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  • Ben90 - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    in Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Looks like a nice little device for people who aren't so tech savy, but I would probably opt for a nettop or home built HTPC with the Boxee software instead. Thats all it is, after all, an Atom based PC with a funky design and the Boxee software. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Its interesting that Boxee ditched the dual core Cortex A9 based Tegra 2 because it wasn't powerful enough for high bitrates, but Apple uses the A4 in the Apple TV which is a single core Cortex A8. Does that mean the ATV uses more compression/lower bitrates? Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    And speaking of which, would it be possible to run that video decode quality test on the ATV as well? Reply
  • azcoyote - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Does Apple do above 720p on Apple TV?
    In my experience they haven't/didn't.... ??
    Reply
  • AmdInside - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    That's cause ATV is not doing 1080p, only 720p. I think the problem that was mentioned was 1080p high bit rate movies. Reply
  • solipsism - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    What kind of GPU does the Boxee Box have? What kind of HW decoder, if any does it have? Apple’s A4 package contains an Imagination PowerVR SGX GPU and PowerVR VXD decoder, so the Cortex-A8 can do other tasks. I assume Boxee and D-Link have done something similar, but to what extent? Reply
  • Lord Banshee - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Did you even read the review? It is all in the Intel CE4100, this is not an Atom this is a complete SoC.

    Page3

    Intel CE4100

    "There’s a dual stream 1080p video decoder that can offload H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4/DivX and VC-1 decoding at up to 60 fps (hardware accelerated JPEG decoding is also supported). Intel integrates a Tensilica HiFi 2 DSP that can decode everything you’d want to on a set-top box: Dolby Digital 5.1, TrueHD, DTS-HD MA, MP3, AAC and WMA9."

    and

    "The CE4100 GPU is the same PowerVR SGX 535 used in the MID/smartphone implementations of Atom. It runs at up to 400MHz depending on the particular CE4100 model you’re looking at."
    Reply
  • Cygni - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    You can roll your own SFF PC for near the same price, and get the advantages of having a true HTPC.

    Barebones HTPC box
    1.8 Conroe Celeron
    1Gb DDR2
    320GB HD
    Win 7 Home Premium

    $300 shipped.

    And that little box can play everything Hulu's got, you can put full Boxee on it, can use Windows Media Center, can store files on the internal HD, etc. It won't be super snappy with that much RAM, but it will be faster than the Boxee Box!
    Reply
  • azcoyote - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    So true... But devils advocate so on the other side of the coin...

    Form Factor (not that that weird cube thing works for me)
    Remote Control
    Turn Key

    To be frank, if it gets the average Joe to get one, i am all for it...
    We WANT to drive more streaming and less Cable/Satellite
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Let's just say for instance, you don't use Windows and use Boxee since you can.

    $50 HDD
    $30 for Ram
    $42 for the cpu
    $80 for a decent case with a fanless 65w psu or $50 case with $30 hq Seasonic psu
    $140 for a motherboard. That's right, just a CPU won't cut it, it needs a decent chipset with hardware acceleration as well, and a Zotac 9300 itx board fills that need.

    Figure $20 to ship and you get $362.

    You still end up having to pay more, and you are left to assemble it. You get more, but $362 isn't $200, nor will it work OOTB.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    You dont need to be fanless. There are plenty of low cost cooling options available that are "silent enough" without having to pay a premium for fanless. However, I bet an underclocked, undervolted wolfdale celeron wouldnt even need a fan at all. Especially if you use something like a Q6600 stock heatsink. But even if it needed a fan it would only need to run at 500 rpm, which is pretty much inaudible. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    That system isn't fanless, just the PSU. In either case, finding a good mini-itx case with a hq ps is next to impossible, at $50.

    Like you said, the fan even on a dual core 2.5 ghz processor is quite silent, but the psu one is noticeable. Still, to compare apples to apples as much as possible, I compared it with a hardware accel. chipset, and those cost more.
    Reply
  • azcoyote - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Any chance you could test this with PlayOn.tv, particularly the HULU stream (no subscription required)???

    PlayOn.TV plus Netflix is how I got free of DirecTV.

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • schreinereiner - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    I actually have a Boxee Box and have been using it in conjunction with PlayOn from day one and am very happy with it so far. Have not had bigger issues so far mainly using Hulu, Comedy Central, and Netflix (inlieu of a native app for the Boxee Box which has been announced to be ready in the next 4-5 weeks before the end of the year). Reply
  • AmdInside - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    10 watts on standby? That's a deal breaker for me. For a device that I would leave connected all the time, that is too much standby power draw. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    For a person with "AMDInside" as their name, that's a little ironic isn't it? I mean, we're talking $10 per year at average power pricing to have it plugged in and running 24/7. Reply
  • gigahertz20 - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Well, so much for the Boxee Box hype, I think the next media streamer I get will be the new Popcorn Hour A-210. It's the same thing as the A-200 hardware wise I think, but the case is now aluminum and fanless, which were the main drawbacks for the A-200. I have owned a A-110 for over a year now and it has played back everything.

