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Boxee Box (D-Link) Teardown

Bill Detwiler cracks open the Boxee Box by D-Link Internet TV set-top box in this TR Dojo teardown gallery.

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Topic: Hardware
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In November 2010, Boxee and D-Link began shipping the Boxee Box by D-Link Internet TV set-top box. Follow along as I crack open the Boxee Box for a look at the hardware inside.
To see how the Boxee Box compares against other Internet TV set-top boxes, read Jason Hiner's review of the Apple TV, Roku Player, and Google TV, the Boxee Box. And don't forget to check out our cracking open gallery of the 2010 Apple TV.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
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The Boxee Box by D-Link retails for $199 (US) and as of this writing, the unit offers content from Netflix, MLB, NHL, Vodo, Pandora, and a variety of online sources like YouTube. The Boxee Box also has a built-in browser that can play Flash video and supports a wide range of video and audio files--making it easy to play content stored on your own network.
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Inside the box, you'll find the Boxee Box, remote, power adapter, an HDMI cable, and product documentation.
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On top of the Boxee Box remote are a play/pause button, directional pad, enter button, and menu button.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Flip the Boxee Box remote over, and you'll find a QWERTY keypad. This is a very nice touch.
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The Boxee Box has a 12V 2A external power adapter.
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The Boxee Box by D-Link definitely has a distinctive design. It's a cube with one corner chopped off.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Along the right side of the Boxee Box is an SD/MMC card slot.
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In this photo, the Boxee Box is sitting on its front panel. The rounded square button in the upper-left corner is the power button.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Despite the Boxee Box's slanted design, there's still room in back for plenty of connectors. I'll flip the unit over to give you a better view of each.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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The Boxee Box offers an HDMI port, optical audio port, RCA audio jacks, Ethernet port, and two USB ports.
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A rubber pad covers the base of the Boxee Box.
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To access the case screws, we must remove the lime-green, rubber pad from the base of the Boxee Box.
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Under the rubber pad is a second black, plastic sheet that's also stuck to the bottom of the Boxee Box. You'll also need to remove it.
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With the lime-green pad and plastic sheet removed, we can see the six Phillips screws that secure the Boxee Box's external shell. Two of the screws are located near the outer edge of the base. While, the other four are recessed inside the plastic base.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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With all six screws removed, you can lift the base section of the Boxee Box's case away from the other half.
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With the base section of the Boxee Box's outer shell removed, we get our first look inside D-Link's set-top box. Immediately visible is the large heatsink and cooling fan. An oddly-shaped power board rises up from the main PCB (hidden within the internal metal case). The wireless card is located behind the cooling assembly. And, a small PCB with the USB ports is located to the right of the heatsink and fan.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Although the Boxee Box's odd shape makes it difficult to tell which end is up, the internal components are actually secured to the top of the unit.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Next, you'll need to remove the small PCB that houses the unit's two USB ports. It is held to the Boxee Box's internal metal frame with two Phillips screws. Before removing the USB PCB, you'll also need to disconnect the cable that attaches it to the main PCB.
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With the small USB PCB removed, we can more easily access the four Phillips screws that hold the heatsink/fan assembly and its metal shroud.
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A thin metal shroud cover part of the heatsink and fan assembly. You'll need to disconnect the fan's cable before lifting it away from the Boxee Box.
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The Boxee Box's heatsink uses a phase change thermal pad instead of thermal paste to conduct heat away from the CPU.
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The Boxee Box's wireless PCB is next on our removal list. Two Phillips screws hold it in place. You'll also need to disconnect the two antenna wires and the large cable before lifting it away from the rest of the unit.
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The wireless card is actually made oup of two PCBs--the larger board that connects directly to the main PCB via a cable and a smaller wireless PCB that provides the 802.11 b/g/n support. The smaller PCB is held to the larger with two Phillips screws.
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On the underside of the is a Nordic Semiconductor nRF24LU1 single chip 2.4GHz Tranceiver with USB Microcontroller and Flash Memory.
