Review: Boxee Box

by Damian on November 20, 2010 · 23 comments

in Reviews

Probably one of the most hyped and anticipated media players this year is the Boxee Box. For those who have never heard of Boxee, it is a cross platform Home Theater PC software that combines online content, local playback, all sprinkled in with some social networking. Recently Boxee decided to bring their software to a dedicated hardware device, and the Boxee Box was born. The ultimate goal of the Boxee Box is to bring the HTPC experience, without the need for an HTPC, but that can be a tall order, so let’s see if Boxee pulled it off.

Specifications:

  • Price:USD 199.99
  • Processor: Intel CE 4110
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 4.6″
  • Language Support: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Network Protocol Support: IPV4, ARP, TCP, UDP, ICMP, DHCP Client, DNS Client, DDNS Client, HTTP Server, Samba Client, RTP/RTMP, VPN: PPTP, DLNA 1.5 (DMP)
  • Wireless: 802.11n/g/b
  • Ports: HDMI 1.3, 10/100 Fast Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, Optical Audio (S/PDIF), Analog Audio (RCA L/R)
  • Memory Card Support: SD, SDHC up to 32GB, MMC
  • Audio Formats: MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AIF/AIFF, AC3/AAC, OGG, FLAC, DTS, Dolby Digital/Dolby True HD
  • Video Formats: Adobe Flash 10.1, FLV/On2 VP6 (FLV/FV4/M4V), H.264 AVC (TS/AVI/MKV/MOV/M2TS/MP4), VC-1 (TS/AVI/MKV/WMV), MPEG-1 (DAT/MPG/MPEG), MPEG-2 (MPG/MPEG/VOB/TS/TP/ISO/IFO), MPEG-4 (MP4/AVI/MOV), DivX 3/4/5/6 (AVI/MKV), Xvid (AVI/MKV), WMV9 (WMV/ASF/DVR-MS)
  • Image Formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF
  • Playlist Formats: M3U, PLS, WPL
  • Subtitle Formats: SRT, SUB, SSA, SMI, ASS
  • Supported Resolutions: H.264: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; WMV9/VC-1: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; MPEG4: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps; MPEG2: 1080p at 30 fps, 1080i at 60 fps
  • Two-Sided RF Remote: with 4-way navigation and full QWERTY keypad

Hardware:

The Boxee Box comes in a colorful box shaped package.

Included with the Boxee Box:

  • The Boxee Box by D-Link
  • 1x HDMI Cable
  • 1x AC Power Adapter
  • Remote Control with Full QWERTY keypad

Looking at the Boxee Box the first thing you will notice is the rather unusual shape. Lets just say the Boxee Box was not made with A/V racks in mind

From the back you can see the LAN port (10/100), 2 USB 2.0 ports, HMDI out, Optical, Audio Out and the power input. Also, Wireless N is built in. Unless you have an adapter any device that you connect the Boxee Box to will require an HDMI input (and no, I didn’t cut off the image, the Boxee Box is really shaped like that…).

Looking at the Boxee Box from the side you can see the slot for an SD card.

Turning the Boxee Box over is a neon green rubber mat with the Boxee logo

The Boxee Box is small sized, coming in at just under a 4lb canister of sugar (don’t try adding the Boxee Box to your coffee though!)

The remote (which is RF) is fairly simplistic, with a click pad and three buttons

On the flipside of the remote is a full qwerty keyboard

The folks at Boxee definitely took some risks with the design of the Boxee Box. Most people will either love the design or hate it. I am personally not a big fan of it, in particular because the neon mat lifts up alongside the front of the box and is very visible. Fortunately the Boxee Box is controlled with an RF remote so you can easily hide it out of sight :-)

One thing you cannot see since I didn’t open up the box is there is an internal fan keeping the Boxee Box cool. The moment some people hear that a fan is included they will cringe. From my testing so far the fan that came with my Boxee Box has been extremely quiet. However, there have been mixed results from other owners, and some who purchased multiple Boxee Boxes have noted that fan noise from one box is not consistent with the next.

