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Boxee Box Anticipation Thread

post #1 of 3635
Thread Starter 
//Updated on 10/20/2010 with information from Boxee representative Eli

I thought it would be a good idea to build a thread for those of us interested in the progress and launch of the Boxee Box which is currently scheduled for a release in November of this year, just four months away!

For those not in the know, Boxee is a software application originally based on XBMC with more information available in this Wiki. It features integration with streaming services (Netflix, Pandora, Last.FM, Flickr), Social integration (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter) and playback of local media files.

The Boxee Box itself is hardware being produced by D-Link for powering Boxee in a set top box and based on the Tegra 2 Nvidia chipset Intel CE4100 Atom based architecture. Please see the article here for an excellent write up of this story on the hardware change which is the reason for the delay of the Boxee to Q4 2010

Some info about the Boxee Box hardware can be found here;

One of the interesting thing about Boxee is that it is already developed for the PC and Mac (and Linux) and you can download it and play around with it. The public betas have improved steadily over the last few months and it is already more functional than many media players currently on the market. The Boxee Box is an attempt to take the current Boxee functionality and place it on an embedded set top device. Boxee creators have referred to their belief that it will be the "Firefox for Media".

Known features and advantages;
  • Anticipated retail price under $199 possibly $179. $229 with a $199 pre-order from Amazon available
  • Based on XBMC
  • On paper, more powerful than most STB streamer solutions due to Tegra 2 hardware CE4100 Intel platform
  • RF remote control with QWERTY layout
  • USB IR remote capability
  • Integrated Wireless-N
  • 1GB internal SD storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • SDHC card (SDXC possible but would require Boxee to license)
  • Lossless audio support, 2 channel downmix and PCM output (09/13/10). Boxee has very robust audio support including support for bitstream and 2 channel stereo down-mix of DTS-HD and Dolby-True formats (for 2 channel down-mix of DTS-HD, the DTS core is used). Also supports PCM 5.1 and 7.1 formats. Does not support decode to LPCM of DTS-HD, requires licensing.
  • connections consist of SD card, 2XUSB, HDMI 1.3a, toslink optical.
  • Rich streaming media support with onboard support for many services including Netflix, Pandora, Flickr, Youtube, etc
  • Support for future 3rd party apps (500 at launch 09/13/10).
  • DVD ISO support AND BD ISO support (09/13/10).
  • Support for many other video formats such as .mov, .avi, .mkv, etc. If XBMC can play it then Boxee probably can too
  • DRM content support (need more details on this)
  • SDK for easier application development (10/13/2010)
  • VUDU support announced week of November 1 2010
  • photo and music support
  • Strong investor base and program/design team including former employees of Google, etc

Limitations and concerns
  • When Boxee Box was shown off at CES 2010 it was demonstrated running what Boxee called 'full 1080p video' which ultimately turned out to be a 10mbps compressed HD stream. There has been much speculation about whether this indicates an upper limit on throughput, and Boxee have not commented on this. Limitation removed by switching to Intel CE4100 chipset.
  • Many have commented that the whimsical shape of the Boxee Box hardware will not lend itself into an easy HT integration such as needing to stack equipment together or rack mount it
  • HD Audio support is unlikely (HD audio support confirmed 09/13/10)
  • Lack of MKV chapter support (09/13/10) (box confirmed to have MKV chapter support).
  • No BD ISO support (just like XBMC) (added 09/13/10)
  • No PGS subtitle support (just like XBMC) (added 09/13/10)
  • No forced subtitle support from MKV and other containers (reported as ffmpeg bug in XBMC) (boxee claims it supports forced subs in ISO and MKV containers but we don't know if that is AUTOMATIC selection of forced subtitles yet.Forced sub support from MKV confirmed broken with no ETA on a fix.
  • RF remote control won't integrate in universal remote setups (although speculation exists for support of USB IR adapters).
  • Cannot turn box on via IR remote, turning it off via IR remote will require a key press sequence so might not be mappable for universal remotes.
  • No scraping of local artwork and .nfo
  • No ability to centrally manage any kind of media database for multiple boxee boxes.
  • Does not break out media shares by content type (movies, TV shows, home movies, etc)... appears to rely on IMDB entirely for scraping.
  • No content partnerships announced.
  • Cannot play DRM protected files.
  • No support for USB attached optical drive
  • No support for TV tuner or direct DVR functionality
  • No standardized SDK for easier application development
  • Boxee delayed the introduction of the Boxee Box, which was originally slated to go on sale in Q1 2010 to November of 2010 due to concerns that the software was not in a good enough slate for release due to performance issues with Tegra 2. This has led to concerns about the software quality on the final shipping product or that there might be large deviation between what is seen in the Beta for use on PC and Mac and what the set top box version will be like