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With the EMI shield removed, we can see a a few of the chips on the 802.11 b/g/n card. Unfortunately, our view of the main chip is blocked by a metal cross beam on the EMI shield's base. As I want to reassemble this unit in working order, I'm not going to cut the beam away from the card.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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We can now remove the front panel of the Boxee Box's external case. It is held in place by a single Phillips screw. Before removing the panel, you'll also need to disconnect the thin wire that runs from the main PCB to the large, rectangular LED panel mounted to the inside of the panel. This LED panel illuminates the Boxee logo on the front panel when the unit it powered on.
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This Y-shaped cable connects both the small USB PCB and wireless PCB to the Boxee Box's main PCB (hidden inside the internal metal frame).
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Two pieces of metal tape are attached to both the power board and the metal frame. I'm going to remove the long, horizontal piece at this point. I'll remove the other piece later, when I remove the power board.
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Four Phillips screws hold the metal frame's top and bottom halves together. One screw is located below the power board.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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A second screw is located below the ports.
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And, two screws are located on what would be the front of the Boxee Box.
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With the four Phillips screws removed, you can separate the two halves of the Boxee Box's internal metal frame. The main PCB and power board are still attached to the top half of the frame. We'll remove those in a bit.
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The bottom half of the Boxee Box's internal metal frame is secured to the outer shell with several Phillips screws. As there's nothing left to remove from the frame, I'm going to leave it attached to the outer shell.
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Next, we'll remove the Boxee Box's oddly-shaped power board.
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Before removing the power board, you'll need to remove the thin, metal tape the runs over the board and metal frame. The tape helps reduce EMI inside the Boxee Box.
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The Boxee Box's power board is held to the metal frame with two Phillips screws.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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With the screws removed, you can disconnect the power board from the main PCB. I was able to pry up from the bottom of the power board through a slot in the metal frame.
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Four Phillips screws hold the Boxee Box's main PCB to the top half of the metal frame.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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With the screws removed, you can lift the Boxee Box's main PCB away from the top half of the internal metal frame. You'll need to first lift the end opposite the ports and then pull the port end out.
A thick cushion is taped to the top of the main PCB above the ports. The cushion makes the board a bit difficult to remove, but with a little effort the board should separate from the frame. Take note when removing the PCB, a plastic sleeve sits between the two RCA audio outs and the metal frame. It will likely come loose when you remove the main PCB.
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You can see the cushion taped to the top edge of the main PCB. We'll remove this before looking at the Boxee Box's chips.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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With the cushion removed, we can see all the chips on the top of the Boxee Box's main PCB.
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On top of the Boxee Box's main PCB are four 1GB Nanya NT5CB128M8CN-CG DDR3 SDRAM chips (an identical four are mounted on the bottom).
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Terminus Technology FE1.1 LG3A924A6180 USB 2.0 High Speed 4-Port Hub Controller
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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Realtek RTL8201N Single-Chip/Port 10/100M Fast Ethernet PHYceiver with Auto MDIX
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AKM AK8137A low power multi clock generator (top)?
?Gleam Micro GL1117 Linear Regulator
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Wolfson WM8524G stereo DAC
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Intel Atom processor CE4110 System-on-Chip (SoC)
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Four 1GB Nanya NT5CB128M8CN-CG DDR3 SDRAM chips sit directly under their counterparts on the top of the main PCB.
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Pericom Technology PT7C4311WE Real-time Clock Module
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Microchip Technology PIC24FJ64GA004 16-bit microcontroller
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Toshiba TC58NVG3S0ETA00 NAND Flash memory chip
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NXP Semiconductor 4776 HDMI interface (left) and Taiwan Semiconductor TS21C (right)
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AKM AK8136A Low Power Multi-clock Generator with VCXO
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The Boxee Box was remarkably easy to disassemble. It has standard Phillips #1 and #2 screws, and many of the components (like the Wireless card) are self-contained PCBs. Unfortunately, I doubt that D-Link will be selling spare parts anytime soon. If they did, you could easily repair a damaged unit.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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