Boxee is a device that enables users to record television programs for later use as they would on a standard DVR, but integrates web and application usage for an experience few other devices can offer.
- Boxee acts as a central station for all of your media platforms
- Supports all file formats
- Can be used with Windows, Linux, and Apple systems
- Supports popular applications like Netflix and Pandora radio
- Streams content from web and your home network
- No direct Hulu support
- Hasn’t been around as long as other players in the market, like Roku
Perhaps you’re one of those people that had a shift in schedules that forced you to catch up on your favorite TV show online, but you always felt that the experience left a little to be desired. I’m sure at some point or another, the majority of us have all streamed video content from our computers and wished that we could have a more HD experience than simply turning on the full screen option provided. Maybe you’ve even wished for better sound than a laptop computer could provide, but didn’t want to go through the hassle of stringing VGA cords across your living room and fumbling in the dark crevice of a flat screen in an effort to connect them.
Boxee, imagined and brought to life by Avner Ronen, has been developed from a web app for viewing videos on a laptop, to a device that lets you view what you watch on a laptop on your big screen. Although it’s a device that has its obvious benefits, it hasn’t been too well received among the competitive market, where cable operators, and even streaming sites, like Hulu, have found it to be detrimental to their services (but what’s bad for THEM, is probably good for YOU, the consumer).
So, Why the Boxee Box?
Boxee eliminates all of the features of watching TV on the internet that we typically don’t enjoy. The device, manufactured by D-Link, is designed to give users the experience of watching everything on the big home screen with the convenience of streaming content from the web. Boxee works by connecting to your home’s internet router to the Boxee box so you can stream web apps like Pandora and Netflix to your television.
One of the most unique features of Boxee is its DVR service, which works with any standard satellite or cable television setup to record content from any channel. The channels are patched in Boxee’s dual tuner—which is, unfortunately, currently limited to only 8 service providers (with talks of expansion in the near future), and allows users to watch and browse through channels at any time.
But the most outstanding feature of Boxee’s DVR is that the storage is entirely cloud based – there are no memory chips to worry about changing, ever. The content is stored to the user’s cloud account, which can be accessed from, well, just about anywhere. It sounds too good to be true, and you’re probably thinking that nothing good in this world comes free—and it doesn’t. Amazon’s cloud service, which stores Boxee user’s files, charges a fee of $15 per month, a small price to pay for unlimited storage.
Boxee is incredibly easy to use, too, especially since Setup literally takes a minute. Simply plug your Boxee box into the wall, connect the HDMI cord to your television’s HDMI port and you’re ready to go. The device will automatically configure itself to connect to your internet connection and starts streaming content to your television within seconds. Plus, if you log in with an existing Boxee account, it will automatically import your account, so you can browse your saved content right away.
In addition to putting the magic of the internet on your big screen for an HD home theater experience, Boxee provides a smooth user interface that simplifies access to all of your favorite apps, channels, and websites. And for a true home-theater experience, Boxee connects to your phone or tablet, providing an interface that programs them to act like a remote so you never have to leave your seat or command a laptop to watch what you want.
Boxee also allows device tethering, which takes that remote feature beyond basic remote capabilities. You can configure your Android and Apple devices to work with Boxee, which enables you to search your saved programs right from your phone. Plus, if you’re watching a video on your handheld device and want it on the big screen, all you have to do is tell Boxee and it’ll start playing there without a hitch.
Of course Boxee wouldn’t be a proper modern device without a social feature. The device is integrated with a social networking platform that enables to see what you’re friends are linking and sharing on Facebook, as well as direct app support for Youtube, so you’ll never miss a video they share.
The best part about Boxee is its affordable price tag. At just $99, nearly half the price of its original model, this unit is a must-have for the living room of anyone who actively streams video content. Boxee is covered by a 30 day full-refund warranty.
I’ve included a great video review of the Boxee box found on YouTube below. Enjoy!