Information current as of Sept 13 2010.
post #2 of 3635
Thread Starter 
11.09.2010 update

pre-orders from Amazon are in pre-ship so should be going out today or tomorrow. Avner (boxee ceo) has indicated $199 might be the regular MSRP for the box.

A list of known features/limitations has been compiled in the Boxee Box thread at Boxee forums and reprinted here

since not everyone has time or wants to read all forums discussing this box here is the most recent list of features from the boxee forum:

.wtv support - windows 7 media center TV recordings

embedded ASS/SSA subtitle inside MKVs - subtitle fonts/colors/positioning (libass?) support

supports read/write from HFS+ formatted hard drive - (Mac)

supports playback of BD ISO - can select which title you want to play from a list - can also select different chapters - can also browse and play a specific file

supports full DVD menus either from an ISO or folders

go to a specific time in a video - ie...by typing 0020 to get to 20 minutes into the video

Boxee Box can down sample a DTS stream to Stereo output for scenarios not using a receiver

Boxee Box acts as a NAS via SMB (R/W)

This is 'NOT' confirmed by anyone from Boxee - but Amazon's pre-order page says the BBox is "DLNA 1.5 (DMP)" supported

The box has 4 audio modes:
Auto - Simultaneously output from HDMI, S/PDIF and analog. Audio is downmix to 2 channels PCM. This is the default
HDMI - HDMI only
S/PDIF - S/PDIF only
Analog - Analog only

Boxee remote is not back lit - and it will use a CR2032 battery

Most any USB HDD can be used on BBox - powered or unpowered

SDHC cards up to 32Gbs - "possible" SDCX support in the future with proper licensing

USB Hub support - and multiple HDDs att'd the the Hub

Cold Boot up time - 50 seconds

Ext4 HDD format support

Firmware updates will be automatic and mandatory

USB Keyboard support

Support for USB adapter for MCE2 compatibel IR Remote

DRM support - has all required software and hardware - (This one confuses me)--I had thought there was no support, but it's clearly stated on AVS by a Boxee Dev.

10/100 support only - no Gigabyte ethernet

Remote is 'English only' characters - GUI supports other languages/fonts ei...file names - subtitles

Internal Fan size - 30mm - internal fan noise is virtually non-existant from 50cms (approx 20 inches) away - (-23db) - considering 20bds is the lowest average detectable sound a young person with no hearing loss can usually hear - that's pretty quiet!

Upon 1st power up - an update will most likely take place

The BBox will ID DVD 'Folders' as one title

Forced subtitles is on the "to do" list - and should be fixed/offered soon

10.1 Flash support

The "Samba/not properly scraping data" bug should not be an issue in the Linux based BBox (may need 'Read Only" access)

Jump to options - 30 sec jumps - long jumps based on clip/content length (10 min. on 90 min. clips/content) - jump to specific time line location - ie...entering 0026 takes you to 26 mins. into the content

BD Folder structure support (and BD ISO)

AVCHD support will be added in a future update

Multiple BBoxes will 'each' need to scrape the data base - no way to scrape one 'shared' library with multiple BBoxes

23.976Hz support

Apple AFP support - if not on initial release - will be updated/supported soon

The RF Boxee remote and an IR/USB/MCE2 compatible remote will be supported
post #3 of 3635
If most of the cons you list turn out to be true, this box won't be a worthy contender alongside other media streamers (for local content at least). Still, I may try it out for its web content (looks to be its strong suit anyway) and the QWERTY remote looks great. Let's just hope this box's launch fares a whole lot better than PopBox's .
post #4 of 3635
I've been playing with Boxee on my Mac and it is a fantastic program. If they could get the Boxee Box to handle Blu-ray rips with subtitle/HD audio support, then I'd buy one the day it's released.
post #5 of 3635
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddUGA View Post

I've been playing with Boxee on my Mac and it is a fantastic program. If they could get the Boxee Box to handle Blu-ray rips with subtitle/HD audio support, then I'd buy one the day it's released.

