The set-top box was rolled out last October, and so far, it's been a work in progress.
The update's biggest enhancement is the addition of DLNA, that network magic that lets you view videos, photos or listen to music from any computer on your local network. Boxee has enabled DLNA to work through its File Browser app.
Keep in mind that while DLNA is useful, it's not quite as versatile as the ability to share a variety of video file types over your network via SMB. That's a trick Boxee's previous product, the artfully shaped Boxee Box, performed so well.
Why no SMB shares? If the Boxee TV's situation is anything like that of the Western Digital WD TV Play ($70), the additional hardware stack required for SMB sharing over a network could have been a cost consideration. That lack of SMB sharing would help keep the price of the Boxee TV at $99, a bargain for a DVR.
We've asked Boxee representatives why this new update enables DLNA but not SMB shares, and will update this post as soon as we receive a response.
What else is now? Well, if there are still any 3D fans left on the planet, they'll be happy to see that Boxee TV's Vudu app can now stream 3D video. In addition, the device's digital media renderer (DMR) uses the Boxee TV's newfound DLNA capability to wirelessly play video, music or pictures from any iOS or Android device. Hey, cool! That's like what the Apple TV box can do.Beyond those marquee additions, users of Boxee TV will probably be the most delighted to see the numerous bug fixes folded into this update. Reading down the list, all the new features and bug fixes are certainly welcome, but suggest that this is a product that was released to consumers before it was ready.
For instance, there's the bug fix that took care of Boxee TV's inability to switch channels on live TV using the remote's up and down keys when the on-screen display was open.
Other fixed bugs: Now users can program recordings from the box itself, rather than going to the Boxee cloud site. Shuttling forward to the end of a music video file caused an error message, and now that's fixed. There will be a better TV channel guide on board.
Before the update, the on-screen display showed incorrect times and durations for recorded shows, and users were unable to skip forward or back when they paused a recorded show. Those, too, were fixed, according to Boxee's support page.
These are all welcome updates, and if Boxee's previous product, the Boxee Box, is any indication, with every firmware and software update, the product becomes significantly better. Unfortunately, as soon as Boxee had cleaned up most of the issues with its Boxee Box, it was replaced by Boxee TV.
The dawn of Boxee TV started the development process anew. However, the idea of an online DVR that lets you record unlimited amounts of broadcast TV shows, and then watch them from anywhere (all for a monthly fee of $14.99), is a game changer. The big question now is, will this firmware update fix its most pressing issues?
The firmware update will be rolled out to Boxee TV boxes over the next three days, according to Boxee.
What's been your experience with Boxee TV? Let us know in the comments whether you think this new firmware update will solve the product's most pressing problems.