I wouldn't say they're two completely different products... they're similar products with two different goals. Google TV is about optimizing your current TV experience. The Boxee Box wants to replace your cable/satellite provider.
Go ahead and download Boxee from their website, it's free. Take a look at the shows offered and the quality your internet can handle. See if the difference is worth your cable/satellite bill. If not, maybe you should consider cancelling and buying a Boxee Box.
I haven't had cable for over a year now. I actually prefer watching shows on the internet for several reasons. First of all, I get to choose what I want, when I want, without worrying about recording shows. Next, the commercials online are far shorter. When I watch regular cable now I feel like I'm watching endless commercials, it's ridiculous that you actually pay them to show you advertisements. Finally, I no longer feel like a mindless drone watching TV. I'm not watching a show just because it's the next thing on, I'm watching it because I actually want to.
I've been investigating both devices and this is what I have to offer:
The Logitech Revue (GoogleTV device) promises a few apps at start (though the Netflix app is apparently subpar), is/can be integrated with your DVR/Set Top Box, and supposedly has a better internet browsing/search functionality (though I have not seen any tests of this). GoogleTV seems committed to bringing the entire internet to your TV.
The bad things about GoogleTV/Logitech Revue: Local USB media storage is limited to 40GB! And the Logitech Media Player App, the native app used to play locally stored media, cannot play music playlists! So if you want to play local music media through the Revue, you have to select one file at a time. That's just a no go for me.
The poor functionality for local media play is pretty much why I decided not to preoder the Revue. $300 is too steep for somewhat limited functionality and an absurd USB drive restriction, plus unpolished apps. Furthermore, I've heard that Google is having a hard time getting content providers to sign on.
Now, onto Boxee Box: Boxee supports more media file types, has more apps at the start, and one can already messed around with some of them through the current Boxee software (Netflix works very well). Boxee has no local USB drive size limititation. It organizes shows and video feeds pretty well, and seems to do a good job with local media (both music and video). Boxee supports music playlists (.m3u and .pla files), but to be honest I have not figured out how to make them work with the current PC software. I expected something like iTunes where within the music library I'd have an option to select playlists, but it's currently not there.
The bad things about Boxee/Boxee Box: The Boxee Browser (in the currently available software for PC) sucks so bad it may as well be non-functional. It will bring up a webpage but I can't seem to be able to navigate anywhere on the page to play content or search for content on the site. Basically, if you're looking for a video that isn't accessible through a Boxee app and otherwise isn't on an RSS feed or on Youtube, the Browser is of no help to you. You cannot currently go to Gmail or check your Facebook status either. It's just a dead-end.
I checked the Boxee support forums and the claim is that the new software (to debut on the Boxee Box device) has a different browser that should be able to allow the user to navigate the web. However, Boxee's mission statement is not necessarily to support traditional web browsing, but to deliver video and audio content from the web through an app or content based experience. Expect any improvement to the Browser functionality to be barebones. The device and software will be optimized for TV use.
So really, it's a gamble either way: With the Logitech Revue, you have to ask yourself if you're willing to bet that Google and Logitech will improve local media support, develop better apps, and secure premium online content. Then ask yourself if $300 is worth it.
With Boxee, you have to wager that the (as yet unseen) new Boxee software will be even more intuitive, support better internet browsing for video content that isn't on major websites, and fix some of the media streaming issues and quirks that the current software suffers from. Then ask yourself if $200 is worth it.
It's a tough choice for me. I thought I'd buy the GoogleTV as soon as I heard about it, but not sure now. Boxee looks better from the start for what I need, but Google has other features and more promise in the long haul as far as I can tell.
I have a Windows Home Server full of media. DVD ISO's, home movies, mp3's, photos, etc... Boxee can handle all this right away, not sure what the GoogleTV options will be or the time frame to add that ability. Playing the DVD ISO's is the biggest point. I know Google will play local network media but I don't think iso's will be out of the box right away.