I'm planning to buy one anyway, but yeah, that sure would be nice.
post #6 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddUGA View Post

I've been playing with Boxee on my Mac and it is a fantastic program. If they could get the Boxee Box to handle Blu-ray rips with subtitle/HD audio support, then I'd buy one the day it's released.

I agree, if it can do high bitrate stuff, even if it is just MKV it will be an excellent option for many of us.
post #7 of 3635
Thanks for getting me up to speed on something which I admittedly haven't had much exposure to. I'll be keeping a close watch on the developments in this thread as the release (hopefully) approaches.
post #8 of 3635
Quote:


I agree, if it can do high bitrate stuff, even if it is just MKV it will be an excellent option for many of us.

...and if it does hd audio, it'll be what the PopBox isn't (yet) that it was supposed to be.
post #9 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

...and if it does hd audio, it'll be what the PopBox isn't (yet) that it was supposed to be.

HD Audio support is highly unlikely. Added to the 'cons' list.
post #10 of 3635
Hmm-sounds like another Popbox disaster waiting to happen.
post #11 of 3635
Are there plans to add BD ISO support?

I would have been all over something like this six to nine years ago. It would have been a great alternative to all the SDI players I owned in the early 2000's. But I stopped watching DVDs in 2005 so I would really need BD ISO support now.

Why is BD ISO support currently missing from the feature list?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

I thought it would be a good idea to build a thread for those of us interested in the progress and launch of the Boxee Box which is currently scheduled for a release in November of this year, just four months away!

For those not in the know, Boxee is a software application originally based on XBMC with more information available in this Wiki. It features integration with streaming services (Netflix, Pandora, Last.FM, Flickr), Social integration (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter) and playback of local media files.

The Boxee Box itself is hardware being produced by D-Link for powering Boxee in a set top box and based on the Tegra 2 Nvidia chipset.

Some info about the Boxee Box hardware can be found here;

and a video showing the size/layout of the new box in final hardware form can be found here;

One of the interesting thing about Boxee is that it is already developed for the PC and Mac (and Linux) and you can download it and play around with it. The public betas have improved steadily over the last few months and it is already more functional than many media players currently on the market. The Boxee Box is an attempt to take the current Boxee functionality and place it on an embedded set top device. Boxee creators have referred to their belief that it will be the "Firefox for Media".

Known features and advantages;
  • Anticipated retail price under $199 possibly $179.
  • Based on XBMC
  • On paper, more powerful than most STB streamer solutions due to Tegra 2 hardware
  • RF remote control with QWERTY layout
  • Integrated Wireless-N
  • Rich streaming media support with onboard support for many services including Netflix, Pandora, Flickr, Youtube, etc
  • Support for future 3rd party apps
  • DVD ISO support
  • Support for many other video formats such as .mov, .avi, .mkv, etc. If XBMC can play it then Boxee probably can too
  • Very strong photo and music library support, even in the beta
  • Strong investor base and program/design team including former employees of Google, etc

Limitations and concerns
  • When Boxee Box was shown off at CES 2010 it was demonstrated running what Boxee called 'full 1080p video' which ultimately turned out to be a 10mbps compressed HD stream. There has been much speculation about whether this indicates an upper limit on throughput, and Boxee have not commented on this.
  • Many have commented that the whimsical shape of the Boxee Box hardware will not lend itself into an easy HT integration such as needing to stack equipment together or rack mount it
  • HD Audio support is unlikely
  • No BD ISO support (just like XBMC)
  • No PGS subtitle support (just like XBMC)
  • No forced subtitle support from MKV and other containers (reported as ffmpeg bug in XBMC)
  • RF remote control won't integrate in universal remote setups (although speculation exists for support of USB IR adapters).
  • Cannot play DRM protected files.
  • No support for USB attached optical drive
  • No support for TV tuner or direct DVR functionality
  • No standardized SDK for easier application development
  • Boxee delayed the introduction of the Boxee Box, which was originally slated to go on sale in Q1 2010 to November of 2010 due to concerns that the software was not in a good enough slate for release. This has led to concerns about the software quality on the final shipping product or that there might be large deviation between what is seen in the Beta for use on PC and Mac and what the set top box version will be like

Information current as of July 27 2010.
post #12 of 3635
We're a bunch of nerds looking for perfection (now with Boxee Box) which will not happen By november, Popbox will be stable and will have Netflix...I think I can say with 75% confidence.
post #13 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zrdb View Post

Hmm-sounds like another Popbox disaster waiting to happen.

