Is the Boxee Box right for me?

TwistedJesterTwistedJester Registered User regular
I just had my cable bill jacked up 50% by Comcast which has got me thinking about ditching cable TV altogether. I started looking into set top boxes to see just what each box is capable of and the one that seems to stand out the most to me is the Boxee Box. What has me more interested in it than the Roku is that it supports the most popular file formats out there as well as providing easy support for streaming media from my PC. I was basically hoping I could use it as a cheap HTPC to stream movies and TV shows as well as taking advantage of Netflix and other online streamed content.

What I'm wondering is, does it actually do a good job of letting me stream internet content as well as local content? I've found a few reviews here and there that make it sound like it was a product that was still in beta at launch. However I've seen a few news items on Test that indicate the product has come a long way since launch to be much more polished.

So my question is, is Boxee worth it? Does it have a future? Are there other products I should be looking at or should I even be considering building a HTPC from scratch?

EDIT: Of course I somehow miss the set top box discussion going on two threads beneath this one. Feel free to delete this if it seems superfluous.

TwistedJester on

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  • mojojoeomojojoeo A block off the park, living the dream.Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Cut the cable last year. Got a dell toaster pc for the living room and various other things everywhere else.

    You can get a refurbished dell pc from new egg for 100$ and hook it to a TV and it works.

    Boxee as a format has let me down over and over- laggy ui, weird formatting in the workarounds they use to stream as a browser and not an app. Never did the job for me.

    Other options that work well are xbox 360 with a live sub gets you the big names- hulu, netflix, espn and crackle. But thats 30-60 a year Dependant on who has what on sale.

    Roku is solid.

    mojojoeo on
    Chief Wiggum: "Ladies, please. All our founding fathers, astronauts, and World Series heroes have been either drunk or on cocaine."
  • TwistedJesterTwistedJester Registered User regular
    I have a 360 that I've streamed content to from my Windows 7 Machine but it's honestly kind of clunky with WMC, and now that my 360 is getting up there in years it has gotten a lot louder. Also, isn't the 360 limited to what WMC can play? I had a hell of a time getting MKV files to play, and even then only some of them worked.

    And Roku looks nice but from what I've seen there's no support for playing local content unless you put it on a USB stick or jump through a lot of hoops. The only real bonus I see with getting a Roku is that it plays Amazon Instant Videos, which would be nice since I have a Prime membership. Maybe a Western Digital WD TV Live might be a better choice overall though?

  • AllforceAllforce Registered User regular
    It seems to me the big names like Roku and Boxee get all the attention, and not necessarily in a good way. They're the "Napsters" of the industry at this point, the big dogs that everyone is shooting for (including the MPAA and RIAA), because lets face it, these boxes allow you to stream pretty much ANY type of file which is appealing for a whole lot of reasons, some of them nefarious. It's why Hulu has issues with Boxee, Roku can't do certain file types, etc.

    I'd go for one of the better rated "off" brands, like WDTV or Popcorn Box Office. There's an entire forum at AVS about media streamers and you know those guys put every single piece of AV equipment through the paces. The best of the best if you want to pay apparently is the Dune HD though, but that's about 50% higher price than the rest of these things (150ish vs 100)

  • mojojoeomojojoeo A block off the park, living the dream.Registered User regular
    I have a 360 that I've streamed content to from my Windows 7 Machine but it's honestly kind of clunky with WMC, and now that my 360 is getting up there in years it has gotten a lot louder. Also, isn't the 360 limited to what WMC can play? I had a hell of a time getting MKV files to play, and even then only some of them worked.

    And Roku looks nice but from what I've seen there's no support for playing local content unless you put it on a USB stick or jump through a lot of hoops. The only real bonus I see with getting a Roku is that it plays Amazon Instant Videos, which would be nice since I have a Prime membership. Maybe a Western Digital WD TV Live might be a better choice overall though?

    Play on fixes the file format issues on the 360. Look it up.

    its a pretty slick setup in that you just go to library and the playon link for the computer with files will just be there. away you go.

    Chief Wiggum: "Ladies, please. All our founding fathers, astronauts, and World Series heroes have been either drunk or on cocaine."
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    One nice thing about the Boxee Box is the Live TV Adapter. If you cancel your cable, it provides you with a fantastic channel guide for your basic cable/OTA channels that you wouldn't get otherwise. It even provides neat information like the title and SxxExx number of the episode you're currently watching. And it saves you from having to switch inputs all the time.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    I just order this after hemming and hawing for months now. A co-worker of mine says the UI (he had WD TV Live Plus, not WD TV Live Hub) is pretty fast and it plays anything he throws on it (mkv and m2ts was what he was worried about). All I really want is a decent interface with remote, NetFlix/Hulu Plus support, and mkv support (with 1TB storage I'm cool with ferrying files over from the desktop in case the "Live Hub" logic is buggy). My only real concern is I have never heard of this retailer, and if there are stability issues I'd probably have to spend some time upgrading/downgrading the firmware to get to find a happy medium.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    My main reason for not dropping cable is live sports :( Until I can get every NFL game, and things like NASCAR and Formula 1 races on the internet (legally), I am stuck paying Comast a stupid bill every month.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • minor incidentminor incident Helen Keller to the bullshit Registered User regular
    I hear that. MLB still has some draconian issues regarding blackout restrictions, but most other pro sports could take a lesson from them on how to make games accessible without live TV. Luckily my team is not my local team, so I can watch and/or listen to just about every game legally on the web/phone/boxee.

    Steam: minor incident || PSN: inter-punct
    You may not find all that you're after. In the end I hope it doesn't matter.
  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited February 2012
    Well, the pro sports themselves would love to monetize internet streams...hell, I'd pay the NFL 100 bucks a year to get every Eagles game over the internet (without going through DirecTV of course)...but the cable and satellite providers have threatened to crucify them if they try.

    And Formula 1 is the absolute worst about this...not only do they show races at stupid times in America (which can be understandable given that they race in other countries), but many races have no replay, and Formula 1 doesn't even put REAL highlights on their website...only cheesy "race edits". And the races are on Speed, requiring you to have better-than-basic cable to see them. At least with NASCAR and the NFL, I can mostly see on purely basic cable.

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • AbracadanielAbracadaniel Registered User regular
    I've been pretty happy with my Boxee Box. It occasionally has some issues with the metadata in some media files, but the LiveTV thing works great and Netflix, etc works great.

  • rockmonkeyrockmonkey Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I cut the cable last fall. I use my Wii to stream Netflix and Hulu Plus (previously I was streaming Hulu plus from my ipad to my TV w/ a cable). I also bought a Mohu leaf antenna as I live pretty close to a decent sized city and I love it. I can now pick up the over the air digital channels. I get NBC ABC CBS Fox PBS CW and TBS, along with a couple others I'll never watch like AETN or whatever it is that is the religious channel.

    Mostly I just watch hulu plus for current programming because I can't be bother to try and watch things live anymore. Maybe I'll build an HTPC eventually, but right now I'm happy.

    rockmonkey on
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  • JuanthekoreandonJuanthekoreandon Registered User
    I only have internet and a smart TV and with OTA hulu(no sub) and netflix(sub) MLB/NFL (cheap) I never really have any problems having an integrated smart TV is pretty slick. I also have an xbox and XBMC works like a charm as well.

    My TV is an LG 55LW5600 in case you were wondering, they are pretty good about updating the apps as well.

  • SixSix Quite worryingly erotic Registered User regular
    I've been using a jailbroken AppleTV with XBMC instead of paying for cable. Haven't looked back.

    steamcommunity.com/id/thenumbersix/
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