    I'd love to see Anandtech do a review of both the Popcorn Hour A-210 and the new Netgear NeoTV.

    Also, the last page of the review has some spelling/grammar mistakes. Below:

    "But parting iwth $199 for a product with bugs"

    "You can’t build an similarly capable HTPC"
    Reply
  • schreinereiner - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    My approach right now due to the generous return window on Amazon (at least in the US) for pre-Christmas purchases is to give it until early January and re-evaluate.

    I went through the early Sigma players, returned a PopBox, am still fiddling with an Acer Revo Xbmc setup and have to say that with all its shortcomings the Boxee Box is the closest anyone in my eyes has gotten to marrying on- and offline content successfully while maintaining the simplicity of a set-top box. The first firmware update to address some bugs is planned for likely the end of this week. It's already being beta-tested.
    Reply
  • spambonk - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    " so if you want to truly save power you’ll have to shut the Boxee Box down completely."

    Do you chose the shutdown option, or pull the plug out of the socket?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    At full shutdown, the power adapter consumes 0.5W (also enables switch on from RF remote).

    If you are worried about the 0.5W, better to pull the plug out of the socket.
    Reply
  • Ethaniel - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    A fantastic review. Too bad the little box has holes everywhere. If things don't get fixed, I guess someone will find a way to hack it and start torrenting the hell out of it... Reply
  • earthzero - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    A comparison vs other solutions like Playon with Media Center and Mezzmo streaming directly to a Samsung or some other DLNA device would be worth comparing this to... Reply
  • Alexstarfire - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    I'd love to have a streaming device that was capable of playing MKVs perfectly for only a couple hundred dollars. Not being able to play ASS subtitle files all but makes streaming devices useless for me. I already have an HTPC, but something like this would be far easier to set up, use, and transport. Reply
  • Cr0nJ0b - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I'm just astounded that this isn't an demonstration of an alpha release product. reboots are to be expected? really? I'm sorry, I don't care how cutting edge you are...if you sell something to the general public as a finished product and not a "build it yourself" "fix it your self" hobby kit, you need to have higher standards. I was actually thinking of buying a boxee box this week...thank you for the review. I'll stay away. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Something I'd buy a V2 of the product when hardware/software issues are hammered out. Though I'm wondering if they are ever going to support Bluray menus... Reply
  • probedb - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    A nice review yet again but I'd love a decent round up of some of the more popular streamers like the PlayON!HD etc.

    I'm particularly interested in how good they are at deinterlacing content ripped from DVDs as that's how I have them backed up.
    Reply
  • Krofojed - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I don't have any experience with watching TV online, but my impression is that the access to music and video tends to be conutry-specific. So does this thing work outside USA? (I haven't read every word of the review, so if this is mentioned somewhere, I apologize.) Reply
  • Definol - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    You can download boxee and try it on your computer to see what is available in your country. I'm pretty sure that netflix and hulu aren't available outside of the usa without using a vpn.

    I live in europe and I can't access either of them.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Why not just buy an Xbox 360 and do the same and more? Reply
  • krotchy - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    They must use the same electronics supplier we do at my work.

    "Oh we decided to buy 500,000 older revision PCBs because the forecast said to, even though you already pushed all of the paperwork for the latest PCB revision and we were told not to order the old one. We will just rework them until the existing stock is gone unless you want to pay us $2,000,000 to scrap them"
    Reply
  • justaviking - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    For "average Joe" consumer products, I have ask myself, "Can I picture my wife using this?"

    I have to say, "No." She would probably make me return it within a week. Why?
    - Inconsistent behavior. Sometimes you do this, sometimes you do that, other times you do something else. Full-screen display is an example of that.
    - Lock-ups.
    - Bugs.
    - Sort of aggregated, but not really.
    - A naming convention for files on your network? I don't see that happening any time soon in my house. I might do it, just out of habit, but my wife or kids? No way.

    It's a good attempt.

    I appreciate the challenge Boxee is faced with, and I'd be happy to pull the plug on my cable bill too, but I don't see it happening yet.
    Reply
  • Jackattak - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Couldn't agree more. I would love to forcibly remove Comca$t out of our house, preferably kicking and screaming (mostly screaming), but this fails the wife test (and my wife is fairly tech-savvy).

