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The Internet Media Software Technology

Boxee 1.5 Will Be the Last Supported Desktop Version 113

DeviceGuru writes with excerpts from the article: "Boxee released [a beta of] version 1.5 of its free multimedia streaming software for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops today, but simultaneously announced that it will cease offering the Boxee desktop software after January. Thereafter, the company will limit its focus to devices such as the D-Link Boxee Box, which faces stiff competition from multimedia streaming TV set-top-box products such as the Roku players, Google TV, and Apple TV. Hopefully, the XBMC project, on which Boxee's software is largely based, will carry the ball forward for desktop users. Speaking of which, the first preview release of XBMC 11.0 Eden was just released."
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Boxee 1.5 Will Be the Last Supported Desktop Version

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  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday December 26, 2011 @09:36PM (#38498824) Homepage Journal

    Time to move to XBMC.

    However, if they actually DO update Boxee for Linux it will be the first time in a long time. They haven't even bothered for a while.

  • Great... (Score:5, Informative)

    by rannmann ( 2348880 ) on Monday December 26, 2011 @09:44PM (#38498892)
    As someone who currently owns a bricked Boxee Box, I'm somewhat pleased they're finally focusing on just the Boxee Box, because that thing seriously needs some love. It was really cool for the first month or so when it worked, but the forced firmware updates brick Boxee Boxes left and right (according to the forums). The browser is absolutely terrible and isn't supported by Hulu, the "mouse" on the remote is one of the worst things I've ever used (try using arrow keys to move one pixel at a time).

    They have a lot of work to do if they want to be in the media center market.
    • I agree with you, as a fellow boxee box owner it does require some love. Don't get me wrong I do love my boxee box I looked at all the other so called media streamers out there and by far boxee box is the best codec wise with full HD support and .mkv support plus web browser and apps it was worth the price tag. Having said that, yeah updates were a pain I had one or two updates early on that required factory resets because for some reason they absolutely hated the network and refused to see any shared dri
    • And there's the beautiful vudu advertisment feature: If you have a single episode of a series in a network drive, there is no view out there that will show you just what you have: If Vudu sells the rest of the episodes, they will show up on your screen, and there will always be a link to download from them, even if you already ripped the dvds.

      And the lack of UI customization makes it so that if you have a different use for the box than their idea of a norm, you are out of luck: For example, they have a pare

      • Boxee serves a very narrow and tightly defined purpose: it's XBMC for dummies. If you want less dummyness, it's time you switched to full-on XBMC. No Vudu links plastered all over your face, good customization, and far better Linux support.

        The Boxee box is nice if you want to shut up a non-tech-savvy friend or relative, because it is plug-and-play. For us geeks, XBMC on either an old gaming PC or a nice compact ION box is a better fit.

        • by GNious ( 953874 )

          Tried both:

          Boxee - fairly easy to use, slightly stupid UI, slow-as-fuck, missing several features
          XBMC - Not so easy to use, not stable (Ubuntu 10.4, Win7), not wife-acceptable, lots of features but several non-functional (Weather, library analysis)

          So far I'm not impressed, yet they are still better than Windows Media Center and Apple Front Row.

          Note: Updated to latest Boxee a few weeks ago, seems faster (OSX 10.6)

          • by dmesg0 ( 1342071 )

            XBMC - very stable (last crash was a year ago), controlled entirely by universal IR remote, used mostly by my wife (I myself don't watch much), beautiful and very impressive (several guests installed it as well after seeing ours), very nice movie library sorted by IMDB rating. Running on old ubuntu htpc box with nvidia card (vdpau).

            Boxee - tried it at some point, found no reason to keep.

            • by sc0ob5 ( 836562 )
              I'm going to have to agree. I have been using XBMC for a couple of years now and it is far and away the best media centre out there at the moment.

