First before I go into the ring with Boxee vs Roku, I would like to make a short introduction of the two contenders. Even though their names may sound like boxers from an exotic country, both the Boxee and the Roku are actually media boxes that allow you to watch different kinds of contents from the Internet or media stored on your personal computer on your TV instead of your computer screen.

While previously you used to download the media first to your computer and then watch it, with these two you will generally stream the media (instead of downloading) from a big selection of streaming media providers such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, Vudu, Pandora etc. You will subscribe to these content providers at a very nominal monthly subscription rate or you pay per view. However if you already owned downloaded material on the hard disk of your computer; both these players can also play popular media formats such as MPEG video, MP3 Audio and JPEG Photos from your hard disk.

The Boxee Vs Roku Comparison

I have presented the facts on a product-by-product basis in this Boxee vs Roku face off but before going straight into this Boxee vs Roku comparison, let me outline what are the common features in both products first:

  • Both have HDMI ports
  • Both can play common media such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video
  • Both can connect wirelessly to your home network
  • Both have apps that can connect to Facebook to allow you to share your photos, videos and links
  • Both allows the use of expanded memory via their micro SD slot

What Are The Features And Weaknesses Of The Boxee In This Boxee vs Roku Face Off

  • Boxee can play Vudu and Vudu with its latest Hollywood blockbusters and 5.1 sound channel is just great especially if you are a movie fan
  • The Netflix interface is better on Boxee than on Roku
  • Hulu Plus is not supported. Apparently this is not due to technical limitations but to commercial agreements that needs to be finalized by both parties
  • A big advantage of Boxee over Roku is that it uses open standards like SAMBA, DLNA and it has a QWERTY remote
  • It is very awesome especially if you have a lot of local content
  • It is able to play all other media from your network and movies from your PC's hard drive
  • The UI feels much slicker and looks much more refined than the Roku's
  • It is more polished and for everything it does, is does it quite well
  • It is more geared toward internet browsing and content and it searches the internet for the Apps, Channels and content and displays them in one location
  • A HDMI cable is included in the package
  • Even though this is subjected to personal preferences, overall I felt that Boxee has a better looking interface than Roku
  • It comes with 2 USB ports
  • It supports all channels like Vudu, Vevo, YouTube etc

What Are The Strength And Weaknesses Of The Roku In The Boxee Vs Roku Face Off

There are many different models of Ruku and with each of these models you pay a different price for a different feature. However the basic functions are common across these different models and the comparisons outlined here are based on the common features of the Roku.

  • Vudu not supported. This is unfortunate as Vudu has a great collection of the latest Hollywood blockbusters
  • The Netflix interface not as nice as the Boxee
  • Hulu Plus is available
  • It is very reliable and gives a more TV like experience
  • The HD processing is great
  • It is based on a “Channel” model. Out of the box, its “Channels” are configured for programs like YouTube, etc. and you add more “Channels” for your own services
  • Overall its interface is less elegant than that of the Boxee
  • Streaming local media on a large TV is slow as it tries to scale to fit the whole TV screen
  • You can use a remote app to control the box from your smartphone
  • The Roku is designed with Gaming in mind; so its controller has a directional pad and gaming A/B buttons
  • HDMI cable is not provided
  • Currently there is no good way to get access to music, photos and videos that are stored on a NAS (Network Area Storage) box but you can connect a portable hard disk directly to it through the USB port
  • Comes with 1 USB port

Overall, both media boxes do what they do well. However their focus is slightly on different things. If what you need is mainly streaming Netflix movies and watching Hulu Plus television shows, then you Roku fits the bill. It is affordable and it allows you to watch media from the net like a champ.

Source by James Causian