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Good bye Boxee Box

Boxee Box is being returned. It leaves Monday morning as that is the soonest I can get it to a UPS Store.
Recently I had the opportunity to play with a Roku; a device whose sole job is to stream the Internet directly to your TV. Hulu, NetFlix, Pandora… straight to your TV. It was an awesome thing, and I wanted something similar for myself. However, I also wanted to be able to watch media that I had on my computer. And I was lazy. So I got myself a Boxee Box.

Once I figured out the paradigm for the UI, it made a lot more sense. I was approaching it thinking in terms of specific files or episodes, but really it does a lot of work to unify shows. You tell it you watch to watch Castle, and it will pull files from your computer, from NetFlix, and from the Internet to get you as complete a list of episodes as possible. This is a cool thing. But not Hulu, cause Hulu hates Boxee.

Unfortunately it crashed too often, and always needed coaxing to play files from my computer. My attempts to find a solution on the User Support Forums resulted in “It’s not the Boxee’s fault, rebuild your home network”. To use the car analogy of computers… I went looking for an alternate fuel car, and Boxee tried to sell me an AT-ST; all I need to do is replace all of the roads with walker paths.

I have an old Hacked TiVo that I’m comparing Boxee too. While the Hacked TiVo doesn’t stream from the Internet, or play Pandora, or unify episodes into shows, or any of the slick cool things that Boxee does… it does work. It reads files from my computer and it doesn’t crash. So I’m rating Boxee Box at 0.75 Hacked TiVos.

Boxee is awesome and has lots of potential. It might work great for your set up; but it didn’t work for mine. I’m not sure what my next step is, but I’m looking at the WDTV and the Micca brand of Media Players. Or I’ll just have to admit that I’m only doing this to avoid building a HTPC and just build it myself.