Cutting the cord with the Boxee Box

Yes, we get it. You want to watch what you want, when you want -- and in HD for Jiminy Cricket.

Shawn Loefflerby Shawn Loeffler

Boxee Box

Yes, we also know that a connected TV device is nothing new, but when you factor together style and dollar value, and you throw in functionality with options, few come close to what the Boxee Box from D-Link offers. So, the first thing you’re going to notice is the sick design. Sure, it might take styling cues from that old Xbox collecting dust in your closet, what with its black and green tones… actually, that might be where those styling cues begin and end. Perhaps it’s more like a Nintendo GameCube. No, no, it’s not that either, aside from the shared geometric shape. OK, so the Boxee Box is what you’d end up with if you cultivated an old Xbox and a GameCube in a test tube.

Whether you’re off to college this fall or you just need to upgrade your dwelling or you’re an entertainment junky, you’ll find what you need in the Boxee Box. What do you get? For starters, you get pretty much all the content you want. Said content can be streamed from the Internet from such Websites as Funny or Die, College Humor, MTV, Digg, and YouTube; or you can view such things as movies, TV shows, and music via the Internet; or you can use the on-demand HD library to access more than 3,000 movies and TV programs ranging from your favorite summer block busters to uptight indie flicks to the best TV series available. Plus, though it’s not as exciting because it won’t be in HD, you have access to over 40,000 TV shows from regular networks.

While the Boxee Box supports 1080p high-definition, what you see on your TV is only as good as the source file — don’t expect it to work miracles.

While I have yet to visit friends or family and thumb through photo albums on a TV, the Boxee Box does offer that option as it allows you to view digital images from flickr, Picasa, and Facebook (supporting formats like JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, and TIFF). While we’re on the topic of sharing, you can see and be seen through Facebook and Twitter; what this means is that what you watch and what your friends watch can be shared, which also means you better keep it clean. There’s also a music player, but unless you have killer speakers on your TV, I don’t see the purpose of this feature.

There are also tons of apps to go along with access to such things as HBO Go, MUBI, and Netflix (though, the breadth of options of the latter in Canada is limited there), but among the coolest thing is the Watch Later queue. This is a queue of programs you’ve selected to watch at a later time. So, as you browse and something catches your eye, feel free to bookmark it. The remote is pretty cool itself; it’s two-sided with one side having a full QWERTY keyboard and the second side having control options like play and stop. Alternately, you can use your iPhone or Android as your remote.

Some specs: 1 HDMI out, 1 Optical Digital Audio (S/PDIF) out, Composite Audio Out, 802.11n Wireless, Ethernet port, 2 USB 2.0 Ports, SD Card Reader