to decide whether to buy or build a home theater pc HTPC with Boxee software or XBMC etc... or buy a cheaper plug & media box like Boxee Box. Glad I took the chance on Boxee Box, MUCH easier and cheaper solution. Everyone has different needs and this fits mine. Thanks!