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  • quiksilvr - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Seriously this sounds awesome. Who would have thought Intel of all companies would come out with a GPU that nVidia (or AMD, I guess) could not make for Boxee. Reply
  • mados123 - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Well, it not really the GPU functionality that is the limiting factor here. From what I understand it is the other aspects of the SoC (System on a Chip), the CPU that is keeping it from breaking the 10Mbps+ threshold. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    mados123, it is not the CPU that is the issue here.

    It is probably a problem with the video decoding unit having too high a latency for high profile videos.
    Reply
  • Spivonious - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    They all have GPUs that can handle this. It's the Tegra SOC (system-on-a-chip) that couldn't handle 1080p h.264 at reasonable framerates. Reply
  • Chris Peredun - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Technically it's Imagination Technologies you should be thanking for the GPU, it's a PowerVR SGX series.

    And yes, you can haz in netbook - you just get it renamed as the GMA500. The only problem is that it's lacking the necessary driver support. Of course there are unofficial ways of making that work.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Yes, it is the SGX series which is responsible for the snappy Boxee UI on the Boxee Box. The video decode, though, is handled by the VXD series IP.

    By the way, this IP isn't worth waiting for driver support over. It is best used as a CE device with prebuilt firmware support.

    If you are going the notebook or HTPC route, there are much more powerful decoders with inbuilt video processing functions available.
    Reply
  • AgeOfPanic - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    that there is no talk about which services it actually supports. I assume Netflix is, but for instance Hulu Plus would be a major bonus too. That said, this looks like a very nice solution. If they can take the XBMC/MediaPortal experience and make it usable for the general public, this could be a hit. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Boxee/ D-Link couldn't get the agreements in place in time for IDF (with which this PR is coinciding).

    They are talking to almost all the top premium service providers, but, being under NDA, I am unable to comment further.

    If Netflix and Hulu are important to a particular person, they should wait for the PR announcing them as content partners before placing the pre-order :) ( or, if they are the cautious type like me, just wait till the thing is released to the public and reviewed thoroughly :) )
    Reply
  • AgeOfPanic - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Of course. Reviews are always good. I just realized actually that Hulu Plus works fine through your browser, so you should have access indirectly. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    " Tegra 2 was incapable of playing back high profile 1080p H.264 videos at even 10 Mbps"

    Interesting, Apples spec page lists a low 2.5Mbps limit for MPEG-4 for the Apple TV with the A4 chip in it.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    T2 is infinitely more capable than A4.

    Boxee just didn't want to ship a streamer with such crappy specs :)
    Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Exactly, lol...Cant wait for Cortex A9 (what the T2 is based on) smartphones to trickle down. Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Except for the fact that you are both wrong, at least on this front:

    MPEG4 is the old "divx" lame codec. You aren't going to find anything HD encoded with this, and if anybody does, they are idiots.

    Apple TV supports H.264 at the main profile (which is just high profile without 8x8 transform) and at LV 3.1, which is defined as 1280x720 at 30FPS at 14mbps max bit rate.

    But let's face it, if 2.5ghz dual core processors from Intel take around 70% of cpu time to decode 1080p WITH the deblocking filter on, what makes you think a 1ghz ARM cpu can, WITHOUT custom decoding hardware?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Both T2 and A4 are aimed at the tablet / smartphone market. No one should expect these app processors to decode HD video on the host processor.

    While T2 uses nV's custom decode engine, Apple uses the PowerVR VXD line (which is the same as that used in the CE4100), BUT, the clocking rate is probably much lower on the A4 compared to CE4100 because it is supposed to be for mobile usage. In addition, DRAM bandwidth available on both A4 and T2 is probably not good enough for high bitrate Blu-Ray material. (They have 32b DRAM interface, while CE4100 has 64b DRAM interface).

    As for T2 vs A4, my comment was mainly on how powerful each SoC is. (On paper T2 will beat A4 hands down). As for comparing the exact video decoding abilities, it is not possible to comment for 2 reasons:

    1. Tegra 2 hasn't reached any reviewer yet.
    2. Apple will never allow any stream into the A4 device unless it goes through iTunes, in which case, it gets auto-transcoded.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    We can if nvidia simply tells us what profile at what level it can do. At least Apple, of all people, post what exactly it can and cannot play.

    Even later firmwares of the old Cowon A3 claimed it could play HP h.264 video at 1280x720 with TI's OMAP from like 2 years ago.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    nV has no obligation to tell that except to customers who want to use T2 in their products. Apple, on the other hand, has to, because they are selling a product directly to the consumer.

    Anyways, nV's marketing team seems to have screwed up here.

