Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
Buggy software and feels incomplete.
on April 22, 2012
I have used Boxee Desktop software before it was discontinued, when it was still in Beta. I remember it being quite functional and snappy. So recently I've decided to buy a Boxee Box. I read online that it supports HBO GO, Netflix, VUDU, AirPlay and many other services.
The hardware design in beautiful. But it's irregular shape makes it difficult to stack it on the side/corner of a TV stand. The refurb piece looked pretty good without any signs of wear. Then I plugged it in and updated the software first. The UI looks beautiful, but I don't like some of the design choices they made. For example I couldn't find a reliable way to search a list of apps or a list of videos. I always end up doing a system wide search, which is not very useful many times.
AirPlay works fine for short videos, but for long ones, the iPad goes to sleep and the video playback stops. Strangely, it doesn't happen with the Apple TV. Also, AirPlay mirroring doesn't work, but in fairness it only works on Apple branded devices.
Netflix UI lags a bit, but the streaming works fine for the most part. Quality is pretty good, no big surprises.
3. HBO GO:
I thought Boxee Box, supported HBO GO natively, but disappointed that it is nothing more than a mere hack. The App is just a wrapper to the website, which is fine with me, but it never works. Sometimes I see black bars when I switch to full screen. Even worse, I have to use the D-Pad on the remote as a mouse, which is a huge pain during navigation. Also many times the video and audio go out of sync and I can't navigate through the video since its a web player.
Everytime I try to open this app, it tells me there is a network error hence it can't be opened.
5. Local Playback:
Local playback from a network drive works for the most part, but sometimes it completely chokes and freezes. Not only that I experience audio lags very frequently and sometimes it randomly skips to a different time etc., This is one of the huge factors for me to return this. It should atleast playback local files without issues.
6. Other Apps:
There are a zillion apps/channels that I don't need or don't work properly. I tried watching PBS videos but it takes me again to the browser. The Youtube app is also just a Widescreen youtube website, which is fine, but it rarely works well on the Boxee box.
7. WiFi Issues:
Wifi disconnects intermittently and many apps crash in that process. It doesn't happen when using Ethernet, but WiFi on this device isn't reliable at all.
Its a huge disappointment that Boxee box tries to do many things, but none of them work well. May be over the time, if they release more software updates it might get better, but it has been over 2 years already since this was first released. It feels like some Beta product rather than a finished product.
In comparision, I also own a Roku box, which doesn't have many features (No local playback, No Airplay, No Youtube), but for the few things it does, it works flawlessly.