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We wanted so much to love this box and possibly could have justified the price point if it worked brilliantly and trumped the Apple TV for openness. As it is, you can buy better streamers than this for less than half the price – WD TV, for example. And while they might not promise such an overall experience, at least the stuff they can do actually works reasonably well.
The Boxee does, however, hold a lot of appeal for those of us who like to configure things just how we want them. You can set up streaming from network storage (though it might take you a little while to configure it).
The hardware is great, as is the remote. The keyboard isn't an amazing experience, but it works when you need it to. The interface itself is also great to use in the main, though there are some unnecessary bits – if I put something in the search box and enter it, why do you then need to click again to search the web?
But it's fast, responsive, and easy to navigate. The codec support is Grade A, as is the YouTube app, and the ability to play Flash content is welcome. The content in place is okay and not bad for a start, but we'd like to see a lot more – we're assured there will be more too.
The software just isn't up to scratch as yet. It's a shame for D-Link that Boxee has updated the Boxee Box with new firmware since the demo which appears to be more glitchy than before. The software simply has so many foibles that it's hard to take stock and something that works one day simply might not the next. It's just very strange.
However, the above is also a blessing, because it shows us what the Boxee Box really can be. When the bugs are ironed out and even more content is available, this will be the media streamer to beat – not least because the hardware is terrific. But it comes at a price. And that price is, very sadly, far too much – especially when you consider just how annoyed the software will make you.
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Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.