I suppose this is possible but seeing as you can run their software right now on a PC or Mac and test it for yourself I think you are being a bit unrealistic.
post #14 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mallu2u View Post

We're a bunch of nerds looking for perfection (now with Boxee Box) which will not happen By november, Popbox will be stable and will have Netflix...I think I can say with 75% confidence.

The Boxee Box is very similar to the Popbox concept. However, it would be nice not to turn this into a Popbox vs. Boxee thread. That sounds like an excellent thread to start once both boxes are on the market to compete with each other.
post #15 of 3635
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

The Boxee Box is very similar to the Popbox concept. However, it would be nice not to turn this into a Popbox vs. Boxee thread. That sounds like an excellent thread to start once both boxes are on the market to compete with each other.

A wise man learns from someone else's mistake... I'm sure Boxee Box won't make the same mistake... if not a college business/marketing professor should make a case study out of the two...

I also know D-Link is local here in California... I used to work at one of their tech support centers back in my college days in 2002.
post #16 of 3635
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

The Boxee Box is very similar to the Popbox concept. However, it would be nice not to turn this into a Popbox vs. Boxee thread. That sounds like an excellent thread to start once both boxes are on the market to compete with each other.


What is the reason for no BD ISO support? You would think that would be more of a priority since they seem to be pushing BDs more and more and DVDs less.
post #17 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

What is the reason for no BD ISO support? You would think that would be more of a priority since they seem to be pushing BDs more and more and DVDs less.

XBMC has no BD ISO support. You can read all about the reasons why at XBMC.org. I believe licensing, etc, has something to do with it.

Boxee is based on XBMC.
post #18 of 3635
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

XBMC has no BD ISO support. You can read all about the reasons why at XBMC.org. I believe licensing, etc, has something to do with it.

Boxee is based on XBMC.

Thanks for the link.

But still, it seems like a glaring omission since DVDs are on their way down, while BDs are on their way up.
post #19 of 3635
I'm thinking of adding a 4th video streaming location, which would be an Office/Den. I'd likely get a dedicated PC there, and hook up a Plasma as the monitor.

If I'm going to do that, I might as well take a run at loading a streaming solution. I had a Dell Zino HD, and never really tackled loading anything onto it...because by the time I got around to tackling it (and that was part of the problem...the fact that an HTPC is a project, you have to tackle), I became enamored with the Revo 1600. I tried getting XBMC for Windows loaded on that, and just got frustrated with the time and tinkering.

Since Boxee is based on XBMC, how is it different...for better or worse?

CD
post #20 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

I'm thinking of adding a 4th video streaming location, which would be an Office/Den. I'd likely get a dedicated PC there, and hook up a Plasma as the monitor.

If I'm going to do that, I might as well take a run at loading a streaming solution. I had a Dell Zino HD, and never really tackled loading anything onto it...because by the time I got around to tackling it (and that was part of the problem...the fact that an HTPC is a project, you have to tackle), I became enamored with the Revo 1600. I tried getting XBMC for Windows loaded on that, and just got frustrated with the time and tinkering.

Since Boxee is based on XBMC, how is it different...for better or worse?

CD

Boxee is very easy to set up on a PC or Mac and give it a test spin. It is more focused on streaming content and social networking than XBMC. The big advantage of Boxee is that it will be running on a dedicated appliance.

If there was a purpose built XBMC box that 'just worked' without any user configuration or OS maintenance I would probably have one already. Boxee is as close to that as we will see in the next year.
post #21 of 3635
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

Boxee is very easy to set up on a PC or Mac and give it a test spin. It is more focused on streaming content and social networking than XBMC. The big advantage of Boxee is that it will be running on a dedicated appliance.

