The Boxee box first hand impressions

While attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas this year, we had a chance to receive a demo of the Boxee box (built by D-Link) straight from the founder and CEO of Boxee, Avner Ronen.

We first covered Boxee in its own box when it was first announced back in December. Just recently, more details on the Boxee box hardware have been released, specifically that it will be powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 2 (T20) platform. This platform boasts a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU that has extra graphics power that NVIDIA is known for.

The Boxee box supports the playback of local (USB storage or local network content) 1080p content and also streaming HD internet video. The player supports Adobe Flash 10.1, allowing playback of the majority of content on the web. 802.11N wireless technology connects the hardware to your network with ease and an HDMI output pipes it to your HDTV.

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We like the unique design of the hardware, an offset cube that appears to be jutting out of the flat surface that it sits on. The Boxee logo and name glow green while it’s in use. It looks good.

As we watched the Boxee demo first hand, it was evident that Boxee is focused on providing a great user experience. It was very easy to navigate between different content and providers.

Users can search for a specific type of content, a certain TV show for example, and Boxee will display results for that TV show across all of its available sources, all the websites and all your local content. Very cool.

The remote control is another welcome innovation, which we also mentioned in our innovative remote controls article. A full QWERTY keyboard on the backside of the remote control allows you to search for content with ease. No more hunting and pecking at characters one by one on a virtual keyboard.

Boxee also supports Hulu and YouTube, two must-have internet video providers on a web TV solution. How does it do that? The Boxee box actually launches these sites in a browser in the background and then delivers the content to you in full screen.

The Boxee box is expected to launch in the first half of 2010 for under $200. So far, we’re very impressed.