After a month-long run with multiple set-top boxes running into our entertainment system, comparing both performance for local streaming and online content, we've all agreed that each device excels at very different things. The best gauge for performance, hence, truly depends on what type of techie you are.
Apple TV 2G: You are a system thinker. An early adopter. You trust Apple's brand and services and have always been that way. You own both a Mac and the latest iPhone - an iPad even. Your music is iTunes Match'ed and you use Netflix religiously. You're familiar with AirPlay and often showcase to your friends to show how insanely awesome it is.
Boxee Box: If geekism was a natural disaster, you'd be something to be feared. You've amassed a ridiculous collection of multimedia over the past several years. You've made your own video and uploaded it Vimeo. Friends often come over to watch movies because your home theater system is the best of the best. Unfortunately, you're quite lazy and hate having to tag your music. You really, really enjoy memes.
Roku XS: You love TV. Probably more than you should. With subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant, you've justified that paying for both cable and Internet is silly and you're looking for two things in the ultimate set-top box: 1) lots of content and 2) reliable software. You don't mind the color purple. Sometimes the Angry Birds theme song pops up in your dreams.
Playstation 3/Xbox 360: You're either a minimalist or a gamer with 'a plan.' You don't mind a little DIY. Looks don't matter much to you, either. If it works, it works. But when it works well, you tend to gloat to anyone around you. "In your face!" you'd yell. Your vast collection of achievements are commendable, but sometimes we wonder how you even have friends.
Find the box you're looking for? Let us know what you're picking up for Christmas!