As for the remote, there was a lot of interest surrounding the remote when it was first announced, and it looked like it could be the perfect All-in-One HTPC remote. Unfortunately, after using the remote for a week I found it frustrating and flawed. The most significant issue is that it is not backlit. That along with the dull gray colored letters makes it nearly impossible to use the keyboard in a dim/dark room. There is only one “Alt” key located at the bottom left of the remote. You need to hold down the “Alt” button to enter the special characters/numbers, and for any characters that are on the left side of the remote it is awkward to try pressing while holding down the “Alt” key (the solution here would be to have an “Alt” key on the right side of the keyboard as well, just like a PC keyboard). There are no dedicated audio/subtitle buttons, so you are forced to navigate through the UI to switch through these tracks. On the topside of the remote there is no discernible way to tell if you are holding the remote correctly (aside from the Boxee/DLink logo) so frequently I was grabbing the remote holding it backwards and pressing the wrong button. Another annoyance, when flipping the remote over to use the keyboard I constantly flipped the remote in the wrong direction, so the keyboard was upside down. In my mind the remote/keyboard combination is not functional in its current form, and instead should have been designed to be a true remote with a slide out keyboard (similar to the Tivo Slider remote).

One other issue for some is the fact that the Boxee Box is RF based. What this means is that for many people who use Universal Remotes, they will need to purchase separately a USB IR Receiver. Of course it is not as easy as that as the Boxee Box only states support for MCE2 IR Receivers, so it may be hit or miss if you have a receiver that works. This is something that Boxee/DLink should have developed and sold as an accessory to the Boxee Box (similar to what Syabas did with the C-200).

Setup:

Setup is relatively straightforward and only took a few minutes. You are required to have an account with Boxee (free) which can either be set up online or you can set up directly from the Boxee Box. Once signed up and logged in everything needing to be done can be found in the settings. The first thing you are going to want to do is set up your File Sources.

Once you go to File Sources you will see a list of all current sources, when the last scan occurred, and how many files were found (of course if this is your first time setting up this area would be blank). To add a new source simply click the “Add Sources” button.

You should now see a list of all available network or attached storage sources to choose from.

Once a source has been selected you need to tell Boxee what type of media is in this source and how often scanning of the source should be done. That is all it takes to set up your media sources. If it is the first time setting up be prepared for it to take a while for Boxee Box to scan all your media. I would not recommend doing much else with the Boxee Box until scanning has been completed.

Not really a setup item per se but thought it would be worth mentioning. It is possible to access information about your Boxee Box from a web browser. All you need to do is from a web browser go to http://boxee-ip:8080 (where boxee-ip is the IP address of your Boxee Box which you can locate in the Settings). Once there you can see some of your hardware information such as CPU temperature and Fan Speed, as well as submit logs to Boxee.

UI Appearance/Navigation:

This is supposed to be the strong point of the Boxee Box, providing an HTPC like experience without the HTPC. In many respects the Boxee Box UI blows away most other standalone UIs out there, so let’s dig deeper into what the Boxee Box UI offers.

When you first log into your Boxee Box you will be taken to the home menu where you will see Icons for various activities as well as some screens of featured online content. If you have been using Boxee’s software on a PC two things will be immediately noticeable. First, the UI has changed from the current software version of Boxee which is a rather odd decision considering many people were basing their decision to purchase a Boxee Box off of their experience with the current Boxee software. Secondly, Music and Photos has been mysteriously pulled from the Main menu, and instead resides within the “Files” Icon.

These changes may sound like nothing more then cosmetic, but when you look under the covers there may be a dutch oven waiting for you. Let’s take a quick look back at the Boxee software UI (for a full writeup I did on the Boxee software you can see here). The screenshot below shows the UI where Photos and Music are prominently displayed.

