Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 8th Jan 2010 00:33 UTC
Multimedia, AV My favourite media centre software, Boxee, has just launched the highly-anticipated new beta version of its XBMC-based media centre, complete with a redesigned user interface. On top of that, Boxee launched its very first piece of hardware during CES, the Boxee Box, together with D-Link. It's an impressive little device.
Order by: Score:
... and where do you put it?
by deathshadow on Fri 8th Jan 2010 01:27 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

Seriously, that art *** form factor is going to be a royal pain in the ass and stand out like a sore thumb.

... and with a target price point of $199, at that point buy a Acer Revo which can do stuff OTHER than their service - AND would be a lot easier to tuck into a corner or stack atop something else.

Gah, that's so bad, The Apple art wierdo's in front of the bar next to the Naval base in San Francisco would be going "Tone it down".

Reply Score: 4

RE: ... and where do you put it?
by bralkein on Fri 8th Jan 2010 02:11 UTC in reply to "... and where do you put it?"
bralkein Member since:
2006-12-20

Boxee is a great piece of software though, I've recently installed it on a home-made media centre running Linux and it was incredibly slick for an alpha, it even worked perfectly out of the box with my no-name £5 remote control, which XBMC failed to do.

I do think the Boxee box has a bit of an impractical design but the Boxee software has amazing potential and I wouldn't let one silly piece of hardware detract from that.

Reply Score: 1

deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

Oh, I agree wholeheartedly on the software side. I've got both it and "Hulu Desktop" on my media machine (a recycled A64 4000+ with a 9500 GT) and it's definately the better behaved of the two (gee, no flash involved, wonder why it's better?)

I actually ended up canceling my cable TV thanks to services like these and ponied up for a 22mbps downstream speed instead. Why pay $120/mo for 340 channels I don't want just to get the ten channels I want - when I can watch all the same programming online for free atop a Internet connection I'm already paying for anyways?

I keep going back to hulu though since I think Boxee would be a billion times better if I could sort by name and if the damned thing didn't keep saying I was region locked emptying every single list in it... or if it had aspect ratio controls WHILE playing media... or if their website worked right in anything other than firefox and appear to go off to never-never land every time you try to log in.

I love the IDEA, but compared to HULU their implementation is total rubbish - at least if you live in the US.

Edited 2010-01-08 04:24 UTC

Reply Score: 3

bralkein Member since:
2006-12-20

Oh yeah, I think the alpha label is/was very deserved, but hopefully it will shape up as time goes on. At the moment it's pretty flakey and I often have to delete the configuration files because it's made the BBC iplayer channel vanish somehow or whatever. I have high hopes for it in the future though, especially once it's better able to take advantage of the NVidia VDPAU capabilities which seem quite unstable right now. I am running it on an nVidia Ion/Atom 230 fanless machine so I could really do with the extra power of GPU decoding for 1080p H.264 content.

I don't know about Hulu desktop, I live in Britain (as you probably guessed from the mention of BBC) so for me Hulu is not available.

Reply Score: 1

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Oh yeah, I think the alpha label is/was very deserved, but hopefully it will shape up as time goes on. At the moment it's pretty flakey and I often have to delete the configuration files because it's made the BBC iplayer channel vanish somehow or whatever. I have high hopes for it in the future though, especially once it's better able to take advantage of the NVidia VDPAU capabilities which seem quite unstable right now. I am running it on an nVidia Ion/Atom 230 fanless machine so I could really do with the extra power of GPU decoding for 1080p H.264 content.

I don't know about Hulu desktop, I live in Britain (as you probably guessed from the mention of BBC) so for me Hulu is not available.


I had the same problem (re the BBC iplayer channel disappearing) and after some googling found that it was down to a bug in the regional settings.

If you're still running the alpha, go to the settings screen and then (IIRC) general settings and from there un-select the opinion to hide apps that aren't available in your region.
The iPlayer app should then reappear without having to delete your config files

Reply Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Oh, I agree wholeheartedly on the software side. I've got both it and "Hulu Desktop" on my media machine (a recycled A64 4000+ with a 9500 GT) and it's definately the better behaved of the two (gee, no flash involved, wonder why it's better?)

I actually ended up canceling my cable TV thanks to services like these and ponied up for a 22mbps downstream speed instead. Why pay $120/mo for 340 channels I don't want just to get the ten channels I want - when I can watch all the same programming online for free atop a Internet connection I'm already paying for anyways?

I keep going back to hulu though since I think Boxee would be a billion times better if I could sort by name and if the damned thing didn't keep saying I was region locked emptying every single list in it... or if it had aspect ratio controls WHILE playing media... or if their website worked right in anything other than firefox and appear to go off to never-never land every time you try to log in.

I love the IDEA, but compared to HULU their implementation is total rubbish - at least if you live in the US.


My media is sorted by folders and file names by default (as I prefer it) so I'm puzzled why yours isn't sorted by name also.
And the region locking (if I understand your problem correctly) can be easily disabled in the setting (on the Alpha release anyway - not installed beta yet...)

