So, the official Boxee box is finally available for pre-order for $200. So, is it too expensive or not?
Depends on if you’re looking from the geek’s point of view or an end user’s point of view. I think it’s a bit too expensive for its own good.
As of right now, it is more expensive than old generation of Apple TV (as well as the new one, though people seem to be unhappy with Apple’s cutting some features and internal storage, even if it means the hardware is just $99) or WD Live Plus.
General public Pluses:
– Design (admit it, for non-geeks a sleek looking box will always sell better than somewhat ugly step-sister from another manufacturer)
– Plenty of connectivity and outputs, including support for 1080p playback
– Support for many media formats, both local (network/hdd/windows share) and remote playback, including Netflix instant playback (even though they don’t officially tell it, there’s been a confirmation of sorts)
– Slick UI, with the magic words “social” and “free tv” attached to it
– Cool remote (with included qwerty keyboard)
General public Minuses:
– $200 price tag. While it’ll probably fall further pretty quickly, it’s still more expensive than other things, which would be a big hurdle to overcome
– New name. While D-Link monicker will help, many people haven’t dealt with “Boxee” before
I don’t know if people will expect it to be an analog of Tivo. Probably not, not at this time anyways.
For tweaking this box could be pretty good. While absence of internal hard drive is a bit of hurdle, an external disk can be connected. Thanks to switching to Intel instead of doing nVidia-only solution, I bet this will also run “plain vanilla” Linux OSes. Given that Boxee is a branch from XBMC, it certainly will be possible to do away with actual Boxee, and I personally prefer XBMC interface, with all its flexibility and not pushing “social” into my TV viewing habits.
Once it gets down to about $150, I’ll try to get it and see if it’ll make a better XBMC box than my old PC.