As an early adopter I thought I would list some of things that lead me to be less than satisfied with my purchase. (In fact I wrote this a little while ago, and have now decided to return both my Boxee Boxes and go for a Foxconn NT330i, which boots XBMC Live from a USB stick)
1. I was encouraged, by the website, to download the beta of the software to experience what the Boxee box would give me. I did so, and very much liked the user interface. However upon setting up the Boxee box this was not what I got. The tasteful typography is gone and replaced with a fairly hideous font rendering and a drab grey look.
2. “Featured". The Boxee box fails on its very first screen. Half of it is dominated by “featured" videos. Not only is this a poor use of screen space (bearing in mind that the Boxee box is pretty much destined for HDTV and “featured" only shows three videos) but it is completely irrelevant to most users. With the great integration of Boxee, Twitter and Facebook, why would I want to look at what someone at Boxee HQ thinks is interesting? The very nature of mankind is that we are all different, and that is why social networks exist, grouping together people with similar interests. Can you honestly ever say you've watched “featured" videos on most websites like YouTube? This page should be used for more videos, and more relevant videos e.g. videos from my friend's feeds.
3. Movies. I should not be seeing paid movies in the lists of online content, unless I specifically have a subscription to that content. Boxee should have feature to switch this off, particularly as it make such an issue of providing so much “free" content. "Mubi" is a prime example of this.
4. Continuing on from what I said in 2., this box is designed for HDTV. Rather more can be fitted on screen–movie and TV show descriptions should not be cut off for lack of screen real estate.
5. It would be nice to have a somewhat wider beta testing environment, as shown by the recent SP3 problems.
6. Feature should be implemented when they work, having been tested in beta. For example the BBC iPlayer app (presumably provided by Boxee themselves) does not work properly – not only does it not start auto playing a video you have chosen, or go full screen (leaving you to use the painful Boxee mouse emulation), but if you jump to a later point in the program or movie the picture will freeze.
7. Better flash video support. If Boxee can obtain from the website the duration and current position in a Flash video then there is no reason I can see why it could not provide support for jumping to a specific time, or for that matter having a rather more sensible skip time assigned to the left and right buttons.
8. This is a small form factor PC. £199 is not a small price to pay for a media player, but about what one would pay for a small PC. However unlike the PC option I am 'locked out' of doing whatever I want to it. I can't make my own firmware as Boxee requires 'signed' code, i.e. you can't just upload your own Linux build onto it. You can only do what Boxee Team decide you can do. To an extent I understand that - it's the Apple approach to make an effective and usable environment for pretty much any user of any skill level. What I object to is the removal of the Telnet 'hack' which allowed more experienced users to mess around with their own equipment. I have other devices like this - an iPhone and an iPad, but there's a difference. These aren't jailbroken as THEY WORK. They do what I want. Boxee DOESN'T … and I'm afraid I'm not prepared to stand around until it does.