              I'm running the Lars Op Den Kamp PVR build of Eden with tvheadend for the TV tuners on Oneiric and use a logitech rumblepad 2 for the controller. Set it up with zsnes and dolphin-emu and can access these without even leaving the couch. The addons repos are great, adding quite a lot of features you could only dream of in other media centres. I rarely have issues ev

            • by GNious ( 953874 )

              I'll try to elaborate:

              1) Installed it on Linux (Ubuntu 10.4) and Windows (7 Home) - they appear to be different branches, at least UI wise
              2) Under Video (on Windows), I had sub-items "Files" and "Add-Ons" initially. When adding a source called Movies, I got a sub-item called "Movies", which was a file-listing of that source. When adding source called "Cartoons", I did not get a sub-item on the main view, only in the dedicated Video view; Cartoons weren't compiled under "Movies" either. When adding source ca

          • I must say that I really like XBMC and pretty much all of my TV and movie viewing occurs through it now. I set it up for the first time this year and just used arch as the OS. If you're using nvidia graphics it works flawlessly and combining it with sabnzbd and sickbeard give you a wonderful automated dvr setup.
          • If XBMC isn't wife acceptable, then your wife isn't Billco-acceptable :)

            My wife has been quite happy with her XBMC for years, first with the old-school Xbox, and now with a dedicated HTPC running the XBMCFreak builds, which are a respin of XBMC-Live with a few preconfigured add-ons and tweaks. Sure, the ION boxes cost us about $400 a piece a couple of years ago, but they are flawless.

      • And there's the beautiful vudu advertisment feature: If you have a single episode of a series in a network drive, there is no view out there that will show you just what you have: If Vudu sells the rest of the episodes, they will show up on your screen, and there will always be a link to download from them, even if you already ripped the dvds.

        Not entirely true... There's a toggle when viewing Shows that lets you enable/disable content by provider - and I've unchecked Vudu which stops what you're describing, at least for me.

  • I can't be the only person that thought of this [].
  • Plex (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday December 26, 2011 @10:06PM (#38499062)

    I just recently started using Plex when we bought a new LG TV that happened to have a built-in Plex client - and I must say it's pretty slick. So, even with Boxee, it would seem like there are still going to be readily available free options for people.

    People don't cycle through televisions all that quickly, but with smart TV functionality becoming more prevalent it's probably just a matter of time before all these add-on boxes die off. Heck, even my beloved Tivo became a lot less interesting after we bought the TV - we still use the basic DVR functionality, but all the "value added" features (e.g. Netflix, Pandora, home media viewing) became redundant. The TV itself offers them now - and it does them better.

  • Well nice going Boxee, you've just alienated THE MAJORITY OF YOUR FANBASE that ignore the expensive glorified trinkets w/ HDMI cables sticking out of them in favor of self-built microATX, laptop, or straight-up desktop setups. Either way, perhaps something better will come out of it. IIRC Boxee used entirely different backends for each platform...
    • by osu-neko ( 2604 )

      Well nice going Boxee, you've just alienated THE MAJORITY OF YOUR FANBASE that ignore the expensive glorified trinkets w/ HDMI cables sticking out of them in favor of self-built microATX, laptop, or straight-up desktop setups.

      How much do said users pay Boxee? Just curious how much money they stand to lose if they entirely lose the self-built crowd of fans...

      • by WoLpH ( 699064 )

        Those users don't pay money, but they help to remove the bugs and introduce new features. Or atleast... that's what I do with XBMC.

        Personally I don't use Boxee though, I simply can't stand the Boxee user interface and bugs. Some bugs are ok but Boxee has had so many completely broken and/or missing features that it has never been a viable alternative for me. Too bad since some of the interfaces seem better than XBMC out of the box.

        • I had a similar opinion. Used it for a while and had to bail on it.

          And it's a little sad... I can't figure out how the Boxee Box is going to survive much longer. Not that it wasn't an interesting attempt, but they haven't nailed the inexpensive, "just works" end of the market like Roku has. They also haven't managed to nail the higher end, tinkerer land of htpc'ers. The market in between for $180 stb's that aren't great in either of those roles can't be very big.

          And for what small middle-ground th
          • by ubrgeek ( 679399 )
            Just got our Roku and really like it. Wish it had an OTA option and some sort of (even limited) DVR functionality. While I'm capable of building a home media box, I'd really prefer not to.
      • How much did said Boxee pay XBMC when they used it as their starting point ?

