Thought I would post my first impressions after using Boxee for a few hours on my Windows HTPC. I am not a newbie to the HTPC World, my current setup is WMC7 x64 with MyMovies and TMT3 which is doing me proud. Main usage is to play blu-ray (ISO+File Structure), mkv and MP4 (Camcorder) files. as well as display family photos.
1. Really easy to use
2. Lots of potential
3. Fast interface
4. If everything worked I would not hesitate in recommending it to friends/family.
1. iPlayer doesn't work
2. Picasa doesn't work - Can't watch video clips and only thumbnails of pictures work.
3. MP4 videos only play audio, no picture
4. Blu-ray Movies don't play via ISO or Blu-ray file structure
5. Boxee Resolution doesn't seem to allow 1080p, only 24p 1080i, even though windows desktop is set to 1080p. Causing tearing on HD videos.
6. No auto switching of resolution based on file content 24p/PAL/NTSC
7. Quality of video playback doesn't seem as good as WMC or TMT3, might be due to resolution issue.
8. No separation between Home Videos and Movies and TV content. For example my home movies recorded with my camcorder/phone/camera etc. I would like stored under My Videos. Movies get stored under movies, and TV shows get stored under TV. For now I set my home videos as a Photos folder to avoid them polluting the movies listing.
9. Windows MCE Remote works, but buttons aren't assigned correctly for video playback. For example pause and play and volume don't work from the correct buttons.
10. Does bit streaming work for HD audio streams with ATI cards. Based on lack of blu-ray support I think probably not, albeit haven't tested it on mkv's.
11. Apps need to be categorised by type, too many to scroll through and you have little idea what they do.
12. Crashed a few times when navigating my mass of home movies.
13. Some TV Show content only displayed on half the TV screen. Other BBC content (not via iplayer) only displayed on screen when I alt-tab, otherwise I only get audio.
14. Movies identified are duplicated e.g. Band of Brother appears five times, one for each episode (mkv file), rather than just once, and an episode list being created. Needs improved movie collection management.
What it is trying to do is on the money, and I commend Boxee team for putting their balls on the line and trying to create something that will hopefully create them lots of bread and butter. However what I want out of a media hub, it is behind the curve ball, especially when it comes to playing local HD content. The Apps are nice if they work, but the core functionality is to play content and this is where it falls short, so I am worried the Boxee box is going to miss the boat and be another wannabee that never made it. Nobody wants to convert their movies from their original format, they don't want to lose quality or wait hours trying to re-encode movies, then only to find the subtitles have disappeared or the audio no longer plays.
I just want to rip everything I own to the default ISO, File Structure, MP3 etc. and whatever format I download content in, I want to be able to play it, this seems more difficult that putting the moon on a stick.
Overall Rating: 5/10