D-Link Boxee Box - Box Office Hit Or Flop?

Launch SRP: S$329

Design

Boxee Unboxed

If it isn't obvious by now, the Boxee with its shaved base appears very much like a semi-submerged cube. Clad in black with a glossy front, D-Link's unconventional design has turned this media hub almost into a reluctant art form. Designed by Astro Studios, some naysayers have also bemoaned that the Boxee isn't stackable due to its odd shape. To that we'd say - who would stack another AV component on top of a typical small media player? Musings aside, the Boxee shouldn't occupy too much decl space with its compact 115 by 115 mm form factor. The concave power button is conveniently placed on top of the unit, but can be hard to reach if the box is placed in tighter confines. 

D-Link's media cube might require an acquired taste to appreciate its peculiar design, but it's hard to say no to the pretty green Boxee logo which comes on like a specter when the unit is powered on. Like it or not, this thing will sit pretty on your AV deck.

There are no labels to accompany this beveled button, and neither was the very brief accompanying installation guide of any use. Thanks to our quick thinking, it took us about two seconds to figure out this was indeed the power button.

Connectivity wise, it is apparent D-Link is out to woo the digital crowd on the whole. Among them are LAN, HDMI (v1.3) and optical audio ports plus two USB 2.0 slots. The only trace of an analog outlet would be its pair of stereo RCA jacks. Being so, owners of archaic tellies with limited composite or component inputs will have to give the Boxee a miss. Since most of the ports are located behind, ensure there's sufficient space for your hands to access the rear panel when the unit is mounted. By its side sits a SD/MMC slot which supports SDHC cards up to 32GB in capacity. One sweet perk, however, is the Boxee's built-in 802.11n wireless feature.

Besides the obvious AV ports shown here, you might want to know that the LAN slot is only 10/100Mbps capable. While a Gigaport is clearly lacking, we  have to give the Boxee deserved brownie points for its built-in Wi-Fi which some media players lack, like the WD TV Live for example.

The memory card slot found on the Boxee is only able to digest SD and SDHC cards of up to 32GB in capacity. Well, it's better to have one than none yeah?

As for its remote, the two-sided wand might seem like a trendy and functional piece of hardware at first sight. It includes a D-pad with basic controls on one side and a set of QWERTY keys on the other. Truth is, we have a tendency to press the buttons on the flip side when punching the text buttons. To add, managing the on-screen cursor is also a tad tricky with the directional pad. It should have acted more like a wand like in LG's latest additional remote accessory for their TVs, but that will significantly push up the cost of the product. More on the remote stick's usability when we tackle the Boxee's applications over at the next page. 

 It is obvious D-Link is favoring a minimalist approach for their remote's design. The sleek wand features three main controls - play/pause button, four-way directional pad, and menu button. The latter also functions as a back-key which returns you to the previous page, depending on which screen you are at.

A complete QWERTY keypad is seated on the remote's flip side. Numeric keys can be engaged by holding the ALT key. Although D-Link's intention is laudable, the dual-faced implementation will require some work since we have a tendency of hitting the QWERTY keys when utilizing controls on the other face.

8.0
Design
9
Performance
8
Features
9
Value
7.5
The Good
Chic Design
Wide Range of Apps
Healthy Video Support
The Bad
Awkward Browser
Subpar VOD Content