Brendan Dawes
The Aesthetics of Form and Code

Why the Boxee Box isn't for me

I really want to love the Boxee Box but try as I might it looks like
in its present form at least the Boxee Box isn't for me.

I've owned an Apple TV for a couple of years and even though it can be
buggy and has a hateful, joyless, interface it's always worked for me.
I haven't watched a DVD through a DVD player for a long time and I
regularly rent and buy movies through the Apple TV interface. Call me
old fashioned but I believe movies are worth paying for. But even
though the Apple TV was working for me I was fascinated by the Boxee
Box plus I'm a sucker for shiny new devices especially when they're
wrapped in such beautiful industrial design as the Boxee Box is.

I like the Boxee's interface way more than the Apple TV but all this
wasn't enough to replace the Apple TV as my media box. This was down
to one one thing: content. In the UK at least the ability to rent
movies—and by that I mean new releases—is null and void. Whereas with
the Apple TV I can browse the latest releases with the Boxee Box
there's no such choice. That for me is a deal breaker. I haven't been
to a DVD rental shop in years and as for bit torrent that doesn't
really work when you want to watch something now—not to mention the
moral question.

And then there's the terrible user experience in some of the so called
content channels. Channel Five simply launches a web browser in which
you have to navigate via an onscreen mouse. This is not a good user
experience for the masses. It's not a good user experience for
anybody.

As for the ability to watch videos on You Tube and the like, who
cares? Certainly not me. I want quality movies not a thousand vides of
cats on skateboards. Nor do i feel the need to share what I've just
watched, and anyway if I do I can do that with my phone.

Boxee—in the UK at least—seriously needs some quality content
partners; get LoveFilm on there and it could make a huge difference.
In its present offering the Boxee Box still feels like a box for geeks
who want to get their torrented movies on the TV. Right now, even with
it's annoying DRM, the Apple TV still wins hands down.