The other night, D-link showed off its upcoming Boxee Box. It is a custom built appliance running Boxee on Linux. It comes with:
- SD Card Reader
- HDMI output port
- S/PDIF Digital Audio Out
- Stereo Analog Audio Out
- Ethernet RJ-45 connector
- 2 USB 2.0 ports
Boxee has mentioned that they are pushing to get support for Netflix’s Instant Streaming service. This could be hard for this D-link box since it is running on Linux. The main obstacle to Netflix streaming on Linux is that they use Microsoft’s Silverlight for playing the content. This could most likely be an easy fix with Linux’s open source alternative, Moonlight. Moonlight is for Silverlight, what Mono is for .NET. I look forward to seeing how that development unfolds so if you have any info regarding that, please let me know in the comments below.
This looks nice for some users that don’t need much more than a simple media player to interface with a home theater media server. However, it doesn’t have the ability to add a blu-ray drive to enable playback from blu-ray discs. And there isn’t much info what GPU it is using with that HDMI output or if it even supports output of both video and audio via the HDMI port. This thing is also a fairly ugly looking appliance. See the photos below from the D-Link website.
So due to the very strange form factor and lack of blu-ray drive support (which wouldn’t work anyway with the Linux OS), I don’t think I will be holding my breath for this one. Personally, I think I will hold off until the new ATI 57xx series cards drop a little more in price and then use one of them to build a custom HTPC with a blu-ray optical drive. What do you think about the new DSM-380 Boxee Box from D-Link? Will you be rushing out to buy one when they are finally released in the “first quarter of 2010?” Do you use something else as your home theater’s front end? An HTPC, a different set top box such as the Roku or Popcorn Hour? What are your requirements for the perfect home theater interface and front end? Let us know in the comment section!