Agreed that their web site isn't the most intuitive of sites, but I do think you're overstating it's problems somewhat (or at least, I've been lucky enough not to experience as much difficulty as you've stated)

While I see you're point re: aspect ratio, I've found that Boxee's ratio were 99.9% of the time the same as what I would have manually chosen had I specifically gone into manually choose what ratio I wanted. So I've been rather lucky there too.

Not tried (or even heard of) Hulu until now - so I might give it a play this weekend.
but thus far I've been /very/ happy with Boxee - even in spite of it feeling rather 'alpha' at times.

That said: It's rare that I stumble across a piece of software that more or less suites me perfectly with it's default, "out of the box", configuration. So please forgive me if I sound slightly biased / the wearer of rose-tinted glasses hehe

Reply Score: 2

deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

Not tried (or even heard of) Hulu until now - so I might give it a play this weekend.

Well, remember the two are not the same thing - Hulu is a free online video service that has a standalone program... Boxee is a general purpose media player that can provide free online content.

Most of my complaints are in regards to free online content and not accessing my local content - since that's all I care about for a program like this.

Playing back local/LAN content? That's what Media Player Classic HT is for... but then I HATE these slow 'libary' type interfaces (like iTunes) because I do this really retarded thing and name all my files sensibly and put them into well organized folders - so what the **** do I need Library indexing or dozens of meaningless fields nobody bothers to fill out anyways?

(Yes, I'm the BeOS fan who didn't understand what was such a big deal about the extra information in the filesystem nobody actually bothered to fill out for each file anyhow)

Edited 2010-01-08 22:36 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I agree with you whole heartedly about media libraries that re-catalogue your data based on it's own assumptions instead of following your strict folder set up.

I'm the same in that I prefer a strict directory layout and get annoyed when apps like iTunes think they know better.

Thankfully Boxee respects my directories - which is one of the main reasons it's now my primary media app.

Reply Score: 2

bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

Yeah, I have yet to see a music library solution that doesn't occasionally think one of the songs in an album is a separate album because of some weirdness in the ID3 tags.

Then there are other problems, like the database getting out of sync with the files, or the media scanner not finding all files, or something else.

I've been tempted for a while to write my own, simplistic server for my Squeezebox, but haven't quite found the motivation to start on the task.

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

or if it had aspect ratio controls WHILE playing media..


The beta has that now ;) .

Reply Score: 1

RE: ... and where do you put it?
by Laurence on Fri 8th Jan 2010 10:12 UTC in reply to "... and where do you put it?"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

... and with a target price point of $199, at that point buy a Acer Revo which can do stuff OTHER than their service - AND would be a lot easier to tuck into a corner or stack atop something else.


I'm currently running Boxee off a freebie laptop a mate gave me because he broken the LCD screen.
It makes a great system because (aside being free) it's very quiet and draws much less power than a standard tower would. Plus the laptop is a reasonable spec so plays HD content well (not perfectly, but near to that).

But even with the compactness of my Boxee laptop, I quickly came to realise that they take up more space than I (and you) first anticipate.
The reason is simple - all the connectors on a laptop are spread across at least 3 of the 4 sides.

So on my laptop, I have the audio connectors on the front, the ethernet on one side, the USB ports (for remote control) on the other side and the power cable on the back.
It gets further messy if I choose to plug in a USB keyboard (something that wont be required on Boxees official device due to their remote control design), a mouse or any other additional USB storage devices.

So quickly my compact and tidy laptop looks like a bulky and messy octopus (particularly when you factor in that many wires usually need around an inch of overhang from the socket before you can tuck them away (either because of the design of the cable's plug or because the cable itself is too tough to perform "tight turning circles" - for want a better description)


With this in mind, ~124GBP seems like a good price for a quiet, low-watt media device to me (assuming I can order the device here in the UK).

Plus, (and being optimistic for the moment) because the device is running Linux and has ethernet plus 2 USB ports - there may still be every opportunity to hack/expand it to run additional services to additional storages and so on.

Reply Score: 2

deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

The reason is simple - all the connectors on a laptop are spread across at least 3 of the 4 sides.

Another reason I listed the Acer Revo. NetTop form factor means you've got USB, video and power on the back, USB and a SD slot on the front, and that's it.

... and since it's an Atom with nVidia ION you can get accelerated flash under the new flash beta, so it can run Hulu fullscreen despite being slightly below the official specs, and it will run the new beta of boxee like a dream too. (at least, under windows... Linsux, not so much)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883103228

... and it's at the same price-point.

The only real drawback is the only analog audio connector is on the front, but there is live audio on the HDMI connector ... in windows. Front panel is dead in linsux - same problem as my HP laptop I suspect where the it's being treated as a software switched headphone jack, which rarely work right without dicking with the driver settings.

Reply Score: 1

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"The reason is simple - all the connectors on a laptop are spread across at least 3 of the 4 sides.

Another reason I listed the Acer Revo. NetTop form factor means you've got USB, video and power on the back, USB and a SD slot on the front, and that's it.

