The Boxee Box media streamer undoubtedly has a very unique shape. But as a media-streaming device, it is taking on the likes of the WD Live Hub and the Apple TV. However, while the Apple TV supports limited video formats and will upscale only to 720p HD, the variety of online services on offer, close integration with iTunes and features like the remote app for your iOS meant it still caught the fancy of those who use the online services like Netflix and You Tube.
The WD Live may be good as an upscale device for videos, but has very limited web based services. The ones that we like are Live365 radio and You Tube. Not much beyond that.
Boxee does some of that stuff, but due to geographical limitations, a lot of web-based services aren’t available here. Essentially, if you are buying this, you are going to be providing content to it- either streaming from the PC or via an attached USB storage. We have seen this retailing for around Rs 14000 in the Indian market, which makes this insanely more expensive than the WD Live. Remember, you can get the features of the WD Live, with the extra 1TB storage space in the WD Live Hub for around Rs 11000. However, Boxee is cute!
Here are some pictures and our impressions about this unique looking streaming device.
This is the device, switched off. The bubbles/dots you can see on the surface are because we haven’t removed the protective layer of plastic. And good thing too, since it is glossy black underneath.
The memory card slot is on one side panel.
This is the business end, with all the connectivity ports. Notice the weird design of the device!
The base has a nice rubberized non-slip feel to it, and the fluorescent green colour stands out. The design means we can see a bit of that front on.
You didn’t think this was there, correct? Well, the Boxee lights up the moment you power it on.
If you switch it on when there is no Internet connectivity, it immediately informs you that this device will have limited features for the time being. However, if you are going to watch videos off a connected USB drive, this doesn’t matter.
This is Boxee’s home screen. Notice the wide expanses of blue colour? This will be filled up with web services when the Internet is connected.
Boxee isn't pleased. Please connect the LAN cable!
Boxee is happy now. The sniff of the World Wide Web wakes it up!
This is the files menu. The various content sources that can be accessed. This is where you can access content from your PC with the Boxee Media Manager software installed.
The Boxee remote carries on the trend of unique design. Quite functional though, we must admit. However, the glossy finish will get a lot of scratches over time. Nail cutters, please!
The remote continues to surprise. Flip it over, and there is a full-fledged keypad. Useful for the web based services.
Boxee and the WD Live media player - Notice the size difference?