Now lets say you want to watch one of your movies stored locally. You click on the “Movies” icon and are presented with your entire movie collection. You have an option to only show your local content or to also have online content mixed in (under the “Show Me”) option.

Now let’s go back to the Boxee Box. Once again, you are on the main menu and you decide you want to see your local movies. You click on the “Movies” icon and are greeted with over 2,000 movies you have never heard of. Well, the folks at Boxee have decided that you should have to sort through all the online content they can find.  This can be confusing for users, especially when trying to provide a simple and intuitive UI for family members to use. To make matters worse, there is currently no way to filter out your local library by genre or other. There is an option to filter by Genre, but once you do that all the Online content is once again dumped in with your local content.

If you actually want to get to your local content from the Main Menu you need to click on the “File” icon.

One of the nice features with Boxee Box is that it will scrape all your Movies/TV Shows and create your jukebox. This is different from players such as Dune or others that rely on running a 3rd Party application on a PC to generate your video jukebox. I had about a 90%+ success rate with Boxee correctly scraping my Movie/TV Show information. For videos there are either identified incorrectly or not identified at all you can easily search IMDB from within Boxee to correct.

With all media added and scraped you should now have your Video jukebox waiting for your. There are however a couple of issues. The Boxee Box will not use any metadata/art that you have stored locally with your videos but instead relies solely on scraping from IMDB. This causes several issues. First, if you have multiple Boxee Boxes on network you are essentially required to maintain your movie jukebox individually. What this means, if you have multiple Boxee Boxes and add a movie that Boxee is unable to identify, you must go to each Boxee Box and correct. Having Boxee Box read local metadata/art would ensure that you can manage your collection centrally. Secondly, the Boxee Box caches all the images it downloads from IMDB in its internal memory. As long as you leave the Boxee Box on or in standby the images are retained, but the moment you shut off the Boxee Box the images are lost and must be re-downloaded. Giving the user the option to use attached storage (such as a USB thumb drive or an SD card) for caching would solve this problem. This would also hopefully resolve the caching issue the Boxee Box is currently experiencing, where when navigating through your media collection you are stuck viewing the dreaded “processing circle” as shown below.

Screenshot of Music library sorted by Artist

Screenshot of Photos (once again the dreaded “Processing Circle” which I found to be extremely slow with photos and almost makes viewing photos impossible).

Screenshot of locally stored TV Show episodes

Aside from the Main Menu there is a toolbar that will appear when pressing the Back button on  the remote with shortcuts back to your content. Although this comes in handy it can also add to confusion when trying to navigate around. There were times when I wanted to go back to the previous screen but the Back button would just bring up the toolbar. There were other times where pressing the Back button would take me to the previous screen. This type of inconsistency can be maddening at times and only further detracts away from the user experience.

Due to the fact that the Boxee Box remote has the bare minimum buttons controlling playback for video content mostly needs to be done by bringing up the onscreen toolbar. Unfortunately I found this just adds an extra layer on unnecessary steps instead of having a more fully featured remote.

Screenshot showing a list of chapters in an mkv to choose from during video playback.

As mentioned already, many of the video playback controls need to be accessed via an onscreen toolbar. One additional issue noted, by default subtitles are turned on. In order to turn off you must go into the Settings during playback to shut off, continuing with the theme of unnecessary steps the user needs to follow along. Unfortunately there is no way to turn off subtitles by default in the system settings.

For me there are many things to like about the UI and many things to dislike. On the positive side, the Boxee Box’s ability to scrape your video library without the need of a PC is great, and it had a very high success rate in accurately identifying my movies/TV Shows. In general the UI is light years ahead of most competitors, very clean, and for the most part well laid out.

