Boxee Box Review, Updated and Netflix Ready

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Boxee Box Software and Experience

If what we're seeing now for Internet TV and media streamer devices is a first generation effort, then Boxee probably has invested as much time and resources into the interface and user experience as any product offering on the market currently.  Prior to the Boxee Box itself, Boxee had been developing and refining their 10 foot user interface as a standalone, cross-platform software package. And Boxee's man months of engineering time have delivered nicely.  Packaged together neatly in a device that has been optimized to run it, the Boxee Box organizes multimedia content and applications that showcase it, arguably better than any device in its class currently.

 

 

 
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The primary Boxee Box home screen is broken into six high level sections: Friends, Watch Later, Movies, Apps and Files.  Friends gives you a view of media that is being shared by your friends over various social networks.  Watch Later is a listing of shows that you've tagged to view at another time. Shows is the main Internet TV app with content from various networks. Movies is an aggregate listing of movies from various platform providers, from Vudu to smaller providers.  Apps is a menu of specific apps available on the platform, from music apps like Pandora and VEVO, to video content apps for websites like TED and Revision 3.  Of course the big ticket apps are Netflix and Vudu, with movie rentals on demand and a growing list of HD movie content coming on line every day.

Finally, the Boxee file server application does a nice job of hosting your network-attached media, like images and video files. There's a picture viewer with slide show feature complete with transition effects.  The movie player interface was able to stream and play anything we pulled up on it.




Netflix scene selection interface in action makes skipping forward and replay a breezy thing of beauty.

And of course there's Netflix.  Though Netflix still has plenty of work to do with respect to fleshing out their library, especially HD titles, the Netflix interface is actually nicely equipped and easy to use.  The scene scrolling feature specifically caught our eye with the ability to scan through scenes in a movie title with impressive granularity.  In fact, there are far more scene selections to choose from versus a standard DVD menu interface.  We're looking forward to seeing how Netflix continues to expand their on-demand services and how they could possibly enable a richer experience for Boxee users moving forward.


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