Boxee is a social media service that started out as freeware for creating HTPCs (Home Theater PCs) that can run on Windows, Mac and Linux. They’ve partnered up with the famous D-Link company, which is better known for manufacturing routers, to create the Boxee Box.
The Boxee Box is a basically a small computer (set top box) that joins your TV to your internet connection. It allows you to play media files from your home network or tons of content off the internet. You’ll find thousands of popular TV shows, movies and music in addition to many of the popular sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pandora.
Here’s what the Boxee site says about this new product.
- Play what you normally watch on your computer (whether it is on the Internet or your home network) on your TV
- Tailor the Internet experience to a huge flat screen
- Do it in full HD, 1080p with 5.1 surround whenever possible
- Share the stuff you watch with your friends and see what they are watching
- Use a simple remote rather than a keyboard and mouse
What’s it look like? What’s in it?
It looks odd to me. Here’s a peek at it.
It comes with a unique RF remote controller that has navigation buttons on one side, and a qwerty keypad on the other side.
They promise that the Boxee Box is easy to set up. In general, you plug it into the outlet, connect it to your TV, then Boxee pops in to tell you how to connect to the internet via your home network. If you have a previous Boxee account, it will import all of your settings and services.
Here’s what the some of the screens look like.
I was not able to find out what operating system that they use in the box, but it runs on the the Intel CE4100 system-on-a-chip, which is a new Atom style processor. Here are the system specs quoted at Amazon.
â€¢ Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 4.6″
â€¢ Language Support: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
â€¢ 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)
â€¢ Wireless: 802.11n/g/b
â€¢ Ports: HDMI 1.3, 10/100 Fast Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, Optical Audio (S/PDIF), Analog Audio (RCA L/R)
â€¢ Memory Card Support: SD, SDHC up to 32GB, MMC
â€¢ Audio Formats: MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AIF/AIFF, AC3/AAC, OGG, FLAC, DTS, Dolby Digital/Dolby True HD
â€¢ 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)
â€¢ Image Formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF
â€¢ Playlist Formats: M3U, PLS, WPL
â€¢ Subtitle Formats: SRT, SUB, SSA, SMI, ASS
â€¢ 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
â€¢ Two-Sided RF Remote: with 4-way navigation and full QWERTY keypad
Where to get it?
The Boxee Box is available as a pre-order for $199.00, exclusively at Amazon (in the US) and Best Buy / Future Shop (in Canada). The units are scheduled to start shipping in November and the cost will increase to around $230.
You can download the Windows, Mac and Linux software here.
I have a feeling that the Boxee Box will do well, but they have some stiff competition coming from Google TV, Apple TV and even Microsoft. I think they’d do much better at a price point closer to $100.