On the negative side, the moment you shut down the Boxee Box you lose cover art that has been cached. This combined with poor caching performance in general does affect the user experience, and I got frustrated waiting for images to load. Many playback controls require multiple steps to access and some basic controls (such as the ability to leave subtitles off) are left out of the system settings. Navigating around the UI can be a little confusing since it is not entirely consistent from one screen to the next. Of course my biggest gripe was the decision to present a new UI at launch which hides local content and basically pushes Online content on the user.

Network Performance/Playback:

For the most part I found network performance to be adequate. Using the infamous Planet Earth bird scene I was able to play the 60 MB/s clip without a hiccup on the Boxee Box. Anything over that bitrate stuttered, but 60 MB/s is more then adequate for high bitrate (i.e. BluRay) playback. Currently you can connect to the network via Samba and UPnP, and I believe Boxee has suggested that NFS support may be in the works as well.

The biggest issue noted was with playing BluRay Rips (folders and/or ISOs). The Boxee Box appears to implement some sort of buffering to handle playback, yet in many cases this fails with BluRay content, leaving the user with frequent interruptions while trying to watch a BluRay over the network. This is something that must be addressed and fixed immediately by the Boxee team if they hope to be taken seriously by the Home Theater crowd.

Audio/Video Playback:

According to advertising, the Boxee Box eats up codecs. However, just because you can eat something doesn’t mean you can process it properly (such as the last time I ate Chinese food!). Let’s take a look to see what the Boxee Box can do with my usual array of tests:

  • mkv w/ chapters – chapters are supported BUT you have to bring up the options menu which is a little annoying (PASS)
  • mkv w/ 480p internal IDX/SUB subtitles  (FAIL)
  • mkv w/ 1080p internal IDX/SUB subtitles (FAIL)
  • mkv w/ internal PGS subtitles (PASS)
  • HD Audio downmix to stereo (PASS)
  • mkv w/ forced subtitles – the Boxee Box does not respect the forced subtitle flag (FAIL)
  • mkv/(m2)ts with DTS(MA) – bitstreamed but frequent audio drop outs (FAIL)
  • mkv/(m2)ts with TrueHD Audio Track – does not bitstream but instead decodes to LPCM (FAIL)
  • mkv w/ VC-1 encoded video – played without issue using latest beta firmware (PASS)
  • Forced Subtitles in a BluRay Structure – the Boxee Box does not support currently (FAIL)
  • BluRay ISO (main movie only) – did not play back or got severe buffering issues. Many other members are having a low success rate in getting their BluRay ISOs to play back properly (FAIL)
  • BluRay Folder (entire disc) – played main movie, however got severe buffering issues (FAIL)
  • DVD ISO and/or Folder Structure – played with full menus. However, navigation around the DVD menu was jerky. Other members have noted audio delays that I did not encounter (PASS, working but not optimal)
  • 1080p quicktime (.mov) trailer – played without issue (PASS)
  • avi/mpeg/m4v clips – played without issue (PASS) It should be noted that although my m4vs played without issue others have noted problems that Boxee has acknowledged and should have fixed in the next update
  • mkv w/ FLACplayed w/ multi channel PCM (PASS)
  • mkv w/ header compression – got terrible video stuttering with pixelation. When I stopped the mkv the Boxee Box locked up and I had to reboot. (FAIL)

As you can see from the results above it is quite a mixed bag. Depending on your media library you may have a lot of success or a lot of failure with playback on the Boxee Box. There may be additional playback issues not noted above (of which I know AVSForum members have pointed out) so beware. Unfortunately for my current media library the Boxee Box is all but useless. Some stuff works but other stuff does not, and I simply can’t have a player being used in my house where the user has to think about what content can be played. I am hopeful that firmware updates in the very near future addresses all these issues as well as issues noted by others.

