- Editor's Rating
- Free Netflix, Spotify, Vudu credits
- Easy to use UI, attractive design
- Can stream OTA HD, some ClearQAM networks
- DVR functionality very limited in availability
- Can't record cable channels to DVR service
- OTA HD requires an external antenna
A pretty box that makes your TV smarter; if you live in one of the few areas where the cloud DVR is available, it's an unquestioned recommendation.
The Boxee TV is a device users can plug into a television via an HDMI cable to route live television and online entertainment platforms to the TV. The idea behind Boxee TV is to give users a single device to watch all entertainment (cable and online) on the TV. The device supports entertainment platforms such as Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, Pandora and MLB TV. DesktopReview is impressed with the concept, but found that the Boxee TV “struggles to live up to its full potential.”
The Boxee TV is 7x4x1.5-inches and DR said it was “sleek looking.” The backside offers full expandability, which includes a coaxial input port, an HDMI output, Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports and a power adapter plug. The Boxee TV comes with a power adapter infrared remote control and TV antenna, which DR notes resembles the arm of a joystick.
The goal of the Boxee TV is to enable users to free themselves from their cable TV provider, but DR noted the device doesn’t quite do that. Users can use the provided antenna to pick up channels like the CW, PBS and local network affiliates. Consumers who already have cable can plug the cable connection into the back of the Boxee TV, but it must come straight from the wall. The device only supports unscrambled (ClearQAM) channels, meaning premium pay channels like Showtime and HBO aren’t supported.
The device’s biggest selling point is the No Limits DVR, which uses cloud storage to allow users to record unlimited HD programming and then watch the recorded programs on various devices and other Boxee TVs. While the cloud DVR is a high point for Boxee TV, DR also called it the device’s “biggest disappointment.” At the time of the review, the cloud DVR was only available in select cities. The DVR service costs $14.99 a month and users can record HD over-the-air channels; however the device can’t record TV signals that come through cable. Despite the aforementioned disappointments, DR noted the cloud DVR is “frankly awesome” for those who can take full advantage of it. DR noted that once the cloud DVR is available in more areas and includes the ability to record from cable, the Boxee TV will be a “force to be reckoned with.” The Boxee TV is priced at $99 at the time of the review.
Overall, DR said the Boxee TV is a “no-brainer” for users who live in an area that supports the cloud DVR and can receive over-the-air channels and provides stiff competition to current smart TV models even without the cloud DVR. DR noted “if the company can roll out the DVR service fast enough, they may be unstoppable.”