The Boxee is a network media player done right, with one or two caveats. In contrast to the rough efforts of many if its competitors, D-Link has built a great-looking device that provides an elegant experience for both local and internet media playback. Ports are kept to a minimum — the only video output is HDMI, and you have stereo RCA ports and optical digital output for additional audio. There’s also a flash card reader for local storage, along with two ports for attaching USB storage.
The outstanding two-sided remote continues the minimalist aesthetic of the device itself. The top side has just three buttons and a direction pad. The bottom has a full keyboard for typing. It’s not the design that really sets the Boxee apart, however: it’s the software. It’s consistent, capable and sleek. It has a library feature that allows you to organise all your media, add episode and movie data, and mark favourites for later viewing. It also automatically downloads movie and TV show information from the internet for you. It plays every common format the internet can throw at you, and it plays them smoothly. When we tested it, a 1080p .MKV/H.264 file played smoothly, as did an SD Xvid video.
The Boxee also supports a host of add-in internet streaming applications. It comes with YouTube, Flickr, CNET, CNN, BBC and many more, and you can add new ones later on. Thanks to the keyboard on the remote, searching for things like YouTube videos is easy. Playback of internet video was super-smooth.
The one blot against the Boxee — and it’s not an insignificant one — is that the library function and internet media apps are slow. You spend a lot of time staring at a twirling loading icon as you try to find the show or movie you want to watch. It’s more than a little frustrating and a nasty black mark on an otherwise excellent device.
Pros : Plays everything, smooth interface, excellent library features, excellent remote.
Cons : It can be very slow to load libraries and apps.
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