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D-Link Boxee Box review

David Ludlow
17 Nov 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
200
inc VAT

It supports tons of file formats and has access to hundreds of online services, making the best media streamer we've seen.

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Specifications

UPDATE: When we first reviewed this product there were some bugs in the interface. A recent firmware update has removed these, so we've updated the review and increased the rating.

We're used to seeing media streamers with basic text interfaces, but D-Link has done something different with the Boxee Box: it uses the well-known Boxee.

If you haven't seen it, Boxee is a free media centre application that's designed to be shown on a TV. Rather than simply listing files from your local network, it also provides apps for online services and pulls in videos, music and photos from a wide range of sources, including user uploads.

It's all tied together with social networking, so you can view media based on your friends' recommendations. When we first previewed the box it was running US-centric firmware, but D-Link has updated it for a UK audience, integrating services that are available in this country.

D-Link Boxee Box rear

First impressions of the Boxee Box are very favourable. The tiny - and there's no other word for it - box, doesn't look like a typical media player, but more like a funky clock radio or modern light. Its mirrored front hides the Boxee logo which glows green when you turn the box on. At the rear you'll find an HDMI output, two USB ports for external storage (there's also an SD card slot on the side), optical S/PDIF and stereo phono outputs. D-Link thoughtfully includes an HDMI cable in the box to get you up and running immediately. There's also a 10/100 Ethernet port, although you can use the built-in WiFi if you prefer.

The highlight, though, is the fantastic remote control. This RF model (which doesn't need line-of-sight) has three buttons on the front (play/pause, select and menu) and a directional cursor-pad for navigating menus, fast-forward and rewind. However, flick the remote over and it's a full QWERTY keyboard, which you can use to search for media. It's a clever idea and sure beats onscreen keyboards or entering data using a numeric keypad. All the keys are very responsive with a definite click to let you know that you've hit them.

D-Link Boxee Box remote 2

Powering the box on for the first time, you're asked to either create a Boxee account or log in to your existing one. If you already have an account you'll find that your friends and Watch Later lists are automatically imported. With support for multiple users, everyone in your house can have their own Boxee account and preferences.

D-Link Boxee Box remote

Next, you're taken you through the process of getting the picture aligned to the screen. It correctly detected our 1080p LCD TV and set the resolution automatically. We then had the option to manually adjust the overscan, although we preferred to use the TV's menus set to correct viewing mode instead.

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