The Boxee Box: Sizing Up The Competition

The Boxee Box is tiny. Most of the Internet knows that. But when compared directly to standard A/V devices, its tiny stature really sinks in. (ha) It has about the same footprint as a new Roku or Apple TV, but the sinking box design makes the actual space it takes up a bit larger. Still, it’s smaller than either one of the Google TV boxes and just about every other AV device. The same goes for the remote. I’m not sure if this is a good thing though.

The remote is about the same length as a dollar bill and about a half inch thick in the center. It’s actually not all that comfy to hold since it’s so small. Maybe if there was a little more heft to it, but it feels about the same weight as a marshmallow. At least the QWERTY keypad on the backside feels great. The tactile response is very satisfying. Backlit keys would be wonderful for version 2.

My main annoyance with it is that it’s hard to pick up the remote and know without looking that it’s in the correct orientation. There’s only really three buttons on the remote with the play button above and a back button below a navigational pad. Since there’s no marker or nub on either of the buttons, often I’ll pick up the remote and hit the play button when I really mean to hit the back button. Frustrating.

Sure, it’s small, but the sinking box form factor nullifies a lot of advantages. You can’t stuff it away anywhere. It’s been said that’s exactly why it’s designed as such. You know, so people have to show it off. I guess that’s noble, but it will surely turn off some potential buyers. I don’t have a space for it in my office. My AV rack is a re-purposed printer cart shoved under the table shown in the pictures. Both of the Google TV units, along with nearly any other media streamer, slide nicely on top of my receiver — not the Boxee Box.

tl;dr The Boxee Box is small but the strange form factor sucks. Full initial impressions coming in a bit.