    I haven't tested Cowon A3 personally, so can't comment on that.
    Reply
  • mindbomb - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Tegra 2 can play 1080p30 baseline profile level 3.1
    decent for a phone, embarrassing for an htpc.
    Reply
  • mindbomb - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    No, mpeg 4 part 10 is h264.
    mpeg 4 part 2 is what you are thinking of, but it is pretty unpopular outside of people transcoding their dvd's, so when people say mpeg 4 video, its implied that they mean h264. (especially if its apple saying it)
    Reply
  • mindbomb - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    oh wait, they mentioned it after a section specifically detailing h264 playback. You were right, they were referring to mpeg 4 part 2. Reply
  • sep332 - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Isn't CIFS effectively the same as SMB? Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Thanks, fixed. Reply
  • evilspoons - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    People actually still care about Real Media content?? I haven't installed Realplayer in something like seven years and I've only come across a couple things I haven't been able to watch as a result.

    Also: I find it extremely unlikely to matter to 99.5% of consumers that this thing is missing NFS support. You're going to want to watch files shared on a Windows box or a Mac, and SMB would cover both of those- the Macs would just require you to turn on the proper sharing feature. (Isn't HFS+ a file system like NTFS?)

    Wikipedia even redirects CIFS to SMB so I'm not sure what the issue is there...

    As for the Linux nuts who are miffed they don't have NFS, well, just install Samba. It's not hard.

    And FTP? Either you've got a local link and can use SMB or you probably don't have a fast enough streaming connection to worry about playing video from FTP anyway. I mean, for the future, sure, but it seems weird to list as a con right now.

    Now: disc menus and DRM'd disc content not being available, those are real drawbacks. This thing would be absolutely killer in the market if you could plug in a USB Blu-Ray drive and watch movies the same way you do on a "regular' player.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    evilspoons, CIFS is fixed now.

    RealMedia is very prevalent in China (and by extension, with the Chinese community in the US). Otherwise, all the media streamer chip companies wouldn't be adding support to it (Sigma Designs added support for Real Media in the new 8646 which they have been avoiding for 3 generations of chips).

    NFS is important for Blu-Ray ISO streaming since SMB often has bottlenecks and lesser throughput.
    Reply
  • evilspoons - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Huh, I had no idea about the RealMedia thing or the NFS business - I have hard-wired GigE that has never given me bandwidth troubles with SMB, but apparently it has seriously helped people with 802.11n cards and stuttering movies.

    Please note that I re-read my comment and it seemed a bit mean-spirited, I didn't mean anything of the sort - just giving my opinion.

    I may very well buy one or two of these Boxes if they're nearly as good as we all hope.
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    People actually care to muck around with a media streamer that has this shortcoming or that? Huh?

    If I'm stuck with getting a media streamer, it would actually be VERY convenient since all those Chinese subbed J dramas are encoded to rmvb. Just because you don't care doesn't mean it's useless for others. Oh wait I thought that was obvious already LOL
    Reply
  • deadsix - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Why did the Boxee engineers disable GigE? While streaming movies to my PS3 with PS3 media server I've seen over 100Mbps. Reply
  • sprockkets - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    If that were the case your movie size would be around 50 gigabytes for a 90 minute movie. Sure about that? Reply
  • haze4peace - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    That simply isn't true. My roommate streams high quality movies from my computer and I watch how much bandwidth is sent to him. It rarely goes over 6 MBps on the highest of quality movies i own. Usually hovers between 2 and 3 MBps. 100Mbps can theoretically runs at 12.5MBps, which is more than enough to watch a single movie. Reply
  • deadsix - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    I'm basing it off what the PS3 says when you bring up the info overlay... but that might be video bitrate.... I might have been confused. Reply
  • mataichi - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    All the media streamers I've seen render subtitles in some generic looking way (ie same font, color, border etc). I assume Boxee will be the same? For instance, if I watch a file on my computer and the subtitle color is red and some cursive font, will it display this way on Boxee or will it convert to the generic style. I watch a lot of subtitled videos and its a big deal that the subtitles display as the subtitler intended. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    mataichi, What you are referring to is the SSA subtitle reproduction capability. It is part of our media streamer test suite, and Boxee has their hands on the test stream. I think they will make every effort to ensure that the subtitles display as intended by the subtitler.