Online Content:

This was another area where the Boxee Box was supposed to make a big splash, bringing together online content from across the web. Online content can be found in two main areas. The first area (as discussed in the UI/Navigation section) is from the “Shows” and “Movies” icons. I decided to check out an episode of “Chuck” in the “Shows” section. The browser launched right away and took me to the episode of Chuck, embedded in one of the networks website. The first thing I noticed is that the intro advertisement played back terribly jerky. Once the advertisement was over “Chuck” began to play back without issue. However, it stayed embedded in the browser and would not go to full screen. Maybe there is a key to get it to full screen but I could not figure it out, and obviously there is no way I am going to watch a show in this manner. Other shows I tried were blocked (most likely Hulu feeds)

The second area is the “Apps” area where there are specific apps for online content providers as you can see below (if you happen to notice the YouPorn App note that Adult content can be hidden in the settings).

Clicking on an App you can then access that Apps content in what I found to be a very friendly interface (using Revision3 as an example below)

One App included is a web browser. Although the idea is great, in practice I found it to be a waste. I had no problems visiting one of my favorite website :-) , as you can see below, but once the site loaded I couldn’t navigate around, couldn’t click on any links, nothing. I was just left to stare at the site. To be honest, without some sort of trackball I am not entirely convinced that using a web browser like this will be feasible.

You may have noticed I didn’t mention any of the big online content players such as Hulu, Netflix, and Vudu. Well, at launch none of these content providers are available on the Boxee Box which is a big negative. Boxee has already announced that Netflix and Vudu are on board (there is even a Vudu app although it does not work) but until these providers go live I find very little value in the Online Content provided (and adding insult to injury as I type this Sony has just announced that Vudu is coming to the PS3). Also, as mentioned in the UI section, Boxee Box pushes to the user web based online content which just adds to confusion and further diminishes the users experience.

Final Thoughts:

As I mentioned at the beginning of the review I was debating whether or not to write the review now because in my mind there are so many things wrong with the Boxee Box that could easily be fixed in the coming weeks. However, I have no idea how long, or honestly if ever, the issues noted will be fixed, and the fact that the Boxee Box is available for purchase means potential consumers need to be aware of any issues.

So where does that leave us currently? Honestly, I am not quite sure. The Boxee Box definitely has a lot of potential but much of it is unrealized right now. It is in no mans land which can’t be a good thing. The Boxee Box wants to fill the role of online content provider as well as local playback support. At launch none of the major online content providers (i.e. Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Vudu) were available which already puts it behind the likes of AppleTV, Xbox360, PS3, and WD TV to name a few. The Boxee Box offers up an impressive array of supported codecs/formats for local playback but with such poor implementation it doesn’t stand up against the likes of Dune, PCH, etc…

You may have noticed that this is probably the harshest review I have written (only because I haven’t written my PopBox review yet ;-) ).  Well, much of my frustration revolves around the hype generated by the Boxee team itself. Boxee had a representative participating in an AVSForum thread, answering forum members questions. This in itself is great and really should serve as a model of how other company representatives should interact with the community. However, it is a double edged sword as I feel based on many of the responses to questions asked a false sense was given to community members that the Boxee Box would come swinging out of the gate. Many of the things we were told would be supported simply weren”t working at release which has me wondering how exactly was the Boxee team testing out the Boxee Box prior to release (I wonder if the late switch from the Tegra II to the Intel CE 4110 left the team with little time to properly test) . This combined with a switch to a new UI at release and no review units being made available weeks in advance of the release just has the making of a unpolished product. My sense the focus was more on getting the Boxee Box into the stores in time for the holiday season (especially with ATV and Google TV already out there) then making sure a stable product was released to the public. Members from Boxee have been highly visible in trying to sort out the issues which I have to commend them for doing. There are so many things that could be right with the Boxee Box so I am hopeful fixes are right around the corner and the next time you hear me talking about the Boxee Box it is nothing but praise.