If there was a purpose built XBMC box that 'just worked' without any user configuration or OS maintenance I would probably have one already. Boxee is as close to that as we will see in the next year.

I, like aaronht, don't care for the look of the dedicated Boxee box due out in November. So I'm talking about to permanently run on an HTPC; not their dedicated STB. So are you saying, this being the case, XBMC is really the way to go?

BTW, I couldn't care less about "social networking"...lol

CD
post #22 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

I, like aaronht, don't care for the look of the dedicated Boxee box due out in November. So I'm talking about to permanently run on an HTPC; not their dedicated STB. So are you saying, this being the case, XBMC is really the way to go?

BTW, I couldn't care less about "social networking"...lol

CD

I don't have a HTPC at the moment so I'm probably the wrong person to ask.

Also, this thread is specifically about Boxee Box, not the Boxee software per se. I merely point out that for anyone interested in the Boxee Box it is pretty trivial to give the Boxee software a spin on a Mac or PC.
post #23 of 3635
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post

I don't have a HTPC at the moment so I'm probably the wrong person to ask.

Also, this thread is specifically about Boxee Box, not the Boxee software per se. I merely point out that for anyone interested in the Boxee Box it is pretty trivial to give the Boxee software a spin on a Mac or PC.

You're right; it was a bit OT.

CD
post #24 of 3635
- No support for TV tuner or direct DVR functionality


What I want is to get rid of my Cox Cable DVR that they are robbing me blind at $20 per month rental, and get something like Boxee that will do netflix streaming and also function as my DVR. Was hoping Boxee would be able to do that but I guess not
post #25 of 3635
Nice, a new forum for a new product and new drama.

Just speculating.

Would the delay of the boxee box have anything to do with the fact the software is still considered to be in the Beta phase? As I see some familiar faces here, would it be correct to presume that Dlink is working with boxee to ensure they release a functional product, or is the speculation related to the hardware? I think I read some where else that there maybe an issue with the chip.

As an FYI the the first public Beta of Boxee was only released January. Seems to me a Q1 or Q2 release date would be wishful thinking, unless your Syabase.

There's a short thread on the boxee forum related to the DB-ISO, doesn't appear to be a high priority for them at the moment but it would be a feature many of us would like to have.
post #26 of 3635
There was some mention a while back Box Box was delayed cause of the Tegra2 delay, but I'm not sure if that was valid or still is....
post #27 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Boxee have indicated that the delay is not with the tegra 2 or the hardware, but with the software.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/11/b...ntil-november/
post #28 of 3635
Boxee Box = Boxee Flop?

I would guess the no BD limitation is due to licensing costs?
post #29 of 3635
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd View Post

Boxee Box = Boxee Flop?

I would guess the no BD limitation is due to licensing costs?

The boxee box should be able to play rips of BDs as long as the hardware is up to the task since Boxee on the PC or Mac can already do this. Likewise since XBMC cannot deal with BD ISO neither can Boxee. In all honesty playback of BD ISO is not something the typical user is going to care about very much although obviously at AVS it is a major concern with some users. If Boxee can play MKV or M2TS rips of BDs with appropriate subtitle support it will make many people very excited.
post #30 of 3635
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post


The boxee box should be able to play rips of BDs as long as the hardware is up to the task since Boxee on the PC or Mac can already do this. Likewise since XBMC cannot deal with BD ISO neither can Boxee. In all honesty playback of BD ISO is not something the typical user is going to care about very much although obviously at AVS it is a major concern with some users. If Boxee can play MKV or M2TS rips of BDs with appropriate subtitle support it will make many people very excited.

I wonder if Boxee on that closed box will be as flexible as on a PC? It seems to me that the moment you go commercial you are placed under considerable constraints. Apple TV, PS3, XBox, etc... have to be careful they are not promoting playback of grey area video, of which DVD rips happen to part of for the most part.

As far as I know ripping a DVD is not legal if it involves getting around the cp, and it usual does. So, I don't see how the media players can promote that while still having access to product from the studios.

I wouldn't count on the Boxee Box to save us from what seems to be a rather depressing selection of players.

I personally am just holding out for a new Apple TV. In the meantime the Xtreamer seems like a neat toy.

Philip
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