A Quick Look at the ZAGGbox


Last night I was sent on a mission to check out the home entertainment ZAGGbox at ShowStoppers. Which confused me. Because ZAGG is the company that makes the Invisible Shield mobile screen protectors. To expand into this new market, they partnered with a company in Minnesota (who shall remain nameless) that has invested millions designing a multifunction media box.

Unfortunately the more technical reps weren’t available when I swung by, so I feel like I’m missing part of the story. At its core, it seems the ZAGGbox is an advanced analog HD switching and recording device. (Think ‘analog hole.’) Hook up three devices – Xbox, DVR, satellite box, Blu-ray, whatever. Flip amongst the inputs, controlled via ZAGG remote and IR blaster. Selectively record any/all of it to the 1TB drive as video passes through. Content stored on the ZAGGbox can be streamed within the home via UPnP or beyond the home (think Slingbox) via a browser, and mobile clients are also in the works. There’s also appears to be some home automation functionality (Z-Wave) that we really didn’t get in to.

The ZAGGbox will be available for pre-order on Monday. Yet they could only reveal to me that the price would fall between between $500 – $1000. Hm.

Click to enlarge:

13 thoughts on “A Quick Look at the ZAGGbox”

  1. It looks more like 2 inches high to me. The first photo and the fourth one show two of them, one on top of the other.

  2. It’s a pretty substantial, non-standard sized box. Not just height, it’s pretty deep too. I have a few more pics I didn’t run, thinking it’s maybe 3″ – 4″ tall.

  3. I’m trying to understand this device.

    All I see are 3 or 4 inputs on the back all of which are analog component (720P) connections. Where’s the HDMI (1080P) connection for each input? My 360 and my PS3 are hooked to my TV via HDMI, at 1080P. I don’t get it. Unless it’s just meant for lower resolution stuff (like the steaming to a Ipod or whatever). At the very least it would mean constantly hooking up component cables to the 360 and PS3 and then switching back to HDMI when done recording. Why not capture at 1080P, or is that the realm of the stupid copy protection schemes the industry has in place already for digital?

  4. I wondered about the lack of HDMI too. Would the lack of HDMI have something to do with not being able to do the things that box wants to do if HDCP is involved (as it might well be with HDMI)?

    I found another article on the web about their having spent $35M to design this (or maybe that was just a flashy headline). Looks like a very early, hand-crafted prototype, still a long ways from final production (and with that kind of money available, if they really had it, I would think they could’ve had much better one-off protos done for a show like CES where people are taking pictures)… http://www.gadgetell.com/tech/comment/whats-a-zaggbox-and-what-did-35-million-in-rd-get-them/

    In any case, I really don’t get why I would drop $1000 (or even $500) on something like this. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what they do with it.

    Personally, I just wish TiVo would cut a deal with Sling (yeah, I know, Dish – but in the settlement maybe Dish could’ve just GIVEN Sling to TiVo in lieu of some of the cash?) and Vudu. Neither one should be a separately-powered box when I really just want it as software INSIDE my TiVo. Just do it already!! THEN the variety of sling clients, the smart remote, and all that stuff would finally make sense in a TiVo household. Big TiVo server, serving my recorded TV (or Vudu movies) to lots of streaming clients in the house and elsewhere.

  5. If you look at one of the pictures you can see the HDMI inputs on the left. Unless that’s an output only but i doubt it.

  6. Recording off HDMI is prohibited by license. (Of course, it’s technically possible and there have been ways to do it… via Gefen or HD Fury for example.) The HDMI port on the left is output to the television.

  7. The biggest worry in my mind…absolutely NO info on http://www.zagg.com. Here we are Jan 12, and I would think there would be more info. Said pre orders on Jan 11th. They have been hyping this box for quite some time with adds in MacWorld and the likes. I have a feeling it is going to be vaporware. I was hoping for more, renting movies, maybe Pandora, etc. When will this industry understand that we want MORE, just not MORE BOXES!!!! Heck, the only thing I truly want is an app store for my ATV, then I could, hopefully, finally get Pandora…of course, upgraded hardware for the ATV or a mini with ATV software would be appreciated.
    I personally don’t care about streaming to my iPhone, but that is just me. I don’t travel alot. Home automation from your TV…come on. Unless it will be incorporated into the remote and you won’t need a TV on to do anything with it.
    Anyways, I was very curious about this box and I give them credit for peaking my interest…but the lack of info during and after CES causes me to turn around and continue looking for solutions.

  8. I experienced this amazing device at CES and Im sad to say it is nothing more than a glorified Reciever. Oh wait the guy that helped me said one of the big selling points is instead of 5 remotes you get 1 universal remote to control all your media i.e. (xbox360, ps3, tivo etc.)…… Another selling point is the fact that you can stream any media from the devices hooked up to iphone……ok great so for $1000 dollars I can stream media to my iphone and have a universal remote…….WTF? So for the first feature streaming….there are apps that achieve this same thing for free and cough cough slingbox?? The other go buy a $100 Universal remote or wait if you really wanna look cool buy a $300 universal remote! In all honesty UNLESS the ZaggBox ends up being $99-$199 I would rate this at a waste of money. I can buy 5000 Wendys chicken nuggets at this price :P

    Zagg needs to sell 35000 of these to gross the equivalent of their investment………uh oh Im feeling someone is in trouble…….. Also their stock dropped 15% the day after CES ended. Im guessing stockholders saw the dream machine and saw what I saw and went running.

  9. +1

    Though it looks like Zagg didn’t invest some company in Minnesota that has yet to be named. I think Zagg was their marketing/distribution part…though I wouldn’t think of Zagg for my media boxes.

  10. Mike, yes. They didn’t develop it. They partnered with someone, who chooses to remain silent, for marketing and distribution. Branding, too. Hm.

    Thanks for the info on their site update. Shipping Q2, currently listed at $800.

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