Getting the most out of your gift: Boxee Box edition

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The best thing about the holidays is playing with your new gadgets — and the worst thing is struggling with your new gadgets. But fear no more: We’ve compiled a few key tips for new owners of the Boxee Box to improve set-up and get the most out of the device. For example, did you know you can stream from your iPhone (s aapl) to the Boxee Box via Airplay, and you’ll soon be able to watch live TV with your Boxee Box? Check out these and more essential tips below:

Setting up your Boxee Box

You may notice your Netflix (s nflx) streaming quality sometimes deteriorates in the middle of a video, or the Boxee Box keeps bugging you with “can’t connect to the Internet” error messages upon being turned on. Your home Wi-Fi network is likely at fault, but solid walls, microwave ovens or cordless phones can ruin your video fun, especially when you’re watching in HD.

That’s why I strongly recommend you connect your Boxee Box to your router with an Ethernet cable. If you don’t want to string a long cord through your living room, adding a HomePlug AV device to the mix might just do the trick. Check the end of this article for more details on this kind of accessory. Moving the router closer to the TV may also help. The video below has some more tips on how to optimize your Netflix streams:

Watching great content with your Boxee Box

Boxee features categories for movies and TV shows, but the device has a whole ot more content to offer through various apps as well as its web browser. Make sure to check out the following choices:

  • Netflix is a no-brainer. The video subscription service now offers access to more than 57,000 movies and TV show episodes for as little as $8 per month. Check out our Netflix tips and tricks to get the most out of your Netflix subscription.
  • Vudu offers various Hollywood blockbusters and TV show episodes as VOD rentals. Vudu’s (s wmt) titles are part of Boxee’s movies and TV shows categories, but checking out the Vudu app can help if you’re hunting for a bargain or looking for anything special.
  • Boxee’s apps category includes some 200 applications with additional content, including music services like Spotify, sports, podcasts and adult videos.
  • There are even more apps available through so-called third-party repositories, which are essentially just app catalogs maintained by people or companies other than Boxee. There’s a long list of these repositories available here, and our 10 tips for getting the most out of your Boxee Box post explains in detail how to use these repositories.
  • Boxee’s browser can play videos from countless websites. Some TV networks block devices like the Boxee Box, and playing videos from won’t work either. But shows like The Daily Show (s via) are freely available and can be found in Boxee’s TV show category. More TV-optimized content can be found through Google’s Spotlight gallery, which is available at

Getting even more use out of the Boxee Box

  • Boxee’s iPad app is a great, free application to scour web videos and then send them straight from your tablet to your Boxee Box. Check out our review of the app.
  • Boxee’s experimental AirPlay support makes it possible to stream music and videos from iOS devices to the box. You can enable it in Boxee’s settings under “Network – Servers.”
  • Boxee’s iOS remote control makes it easier to use the mouse cursor when browsing websites with the box. Check it out in the video below:

Buying accessories

  • Boxee is coming out with a Live TV USB dongle in January that will make it possible to watch free HD TV from major broadcasters like ABC, (s dis) CBS (s cbs) and NBC (s cmcsa)(s ge) through the device. The tuner will const $50 and is currently available for pre-order.
  • As mentioned above, nothing beats a hard-wired connection to stream HD content. HomePlug AV devices like the WD Livewire simply use your home’s electric circuitry to stream video from your router to your Roku, which makes them a great choice for any Boxee Box owner. Check out our detailed review here.
  • The Boxee Box can not only stream content from your iPad or your home computer; it can also work as a file server that can be used for backing up and swapping files within your own house. All you need are a few changes to its settings, as described in this article, and an external USB hard drive.

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