You've probably heard of Boxee – media centre software that emerged out of the development of XBMC back in 2008. From the initial alpha releases, through a lengthy beta period to today, the company have stated their goal is to support as many third-party devices and operating systems as possible. You can find a version of Boxee for most of the major operating systems, but the app took a large step forward in 2010 when Boxee teamed up with D-Link to release their own hardware, in the form of the £199 Boxee Box.
Whilst the world may have expected Boxee to take on the world in 2011, things went a little awry with the cancellation of a planned (and announced) integrated TV with ViewSonic and a protracted development period for the company's iPad app. Iomega TV With Boxee, announced in January 2011 and the subject of today's review, has got out of the blocks but not without bruises. It's taken almost a year to hit the market, and Iomega have already announced that the product will not ship in the US. We'll be testing the UK model today. A sign of reducing confidence in Boxee, or a smart move to only deploy where the company has been able to license a broad range of high-quality, third party content? We'll find out.
Iomega TV With Boxee sits at the top of Iomega's digital media receiver line, displacing the £116 Screenplay DX HD Media Player. At £220 for the equivalent new model without storage, and significantly more if you do wish to add on board storage, the inclusion of the Boxee software comes at a significant premium – especially considering the availability of a certain Apple TV at just £99. Boxee can certainly boast a feature set that beats Cupertino's “hobby” device (think apps, social network integration and 1080p HD support) and indeed, the Iomega TV ships with a number of NAS-related features that aren't available on D-Link's Boxee Box but it'll be between you and your wallet to decide whether you're happy to pay the premium for those add-ons.
What’s in the Box?
Iomega shipped us the entry-level Iomega TV with Boxee for review. The key difference between this model and others in the range is the lack of an integrated hard drive (1TB and 2TB models are also available). This is the model to go for if you're already storing your media on a network device such as a home server, NAS or dedicated PC/Mac. However, if you're currently lacking a hub to store your music, movies and photos, you can slip a hard drive into the Iomega TV at a later date or plump for one of the Iomega TV With Boxee + Storage models to enable the device's NAS features. These include an on board DLNA media server (to push your content to other devices on the network), iTunes Server, support for Iomega's Personal Cloud service (remote file sharing and backup – see previous reviews for more).
The NAS features elevate the Iomega TV from the competing Boxee Box, but may or may not be relevant to your existing set-up. That said, Iomega have nicely designed in flexibility, so if you need a basic NAS (for media storage in particular, but not exclusively so), the Iomega TV can fit the bill.
Open up the box, and you'll discover:
- Iomega TV
- QWERTY Remote
- HDMI cable
- Power supply
- Quick Start Guide
- Wi-Fi Adaptor
- Solutions CD with software
Unboxing Iomega TV With Boxee
Iomega TV with Boxee is a compact unit, reminiscent of the company's previous Screenplay range in design. It's low profile in height, so depending on your cabinet size, it can sit on top of a DVD or Blu-ray player on the shelf – just ensure you have sufficient ventilation around the box.