D-link's Boxee Box can finally be called a first-class media streaming device. The company has made firmware updates that have made the device a more attractive option. However, it is not problem-free: there are some glitches with 1080p resolution and viewing videos on big network websites is still either impossible or difficult (due to the networks). But, it is a streamer that offers the most number of features and is the most user-friendly set-top box available in the market.
The Boxee Box's describes some points for its appearance alone. While it's called a cube, it's actually a polyhedron – a cube with a dropped-off corner, which makes it look like an interesting piece when placed on its green rubber bottom.
When you connect Boxee Box to your HDTV, however, it functions in pretty much the same way as other set-top media streamers that stream from network and the web to your TV. An HDMI cable is provided with the box for connecting to the HDTV. For connecting to the network, you have a 2.4GHz-band 802.11n Wi-Fi and ethernet.
There are four reasons why this streamer is better than its competitors: it offers you an impressive range of web videos (free and paid); it supports videos with 1080p resolution, which is unusual for a set-top box; it's interface is slick and videocentric; and it looks attractive – its own design, it has a petite remote that looks like a candy bar.
D-link's update also includes Netflix as well as Vudu high-def commercial services. That's a good thing; however, Hulu is still not available. Moreover, the Vudu HDX 1080p streaming was a little disappointing.
The movie streaming started off pretty well; however, 10-15min into the film, the box froze and required a reboot. This happened 3 times during the movie. Vudu HDX with a Wi-Fi connection is not recommended for this device.
Setting up the device is easy. After connecting the cables and powering it on, the software directs you to adjust display for fitting the screen of your TV and creating a Boxee account. The home screen contains 6 icons at the top half and a selection of screenshots from featured content on the bottom. In the menu items you have: Friends (that contains videos shared on Facebook), Watch Later (that contains items tagged during content browsing), Shows (TV programs), Movies, Files, and Apps.
All in all, D-Link's Boxee Box is an excellent option for a connected home, and the makers deserve credit for fixing a lot of the problems with the original firmware.