I’m all about Father’s Day gift that dads will love and moms will appreciate which is why I’ve been having fun trying out the Boxee Box from D-Link. Here’s the low-down on this great gift idea for dad.
What Is It?
The Boxee Box is a media device that allows you to access internet content, online sources for TV and movies, your personal photos, music, movies and more all on you HDTV.
The Boxee comes with a, well, box-type shape device and a dual-sided remote. Very cool. One side is called the “Simple Side” which has a play/pause button, menu/go back button and a select/directional pad to navigate through menus. The other side of the remote has a mini-QWETY keyboard which makes it super easy to type in the address of your favorite website or search your music collection for a specific artist.
What Can You Do?
Movies – You can access a collection of free movies from sources like myLifetime, SnagFilms, EZtakes and Databazaar, upload your own movies from a hard drive or network, or access a gazillion movies on Netflix (if you are a member) or VUDU ($3.99 to rent). I may never set foot in another video store again.
Watch TV shows – The Boxee aggregates thousands of your favorite TV shows from the web into one convenient location. For him, there’s Family Guy, Nova, The Office and The Daily Show. For you, there’s CSI, Chuck and Glee and the kids will be thrilled to see episodes of iCarly, Dinosaur Train, Scooby-Doo and SuperWhy. The quality of the playback will definitely depend on your Internet connection, but overall, I have been very pleased.
Apps – Boxee currently has apps (with more being added all the time!) that tailor stuff from the web for your TV. There are lots of apps that will look familiar (Netflix, Pandora, vimeo, CNN, TED, Facebook, MLB, HBO Go) and lots of new ones to introduce you to a whole host of new content. My one complaint is that I wish the apps offered a bit more description about what they are and the type of content they offered. There were a bunch that I’d never heard of and the little description that pops up when you click on it was only marginally useful in giving me a clear idea of what it was about.
Connect With Friends – As if you weren’t already connected enough, Boxee lets you connect with friends on Facebook, Twitter and Google Buzz to find out what your friends are watching and recommending.
Play Your Own Stuff – Whether it’s your personal music collection, home movies, funny video clips from your last vacation or photos of the kids, you can drop your media to the included SD card and upload it to Boxee. Never have your friends and family crowd around your computer screen again to see that slideshow from your last trip.
The bad news….
You can’t watch just ANYTHING off the web. Websites are getting smart and making you pay to watch certain content on certain devices. Take Hulu for example. You have access to thousands of clips and movies for free on your computer, but try to access Hulu.com on Boxee and you’ll need to join Hulu Plus (for $7.99 a month) to view anything at all.
Are their other devices that do similar things? Yes, but Boxee’s got them beat in a number of areas. Check out their comparison chart here.
How I’ve Been Using Boxee
– watching free YouTube workout videos full size on my TV instead of trying to maneuver the laptop to the floor (I’m loving the POP Pilates series)
– my own large-scale digital frame to easily show pictures from our last adventure
– catching up on old shows (Sex in the City and SNL) and discovering new ones (Modern Family, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
– pulling up an Instant Watch clip on Netflix of Diego or Backyardigans for the kids to watch when I need 20 minutes of silence
Buy Now! Whether you’re looking for a gift for dad or just another way to connect all your media together, visit D-Link to learn more about Boxee and find a retailer near you. Or hop on over to Amazon and get one in the mail to you today for $199.
Disclaimer: D-Link sent a sample of the Boxee for this review. The feedback is my own.