D-Link unveiled the Boxee Box Home Theater with an Intel Atom CE 4100 processor this week, a useful all-in-one box that can be used to access popular entertainment in one place. There are currently 40,000+ TV shows, movies and video clips available on Boxee from the Internet.
You can get even more shows in one device if you add your Netflix, MLB or MUBI account(s) to Boxee. The actual Boxee Box is being sold for $199 new on Amazon, but the good news is that you can download the software needed to access the shows on your TV for free, legally, through boxee.tv/download (this is also where you will manage your account).
Regardless, if users buy the Boxee Box or even go a DIY route, there isn’t any monthly fee.
On the downside, you may find that some episodes or movies have “expired” and are no longer available, but are still on the list of shows available to watch. This will happen from time-to-time as certain episodes may still linger on Boxee because they still linger on certain websites.
Boxee Box comes with a remote, which has simple menu controls on the front and a QWERTY keyboard on the back. This means that if you didn’t have a wireless keyboard or some way to type wirelessly before and had to run to the computer to search for a show, you won’t have to now. Future revisions of the remote will include a dedicated Netflix button on the front face.
If you decide to download the Boxee software for free and you don’t happen to have an iPhone, you will not be able to use a remote. In other words, you need an Apple iPhone to get the Boxee Box app needed to control your iPhone as a remote control for Boxee.
Other features and popular apps include Facebook, Pandora, MLB.tv and NFL content, a “watch later” control, and the option to add your computer’s existing media libraries to Boxee.
Included inside of the Boxee Box is 802.11n wireless capability while the back offers up an Ethernet jack, two USB 2.0 ports, optical and composite audio connectors, and an AC power connector.
Boxee Box, remote, power supply, and HDMI cable: $199
Boxee software: Free
N.b.: An Internet connection is required for the Boxee Box to work.
1. Boxee makes it less of a hassle to access your shows through the Internet, meaning you may never have to hook your computer up to the TV again (unless, of course, you can’t find a particular episode or movie on Boxee, which will happen because Boxee is streaming free material). However, your long list of shows to download and store on your computer, Xbox 360, and PS3 will get shorter.
2. It’s less of a hassle to actually find the shows since they both show up right when you search for them. That’s less time wasted by removing the need to check Hulu, Fancast, and other sites to see if they have the latest available episode of Family Guy or The Office. Boxee does it for you.
3. You don’t have to download or wait for shows to stream, but they are ad-supported since they are pulled through legal streaming websites, so you may have to sit through a commercial before your program begins.
4. Boxee supports numerous codecs (video and audio formats), so just about any random video or music you want to play will run correctly.
5. You can also access your computer’s entire media library from one place using Boxee (photos, music, etc).