Boxee Box TV Media Player Review
I was reviewing my home expenses the other day and I noticed how much more I was paying for my cable television subscription compared to when I first signed up for it. Funny thing is, I barely watch TV now because, short of a few good shows, there’s not much worth watching. To borrow an expression from a friend, “A thousand and one channels and still nothing to watch!”My friend might have been exaggerating, but it got me thinking about looking for other alternatives that could lower the cost of other types of entertainment shows that I do watch, like movies, concerts, live sporting events, etc. While searching for some answers, one topic that caught my interest is TV media players. One device in particular stood out, the Boxee Box streaming TV media player, so I decided to do some more digging to see if it would lower my cable bill while giving me more choices in my TV viewing. Here’s what I found out.
What Boxee Box Is All About
Boxee Box is an HD streaming media player. So, yes, you need a high definition television to use it. Its function is pretty straight forward – it streams any content you can get over the Internet to your television. So if you’re currently watching television shows or movies on your computer or a mobile device, you can now watch them on the big screen. You decide which TV show, movie, sports game, or other programming you want to watch and Boxee Box first looks for it for free, which I think is a nice feature. If it’s unable to find free content, the Boxee Box TV media player automatically presents you with entertainment streaming provider options, like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, MLB.TV, etc. With Boxee Box, you can also access Internet content, like Web videos, university online courses, YouTube videos, or anything else you normally get online. In a nutshell, you can play any media from anywhere on the Internet.
The Boxee Box media player takes the technology a step further and enables you to play your videos and music, or display pictures from your home network, computer, or mobile device. What’s nice about this media streaming box is you pay for the programming you actually watch, so you’re not paying a monthly cable fee to have channels you don’t even watch. So clearly, Boxee TV would definitely help me lower my cable bill or do away with cable TV completely.
Using the Boxee TV Media Player
From what I could assess, the Boxee Box HD media player has a lot going for it. I like that you can organize all your digital files, from artwork to music, in a user-friendly interface. It’s also pretty useful being able to organize, store and share all your MP3 files on Boxee Box.
As with some other TV media players, you can use your Android phone or iPhone as a remote to control Boxee Box, which is helpful because you can then do a voice search. You can also send whatever video you’re watching on your iPad or other mobile device to your television so everyone can watch it, to do something else on your mobile device at the same time, or just for better viewing.
If you take a look at the back of the Boxee Box, you’ll find it fully loaded with two USB ports so you can hook up a mouse or wireless keyboard, optical digital audio and composite audio connectors, a Wi-Fi equipped (802.11n) Ethernet port and the HDMI output. An SD card reader to access your media is on the side of the box. With these connections, the Boxee Box streamer can pretty much plug into any device. Unfortunately, the USB ports cannot be used to download and save media content.
The workings of the Boxee media player are powered by an Intel Atom-based CE4100 media processor. It’s responsible for the powerful 1080p HD streaming and support for all file format types.
Cool Boxee Box Features Set It Apart
Another unique thing about the Boxee Box streaming TV media player is the remote. While all remotes have a front and a back, the Boxee Box remote actually makes use of both sides. One side has the usual power switch and navigation buttons, while the other side has a full QWERTY keypad so you can type in a URL address, your account information, or the type of programming you want to watch and the Boxee Box autosearch function will find it.
I was also impressed with the social aspect of the Boxee Box TV player. One of the choices on the search menu is Friends. You can actually recommend movies and shows to friends and they can see what you’ve been watching and offer suggestions via the Boxee network, Facebook, or Twitter. It’s a nice feature if you’re undecided on what to watch or want to know if a movie is worth paying for or watching.
In terms of size, Boxee Box is aptly named – its shape is a cube, a rather big box compared to other media players that are designed purposely to be as small as possible. But size is subjective to personal preference, so I’ll refrain from weighing in on it. From the research I’ve conducted, suffice to say that some think the size is a cool feature, while others do not.
Your Boxee Box purchase includes the following contents:
- The Boxee Box media streaming cube;
- A remote control;
- An AC power adapter;
- An HDMI cable;
- An Install Guide booklet.
What Others Are Saying
Here are some examples of the nearly 1,000 customer review comments posted on Amazon for the Boxee Box HD streamer:
- I ADORE this thing. RF, I love it!!! The Flickr app is a DREAM!!!
- I LOVE this device. It costs more than other streamers but has a very strong set of features and ease-of-use after it’s all been set up.
- I’ve had this hooked up for around a week now and love it.
- Simply put, the power of the Boxee Box is its ability to play virtually every format of local video/audio and its extensibility via 3rd party repositories. If your friends come over with a USB stick filled with images/video, the Boxee is hands down the most likely player to play it without problem. Why waste time converting your existing library into something your media player can read? It’s much more time/cost effective to buy the player that plays EVERYTHING!
- I spent about two months off and on reading numerous reviews for the Roku 2, Apple TV, Logitech Revue, Boxee Box and the Western Digital TV Live Hub. I have a fairly large digital movie, music and photo collection, so I wanted something “flexible” that would adhere to my needs. There are a lot of reviews out there for each of the devices, but based on my experience with the Boxee Box, I am sold.
- I bought a Boxee Box because I wanted a player that could handle HD files I had stored locally. When it comes to that, there is no competition.