        Oh, right. NOTHING!

        They took years of public work, slapped on a watered down skin, got a chinese manufacturer to poop out a cheap media box, and plastered the resulting mess with a gazillion monetized links and ads. It seems it would only be fair that they continue producing the desktop port as a thank-you to the community that made their company possible in the first place, or at least provide the FULL SOURCE so someone else can

        • Actually Boxee does help out XBMC. Every now and then their developers submit code; they also sponsor the annual XBMC dev conferences and help out with hosting costs.
      • All Boxee users see the same ads, and use the same Boxee accounts to access paid services, of which Boxee is surely getting a kickback.

        That being said, Boxee has decided to crap on their desktop users, and especially their Linux desktop users from day one.

    • by Snaller ( 147050 )

      They ignored people who weren't paying them - that seems like a bad business move... oh wait.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Still the best! Nothing, but nothing matches Myth's client server model. And it is rock solid!

    • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
      I really wanted for Myth to work for me. It is just too much of a pain to set up. The OS install is easy. The MythTV software install is easy. The problem is when you get to the video capture and remote control setup. I don't know if it has gotten any easier, but there seems to be a lot of compiling, command line configuration, and finger crossing. I found the only benefit it had over XBMC was the live television capabilities. Once I cancelled Dish, XBMC covered 100% of my needs with dramatically eas
  • Love XBMC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Monday December 26, 2011 @11:14PM (#38499468)
    XBMC is some really great software, I'm glad support has lasted this long. It's what I use on my TV PC, it's easy to setup, and does exactly what it's supposed to do. It's got some great plugins that allow live streaming from various sources, supports any format I've thrown at it, it's a DLNA server, supports various network protocols for indexing and streaming, supports many remote control devices, it's available for all major OSes and works great on all platforms. I'm extremely happy with it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It sure is. I got myself an Apple TV box a couple of days ago just to put XBMC on it. Jailbreaking was easy and fun (if you like that sort of thing, which I do) and now I have a tiny little box that streams all my content to the tv, just as the laptop did before, only without all the hassle of cables and such.

  • So now what hackable devices should I be recommending my friends buy?

  • by Requiem18th ( 742389 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:48AM (#38499910)

    Digital Restriction Management indeed...
    DRM is the reason Netflix isn't available o Linux.
    DRM takes the customer as the enemy so there can't be FOSS DRM. (pirates don't suffer from DRM)
    DRM hardware chips enable device makers to leverage the free work of the FOSS community without actually giving anything back.
    Without allowing people to use their computer as they want.
    DRM hardware is what enables TiVos and Roku boxes to function.
    I have no doubt DRM hardware is the reason Boxee is leaving desktop users out in the cold.
    DRM is the reason XBMC can't play blueray discs or Netflix.
    It's the reason device makers manage to monopolise the market, by rising the cost for small players and making it impossible to play nice for independent and home-made players.

    Without DRM there would be a revolution in Media players and Media Centers, In fact there is already one, it's just either illegal or nearly frozen.

    Ultimately DRM attacks the wrong end of the distribution chain. IDIOTS! I WANT TO PAY FOR THIS STUFF, what are you afraid I might do with your stream? Post it online? There is no need! IT IS ALREADY ONLINE! I can stream it from anywhere in the world into the very same media center you don't want me to use to consume your damn service.

    Imbecile Mother Fuckers.

    • by sesshomaru ( 173381 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @01:35AM (#38500090) Journal

      "DRM is the reason Netflix isn't available on Linux."

      I hate DRM, but when Netflix tells you that's why Netflix isn't available on Linux, they are lying.

      HBOGo - Available on Linux []
      Amazon Prime - Available on Linux []
      Hulu Plus - Available on Linux []

      On the plus side, Netflix's lies further tarnish the reputation of DRM, which is agreeable to me.

      • The weird thing is that Netflix servers all run on Linux, and the company talks about how their business model wouldn't work if it wasn't for Linux. But they have no intention of supporting Linux desktop users.