To get the Boxee Box to where it needs to be the primary focus of the Boxee team should be on correcting the many various playback issues I noted as well as noted by other users. Also, local content needs to be put back in focus instead of buried, and the caching issues need to be resolved. Changes to the layout/design of the UI and a completely redesigned remote although welcomed could be pushed back until some of the more critical issues have been addressed. There really is a ton of potential with the Boxee Box and if the Boxee team can be quick in addressing these issues and well as getting the big online content players active, they could be sitting on a golden ticket. For now I would recommend that anyone interested in the Boxee Box sit on the sidelines. If you are interested in tracking the progress of the bugs, you can do so here. I will also be updating my review and/or doing additional posts as hopefully things progress.





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 22 comments }

Alex Kuretz November 20, 2010 at 11:53 am

It’s a bummer that it has so many issues after all the hype. My only thought on why they would bury the local content is that maybe they expect more users to purchase it for the online content, and the smaller niche of users with home servers and large media libraries would be accepting of it this way.

A crappy remote can ruin the experience with a product, it’s nice it has a keyboard but only 3 buttons with mixed usage is a big problem.

I hope they get a lot of the issues fixed, be sure to keep us up to date!

Alexander Kent November 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Great review =)

Joker203 November 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm

This review is spot on. I have a boxee box sitting in my living room right now, and I so want it to stay there, but right now I am terribly disappointed with it. The lack of caching is maddening. I am so spoiled from using XBMC for so many years.

I have a nice return window from Amazon, so I am going to ride this out over the next month or so and see if Boxee comes through for us. Once again, great review and I think you touched on all my biggest problems with it.

pmcd November 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Excellent review. In fact, exceedingly fair. This should provide potential buyers with a very good idea of what they would be getting now with the Boxee Box.

Philip

Brajesh November 20, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Again, another great review Damian. You’re not being harsh. I think the Boxee Box will get there for local media playback, but it’ll take months. I’ve returned the two units I bought, but plan to get some other two by year’s end (home theater and family room); just don’t know which yet. Maybe the Netgear NeoTV 550 or back to PCH A200/C200. None of the players are perfect I know, but at least for solid local media playback, so far Dune and A200/C200 have proven themselves. The Netgear 550 looks very promising, so if it delivers, it’ll be a better buy than Dune/PCH; if not, A200 it is and I’m taking a break trying out new toys after that for a while. Tired of being a beta testing dummy.

wagabond November 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Excellent review.

In fact I would say too kind. As of now I would hesitate to recommend this player to anyone. With the current bugs fixed it can become highly recommended !! That is the sad state of affairs.

You did not mention that fact that trickmode play is absent (true FF and REW at different speeds which is pretty standard) !! Left and Right provides skips but they UP and DOWN were not used to give more skip options, instead a useless Audio volume control has been assigned to Up and DOWN.

GOTO works if you use the QWERTY side and key in HH:MM digits. but you have to keep ALT pressed to punch digits :(

DVD ISO playback should have used BACK button to return to ROOT MENU. Right now you have to bring up the tool bar and navigate to the icon for getting back the Menu :(

Hope to see the big playback issues with BDISOs resolved soon …

Rhinoevans November 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Nice review. Wanted one of these, however, working on the new GUI update for the Popcorn Hour A-2000. SO far so good. Also have a Logitech Google TV on the way. Will see how it integrates with my new Priemere TIVO

teq November 21, 2010 at 8:37 pm

So glad I didn’t wait for this and decided to go with SageTV HD300/SageTV v7.0 with Plucky’s MyMovies for SageTV instead.

Cheers,
teq

Patrick J. Greene November 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Thanks for the excellent review. I’m hooked on XBMC on ATV; your review convinced me to remain addicted to it for the near future. That icon caching problem really would bother me.

Damian November 28, 2010 at 5:16 am

The Boxee team has been very proactive in trying to fix the bugs. However, fixing some bugs is introducing new ones (for example after the latest update there appears to be a lot of problems with DVD rips). Best bet give it a couple of months to let the dust settle, and then look at again to see if any true progress has been made. For better or worse, if you are a Boxee Box owner right now you are a beta tester

P.G. March 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I sure wish there was a re-visit on this. Apparently, they fixed quite a bit, as well as Blu-Ray .iso support, but hard to find clarification.

