Boxee is a free, open-source software platform that integrates personal media with Internet media along with social networking. boxee's social networking component allows users to share information about what they're listening to or watching with other Boxee users or friends on social networks like twitter, facebook, etc.
Boxee is designed for your TV and use of a remote control. To get Boxee on your TV you'll need to first connect your computer to the TV screen. You will most likely need an DVI/VGA to HDMI cable (but it depends on the specific input/output on your computer and TV).
Reviewing 0.9.23.15885 Beta (Dec 14, 2010)
Betanews..you guys are kinda late. This version has been out for about a month already.
Reviewing 0.9.20.10261 Beta (Jun 14, 2010)
this is very beta
no other media player has ever locked up my system
poor video quality
settings have a poor layout
needs to use external codecs or it does not use them correctly
Reviewing 0.9.20.10261 Beta (Jan 9, 2010)
Well, it's been a while, and I use this program more than most, so I thought I'd offer up a review of this new version since I've been using it for a couple of weeks, now.
First off, I should mention that my complaint below was fixed LONG ago. You can now specify which display Boxee will appear on.
Basically, I used Boxee to replace my media player (Zoom Player and MPC), my podcast catcher/player (Miro and iTunes), and my web browser (Last.fm, Hulu, YouTube, etc) on my home theater PC. And while the alpha was nice, this new beta version blows it away. It'd be more apt to call it "Boxee 2.0 Beta". All of the changes are pretty darned major, and it looks very little like the alpha version.
It now stores your RSS feeds (including your podcasts), your playlist (queue) , your list of installed apps, your custom repositories for third-party apps, and your subscribed TV shows in the Boxee "cloud". If you reinstall or if you use your profile on someone else's Boxee, all of your stuff will appear automatically. This was a big sore spot with the alpha: that it required significant customization on each client.
On Windows, they moved the rendering engine from OpenGL to DirectX so that Boxee can now use hardware video decoding on most modern video cards (GeForce 8*** series and up, check details for ATi/AMD, but it's about the same age of cards). That means HD playback on the Atom and other low-power processors when paired with a decent video adapter.
Flash sites are still a bit more iffy. Hardware Flash video acceleration is still very much experimental and is not available even with this new build unless you want to pry the new Flash 10.1 dlls into the Boxee application folder(s) and, well, pray. But standard (accelerated) Flash playback is surprisingly robust on most media sites.
Hulu works within Boxee, but only for videos that don't require that you confirm you're over 18 because there's no way to sign in to Hulu using Boxee's interface.
But that's what the Boxee apps are for, and there's a LOT of them now. You can install the third-party Hulu Desktop launcher app, use it to launch and close Hulu Desktop from within Boxee, and you've got a seamless experience and the best video quality you're going to get out of that service using ANY interface.
Pandora, Revision 3, Last.fm, PBS, CBS, NBC, Comedy Central, Drop.io support, BBC, Netflix, Adult Swim, Reddit TV, NASA, Flickr, Joost, Apple movie trailers, and more.; they're all here. No more switching between a media player and your browser.
Also, it will automatically sort, thumbnail, and index all of your local files, allowing you to flip through your collection by name, genre, date added, etc. Really convenient and the scraping engine for this new version is vastly improved over the alpha. Basically, as long as your movies are titled to the IMDB convention, they'll show up, and most of the time it'll figure out the title even if they're not properly named.
While I don't personally use the features much, it's also integrated seamlessly with all of the big social networking sites so you can (selectively) share your viewed content with friends and recommend shows, etc.
Anyway, a LOT of credit goes to the XBMC team, but the Boxee team has added a really compelling front end to it and I consider it to be the finest 10-foot interface available right now. The only thing missing is DVR functionality (although experimental integration with MythTV is available under Linux), but that's kind of averse to the ideology of the project, which is that cable/sat TV shouldn't even be necessary; just broadband internet.
Slick stuff. As they make it more stable and reliable and add features, this will become the very definition of the "killer app" for the beginning of the IPTV generation. I can't recommend it enough.
Reviewing 0.9.12.6570 Alpha (Jun 29, 2009)
I have tried this on my desktop and laptop.
First, on my desktop (athlon x4 phenom 9550) with windows 7, runs very well. good picture quality. Works very well. I kinda like the interface better than hulu desktop. I installed ubuntu x32 on the same machine and tried boxee on it too. I have my 26 inch hd tv hooked up via hdmi and couldn't get it to display only on it. I got half of the image on both my monitor and tv. (left half displayed with right half missing). Not sure what is up with that. WIll have to work on it.
I also have it installed on my acer aspire one netbook. (Intel Atom 1.6 ghz with 1 gig ram and intel 950 graphics). In windows 7 rc, it runs pretty well. I have some issues with the higher quality videos. Overall, it runs very well. In ubuntu 9.04 (on the same machine, dual boot), it runs a bit better. Faster and high quality video's tend to load better. I can run a quicktime trailer at 720p and it doesn't stutter as much. Some, but better.
I highly recommend boxee and look forward to more improvements.
Reviewing 0.9.12.6570 Alpha (Jun 25, 2009)
I've run it on Windows 7 x64, Server 2003 32-bit, and XP 32-bit (all OSes fully up-to-date and on different hardware), and haven't had a single stability or network problem. Much better than I expected, frankly.
My only complaints are that it doesn't seem to let you choose a custom resolution for running it windowed and that there doesn't seem to be any way to run it fullscreen on an extended desktop ("Dualview" using Nvidia's terminology) unless its resolution is the same as the primary display's . The latter, in particular, was disappointing.
But I realize most people have no interest in running it this way, and it's an alpha. Considering that and its freeware competition (or lack thereof), it's very, very, very good.
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