Let’s See If I Can Get A Boxee Box Running

Dug this thing out of a box a while ago. Never had a chance to play with it until now.

I’m an XBMC user from WAY back (8.10), and–despite the fact that Boxee had allegedly violated the license in making this commercial product–I was actually excited about a set-top box that any Joe Schmoe could plug in and use. Alas! It was just a little ahead of it’s time.

I was an early adopter of the concept, rolling my own HTPC from a used Dell Optiplex that I picked up for $100 at a local refurbisher. That thing lasted me several years until I had to downsize!

So, anyway, I never bought a Boxee Box, but I ran across this and wanted to see what the fuss was about, so here’s for an evening diversion. Pour yourself a drink and let’s play with this bad boy!

The box promises an Intel processor, full HD 1080P (2010 eat your heart out!), and easy set up.

Along with that SWEET QWERTY remote! Smart TV manufacturers should take note.

Quick check on the Wiki says it’s an Intel Atom (1.2GHz) with PowerVR SGX535 integrated graphics. 1GB RAM & 1GB NAND on board. It’s a CE4110 SOC, so I don’t think it’ll be worthwhile doing anything with the board itself–especially with a locked bootloader–but we’ll see!

You gotta hand it to the designers, this came around during a time when everyone was making their own proprietary UI, mostly on Blu-Ray players, so your options were usually Netflix and maybe Pandora. No other apps. Certainly nothing that would play YOUR files!

Nice name dropping for those “content partners” (aka “someone wrote a plugin for XBMC that scrapes this content”)

The QR code points to m.dlink.com/boxeebox which is, of course, long dead.

I don’t suppose there’s a mirror anywhere. A cursory search didn’t come up with anything.

Okay! Let’s open ‘er up!

Not much here. It’s actually smaller than I expected.

This remote is pretty awesome, though. I wonder how much Netflix paid to put that dedicated button on there 🤔

Let’s fire it up and see what we get!

Typing on the remote is a little awkward because there’s no shift (just caps lock) and keys are multiplexed with numbers and symbols.

Well, that’s not good. And I don’t have an Ethernet cable laying around…or do I?

Aha! Eureka!

Well, it was fun while it lasted! I wonder if this has to do with the servers being long dead.

I can’t tell if I’ve got a problem with the network interface or if Boxee just isn’t seeing the server it expects. Either way, I don’t think I want to put any more effort into getting it working. Especially if the only thing I can really do is run Boxee.

I did some checking and really, all I can do is put a hacked version of Boxee on there that runs more like Kodi 18. Which would be cool if I weren’t already running Kodi on my smart TV. 😕

I could install an Alpine environment on the Box, but I’d have to access it from inside Boxee, which makes it less than useful. I was kinda hoping for a cool looking little lightweight PC that I could turn into some fun appliance. Oh, well.

I do like the goofy “rising cube” aesthetic and the LED panel behind the Boxee logo on the front. I may cannibalize the parts and do something fun with them later.

Stay tuned.

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