Tag Archives: boxee

Set-Top Debate: Boxee vs Roku vs Apple TV

Streaming content in your home is quickly becoming much more than just a fad. People are cutting the cord in favor of set-top boxes such as Roku, Apple TV and Boxee. Using a device such as this gives the consumer more control over the content they can watch as well as being more cost-effective than traditional cable or satellite television connections. The question is, though, which box is right for your home? The three major players – Roku, Boxee and Apple TV – have many things in common. However, you’ll be surprised at how the differences between them can sway your purchasing decision.

Both the Roku and the Apple TV boxes can be purchased for under one hundred dollars, while the new Boxee model will set you back two hundred smackers. However, the Boxee alternative has quite a bit more to offer. At this point in time, Apple and Roku have some catching up to do in the content delivery department. Boxee now offers both Netflix and Vudu for your viewing pleasure. With Vudu, you can purchase movies on-demand – the same day they are released on DVD even – at a cost of $2.00 for two nights. Stream your favorite Internet content and connect with your Twitter and Facebook account in order to get suggestions from your friends. Additionally, personal recommendations will be sent straight to your television, based on your previous viewing choices. The unit is Flash 10.1 compatible, another feature the others don’t offer. There are more than 400 apps at this time, offering you third-party content distribution choices you haven’t even begun to think of. The remote control is double-sided, offering both a browsing experience and a full QWERTY keyboard. There’s an SD card slot and two USB ports built in.

The Roku box offers Netflix and Hulu, movie rental and purchases and even popular sports packages. There are more than fifty channels at this time – including Amazon video service. Stream your iTunes collection without a computer connection or tune in to your favorite online radio stations such as Pandora. The unit is capable of viewing YouTube and Flickr content, much as the others are. There is also a USB port which allows you to view media on your favorite USB stick.

Apple TV has a partnership with both FOX and ABC, allowing you to access your favorite shows for .99 per episode. If you want to watch an entire season, though, it could end up costing you quite a lot. This unit also offers Netflix, YouTube and Flickr access. Movies will cost you $2.99 or $3.00 for HD versions. There is one Micro USB slot and the cool remote allows you to access your iPod touch, iPad or iPhone with the press of a button. That in itself is seriously cool. Have you tried playing Angry Birds on the big screen yet?

Even though the Boxee set-top box has more to offer at this point in time, don’t count the Roku and Apple TV out just yet. I’m sure we will be seeing revisions to both machines sometime this year. Competition in this market is fierce, and I have a feeling that we’ll see even better features coming in the new versions.

Are you using a set-top box in your home? Which model do you own, and what do you prefer about it?

Google TV Thoughts


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Someone in the live chat room asked me last night what my thoughts are about Google TV… bringing the Google experience to your television instead of just the Internet. It makes sense to me, given that Google owns YouTube. They are working with manufacturers to bring the Google TV experience into your homes around the world. Some people compare Apple TV to Google TV, and I don’t feel that’s exactly fair.

Apple has their content locked up in their Universe, much like iTunes itself. Google is more like “HEY! It’s out there, so let’s throw it in here!” It’s a more open approach to deliver content to your doorstep. The more interesting idea to me is Clicker.TV.

If you head over there right now, you’ll see a web experience that runs right within your web browser. You can navigate shows using your keyboard, instead of a mouse. The idea is that you could use a device connected to your television and control your experience without having to use an actual keyboard. What Clicker is doing is aggregating all of these shows you can find across the Internet. It’s an application that doesn’t rely on Flash. It runs off of HTML5, which is more open. Some of the videos themselves may run off of Flash, but not the interface itself. If you’re wondering what a Google TV experience may be like, check this out first. I have a feeling they’re going to be pretty close.

If anything, I think Google TV would compare favorably to Boxee. I expect a lot of development over the coming months (and even years) from Google with this idea, and I have a feeling it’s something that could end up in many of our homes before all is said and done.

What are your thoughts on Google TV, or even Apple TV? Do you feel these types of services are what we will be using in the future, instead of traditional cable or satellite programs?

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Boxee Box Review


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Traci Toguchi covered the 2010 CES for us last week in Las Vegas. She was able to spend a few moments talking to Andrew about the new Boxee Box! The Boxee Box brings all your favorite TV shows & movies from the Internet or your hard drive onto your TV, without needing a computer. Why pay money for shows you won’t watch? Simply use the Boxee Box to watch what you want – on your own schedule!

Boxee is software that is the best way to enjoy all the entertainment you have on the web, or on your home network. This includes your tv shows and movies from Netflix, photos from Flickr, and even music from Pandora!

It won’t be available until second quarter this year, and will retail for about $199.99. When you think of all the money you’re wasting for television programming you don’t watch, that 200 bucks isn’t a bad deal at all!

Make sure you sign up on the website in order to keep up with the developments, and be ready to buy your Boxee Box when they become available!

Thanks, Traci, for all of your hard work during CES!

Thanks to Creative for sending the Vado 3 along for Traci to use during the show!

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Dave Mathews – boxee


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Dave Mathews is the “user experience guy” at boxee and a consumer product expert, specializing in the convergence of digital entertainment devices. He holds more than thirty U.S. patents and has appeared on more than 300 television shows. Dave spoke to us at Gnomedex about boxee.

boxee has developed the first “social” media center. It plays media from your computer and other devices in your home network, as well as connects you to various Internet sources that allow you to stream or download movies, tv shows, music and photos. Using boxee, you can also share with your friends what albums you’re listening to, what movies and TV shows you’re watching, send recommendations and more.

boxee is designed to work with a remote control (it looks great on a big screen TV), but you can also control it using your keyboard. Once installed, boxee will start scanning your local Movies, Music and Pictures folders automatically. boxee will attempt to pull in artwork, reviews, and more from your media, so browsing your library becomes more useful and fun than looking at a list of files.

boxee is currently in alpha testing, which means it still has lots of bugs, crashes and some usability issues. Development is ongoing, and the final result will be well worth waiting for.

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