[CES 2011] The Smart TV mania is definitively on with the recent launch of a bunch of boxes that turns your dumb TV into a “smart device”. Iomega is jumping in the band wagon with its own version of the Boxee Box: the Iomega TV. Featuring the Boxee software that streams music and video content from various internet sources, the Iomega TV offers 1 or 2 TB storage in the package, unlike the diamond-shaped set-top box manufactured by D-Link.
It’s nice to have so much storage available directly from the box, making it very easy to dump all your media files in there and forget about the reliability of the network for good. The Iomega TV features the Personal Cloud software, a function that is not available in the Boxee Box, which lets users direct connect their Iomega TV from their computers (PC or Mac) and drag-n-drop files to/from a local folder. Bill Hansen, Global Product Manager Network Storage Products, Iomega, quickly showed me the web-based user interface that seemed super easy to use. (picture one slide interface)
To learn more about the Personal Cloud feature, check our article about the Iomega Home Media Hard Drive “Cloud Edition” that offers the same solution for remote access and file sharing. This new Iomega NAS box could be a nice complement to the Iomega TV for backing up all your media files in a different location.
The Intel CE4100 processor enables 1080p video decoding and the Iomega TV offers a SD connector in addition to the HDMI one, with the Boxee Box, you only get HDMI connectivity. Being highly sensitive to design, I prefer the elegant and unusual form factor of the Netgear device better than the unsurprising black rectangular shape so commonly found in home entertainment equipment. I have not tried the dual-sided remote but it looks alike the Boxee Box remote featuring a a qwerty keypad and full player control with touch pad. (picture below)
A light version with no storage is available for $229 (picture and gallery below), the 1 TB version costs $299 and the 2 TB is priced at $349 (picture above the article).
Similar to the Boxee Box, the Iomega TV does not feature major video on-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu – it includes Vudu though - Hulu should be available sometime in early 2011 for the Boxee Box, hopefully it will be the same for the Iomega TV. The device lets users browse the internet, but when you access the Hulu website, it detects the device and blocks the access to the service. We speculate that deals for the Boxee-powered set-top boxes take longer to be closed because movie studios and TV companies fear a low cost internet-enabled device directly connected to the TV, while, on the contrary, they like computers. Notebooks are great since they offer an additional access to their content, when people are away from the couch or watching TV while browsing the web. On the other hand, they probably think that the Boxee Box and similar products are a total replacement for the regular TV. Additionally, Iomega TV includes popular applications such as Crackle, Pandora, mainstream broadcast media, cable outlets and more.
To see most of the applications available in the Iomega TV, refer to the video we shot for the Boxee Box review below:
Iomega Personal Cloud
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