Media

Boxee TV adds a slew of features it should have had at launch

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As disappointed as I was in the Boxee TV during my review, it’s still hooked up to my HDTV in the hopes it will eventually get better.

Today, Boxee announced that it’s rolling out a major new update, and it looks like this upgrade addresses many of my initial issues. You can now schedule and manage cloud DVR recordings right from the Boxee TV (previously it required that you log onto a website with your phone or tablet), play back files from DLNA servers on your network, and resume playback from DVR recordings.

The update also includes a number of bug fixes, which hopefully means I won’t have to rely as much on Boxee TV’s hand reset button.

In my brief testing of the update this morning, I was able to start recording an episode of a show while watching it, and I also scheduled a recording for a show airing later directly from Boxee TV’s on-screen guide. While it’s nice to have the flexibility to choose and manage recordings on the device now, Boxee TV’s cloud DVR feature is still lacking when it comes to basic DVR features.

You can’t pause or rewind live TV, and you also can’t immediately access a recording until it’s processed by Boxee’s servers. Basic DVR features are complicated by the way Boxee TV handles recordings — instead of storing them locally on the device, it sends them directly to its servers. That allows the company to offer “unlimited DVR” capabilities with no storage limits, but it makes working with recordings far more difficult.

I didn’t have a chance to test out the DLNA streaming feature, but that should be a nice addition for Boxee’s existing fans. It lets the Boxee TV play back videos, music, and photos from DLNA servers on PCs. It’s not something average users will likely deal with, but for the techie crowd that felt slighted by the Boxee TV’s lack of hardcore media streaming features, it’s a nice addition.

I’ve only had about an hour to test the update, but I’m hoping it fixes the shocking instability issues I noticed with the Boxee TV. I’ve often had to reset the device several times during viewing sessions over the past few months, which was surprising for a device that’s been in stores since last November.