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In Defense Of… the Boxee Box by D-Link

There is no perfect anything. Even your most cherished things in life: your smartphone, your spouse, your choice of entertainment… all of these things can and do have downsides. You just overlook them because the good outweighs the bad. Hopefully.

Set-top media devices are a shining example of a product that, depending on its feature set, can appeal to a wide variety of consumers. For some people, a DVD or Blu Ray player with built in Netflix and Hulu capabilities are more than enough to keep them happy forever. For others, an inexpensive Home Theater PC type device that will play their local files is more desirable. Still others still are chasing after the holy grail of these types of devices: a set-top box that will play both local files and all available web content.

Unfortunately no such device exists, nor do I think we’ll ever see one (at least not until a couple generations of network TV executives die off). While not blatantly doing so, the Boxee Box from D-Link appeared to be hinting at it being “the perfect device for all”. As a result, a handful of very vocal customers have been quite displeased with the product, and in its current form it most certainly is not perfect. You might be seeing some harsh comments in tech forums or in the reviews section on Amazon.

If you’re still on the fence though, allow me to attempt a different spin on it.

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XM, Baby!

So I turned 34 on Monday, and one of the gifts my lovely bride bestowed upon me was the gift of satellite radio.  Well, the idea of satellite radio.  Turns out this stuff is complicated, and so research needed to be done to determine exactly what we wanted.  I had been given homework as a gift.

Sirius and XM Radio merged recently, but they still provide two different channel lineups.  So the first order of business was to compare the two and figure out exactly which one gave us everything we wanted.  I printed up each lineup and eliminated every channel that both services share.  When I was done, there were a few channels that XM offered that Sirius did not.  So XM won.  We purchased our equipment and patiently waited for it to arrive.

I know people have been upset with the content on Sirius/XM after the merger, but for me it'll still be better than what we have now.  I want to be able to tune to CNN in the car when something big is going down.  I want to be able to listen to a channel that has more than three Genesis songs in the small box of records it plays over and over and over again.  And commericals… Jesus Christ Monkey Balls do I hate modern day radio commericals.

It was delivered last night, and after spending the night fiddling with settings and getting things activated, this morning was my first real experience with all the new entertainment options.  That led to this text conversation between myself and my beautiful bride as I was heading in to work:

Me: Snow!
Bride: What?
Me: He's on the radio!
Bride: Who?
Me: He was a Vanilla Ice wannabe.
Bride: I think this qualifies as our Strangest Conversation Evah

Turns out Snow was actually a Canadian reggae artist.  But he sucked like a Vanilla Ice wannabe.  You can learn more about Snow (and others) by visiting your local Wikipedia.

Of course things can't be easy, knowing me.  The day after we committed to getting satellite radio, it was reported that the company is considering bankruptcy thanks to their insane amount of debt.  Whee.  Rumor has it today though that Sirius/XM has reached out to DirecTV for investment help, and that's actually a bit of good news.  Who knows.  I can't imagine a service with 20 million subscribers would go under.

But I'll go month to month until they sort out their nonsense.  Snow!