      • All of those services are only available if you are willing to accept proprietary software and give up ownership of your data (even amazon prime for all of its good ideas still relies on Amazon remaining in business and offering that service in perpetuity).

        Why isn't there something akin to the many DRM-free music services? I can already do the PITA that is waiting for a physical DVD and rip that trivially.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          " I can already do the PITA that is waiting for a physical DVD and rip that trivially."

          PITA? really? I have automated DVD ripping so well that all I have to do is insert the disc and it rips automagically. Handbrake CLI is awesome for that with a bit of scripting. (also using the libraries to restore the decss functionality to handbrake,m or use a older version)

          Less than 6 seconds of my time spent. Open package, drop in disc, walk away. IT magically appears in my XBMC movie list when done. I grab the

          • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

            This is why I view the Roku and AppleTV as fundementally inferior solutions. Why can't a device like that in 2011 take advantage of network tech that has been pervasive since 1995 and commonplace since the mid 80s?

            Some people like to whine about how "hard" other devices are when it's pretty trivial to create a setup where any GUI desktop user can easily add content for XBMC, or MythTV, or WMC. Once it's on the right place on the network, things "just work" and there's no extra file conversion steps needed.


          • by tepples ( 727027 )
            The PITA is learning how to do the "bit of scripting" and how to "us[e] the libraries to restore the decss functionality" if you don't already know how to program a computer.
          • It's mostly a pain in the ass to wait a week for the disc to get there so that I can circumvent their asinine DRM scheme with a trivial process. Why won't they just sell me the files in the first place?

      • by 605dave ( 722736 )
        I am guessing here, but Netflix runs on Silverlight and the rest on Flash? Flash has a Linux player, Silverlight doesn't. Or isn't supported.
    • by MBC1977 ( 978793 )
      Just out of curiosity (since I don't really care either way personally), why is DRM bad?

      I understand the technical limitations it imposes on various groups, however if we consider that without it, content (in general) will be forced to go down in price which means less pay for the creators; due to the fact most people will just "share it" rather than purchase it. And considering that the creation of content is a real investment (i.e. cost) what would be the incentive to create it, since time and equipmen
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @11:29AM (#38503042) Homepage

        It creates new monopolies, complicates/prevents the development of new products and technologies, and interferes with individual property rights.

        DRM primarily impacts the paying customer and rarely if ever stops "pirates".

      • why is DRM bad?

        I understand the technical limitations it imposes on various groups

        Digital restrictions management is bad because of "the technical limitations it imposes on various groups". As each new locked-down device comes out, we inch closer to the dystopia that was considered unthinkable in 1997 [].

        without DRM, content (in general) will be forced to go down in price

        "Content" makes works of authorship sound like mere things to fill a box [].

        And considering that the creation of content is a real investment (i.e. cost) what would be the incentive to create it

        What was the incentive to create the short film Sintel?

  • by Flammon ( 4726 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:04AM (#38500422) Homepage Journal

    I was under the impression that the Boxee Box was going to be an open platform only to find out that it wasn't so I sold it about a month later and got two AppleTV2's, for the same price and installed XBMC on them. I've never been happier with this combo. ATV2 is just enough hardware to play 720p smoothly which is all I want. You don't need 1080p unless you have a 60" set and you're watching it within 8 feet which I don't. [] It uses about 8 Watts, has 8GB of solid state versus the 1GB on the Boxee Box. Content metadata, playback settings and thumbnails are all stored in a central location along with all my media. I can also watch my PVR content because of the MythTV support. I haven't seen any media centre come close to doing what XBMC does.

    • by Nyder ( 754090 )

      ...You don't need 1080p unless you have a 60" set and you're watching it within 8 feet which I don't. ...

      I never understood this.

      Your claming that 1080p is only good if you have a 60" set and are watching it with in 8 feet. wtf?

      I have a 38" 1080p TV. yes, 720p stuff looks fine on it, but 1080p really shines. Of course, it depends on the subject matter. I've gotten 1080p of older movies, ie. Tron 1982 and honestly, the 720p of that is good enough, because of the original source. New stuff? Different story. 1080p looks better on it almost all the time.