The better integrated internet browsing and search, plus option for built-in calls, probably bigger selection of apps, etc, are very tempting with GoogleTV. Price is a slight issue but $100 more for Google is fine if it fills all my needs.
it depends on what experience you are looking for.
google tv is meant to improve internet + cable/dish service and not made to replace those services. its partnered up with dish network so you would need to get dish network to get the best experience. google tv brings search capability to cable/dish service. instead of flipping through channels you can search the name of the show or movie you want to watch. sports fans people can pull up all the scores while watching a game. so far theres little info on what files it supports and if its steaming only or with local media access. in the app department since its still not released so far announced are netflix, youtube, nba, cnbc, twitter, and amazon video. google also said that in the future they will bring android apps to google tv as well. finally there is the google chrome app that allows you to browse the web on your tv. these days tvs are getting cheaper and people are buying larger tv so surfing the web is easier and better then webtv in earlier years lol.
boxee box can replace your cable/dish service. boxee is great for streaming material of the internet and local files from home. more people are downloading or riping movies and tv shows and storing on their personal hard drives. with the boxee you can steam it to your tv. boxee box is more of a htpc based on the popular xbmc platform which is very clean and simple to use. boxee even has bittorrent support which i have not tried yet. boxee is still in beta stages but everything still running smooth so when the box arrives it should be in its final stage. boxee has over 200 apps available and growing. its a open source platform so anyone can create a app. you can imagine how much this department will improve once more people get into this. most of the broadcast shows you can actually stream online through the tv section. also there is a movie section with couple hundred of free movies to stream. so there are tons of free stuff without paying rentals, buying, or subscribing. right now you can try out boxee on your computer at boxee.tv. boxee can be the best since its capable of doing so much but needs good marketing and to be sold in local stores to be on top of the game.
They are two completely different products. One is meant to organize and play all of your local media while offering some decent online content, while the other is meant almost entirely for online content. If you don't have local media, there's really no point in paying for the better hardware in the Boxee.
Google TV: bring the internet to your TV. They will support alot of what you do on your computer on the internet. They have various apps like the netflix app but they aren't designed as a media streaming device.
Boxee Box: Bring internet media and your local media to your TV. Their goal is to be the device you go to when you want to watch Hulu, Youtube videos, RSS based shows (think Diggnation or any Revison3 show really), or even your local media files. The biggest problems with Boxee are you can't play DRMd media (goodbye iTunes or Amazon VOD) and they currently lack the two deal breaking partnerships they need. While the Boxee App on your computer does allow both netflix and Hulu, neither have been announced as partners. As the Boxee will be running a form of Linux, which doesn't support Netflix's DRM scheme of Silverlight, no declared partnership with Netflix is concerning to say the least. And Hulu has been vehement about keeping non computers off of their free service, opting to allow Hulu Plus to many of the devices. With no announced partnership with Hulu for the free content I find it hard to believe that they will continue to have this access post launch. And with those two providers not on board I think the Boxee Box will be DOA.
- Netflix (confirmed in Boxee's latest blog post) - 1080p playback of your local content, including your x264 MKVs with DTS, DVD ISOs with full menu support - play any music file you have, except protected iTunes - unified search, much like Google TV. Search for whatever you want to watch, and it will give you options of where to watch them, depending on what channel it's on: Hulu, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, SyFy, etc for cable channels, or if you have that file locally it will give you the option to play that as well - it has apps.. NOW. Vimeo, Digg, last.fm, Pandora, Clicker, YouTube, Revision3, Wolfgang's Vault, and a ton more
Roku, Google TV, Apple TV have overlapping features, but Boxee brings everything together with a beautiful interface at an affordable price point.
AppleTV - essentially a rental box with Netflix Roku - Netflix with some apps, and very limited local playback GoogleTV - meant to interface with your cable box.. don't have a cable box? it's just an overpriced web content box with limited audio/video local support
I say get Boxee Box for right now...because you can stick a USB or external hard drive and watch movies locally.
Granted...that Google has the money and the partners behind them and probably their next device will have that capabilities to play movies locally. BUT I'm not going to wait another year.
If Boxee wants to win they'll need to keep up with the updates by adding new features (At least every month), AND YES...YOU TOO D-LINK!!!!!!!!
I'm not sure who will be controlling the software updates (I'm assuming Boxee) and the firmware updates (Probably D-Link) BUT if the firmware is to be control by D-LINK YOU BETTER NOT FAIL. I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR MY D-LINK DNS-323 FIRMWARE UPDATES FOR ALMOST A YEAR SO YOU GUYS CAN FIX ALL THE BUGS.
Too bad Boxee Box didn't choose Logitech to do their hardware. D-LINK IS NOT KNOWN TO FIX THEIR FIRMWARE BUGS RIGHT AWAY OR AT ALL.