The Iomega TV with Boxee is only the second product to hit the market running the Boxee media centre software, which started life on the PC. Unlike the original Boxee Box from D-Link, this one has a much more conventional design and can also work as a NAS device, so you can store your media on it locally and share it out to other devices on your network.
Externally, the Iomega TV isn’t much to look at. It’s essentially a squat, rectangular box finished in a mixture of glossy and matt black plastic. However, if you just want to slide it into an AV rack next to the rest of your kit you'll probably appreciate its more standard design compared to the radical styling of the original D-Link Boxee Box. The original Boxee's unusual shape made it difficult to house next to your other bits of AV kit.
Connections are taken care of by an HDMI port along with digital and stereo phono audio outputs, a composite video connector, Ethernet jack and two USB ports (front and rear). The Iomega TV doesn’t have Wi-Fi built-in, which is a tad bizarre, but Iomega includes a Wi-Fi USB dongle that you can connect up to the port on the rear of the unit.
Iomega currently offers three versions of this product: one with no hard drive, one with a 1TB hard drive and one with a 2TB hard drive. We had the version without the hard drive. This model does have a fan for cooling the main Intel Atom CPU, but it's so quiet that it's virtually silent.
Like the D-Link model, this one comes with a dual sided remote control that has a full Qwerty keyboard on one side and more standard navigation buttons on the other. Interestingly, the navigation buttons also double up as a touchpad, so you can move a cursor around onscreen just by gliding your thumb over its surface. However, this is only supported in certain apps, such as the web browser. The remote on the D-link box uses RF wireless, but this one relies on InfraRed, so it needs line of sight to work.
In truth, the remote isn't great. We find it annoying that you have to press the unlock button on the Qwerty side before you can start to type on it. Sony's similar remote for its Google TV product has a sensor that knows when you're holding the keyboard part upright and automatically unlocks it, which is a much better solution. We also find that the keyboard frequently misses or double-enters letters during typing.
The navigation side of the remote isn't much better. The main problem is that the four way control pad and the selection button in the middle are grouped together into one flat surface, so you can’t really tell by feel where the selection button is. As a result, you constantly have to look down at the remote to make sure you're pressing the right buttons.