      Why? Because my TV is a 1080p TV, not a 720p

    • I looked at the linked chart and they are basing it on "with 20/20 vision it is possible to resolve 1/60th of a degree of an arc". Maybe I just have better than 20/20 vision with my glasses, but the quality difference between 720p and 1080p on a 47" at 14 feet is quite obvious to me. I will admit that 720p on my 52" still looks quite nice and I'm putting off on a 1080p upgrade because of it.
    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Oh someone made a chart, it must be true!

      (Just this past holiday break I was looking at a 45" tv from a couch from about 10-12 foot away and could readily tell that it was not 1080p. I ultimately asked what kind of set it was and it was indeed a 720p. You can tell the difference (a bit more jagged). With 'natural' footage, it's hard, but with more synthetic content (e.g menus, games, animeated content) it's pretty blatant.

  • by forgottenusername ( 1495209 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @03:22AM (#38500480)

    I tried out several software suites for my HTPC and ultimately ended up with XBMC.

    There's enough free content that if you're a casual TV watcher you can get away without it. There's a "free cable" plugin that pulls in a bunch of channels, along with hulu free (of course, who knows how long that will exist).

    I use amazon prime to get all the "free" prime movies/shows and that is another ton of content.

    Unfortunately blockbuster isn't working but I believe Netflix does on windows ( don't have that ). It's silverlight.

    There are tons of handy plugins. Anything from adult plugins (pr0n) to academic earth.

    I drive it all from my harmony remote, audio passthrough through video hdmi out to receiver.

    Once I get mythtv going to record football I'm going to (finally) cancel comcast. I hope that one day HBO / Showtime will smarten up and offer modular monthly subscriptions, instead of requiring you use a federated login based on your cable/dish provider. Lame.

    XBMC is flexible/hackable enough to make me happy since I can make most anything work, but presents media simply enough my computer illiterate girlfriend can drive it all. Win.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      If you want Netflix on XBMC, simply buy a Roku box and switch from HDMI input 1 to hdmi input 2 on your TV. works great. Or use the app on your Xbox or PS3.
      You will never see Netflix on XBMC, Netflix is very hostile to XBMC and will never EVER release an official client for that media center.

    • by na1led ( 1030470 )
      Netflix works in XBMC but it's very cumbersom, and XBMC has no BluRay support. I tried getting PowerDVD9 to work with XBMC but got so frustrated I gave up. I like the Interface but without real Netflix , Hulu, and BluRay support, it just doesn't do it for me. I do like the new XBOX interface with Kinect, if Microsoft provides more content and Skype for XBOX, it may out-do all the compitition. With the Kinect you can just speak to the XBOX and tell it what your looking for. I just don't like having to pay f
  • The competition from Google TV must be particularly stiff: []
    • Google announced Google TV too early, and it wasn't ready for primetime. Then they decided to pull back and told consumers not to buy early devices, because Google would re-launch a better software stack down the road. Hardware partners couldn't have been pleased with that.

      We're going to see a revamped Android 4.0 Google TV, but Google still burned bridges with companies like Logitech.

  • I used to use XBMC on Xbox. Switched to Boxee on a Mac Mini a couple of years ago.

    If Boxee's dead what next? I actually liked Boxee (thought not the bugs)

    Every time I try XBMC it dies or is missing features. I just downloaded it right now (v 10.1 for OSX). I like several of the Boxee Apps (ted, vimeo, escapist, ...) so I download the Ted app for XBMC. I run it. First thing I notice. It's not nearly has nice as the Boxee app. Simple list, no descriptions, no style. I click the first link, XBMC is now locked.

    • Try out the new beta. 10.1s nearly a year old.
      • Tried the new beta. Other than re-arranging the top menu I don't see much of a difference. It still doesn't have most of the features of boxee. It still crashed trying to watch a video in the ted app. And now it does silly things like show me a thumbnail of the movie I'M CURRENTLY WATCHING when I bring up the playback controls.

        • You can't just complain then. This XBMC unlike Boxee is open source with no paid developers. If you want a problem fixed you have to report it (via the appropriate routes) or fix it yourself and submit a pull request.
          • Yay! the typical answer for an open source product.

