Everyone has probably heard about the Boxee Box by now, but it was up there as one of the coolest things I saw at CES this year, and I had a chance to speak with Casey Pugh (creator of Star Wars: Uncut, a crowdsourced project to re-shoot Star Wars scene by scene with fans in place of the actors!) about the Boxee Box, it’s really interesting remote, and the way the Boxee Box works.
The Boxee Box was amazing to use, the interface was really clean and easy to use, and CES was the first time a lot of people had a chance to actually play with the Boxee Box, which has been anticipated for months but released and unveiled for the first time in action at CES. The Boxee Box is clearly a media extender, and while it doesn’t have storage of its own, it can reach out across your home network and out to the Internet to pull in music, movies, and other content that you own or have rights to watch and bring it in to your HDTV effortlessly.
When you watch that content and you like what you see, you can rate it using the Boxee software, share what you’re watching and what you thought about it with your friends, and do it all without inturrupting the media you’re watching. The D-Link hardware and the NVidia chipset under the hood makes for a really powerful set-top box as well, and the fact that it can play just about any audio or video codec or format you throw at it helps as well.
Boxee is a completely open platform as well – the software is still available for you to install on any Mac, PC, or even XBox you choose, and speaking with Casey he pointed out that Boxee has no plans to close off the software just because there’s a hardware platform on the market that comes with it too – so you can still roll your own Boxee Box, but if you don’t want to, you can buy one.
The remote was also interesting: on the front it works just like any remote – complete with a d-pad and selection buttons, but on the flip side it has a full QWERTY keyboard for typing in updates to your social networks, writing short reviews for the media you’re enjoying, rating things you see, and searching your media library without having to click down a hundred times to find something you want to watch. All in all, the Boxee Box was as impressive in action as it is to read about, and I’m seriously considering getting one.
Check out a video I shot while playing with the Boxee Box:
And head over to Boxee.tv for more information on the box and details on how to get one: