Now that we have an understanding of the new platform which will be powering the Boxee Box, it can be said that it wouldn't be unfair to expect as close an experience on this to what one gets with a HTPC version of Boxee. That said, we did have some queries for Boxee, and they were kind enough to get back to us with answers. Based on our interaction, the pros and cons of the Boxee Box as it stands now are as below:


  1. Bitstreams HD audio from MKV, M2TS and ISO containers
  2. uPnP support (DLNA certification will be a technicality)
  3. DVD and Blu-Ray ISO support without menus
  4. 3D playback of content which can be transferred through HDMI 1.3
  5. Multichannel FLAC supported
  6. Gapless audio playback supported
  7. PGS and forced subtitles in MKV supported
  8. Support for SSA / ASS subtitles (first for a dedicated media streamer as far as we know)



  1. Premium content partners not announced yet
  2. Only SMB and AFS (HFS+) supported for network storage as of now (No NFS / FTP etc.)
  3. No menu support for DVD and Blu-Ray ISOs as of now.
  4. HDMI 1.4a support not possible
  5. No support for MKV chapters as of now
  6. No support for playback of DRM content from external Blu-Ray or DVD drives as of now.


Some aspects on which we are awaiting further clarification:

  1. Support for native resolution / frame rate
  2. Support for 23.976 Hz refresh rate
  3. Extent of hackability of firmware for open source developers
  4. Nature of the 802.11n support
  5. Power consumption profile
  6. Support for Real Media

From the demo that we were able to see, most of the generic online content is easily accessible, and the WebKit browser is always a fallback option. As the firmware matures further, most of the above cons should disappear. We should get a good look at the capabilities and test out Boxee's claims for ourselves once we receive the review unit. Boxee also went the extra step and requested a copy of our media streamer test suite. This should help them fix up any minor corner case requirements with respect to video decode. As for the other details, we will have to wait for the unit to reach our hands.

Analyzing the Boxee Box Specifications Final Words
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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 :) )
  • 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.
  • 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.

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