Boxee Box media streamer
The Boxee Box is part HD media player and part HD media streamer. One look at the form factor, and you know this Box will stand out among all the other gadgets in your home theatre console. It has a number of connectivity options—HDMI out, optical audio out, two USB inputs and a memory card slot.
Standout: The Boxee Box and remote
As a media player, it upscales your standard video content to HD with very high quality, if you are willing to tweak it a little for your TV. File playback is seamless, and it handles all major file formats.
The best thing about Boxee is that you can install the Boxee Media Manager app on your PC, and use that to wirelessly stream video content to the Boxee Box connected to your TV.
The only drawback was that Blu-ray videos had a little stutter, but everything else played smoothly. The Boxee remote is also excellent. One side has media remote functions—menu, pause/play, direction. The other side has a full keypad, useful for accessing Web apps for Boxee, including YouTube and Grooveshark, and a full Web browser.
Exciting apps such as Netflix are not available in India, which is quite sad. It is definitely on the expensive side, but that is the only real fault we could find with this device.
HD media streamer
Resolution: 1080p upscale resolution
Connectivity: 2 USB ports
Storage: Memory card slot
Price: Rs 12,999
Build quality: 7.5
Value for money: 5.5
*Ratings out of 10
ZOTAC ZBox Nano Plus AD 10
ZOTAC scores another win with this mini PC. Known for packing in many features into the mini-ITX form factor, ZOTAC has managed to up the ante with the ZBox Nano Plus, which makes use of a nano-ITX (12x12cm) board. Few people are aware of the mini-ITX form factor, even fewer will know about the nano-ITX. The glossy black surface of the ZBox with aluminium sides seems quite similar to Apple Inc.’s theme; however, this is much smaller than the Mac Mini.
The ZOTAC ZBox Nano Plus
Also included is a Media Center edition remote control and an infrared receiver.
What really caught our attention was the base of the unit. It’s actually a standard Vesa mount. So if you have a monitor that meets the Vesa standard, then you can attach the base on to the back of your monitor, and the ZBox Nano will easily latch on to it. You can convert your monitor into an all-in-one with this. They may as well market it as such. It features two USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port too. So HD movies can easily be played via an external without any slowdown.
It’s quite easy to access the memory and HDD—unscrew the four thumbscrews on the bottom and the Vesa mount plate comes off. You can easily upgrade your drive and memory capacity. One might assume that the unit could heat up considerably, given the small form factor—however, the unit is surprisingly cool.
The AMD model with 2 GB RAM and 320 GB HDD makes for a great home theatre personal computer (HTPC) option, allowing you to use your old flat panel TV as a connected device, with full Internet access and media capabilities—you can connect your external hard disk or USB drives, and easily access any content on them.
CPU: AMD E-350 1.6GHz
GPU: AMD Radeon HD6310
RAM: 2 GB DDR3 1066MHz
HDD: 320 GB
Price: Rs 18,999
Build quality: 7
Value for money: 8
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