... and since it's an Atom with nVidia ION you can get accelerated flash under the new flash beta, so it can run Hulu fullscreen despite being slightly below the official specs, and it will run the new beta of boxee like a dream too. (at least, under windows... Linsux, not so much)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883103228

... and it's at the same price-point.

The only real drawback is the only analog audio connector is on the front, but there is live audio on the HDMI connector ... in windows. Front panel is dead in linsux - same problem as my HP laptop I suspect where the it's being treated as a software switched headphone jack, which rarely work right without dicking with the driver settings.
"

Thats a nice little device. Thanks for the link

Reply Score: 2

bralkein Member since:
2006-12-20

I recently built a mini-itx media PC for Boxee use, which is fanless, low-power and operated solely by remote control. It also has all the connectors at the back ;)

I'm very pleased with it so I would definitely recommend giving it a go if you have the time & skillz required, since that way you get exactly what you want/need, plus it's just a computer at the end of the day so if you want to hack it or repurpose it as a desktop PC or whatever then that option is always open to you.

The price depends on what specs you get of course, but you could probably put something together for little more than £100.

Reply Score: 1

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I'd love to but just bought a house so budget is limited and I really need to upgrade my home server first (hence my using a freebie laptop that had a broken LCD screen as the media centre).

My previous media centre - though not fanless - wasn't too loud as I took the HDDs out and powered it by a compact flash microdrive. Unfortunately it wasn't powerful enough to run true HD content either


In an ideal world I'd build a water cooled system hehehe


I'm interested to know what your spec was and how much it cost though


As for the Boxee box, I reckon you could hack that quite easily. It's already running Linux and as Boxee already has repository for Ubuntu - I wouldn't be surprised if the Boxee Box is also a debian derivative.

Edited 2010-01-09 11:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

UglyKidBill Member since:
2005-07-27

Can you share some details about spec's??

At one time I looked at the kind of system recommended in some media centers´ forums and it looked like they require insane processing power for something any crappy player could handle without the noise or the heat caused by such a PC ;) ...

T.I.A.

Reply Score: 1

Awesome design
by Mark Williamson on Fri 8th Jan 2010 02:55 UTC
Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

That really is a cool piece of design. It's impractical because I'd usually want my under-TV devices to stack - but part of the reason you stack them under the TV is that you don't want to look at them. I could gaze at that box quite happily, so I wouldn't want to cover it up by stacking anything on it!

I guess it might be good if there was a more conventional-shaped model on offer for those who need it, with the embedded-in-table look remaining as a flagship model.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Awesome design
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 8th Jan 2010 04:02 UTC in reply to "Awesome design"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I just wonder how much the design jacked up the price. It sounds like a reasonable buy around $200, but It would be killer at $100.

Its officially being considered for my purchase, despite, rather than due, to the design. Give me boring functionality any day. Long live the beige tower.

Reply Score: 3

reminds me off ......
by backdoc on Fri 8th Jan 2010 03:44 UTC
backdoc
Member since:
2006-01-14

That design reminds me of the "object" in the Led Zeppelin album "Presence".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LedZeppelinPresencecover.jpg

If you get a chance to look at all of the pictures in that album, take a look. It was eerily in all of the pictures in the album artwork.

So, I like the design because it reminds me of that.

Reply Score: 2

browsing and youtube on HDMI TV
by project_2501 on Fri 8th Jan 2010 13:19 UTC
project_2501
Member since:
2006-03-20

Sorry for the silly question but I couldn't tell for sure if with this box I can browse the internet and play youtube on a large 1080p HDMI connected TV?

I assume the wifi 802.11n inside is for this purpose?

Also does it self update as the software (linux, browsers, beta-flash-plugin) improve?

Reply Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Sorry for the silly question but I couldn't tell for sure if with this box I can browse the internet and play youtube on a large 1080p HDMI connected TV?

I assume the wifi 802.11n inside is for this purpose?

Also does it self update as the software (linux, browsers, beta-flash-plugin) improve?


Boxee has an integrated Youtube app, so you can play youtube fullscreen.

That's the only question I can answer though I'm affraid.

Boxee do have an official messageboard that seems rather active so you can always ask there.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Heard
by Heard on Fri 8th Jan 2010 16:29 UTC
Heard
Member since:
2009-12-24

The remote looks very "sexy" to me. Does anyone know if it will be available separately? Or does anyone know any similar remote?

Reply Score: 1

Live ATSC TV
by dindin on Fri 8th Jan 2010 19:43 UTC
dindin
Member since:
2006-03-29

I have not used Boxee before so here goes:

How would one watch live ATSC/DVB broadcast TV? Would there be a dongle or a network tuner (for say receiving HDHomeRun streams)

Can it control HDhomeRun?

Can it recognize NTFS partitions? Can it playback MS-DVR files?

Can it playback BlueRay M2TS and H.264/MPEG-TS files?

Reply Score: 2

Comment by flanque
by flanque on Fri 8th Jan 2010 23:27 UTC
flanque
Member since:
2005-12-15

I'm with you on the Gilmore Girls thing Thom. Great show.

Reply Score: 2