D-Link tips Linux-based Boxee box

Last updated Dec 8, 2009 — 5653 views

D-Link unveiled its soon-to-be-released “Boxee Box” at Boxee’s preview of Boxee Beta in New York last night. Few details have been disclosed other than that it runs Boxee on Linux, provides HDMI and both analog and digital audio outputs, and hooks up to the Internet via either WiFi or Ethernet.

We contacted Boxee and D-Link, but were unsuccessful at prying much more out of them than what’s listed on D-Link’s Boxee Box web page.

D-Link’s out-of-kilter DM-380 Boxee Box
(Click image to enlarge)

An SD Card slot, located on the device’s side, is visible in photo above. The following I/O and power connections are shown in the photo following the list:

  • HDMI port
  • Optical digital audio (S/PDIF) out
  • Stereo analog audio out
  • Ethernet RJ-45 connector
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • AC power input jack

The DM-380’s rear panel connections
(Click image to enlarge)

The unusually shaped box measures 4.7-inches on a side and has a flush power button on its top. It was designed by Astro Studios, which counts among its past accomplishments Microsoft’s stylish Xbox 360+

Two more views of the DM-380
(Click each to enlarge)

Here are several screenshots, courtesy of by D-Link, showing Boxee running on the device (click each thumbnail for a larger view):

Boxee running on D-Link’s DM-380 Boxee Box
(Click each thumbnail to enlarge)

Price? Availability?

Again, Boxee and D-Link are being tight-lipped as to any details beyond what can be seen in the photos above. However, rumor has it that the device will be priced at “under $200,” and will be introduced in the first quarter of 2010. According to Boxee, the DM-380 will be demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

But will it stream Netflix video-on-demand?

With Roku now offering its Netflix-capable Roku Player Internet A/V-streaming set-top-box in three models priced at $80, $100, and $130, it would seem that the bar is set relative to Netflix functionality. To date, however, no Linux-based products have shown up streaming Netflix beyond the Roku box.

Asked if D-Link’s DM-380 would be offering Netflix VOD streaming, given its embedded Linux OS, a source within Boxee replied, “Our goal is to have it support Netflix.” They’ve been saying that for about a year now — let’s hope it’s finally true!

In the mean time, there’s always DeviceGuru’s own DIY Boxee Box!

12 responses to “D-Link tips Linux-based Boxee box”

  1. Ryan says:

    No VGA hookup? Guess I’ll have to upgrade to another tv.

  2. Ugly says:

    This is straight up ugly. Wont fit on entertainment center shelves. Boxee should look for partners in the HDTV market and implement their devices directly on the TV or make a better form factor that fits in with current entertainment systems.

  3. useful, not artsy says:

    I wish companies would make items in useful shapes, rather than trying to make them artsy. Linksys, netgear, etc are all making routers, etc that are horribly designed in terms of fitting them in with other gear. They are all odd shapes that take up more room than needed and just won’t stack with other items. This item is a prime example of just plain dumb design.

  4. puddles says:

    This is a delightful industrial design. I would not mind putting this box on my TV shelf at all. There is no need to stack this on top of another box, if one can be made to play all the media you need.

    I personally have no need to be “stacking boxes” on top of each other at home. I do that at work, with rackmount equipments. At home, I would much rather have a single box (or two) that does everything.

  5. Ugly (cubed) says:

    HATE THAT SHAPE. Why can’t they make something useful that fits in with the 10 other media elements on my shelf. I love Boxee, I was looking forward to a device like this – BUT I AIN’T BRINGING THAT INTO MY HOUSE.

  6. Dav says:

    Is it just me or do the photos of the unit seem to contradict each other? Not sure which is the real deal?

  7. DeviceGuru says:

    @Dav: I believe they’re consistent, but it’s hard to wrap your head around the asymmetry of the enclosure design. Also, I think there may be some parallax issues working against visualizing what’s going on. Someone should build a 3D model of it 😉

  8. Engineer says:

    It’s a great looking design, but it puts form before function.

    @puddles: Does it connect to my speakers to pump out surround sound? Does it play and record DVDs, play Blue-Ray? Does it plug directly into my dish as a receiver? What about supporting picture in picture? Nope? Well, then it needs to stack on the things that do the job(s) that it can’t.

    End result: it’s a pompous design.

    Even if it did do everything that I want it to do, it would be priced too high, and as soon as a new format/device/capability came up that required another box (or the old one died), I’d have to sell my old all-in-one device to get the new one. It’s much easier to just replace/upgrade a single component. That’s why the marked has settled on distinct components, and will likely continue to do until the day that we all have completely software/hardware reconfigurable generic devices.

  9. puddles says:

    The sound would likely be output via HDMI so yes, your surround speakers would work just fine. Play DVD? Not in its current form, but they could easily add USB DVD drive on top, maybe make that one transparent or something to give the haters something else to get worked up about. Besides, it’s got an ethernet port, and I already have a library of movies on the network anyway, so that’s a non-issue for me. Picture-in-picture could well be a function of the TV. Plugging this into the dish as a receiver? Not unless the signal itself is unencrypted anyway so that’s a moot point. HD homerun is a candidate, but again that depends on having (or you being happy with) clear QAM.

    OK, that’s enough … I really don’t expect this to be end-all box of all boxes. I just had to reply since the earlier responses had been negative and overly critical of its form.

    So what if it looks different? Some of us appreciate being different. Don’t decide for the rest of us. Don’t decide whether or not it will / will not fit with MY set of equipments. Don’t decide HOW I organize my equipments. Sure, you can say it’s impractical for certain arrangements and I would agree with that.

    Does form override function? For me, that’s not an accurate question. The form does not hinder its function, at my place. Let’s leave it at that.

  10. mc says:

    To quote:

    “To date, however, no Linux-based products have shown up streaming Netflix beyond the Roku box.”

    That statement is incorrect. The LG and Samsung blu-ray players each run Netflix and are each linux platforms. You don’t get access to a console, obviously, but the linux is there, verily.

  11. RichardM says:

    I can’t say I really care for the design. Personally I’d rather throw together a Mini-ITX build and run the software through a smaller box that would blend in better to the decor. I love some of the DYI Boxee ideas, those are pretty slick!

  12. AntiChrist says:

    “Whatever it is, our ROKU is the BEST”….