The Cube Has Landed
D-Link created quite a stir in the AV scene when they first hinted at developing a media box two years ago. If you recall, initial rumors about the Boxee's hardware centered mainly on NVIDIA's Tegra 2 during the early stages. In a Shyamalan-like twist, it was soon made clear during the US launch that D-Link has ditched NVIDIA for Intel's Atom CE4100 instead. If you are wondering, the 1.2GHz CE4100 also happens to be the same "Sodaville" SoC (system-on-chip) with a 1080p video engine powering the Android-flavored Google TV. Why the sudden change of guard, you might ask? According to D-Link, Intel's workhorse was chosen over NVIDIA's Tegra 2 SoC due to the Atom's ability to decode high-profile H.264 formats. The plot thickens though, for NVIDIA has since updated their Tegra 2 page with 1080p H.264 encoding and decoding support.
More recently, local AV punters were able to grab the Boxee when it was eventually launched at the IT Show 2011. The question is - can D-Link's multimedia solution prove itself against the maddening crowd of media players in the market? At S$329, it is priced marginally higher than most mid-range breeds of media tanks. Meaning, D-Link will have to convince consumers that its media center solution is capable of streaming as well as unifying Internet content, apart from its ability to provide extensive video support and seamless playback. With the rising threat of Internet-enabled TVs, the Boxee is undoubtedly facing an intense blaze of competition; not just from the ranks of rival media players, but against the waxing wave of new-age HDTV displays which Sony, Samsung and LG are guilty of as well.
Join us as we uncover the Boxee's strengths and weaknesses over the following pages.