Damian March 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Hi P.G. I was waiting for a few other items before doing a revisit. I can confirm that Blu-Ray ISO support appears fixed, much of the buffering issues have been resolved, and additional features such as forced mkv subtitle support, Netflix, and Hulu have been added. Two items still broken, DTS(MA) bitstreaming results in audio dropouts and TrueHD still gets decoded instead of Bitstreamed. Let me know if there is anything you have questions on and I will do my best to answer

P.G. March 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Think that confirms it. I’ve been looking at three devices: Popcorn C-200, Dune, and the Boxee by D-Link. Popcorn and Boxee offer a plethora of apps, Dune not sure on yet. Dune is high end anyways, to the point that I’m better off building an HTPC (but if I do that, I want 3D support, and waiting for that to evolve w/o need of glasses). Boxee offers affordability, although you are sacrificing for a design that resembles a set from a Tim Burton movie. The Popcorn C-200 does not have Netflix (as of yet, not sure on future), which is a huge deal-breaker for me. This review sums up what Boxee offers, and you clarified on Blu-Ray ISO support. Hopefully, the other issues will get cleaned up. Baby steps are fine.

Damian March 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I think I can safely say that Netflix is never coming to the current Dunes or PCH C-200. If that is an absolute must then you have easily narrowed down your choices :-)

P.G. March 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Hmm.. actually, I think I may put a hold on things and do further research. Found out that popcorn will do RealD3D, which puts everything into the back burner until I finally decide! All these goodies, so much to research. Decisions, decisions.

Damian March 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Don’t let the marketing fool you, RealD3D is not the 1080p BluRay 3D you are thinking of. Unfortunately none of the media players on the market right now can handle 1080p 3D, the only way to get is from a 3D BluRay player or a 3D equipped HTPC. Funny enough my wife and son are watching some BluRay 3D right now.

P.G. March 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Actually, may wait even more. Turns out a newer chip will be out later this year that will open the door to 3D. So may just get a cheap Apple TV and open it up for other support.

Damian March 8, 2011 at 4:35 am

If you are talking about the SMP8910 (http://www.sigmadesigns.com/products.php?id=134) I believe it is not due out to manufacturers until the end of this year which means it probably won’t make its way into players until early 2012. Since we are talking about possibly a year or longer (and even once a new player is released there will very likely be a lot of bugs at release, so think even longer until the player is mature) why not just get a player now that does everything else you want (i.e even the jailbroken ATV2 has a lot of issues currently)

P.G. March 8, 2011 at 10:08 am

Already dwcided against itv due to lack of usb drive support. Already have several boxees on ebay for tiding me over! And that is the chip.

JP December 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Damian,

I just bought the boxee box hoping for it to cover most of my streaming needs (local and online). Has most of the local streaming issues been resolved? Do you have an updated audio/video playback list? I’m not sure why I didn’t research PCH and Dune devices before. I’m considering, sending the boxee box back and getting a Dune, then using my BD player for online streaming. However, if the local streaming issues have been resolved I’d like to have an all in one player.

Damian December 14, 2011 at 4:27 pm

JP,

I believe many of the issues have been addressed but there are still a few out there. In particular the HD Audio bug is still present. It is hard to get a gauge on the exact issues because depending on who you talk to for some people it works great and for others it doesn’t.

What I would recommend is testing out the Boxee Box (I assume you still have a return window). If you find that it plays back your local content without much issue, then that combined with the online content support sounds like it would have all your areas covered.

I ended up selling my Boxee Box about a month ago but still monitor some of the threads t o get a feel for where things stand. If you already have I think it is worth giving a shot.

Cheers
Damian

JP December 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Thanks Damian,

I’ll put some test data together and see how it performs. I do have a return windows so if it is not acceptable I will return it. I should be able to use it more next week.

JP

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