Can the Boxee Box compete with Apple TV and Google TV?

20 September 2010 No Comment Ian McGurren

The long-time coming hardware version of the Boxee software is about to finally be released. Called the Boxee Box, it is what the name hints at – Boxee but in its own box, all ready to go. For those who are unaware, Boxee is a software media centre that is a direct descendant of the groundbreaking Xbox Media Centre and, amongst other features, allows the cataloguing and playing of media files from MP3 to MKV.

The Boxee Box does the same, but plugs into your HDTV rather than installs on your PC, which apparently isn’t quite as good for watching HD videos and the like as your £2,000 plasma!

Boxee Box review

The makers claim that the Boxee Box will play any non-DRM you can create, happily pumping it up to 1080p out of the HDMI port. Boxee is also internet friendly, pulling down media from anywhere on the internet using the special built in browser, including content from BBC, ITV, MTV, CNN, Channel 4, Comedy Central and more.

It’s also the most social of media players, hooking up with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Picasa, all being a breeze to update using the innovative two-sided QWERTY remote control.

How the Boxee Box compares with Apple TV and Google TV

While the Boxee Box has been priced higher than the likes of Apple TV and Google TV’s likely retail, it’s quite a different beast. Apple TV has excellent integration with iTunes for simple rentals, plus AirPlay wireless video playback on your iOS device is impressive.

Google TV brings the Google / Android style web experience to the TV but it’s not yet clear how far its media centre abilites go.

Boxee’s Box, while costing more, is a device more akin to a hub for your networked media, as it does have the ability to play all media without conversion or proprietory software, plus it offers an excellent and well-refined web media interface.

Boxee Box homescreen

Coupled with the Intel Atom power under the hood and the quirky design, the Boxee Box could well be the media player to put a spanner in the plans of Apple and Google for taking control of your living room!

If you like the sound of it, you can buy the Boxee Box now – don’t forget to tell us your thoughts on it in the comments below, if you do.

 

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