We know that the Apple TV represents terrific value for money – but only if you live your life through iTunes. For those of us who have photos and video outside of Apple's walled garden, an Apple TV alternative such as the Iomega TV with Boxee we have here is a better bet.

But often in the past, these streaming devices have been rather lacking in ease of use. We looked at the original D-Link Boxee Box, and, while this Intel-powered Logitech box coped with all the media we could throw at it, there's still a major issue: price. There's no getting away from the fact it's twice the price of an Apple TV.

There are a few massive benefits with having a non-Apple box though. The first is support for 1080p HD video as well as a huge variety of formats (XviD for example), making converting files a thing of the past.

The second is the support for a huge amount of third-party video content from the likes of TED and The New York Times. Third, and most crucially, is the ability to stream from devices such as network storage drives, and not just your Mac.

There's also the ability to plug in and browse a USB hard drive containing video content you want to play. The box connects to your network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, while there's HDMI, optical audio and composite plus two USB sockets front and back for connecting up devices.

Boxee devices are shipped with a remote that also has a QWERTY keyboard on the back. It's not the best, but it sure beats the Apple TV's stilted text input using the Apple Remote.

The interface isn't as good as the Apple TV's and could be considered a bit buggy in places (a problem since the original Boxee devices), but what you get is the flexibility so lacking with Apple TV – if you're prepared to pay for it.

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