At a Glance
- Slick interface; shares files seamlessly without regard to size; excellent format support
This fascinating beta is player, organizer, media-sharing with a rather unique approach.
I’ll take the hit. I was loath to review yet another media
player/organizer app. Both Windows and the Mac come with pretty
darn good ones in Windows Media
Player and iTunes, with the
latter available on Windows as well. LIBOX had me singing another
tune. I was expecting stylish, hip, and limited, and what I got
was, well… hip, highly original, and with a promise of greatness.
It’s a photo/audio/video organizer and player multi-device sharing
app, as well as part social app. Sadly, bugs spoiled much of the
effect and hindered my testing, but it is a beta. I like the
approach even if the program didn’t prove immediately useful.
The download is used to download additional setup files. You’ll
need to sign up for the free LIBOX service to use the program, but
it only serves to redirect communications between LIBOX clients.
Once you do, there’s a short setup procedure during which you
import media and can add an online avatar image of your choosing as
well as optionally provide an e-mail address (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, or
Windows Live) that LIBOX will use to search for other LIBOX
LIBOX’s interface is exceptionally clean and logical, though I’m
not a huge fan of the color scheme (bright white/light gray with
splashes of green). There’s no local help file, but ten minutes
exploring the interface and the online help should give you a good
idea of how to operate the program. The column of categories and
actions to the left of the main screen is good place to start.
Once you dig in, you’ll probably have the same feeling I
did–that you’re looking at what will eventually be a better way to
organize, play, and share media. The scope of the program and
service is so large that I’ll just hit on some of the high points.
The first and most unique among several unique LIBOX features is
its multi-device nature. The program/service aspires to be
platform-agnostic; the LIBOX Android app is expected this
If you’ve logged on to LIBOX open on two machines (local or
across the Internet), you’ll see the media from both on both–at
least in theory. The 184.108.40.206 version I tested had some rather large
problems keeping track of files, which would fail to show up,
disappear, and sometimes appear long after a folder was added. This
was undoubtedly related to trying to sync the two PCs I installed
the programs on, but there’s no workaround, so it’s something the
company will need to work out before the beta period ends.
When the files were available, LIBOX impressed me with its audio
and video CODEC support. It’s all internal and is nearly as broad
In addition to the normal audio types handled by WMP and Quicktime,
there’s support for FLAC, Ogg Vorbis (audio), and up to 96/24-bit
wave files. There’s no support for APE and Windows lossless did not
play. Video format support included h.264 and Quicktime types, but
oddly, Theora files did not show up. LIBOX imported jpegs and
bitmaps, but no other, less-popular image formats. The program
never even hinted at crashing–a rarity in betas for this
LIBOX is not ready for prime time, but even so it’s worth a
look. When the file management and minor interface issues are
solved, it might just become your media manager/player/sharing app
–Jon L. Jacobi