Media Streamers and Hubs Guide
If it isn't obvious by now, the Boxee with its shaved base appears very much like a semi-submerged cube. Clad in black with a glossy front, D-Link's unconventional design has turned this media hub almost into a reluctant art form. Designed by Astro Studios, some naysayers have also bemoaned that the Boxee isn't stackable due to its odd shape. To that we'd say - who would stack another AV component on top of a typical small media player? Musings aside, the Boxee shouldn't occupy too much decl space with its compact 115 by 115 mm form factor. The concave power button is conveniently placed on top of the unit, but can be hard to reach if the box is placed in tighter confines.
Connectivity wise, it is apparent D-Link is out to woo the digital crowd on the whole. Among them are LAN, HDMI (v1.3) and optical audio ports plus two USB 2.0 slots. The only trace of an analog outlet would be its pair of stereo RCA jacks. Being so, owners of archaic tellies with limited composite or component inputs will have to give the Boxee a miss. Since most of the ports are located behind, ensure there's sufficient space for your hands to access the rear panel when the unit is mounted. By its side sits a SD/MMC slot which supports SDHC cards up to 32GB in capacity. One sweet perk, however, is the Boxee's built-in 802.11n wireless feature.
As for its remote, the two-sided wand might seem like a trendy and functional piece of hardware at first sight. It includes a D-pad with basic controls on one side and a set of QWERTY keys on the other. Truth is, we have a tendency to press the buttons on the flip side when punching the text buttons. To add, managing the on-screen cursor is also a tad tricky with the directional pad. It should have acted more like a wand like in LG's latest additional remote accessory for their TVs, but that will significantly push up the cost of the product. More on the remote stick's usability when we tackle the Boxee's applications over at the next page.