D-Link Boxee Box DSM-380 media streamer
Review D-Link’s Boxee box, also known by the catchy moniker of DSM-380, is aimed at a sector of the market that’s quite important in the US – streaming online media – but somewhat less so in the UK right now.
Media container? D-Link's Boxee box
It’s essentially a small form factor PC running the Boxee software, itself based on the excellent XBMC. Rather than a straightforward cube, it’s had the bottom sliced off, giving it the appearance of sinking into the table top.
One side has a Boxee logo that lights up when it’s running, while the other has an SD card slot, and the rear panel carries the ports. Video output is HDMI only, and can go up to 1080p – unlike Apple TV, which only does 720p. The external PSU is a standards plug-top unit.
The remote is a sort of bastard child of Apple TV and Google TV; the top surface has a play/pause button, a nav pad with central select, and a menu button. Flip it over and there’s a full Qwerty keypad, which makes searching for content much simpler.
Initial setup and configuration is straightforward, and you can connect using Wi-Fi or wired networks; it does seem to take a little while for the Boxee to start up, however, and the fan is alarmingly loud before the software has finished loading. After that it’s a background noise, but certainly noticeable in my living room.
Interfacing supports SD cards and external USB storage
Searching for content is one of the things that Boxee is quite good at; the interface looks quite slick, and you can search for movies or shows, and it’ll find matching online content for you, regardless of the provider, assuming they’re hooked up to the Boxee platform.
Next page: Movie goers?
D-Link DSM-3x0 = a very bad taste left in mouth
I've got a D-Link DSM-320 and the best way to describe my ownership impressions is to consult a thesaurus under the word "horrible". It's all of that.
It offers just a few Media Indexing services, and then because I don't live in the US of A, it disables most of those. Essentially all that remains is Live 365; and they spend every working hour of their lives trying to insert their perplexing financial model in-between what should be free Internet media sources and the end-user. Yeah right, subscription per month for what amounts to a link to a UDP stream - dream on Sunshine.
The DSM-320 is one of the worst appliances I've ever had the misfortune to purchase.
This relates to the DSM-380 because it's the same company, the same model range.
People asking why you would buy this rather than a Blu-Ray player have clearly not seen the media indexing features of Boxee/XBMC. Point it towards your films it will scrape imdb and various other sites for film synopsis, graphics, details of cast members etc etc. The interface is completely customisable, with some very pretty skins available. Various other plugins are available, including things like launching mythtv, console emulators (SNES etc), it will index your music collection in a similar way, giving band histories from lastfm, etc etc
The review does not do this justice, it focuses on streaming internet content, which is not what i generally use XBMC for. Except iPlayer, which i do use. We use it for a collection of disney films for the kids, and other films for ourselves, and to stream tvcatchup on occasion, controlled by a remote control from the couch.
Try XBMC or boxee in vmware, you'll get the point.
DVDs are fine for TV
So says somebody who I'm willing to bet does not have kids.
I use Boxee on a PC and it has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, since they started working on the boxee box updates for the download version are virtually non existent,
I agree with the comment regarding scraping IMDB for the cover art and other details. It works pretty damn well. All that is needed is the facility to override the automatically scraped details when required. Sometimes the cover art on IMDB is non-existent, extremely low res or just plain wrong and it would be nice to be able to upload the correct artwork when necessary.
I don't even bother with all the online streaming malarkey because I am in Australia and despite it constantly trying to entice me into watching "How I Met Your Mother" you find that any attempt to do so is met with "Sorry this content is not available in your area"