Boxee is a cross-platform freeware media center software with promising new social networking features. Boxee is based on XBMC media center, an award winning open source project. Since i had already tested the latest XBMC 9.04, i was not expecting anything dramatic from an alpha release of Boxee. I was way wrong.
Boxee alpha is astoundingly stable and smooth. In many ways, boxee is much better than the original XBMC 9.04 RC, to be frank. I don’t know of its just an issue with my system configuration, XBMC crashes a lot in my system. But Boxee is just fine.
- Boxee provides support for a wide range of multimedia formats and includes features like playlists, stunning audio visualisations, slideshows, and even live weather forcasting.
- An ever increasing list of third party apps is another important but obvious charteristic of boxee, being an Open Source application.
- Boxee can play most audio and video file formats, as well as display images from almost all kind of sources like CD/DVD’s, flash drives and so on. More info on feature list here in boxee.tv
- If you still don’t find boxee worth a try, i hope the screenshots will cause a change of heart. 😉
This is how it looks like once you are logged in (yup, you need to sign up, remember, this is supposed to be a social media center. But no more through invitations, simply visit boxee.tv and sign up). The selected tab above shows the list of updates from my PC. The tab just above is the list of films recommended by those who are in my network of friends.
I selected the movie, Accepted, from the list above, and this is the menu i get. Read more option is really interesting.
On selecting the read more option, you get a whole lot of information regarding the film. A bug thumps up for this amazing little feature. Also have you noticed the Recommend option above? Once you recommend anything, it gets instantly notified as “recommended by you” to your friends. By the way, Accepted is one cool movie 😉
That is the list of video feeds you could get through boxee.
These are just glimpses on what you can do with boxee social media center. From what i felt, i think boxee is much more stable and arguably capable than many other open source media centers like XBMC, which apparently has reached release candidate levels.
Being an alpha release, it has its share of drawbacks as well.
- Eventhough Boxee is much easier to browse through, it still lacks a lot of clarity.
- Boxee does crash now and then, not as frequently though.
- May be a little brighter interface, just as an option atleast.
Installing Boxee in Ubuntu
- Sign up with boxee. Goto boxee.tv and click on sign in.
- Once you sign up, you will get the instructions on how to install boxee in Ubuntu by simply logging in. I will explain it here anyway.
Add Third Party Repo
- Goto System > Administration > Software Sources and select Thrid-Party Software tab and click ADD.
For Ubuntu Jaunty
deb http://apt.boxee.tv jaunty main
For Ubuntu Intrepid
deb http://apt.boxee.tv intrepid main
For Ubuntu Hardy
deb http://apt.boxee.tv hardy main
- Afterwards goto Synaptic Package Manager and search-install boxee or simply go to terminal
sudo apt-get install boxee
Applications I like in Boxee
Here are some of the applications i like most in Boxee.
- Ted Talks – You can access an entire series of famous TED Talks which, for my amazement, was of really good quality as well.
- Apple Movie Trailers – You know what it is. You can spend hours on it without getting bored.
- Big Picture – This is one of my favourite. You can access a number of HD quality Pictures and all you need is a lil bandwidth. This is a must for photography freaks.
- Discover Channel – No i am not lying, you can access a number of (if not all) great quality shows of Discovery Channel.
This is not all. Some other apps include one for facebook, twitter, youtube, Flickr, Picassa, tumblr, Fashiontv and so on and all the content in the listed applications above are for FREE! There is a misconception that most of the applications in Boxee are available only in USA. That is not true for all of them. All the listed applications above are available for FREE around the World. What else do you need, go on try it out 🙂
Boxee definitely has the edge over its counterparts, being first of its kind social media center. Boxee is an amazing new multimedia experience with almost infinite scalability and probably will throw open a wide range of possibilities in terms of third party applications an so on. Boxee is even planning to release their own set-top box as well. Boxee for Windows and other platforms are also progressing rapidly.