    There has got to be a better way. This is not a consumer-ready product. This looked more like an alpha release review. Far too many bugs and far too little consistency.
    Reply
  • Chillin1248 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    From what I understand from Boxee, the reason behind the strange (and internet download full) naming strings is due to the IMDB service that identifies the movies and shows. This is completely separate from Boxee. Reply
  • bernstein - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Quote: "You can’t build a similarly capable HTPC with better power characteristics than the Boxee Box (simply because Intel won’t sell you a CE4100)."

    This is just wrong... go to to www.pandaboard.org (or heck even a beagleboard) and get a beagleboard friendly build of linux/xbmc and you've definately got a more power-efficient htpc... best suited for 1080p playback...
    and just how does a piece of hardware with 10w standby power have best power characteristics? heck not any notebook will consume anywhere near that power in standby...

    now nough harsh words. great article, as always. a delight to read.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Why do you think Boxee went off from Tegra 2 to Intel CE 4100? And the Pandaboard you are talking about is OMAP4 based.. Surprise Surprise.. OMAP4 host CPU = Tegra 2 host CPU, and the power profile of both is approximately the same.. so the capabilities of both are going to be similar.. in other words, don't expect 1080p60 or any other complex encoding playback! Reply
  • vhawkxi - Friday, November 26, 2010 - link

    My sister brought me one from Canada as South Africa is again looked over as a country where people would like to have the device.

    I just love it, so much better than the MVIX device I had to use as media streamer up to now.

    The networking works flawlessly and the 802.11 n wireless is more than sufficient to watch content in 1080p 24Hz.

    Contents is currently an issue but as soon as Hulu is up and running, I will have access to the source I have been using on the software version. So I am happy with that.

    The browser is still a work in progress but I assume it will eventually get there and allow nice browsing on my TV.

    So overall - even at $199 which I was more than happy to pay - it is a nice product with great potential - and it has already received 2 system upgraded in the last week. Much more than one can say of similar devices that gets bug fixes once or twice a year.

    Well done dudes - this may still be a winner !!
    Reply
  • trip1ex - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    About as expected. IT's a device that wants to give the consumer something it can't deliver - free cable tv.

    It's telling that the article felt it had to have the same number of pros as cons. YOu can tell this is the case when one pro says "it can only get better."

    And another says, "they are pro-active at fixing bugs."

    I sense some allegiance to Boxee. Maybe because they are a small company. Or because they have a personal relationship with those at the company.

    In any case ....why wouldn't the folks who would tolerate bugs and problems just use a pc with their TV in the first place?
    Reply
  • wadsworth - Monday, November 29, 2010 - link

    Love it. The new Thanksgiving firmware update fixed a ton of issues I had with 720p and 1080p non-MP4 codecs. The thing played everything I threw at it, from flv to mkv. The show/movie stuff was okay, but nothing compared to the "apps" component IMO. It is up to 142 web interface apps with everything from MediaFly to YouPorn. Heck, I didn't even know Sarah Lane was doing stuff with Leo nowadays. Moving through your own files is fast/smooth, unlike my WD TV Live. Reply
  • saltyzip - Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - link

    Boxee has so much promise, but it doesn't deliver on the most important aspect which is speed and reliability, especially when it comes to HD content.

    I have evaluated the free downloadable version for the PC and posted my views on their forum, only to be flamed by the moderators for expressing my constructive criticism.

    No support for blu-ray or HD streaming is a big issue in my books, but the general reliability of playing any kind of content is really a hit and miss experience.

    I had crashing, videos only showing on half the screen, resolution not changing to reflect the media being played so was jerky.

    Why would anyone want to put this onto a TV in the living room, it would drive my misses nuts.

    It needs at least another year to get it right, but by then it will be too late.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, December 02, 2010 - link

    It's a shame they don't include a yellow Composite video port. There ARE still people who don't own HDTV's. People without much money who would probably love to stop paying that monthly cable bill. Seems like a pretty major oversight. I know a few people in particular who would love to have this exact this if only they had a way to plug it into their CRT television.

    On another note I'm gonna try out this software, just download it to my computer that has an HDMI port and is plugged into a large HDTV.
    Reply
  • SikSlayer - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    A patch came out yesterday that sounds like it addresses a large majority of the issues mentioned in this review. You've gotta take a second look and tell us if this patch really makes the Boxee Box any better or not. Reply
  • bznotins - Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - link

    Any plans to revisit this review with all the subsequent firmware updates? Reply

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