Freedom Box – Watching your favorite overseas TV shows in Japan has never been easier

Freedom Box – Watching your favorite overseas TV shows in Japan has never been easier

TOKYO —

The Freedom box from McIntyre Media is the only stand-alone hardware solution we found in Japan that uses the open source media center software XBMC that connects to one’s TV via an HDMI cable. Of course, there are a number of other ways to get on-demand videos such as AppleTV, Roku, Hulu Japan, and the list goes on; however, these devices are subscription or pay-for-view based.

The Freedom box brings online streaming to one’s living room, in full HD, in an easy to navigate interface that gives the illusion of TV. In reality, this is just a small computer with the purpose being to take all the streaming content on the Internet and bring it to the users in an easy to navigate system on one’s TV instead of a computer screen.

While still not quite plug-and-play, we had our Freedom Box up and working in about 20 minutes. After a slightly frustrating set-up, we were able to browse different “repositories” (streaming media folders) and could watch various movies, TV shows, or various live streams (news, sports, etc.) within seconds in decent quality video for free without running costs.

At its heart the box is a media hub (plug in external HDD or SD Card) to watch owned content, streaming radio and video such as Youtube, Kahn Academy, Etc. The Freedom box also removes the ability to save or upload content so one cannot distribute content using this hardware that one can do on a computer.

The part that we find found slightly questionable is that it does not block one from using a Proxy server to watch region blocked content and, while the open source XBMC software is legal – XBMX is a volunteer community with hundreds of developers—there are no controls over independently released repositories which also contains some P2P movie streaming repositories which we assume are not legal.

From our test, we liked the Freedom box and think it is a good value for those wanting to watch movies and TV from back home.

Japan Today

  • 4

    Peter Payne

    You're complaining that it doesn't block you from watching downloaded movies? Really?

  • 1

    Adam Aronson

    I want to do the opposite - watch Japanese TV from the US (namely the bimonthly Sumo Basho). Will this device allow me to do that?

  • 2

    Pandabelle

    Why would something prevent you from using a proxy server? That's the entire point of this box, please don't insult us by pretending otherwise.

    If you wanted something that brought in streaming content in your region only, you would just get a cheap, under 5000 yen Chromecast.

  • 2

    afanofjapan

    I dont get it... The 'slightly questionable' feature is the one that makes it good value - using a proxy server is how you watch movies/TV from back home...

  • 3

    Scrote

    Why the author complains that a "Freedom Box" doesn't restrict his freedom to watch what he wants is beyond me.

    I won't buy devices that stop me from doing things I want. I won't buy region-locked DVD or BluRay players, nor those video recorders that only allow you to write to special DVDs that won't play in a computer. I'm the consumer and you (whatever company) will not tell me what I can and cannot do with your product.

  • 0

    afanofjapan

    Only issue i have is that this device looks like it will cost 25,000yen. Certainly not cheap when it comes to smart TV devices. XBMC works great on an Amazon FireTV for under $100, and Chromecast an even cheaper solution when combined with AllCast and Showbox on Android.

    They are all sort of tinkerer solutions though; not out of the box like this one claims to be.

  • 0

    McIntyreMedia.tv

    This is Joe from McIntyreMedia.tv.

    Thank you for the comments to the article. It's easy to make assumptions on what the freedom box is, but most likely your assumptions are wrong. The freedom box is unlike existing SmartTV solutions. It is the only fully open-source supported out-of-the-box solution currently available on the market. The ease of use and breadth of openness is unique. You can only really appreciate the system by seeing it and having a demonstration.

    Please come any Thursday - 'Freedom Thursday' - to Suji's restaurant to see a demonstration. Relax, have some food & drink, chat with friends and watch freedom in action. You can play with the system, meet existing freedom customers & have all your questions answered.

    Come and meet McIntyreMedia.tv and our partners at Joint One radio in person and receive a special introductory coupon worth Y5000.

    Experience freedom.

    Sujis Restaurant : http://www.sujis.net

    Joint One Radio : http://www.jointone.com

    McIntyreMedia.tv : http://www.mcintyremedia.tv

  • 0

    It"S ME

    Consider downloading/uploading copyrighted contents is illegal in Japan the info is relevant methinks.

  • 1

    OssanAmerica

    Adam AronsonJun. 16, 2014 - 11:02AM JST I want to do the opposite - watch Japanese TV from the US (namely the bimonthly Sumo Basho). Will this device allow >me to do that?

    http://www.tvjapan.net/en/

  • 0

    darknuts

    XBMC has been around for quite some time. It's free and open source software that you can install on any computer. You can install on an Intel nuc, laptop or raspberry pi which is only 35 dollars. It doesn't use a proxy by default. It just streams from sites that allow you to watch media from overseas. A lot of the plugins don't work without tweaking but for the most part, it works great. It's a great way to organize your media collection. Works great with sickbeard and couch potato.

  • 0

    thehedonist

    Pass thanks.

  • 0

    Educator60

    McIntyreMedia may be a legitimate company with a legitimate product but the fact that their website (both Japanese and English versions) lacks standard (legally required?) components of Japanese online shopping sites such as address, phone number, corporate data, name of owner, terms of use, privacy and returns policies, etc, does not inspire confidence. I find it strange that they show full names of customers on their testimonials page but on their About Us page there is more hype about the product but no real information about who is involved in this company. They would have to radically improve their website before I would even remotely consider ordering their product.

  • 1

    McIntyreMedia.tv

    @Educator60: Thank you very much for your comment. You are correct, the website does need to radically improve to inspire confidence and provide the information you require. As a young company marketing itself principally through direct contact we are still learning what it is that people expect from the homepage. Everyone is different and ultimately it is the product that counts. We are keen to hear your comments on what you expect to see.

    @Darknuts: Yes, you are quite correct. XBMC is established open-source software which had been on the desktop for a while and is now mature enough to be brought into the living-room - and it works great, it's easily the best media software available on the market!. McIntyreMedia has its own specific build of XBMC targeted directly at the Japanese and Japan expat community. For all those linux-based experienced people who wish to spend months configuring and researching XBMC then dedicating their laptop as a media machine and watching on a 14" screen cramped over a keyboard we say welcome and good luck. For those less otaku-minded who want to simply enjoy fully supported, HD streaming media direct to their TV without all the hassle and without spending hundreds of dollars on a new laptop - there is the freedom box.

    Freedom is just that. If you want to do it for yourself, we'll show you how. Otherwise simply lie back and let us do all the grind for you.

    Joe -McIntyreMedia,tv

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