What I’m Digging: Boxee.tv

Ever since the 2.0 software for the iPhone came out and the remote app was unvield I’ve been wanting an Apple TV to be my media server at home. But then I found a MacMini that wasn’t being used so I set it up as a test media server in my house. I knew I could use the remote app on my iPhone to control iTunes and when I wanted to I had 4 seasons of The Office I could watch.

But I’ve also found myself watching more and more internet video from hulu.com and the networks (CBS, ABC, FOX and NBC). Wouldn’t it be great to get these feeds onto my TV? Enter boxee.tv

Boxee is currently in Alpha testing but I have some invites I can send out. Boxee is a media center with social networking ties.

Lets break it down. First the media center. The navigation is very smooth. On a mac it uses the Apple Remote that comes with most macs these days. Navigation is very simple. You can view videos, music and pictures. Boxee will play non-DRM music and video files you have on your computer and here’s where the cool part comes. It brings in internet feeds.

For video it brings in Flash feeds from CBS.com, Hulu.com, Comedy Central, YouTube and some other internet feeds. This is a huge source of free videos! Because they are pulling Flash feeds they don’t have ABC which uses Microsoft’s plugin Silverlight.

For audio feeds there is a podcast feeds, last.fm, bbc, npr and some others I haven’t checked out.

For my setup I am running from the DVI of the MacMini through a Apple DVI to Video adaptor and then taking the composite (RCA jack) to my 32″ old SD TV. And the picture looks pretty good. In order to make the menu legible I’ve had to test different screen resolutions and I have to turn off over-scanning which means the picture never fills the screen. But the image is bigger than my laptop so that’s good.

The media center is the only part I’ve really tested. But boxee does take the media center one step further and adds social networking. Once you add your friends you can see what they’ve been watching and what the recommend and vice versa.

Overall I have to say boxee is a very slick media center. The killer feature is the ability for it to bring in video and audio feeds from the internet. For playing back content I already have I find myself using iTunes and the iPhone Remote app or Front Row. I would like to see an iPhone remote for boxee. It is in Alpha right now so it has a few bugs. Like not being able to skip ahead or back in a video feed. Kind of a bummer if you missed something or hit a wrong button 45 minutes into a video.

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November 6, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Sound, Tech Stuff, Video.

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