    That said, do wait for a review of the unit from our side. We will confirm this for you, so that you can make an informed decision on the purchase.
    Reply
  • conejo99 - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    I see where it says this supports ISO, but how about VIDEO_TS folders (IFOs, VOBs etc.)? Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    This is part of our test suite, and Boxee has it to make sure it is able to score as much as possible on it. I have no reason to believe that it won't be supported, but you will have to wait for the final review to confirm this. Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Thank god they dropped Tegra 2, everybody would have just dismissed the Boxee Box if it came out and couldn't handle high bit-rate HD video. Why buy a Boxee Box that can't handle true HD video when you can buy a WD TV Live for $65 off eBay that can handle almost everything? Now that it has the CE4100, the Boxee Box has become interesting again. Reply
  • Uzan - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Surely when talking about network filesystems you mean AFS rather than HFS+?

    HFS+ is to AFP what NTFS is to SMB
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Uzan, that wasn't about network file system alone. Sorry if that was the meaning which came across. What we wanted to convey was that Apple based file systems are supported on external USB drives also. Reply
  • icrf - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    I'm honestly much more interested in the hackability of the thing. I run both, but I'm a much bigger fan of XBMC than Boxee, as I have more often stream LAN content than from the internet and the UI is nicer for that IMO. They had previously said they were sending all their changes related to the hardware back upstream to XBMC and the box was supposed to be friendly to people that wanted to make a change to that, or anything else, really. I hope that spirit stays alive. If XBMC can run, due to the relative simplicity of an x86 core, but does have access to the decode hardware, I'll be a very sad panda.

    Any idea as to when they'll be able to send you a review sample? I assume the hardware is solid enough already, but they're spending time tweaking the software and don't want to send out too early and have reviews full of known problems (hence, you sending your test suite).

    But, even that said, I'll probably pre-order anyway. I'd wait for a review of the Tegra-2 version, but this I think I could just buy. I have more faith in x86 than ARM for a media player. If the above issues are handled, I'll evangelize the hell out of the platform.
    Reply
  • haze4peace - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    gigE port just isn't needed on this device. 100Mbps can stream your most demanding videos with plenty of headroom to spare. Also I'm sure you mean eSATA, which would be nice, but USB2.0 also has plenty of bandwidth to stream a high quality movie. So these are really non-issues, unless you have an external drive that only does eSATA. Reply
  • mindbomb - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Not a first.
    the western digital line of media streamers can do this.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Do you mean to say that special fonts / karaoke effects are supported in the WDTV Live? The last time I checked, it wasn't the case... I should probably recheck if you can confirm for sure :) Reply
  • chickamauga - Thursday, September 16, 2010 - link

    Actually they can't. The claim on their website are just false (just do a google, it's a request on the WD TV wish list for years). Same for PCH, no can do.

    Neither Realtek or Sigma chipsets can do true ASS/SSA
    Reply
  • taltamir - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    it sounds nice... but why is the form factor so hideous? how do you place this in your living room? it needs to be a normal rectangular box, not this weird abstract sculpture they have Reply
  • teohhanhui - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    Perhaps we could learn to appreciate art. Reply
  • Saosin - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    Does it have AFP support? Reply
  • boschMAN - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    Anand, will the Boxee Box support external USB DVB-T digital tv tuners? Reply
  • racerx_is_alive - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    I heard a while back that they were intending to sell the remote separately for people who had built HTPCs. Do you know if that's still the case? Reply
  • teohhanhui - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    http://blog.boxee.tv/2010/09/13/pre-order-a-boxee-... Reply
  • rays4 - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    Will Boxee box also serve as NAS, and the Drives attached to the Boxee box via USB show up on home network? Any ideas on that Reply
  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - link

    So is this about the hard wired video decode abilities of Tegra 2? Because shouldn't dual core 1GHz A9s be considerably more powerful than a single core 1.2GHz Atom?

    If it's a GPU issue, then...well, then why the heck aren't more devices using Atom, as that's pathetic...
    Reply
  • BoxeeWhatNow? - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

    Apologies to the cognoscenti...

    These two sentences, please to explain to me please:

    We have been given to understand that the security processor is not disabled in the Boxee Box.
    No support for playback of DRM content from external Blu-Ray or DVD drives as of now.

    Er, so if I have an external USB drive, or network share that holds, backups, I would not be able to stream that content via the BoxeeBox?

    Device-wise, I must be mistaken. I can't plug the DVD-drive/player into the BoxeeBox to pass thru the signal? I guess an HDMI splitter is called for. Given that these chips can handle the encoding, I wasn't planning on getting an AV receiver...(the speakers are all self-powered and wireless: Aperion)
    Reply
  • BoxeeWhatNow? - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

    Ok, forgive my first question! Of course BoxeeBox will be able to access my media shares. Having a hard time grokking the chip blocking a DVD player, but not an ISO... Reply

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