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Roku 2 XS vs Boxee

Updated on August 20, 2012
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Battle of the Media Boxes

Cable prices have been on the rise over the past few years and people have started looking for alternatives. A great alternative to cable is a media box. A media box allows you to stream TV shows and movies from the internet onto your TV using services like Hulu and Netflix. As media boxes become more and more popular more companies are starting to join the market. Two of the leading media boxes are the Roku Box and the Boxee Box. Other companies like Google and Apple have begun to introduce similar products. The Roku Box and Boxee Box are both media boxes, but they are also quite different.

Side by Side Comparison

Below I have captured a few aspects of each media box and have tried to explain how each is different. The Roku Box and Boxee Box are both great products and I have tried to highlight each boxes faults as well as their positive features. As you read the comparison you will see how each one is obviously a media box, but will learn just how drastically different each box is from the other. When shopping for a media box you need to really consider what you want to use it for. You should ask yourself a few questions such as:

  • Do you want the media box for movies or TV shows?
  • Is social media important to you?
  • Do you want to view your photos and listen to your music on the media box?

Boxee Review

The Boxee Box is another great product that can be very affordable if you can connect your PC to your TV. The Boxee Box has a lot of interesting features that other media boxes do not offer. Below are some of the key features you'll need to know about.

Price

The Boxee Box can actually be free if you own a computer that is connected to a television. You simply need to download the software to your computer and you'll have immediate access to all of Boxee Box's channels. If you don't have a computer connected, you'll need to purchase the hardware which is currently $180.

Content

Boxee Box has a lot of content as well, but much of it needs to be purchased. They have an excellent TV show and movie library where you can find free movies as well as movies you need to pay for. They also have apps for your Netflix, Vudu and even your Spotify accounts. Boxee Box unfortunately does not have a Hulu app. However, they do provide the sports apps and Pandora app that the Roku Box provides as well.

Remote Control

The Boxee Box probably has one of the nicest remotes that I have seen with a media box. The front side is simple and easy to understand, while the backside has a full QWERTY keyboard. Having the QWERTY keyboard is a huge help when you are trying to search for you favorite movie on Netflix.

Key Features

The people at Boxee Box offer a unique product. They not only provide software for your computer but they also provide the option of purchasing the hardware for your TV. The Boxee Box offers a lot of features that other media boxes do not offer. For instance the Boxee Box can connect to your Facebook and Twitter accounts so you can see what your friends are watching and share with them what you are watching. The Boxee Box also has two USB ports and can read almost any type of file which is a huge benefit over the Roku Box. The interface on the Boxee Box is easy to use and looks nice. Boxee Box has also recently introduced Boxee Live TV which adds information and social networking to the channels you receive over a digital antenna.

Roku Review

The Roku Box is slowly becoming the most popular media box. Its affordable price, easy setup process and overall quality has made the Roku box incredibly popular. Let's go over some of the key factors that you'll need to know when deciding which media box to purchase.

Price

The Roku Box is unique in that it comes in different models that range in price from $49.00 (Roku LT) to $99.00 (Roku 2 XS). Soon Roku will be introducing their new Roku Streaming Stick which is a smaller version that looks much like a flash drive which should cost between $50 and $100.

Content

When considering a media box you need to make sure the media box provides a ton of content. I feel the Roku Box is the king of content; they currently have over 400 channels. Many of these channels could use some improvement and are junk, but some of the channels are really entertaining. A key feature that Roku has that other media boxes don't have is a Hulu channel. However, if you were hoping for a YouTube channel you will be out of luck.

Remote Controls

Roku introduced a motion based remote with the Roku 2 XS model. The remote functions similar to how a Wii game controller works. The remote also works using Bluetooth rather than infrared, which allows you to hide the Roku Box since it doesn't need a line-of-sight with the remote.

Key Features

The Roku Box brand keeps growing and coming out with innovative ideas on how to get your media from your computer to your TV. The company started with a TV box that delivered Netflix to your TV and now has over 400 channels and 4 different models. However, the Roku Box does lack in the social media department. The Roku Box hardly connects to your Facebook account and doesn't connect to Twitter at all. Another feature that needs improvement is the interface you have to interact with. The overall interface is very basic and not that impressive, it actually looks cheap. Roku does allow you to sort your channels in any order, but that is as far as it goes.

Product Specifications

Specification
Roku 2 XS
Boxee Box
Resolution
1080i (w/ HDMI Cable)
1080p (w/HDMI cable)
Size
3.3 x 3.3 x .9 3 oz.
4.5 x 4.5 x 4.6 2.5 lbs.
Expandable Memory
Micro SD and USB Flash
Micro SD and USB Flash
Wireless N-Network
Yes
Yes
Readable Video File Types
MKV, MP4, MOV, WMV/ASF
Adobe Flash 10.1, FLV/On2 VP6 , H.264 AVC, VC-1, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX 3/4/5/6, Xvid, and WMV9
Readable Audio File Types
AAC, MP3
MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AIF/AIFF, AC3/AAC, OGG, FLAC, DTS
Readable Photo Types
JPG, PNG
JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TIFF.
Price
$49 - $99
$180

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My Recommendation

Overall I think I would recommend the Roku Box simply because it's easy to use, easy to setup and provides a ton of content that is constantly being updated. The Roku Box does have a few faults, but it's a very dependable piece of hardware if your just looking for a way to watch Netflix and Hulu on your TV.

If you a person who wants the social media connectivity and plan to use your media box to display photos, playback music files, and to show off your recorded movies than I suggest you go with the Boxee Box. The Boxee Box can read nearly any type of file which is perfect for someone who creates a lot of their own content.

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    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is a nice and very balanced review. I like the fact that you've offered information on more than one product, as well as a recommendation. I have the Roku, and it's great for streaming Netflix. As you said, many of the other channels are junk (I guess we get our money's worth, since many are free). But some of the free channels are fun and campy. I noticed they keep adding new channels - every time I look, it seems there are new choices.

      Thanks for your thoughtful review! Voted up and useful.

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