            1) Open Source Guy: Our product is teh awesome!
            2) User: It's not 1/10th as good a ABC
            3) Open Source Guy: So volunteer to fix it!

            #3 kind of negates #1

            Sure I might consider contributing to XBMC but I'm responding to the idea that it's supposedly a good replacement for boxee. That doesn't appear to be the case.

  • The primary reason Boxee is dropping PC support is because they are not getting much traction there. Not on the PC and likely not much anywhere else outside of /.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Yeah. They are antagonizing their only real market.

      Who outside of Slashdot and similar sites is going to bother paying twice the price or more? Most "normal consumers" are just going to buy the "well known brand" or the "cheap thing".

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @09:13AM (#38501940) Homepage

    Will not abandon users for corporate gold like the Boxee goofballs.

    I hope the Boxee guys dont think they can go closed source, 90% of their product is XBMC still under there. they need to rewrite all of that before they can go the corperate overlord route.

  • I don't think you can call the Google TV "stiff competition". It was a complete flop.
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Tuesday December 27, 2011 @12:37PM (#38503792) Journal

    I've been VERY interested in an Internet based set-top box solution for many years now. As someone who likes movies a lot, but DOESN'T watch almost any network TV (sitcoms, reality TV episodes, cop/crime dramas, etc.), I've never gotten my money's worth paying for monthly cable or satellite subscriptions. I do, however, already have a fast broadband connection that I use enough to justify its monthly expense. Therefore, one of these boxes and a cheap subscription to something like Netflix streaming would appear to be ideal.

    Unfortunately, whether it's XBMC, Boxee, AppleTV, or you-name-it? ALL of the current solutions are incomplete, primarily because the broadcasters and movie industry still isn't ready to fully embrace the digital age. As much as we all like to slam the recording industry for their backwards ways, it's an odd fact that they're probably the first of the bunch to come to grips with reality and co-operate with the change to digital media distribution. (Heck, they even want to give the late Steve Jobs a Grammy for iTunes!) Right now, the book publishers, for example, are years behind the record labels -- still fighting to keep public libraries from lending out some of their material via e-readers, pricing periodicals downloaded digitally at too high a price, snubbing authors who opt to publish digitally with companies like Amazon, etc. etc.

    The movie and broadcast industry are in a similar place ... still desperately clinging onto a dying business model. The public wants/expects on-demand streaming of the video content they'd like to watch, when they want to view it. The industry wants/expects viewers to go out and purchase the content one show or movie at a time on physical plastic platters (DVDs), or alternately, to pay monthly for pre-selected content to constantly stream in over a cable or satellite link and artificial limitations be placed on the recording or copying of said content.

    Until this changes, we keep seeing a cat and mouse game; networks trying to block the viewing of their available web content when using a GoogleTV, constant update patches required for Plex so it can continue to "scrape" popular web sites for info on downloaded movies or TV shows properly, artificial limitations placed on which devices can and can't view Hulu's content, etc.

    In fact, I heard rumors that the AppleTV even had to deal with a Netflix vs. Hulu spat where Apple was forced to pick one, because they refused to BOTH be offered as options on the unit together.

    I can understand Boxee's move, if they really feel they can make the Boxee box a better product by focusing strictly on it, vs. trying to support all sorts of other misc. PC hardware out there. But it's a risky move, IMO, from the standpoint that competitors like Plex seem to offer essentially all of the same functions and features, but are working deals so they come pre-installed on new TV sets out of the box, as well as $5 software downloads for GoogleTV bases products AND free downloads for Macs or PCs. What can Boxee do to differentiate themselves enough so people will still buy their proprietary set-top box?

  • I've owned a BoxeeBox for nearly 1.5yrs now and a there are a few remaining issues which keep it from being great. And that's more a compliment than a bitch... As one who is more interested in a solution for Locally-stored Content (say, 80% local and 20% other), it's pretty good, no doubt, and almost does everything I need. Almost. So please, D-Link, take this opportunity to get it together and FINISH the BoxeeBox. What you/we have now is analogous to a Beta release, at best. Fix the known issues, add

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.