The Ultimate Boxee TV Review
This is my 2012 ultimate Boxee TV review.
Boxee TV, sucessor of Boxee Box
H/W ver: A1
MSRP: 99.99, you can find it online usually for under 90 new/used
The un-boxing. This first set of pictures is still in the shrink wrap. I’m typing out what the box actually says in case anyone can’t see the text. Here is the front of the box.
“Watch more free tv”, “Stop spending money on stuff you don’t watch”, “includes 3 months Netflix for new and existing customers”, “1 new release movie 4 vudo HD movies”
The right side of the box. “Got gadgets?”, “use your tablet or smartphone to control boxee & find out what’s on”.
Bottom of the box. “Hooks up in minutes”
Top of box. “Watch what you spend & Watch what you love”, “The perfect blend of free tv channels & internet apps”
And the back of the box
Some images of the box with a bag of cheesy goodness for size comparison, and for those concerned with calories and health an orange.
Removal of shrink wrap, duct tape, etc.
In the prior picture you notice that the “No-limits DVD” information is actually a sticker placed onto the outside of shrink wrap. An additional sticker would add to the to total cost, so I would assume the box itself was developed prior to the completion of the dvr service, or the dvr service was an afterthought. Maybe someone just messed up when they designed the box.
Opening of the box.
Warranty, GPL license, dlink info etc.
Another shot of GPL code statement.
Boxee TV inside box. Bright Green color goes well. Along the same theme from the last box, boxee box.
Boxee TV with orange for size comparison. The box is small.
A picture of an orange next to a Boxee TV.
Top of the Boxee TV, boxee logo
Front side of old(right) and new(left) remote. The new remote has more buttons, which makes it easier to navigate. The home button is awesome. It takes you home. There is some room for improvement however. Some buttons don’t offer much ability yet, like the pause button. Since i’m in a location that doesn’t have access to the DVR service, this doesn’t really do much for me.
Backside of the old (right) and new(left) remote. No keyboard on the new remote. For users that have an iOS device you can use that for easier typing.
Starting the setup process, language selection.
Firstly, im a big boxee fan. I will however keep all of my opinions as non-bias as possible. I’m also a big fan of XBMC. I know there is some tension there for the die hard FLOSS xbmc users. Boxee’s actions and how that represents or reflects upon the open source community is not the topic of discussion for this post. Moving on.
The user interface is very similar to the Boxee Box, but the new UI seems faster. An occasional sluggish transition from one selection to another did occur, it wasn’t unbearable though. If anything it was hardly noticeable. Currently there are way less apps than the prior boxee. The recent blog post on the boxee blog states they have teamed up with Opera (Web browser), so hopefully some new html5 apps is in the pipeline.
The box itself is very light. Maybe to light. It’s just the right size. Fits nicely next to the tv.
The remote is familiar, and I like it even without the qwerty keyboard.
I have an outside antenna setup, so I didn’t use the included antenna.
During the setup, the firmware automatically updated without any issues which was great to see. The instructions were very easy to follow and simplistic. Less is more. I was prompted to visit the boxee website to register the device, pin code on screen. Payment details were requested however are optional. Facebook and twitter integration were also offered.
My biggest concern with the box after around an hours worth of use was the temperature. The box gets hot, fast. I am going to dig up my thermometer but I would guess the box is around 85-90 degrees. That concerns me.
Dimensions: (w) 170mm x (d) 97mm x (h) 40mm
Ports: 1x HDMI, Dual tuner coaxial input (ATSC antenna / clear QAM), wifi (802.11 b,g,n), IR receiver, 2 USB ports for external hdd’s
or thumb drives.
Supported Media Formats:
Audio CODEC: PCM, AAC, DTS (passthrough), DD, DD+, WMA/WMA Pro, MP3
Video CODEC:MPEG2, MPEG4.2, MPEG4.10 (H.264), VC-1
Containers: MP3, TS/ES, MPEG2, AVI, MKV, MP4, OGG, WAV, ASF, VOB
Current App Selection
Netflix, Vudu, Youtube Leanback, AccuWeather, Cloudee, File Browser, MLB.TV, Pandora, Spotify, TED, Vimeo, WSJ Live, AOL On.
13 applications in total.
Notable missing applications/features.
I wanted to add a section for third party services that are not supported, at least yet. This list is not exhaustive, but only includes some top priority’s for anyone looking to buy a streaming device.
Hulu, Amazon Instant/VOD, Redbox Instant, revision3,
If you only need to watch local content and stream Netflix, I would recommend this box for purchasing. It’s not as robust as the original Boxee Box, and its not as polished as the Roku second generation box’s, but it’s nice in its own way. The applications selection currently is scarce, so the only purpose I get out of the box currently is live tv, Netflix, and local media that is supported (file formats). But there is room for lots of potential, and momentum is already building, opera html5 apps etc.
What others think. Online reviews.
On Walmarts online website, you can see that the reviews are primarily negative (1 star). The comments are all related to “Buggy”, and a few also referring to the product freezing. This same sentiment is echoed on the product listing page for Amazon.
Three Months in.
After three months of use, there has been only one major change noticeable by the end user, and that was the addition of a new application/channel, AOL On. After using the Boxee TV as my primary television viewing device, the product freezing is very common, as high as 5 freezes requiring a hard reset per day. I have experienced this same issue with multiple devices, and in multiple locations. This issue is the biggest drawback for Boxee TV. Missing features from the first generation Boxee Box are trumped by a device that refuses to function.
Assuming that the freezes are software related, and not caused by the high heat, this could be something that can be fixed. Large emphasis on “could” and “assuming”. Since no firmware updates have been issued since my original purchase (3+ months ago), this leads me to believe that the Boxee team is either working on other aspects of the device (most likely DVR service), the freezes are unfixable due to hardware limitiations as its not software related, or they are extremely slow in releasing updates. I’m going to guess it’s a mixture of the first two.
More to come (will update more later).
Small update on 03/05/2013
Here is a youtube video from Johnny Phung showing you the UI.