I am big fans of Boxee. It is a really easy to use system for accessing content over the internet (legally) and watching content you already own from home. Boxee is great. I remember we first got it when I was pregnant with No.2 and it made a huge difference for those night feeds and early morning wake ups with a newborn. It will change the way you use your TV.
What is Boxee?
Boxee is a cross-platform freeware Home Theater software application. Still lost .. well what is it is software that can run on different types of hardware … that costs nothing and can control your Home Theatre. Boxee with its easy to use GUI (Graphic User Interface) enables you to access movies, television, music from your PCs, CD/DVD drives and home servers as well as content over the internet (like ABC iView) … without having to get up and change disks or physically interact with any Home Theatre/Stereo hardware (OK breastfeeding Mums … this is where it is great at 3am and you can’t move). Boxee makes using your TV really easy.
Boxee supports a wide range of multimedia formats and includes features such as playlists, audio visualizations, slideshows, and an expanding array of third-party plugins. As a media centre, Boxee can play most audio and video file formats, as well as display images from many sources, including CD/DVD-ROM drives, USB flash drives, the Internet, and local area network shares. Check out the up-to-date list of file formats that Boxee supports here.
What I like best about Boxee is how easy it is to use. The interface looks great and is very easy to use. With a small amount of set-up (telling Boxee where your content is) it can automatically search and organise your content for viewing. When it has found your content, it will organise it (so that it is really easy to navigate) and find the images from iMDB so when you are browsing it will come up with either the Movie Poster or Appropriate Image for your TV Program.
So I get I can play my own content but what else can I access over the internet with Boxee?
If it’s available on the Internet, then you can probably watch it on your Boxee. Depending on where you live (some stuff is only available to the US), there are more than 40,000 TV show episodes and movies currently available through Boxee. Boxee supports content including Apple movie trailer support and subtitle downloading, access to on-demand video services such as Netflix; a range of popular online internet content channels like audio services Pandora Radio, Last.fm, Jamendo, NPR, SHOUTcast radio streams; video services from ABC iView, SBS, BBC iPlayer, CNET, CBC TV, CNN, CBS, Comedy Central, Kid Mango, OpenFilm, SnagFilms, IndieMoviesOnline, EZTakes, VEVO, Vice Magazine, TED, The WB Television Network and YouTube.
My two favourites are ABC iView and TED. We have internode as our ISP and so all ABC iView is un-metered. Brilliant. There is no reason to miss your favourite ABC content and ABC for Kids is a god-send. TED is just amazing. I have learnt so much from just trawling through the videos. I think the key with TED is not to look for anything in particular and go in with an open mind.
What are the fees associated with Boxee? It can’t really be free
Boxee the application is free. You don’t have to pay for the software and it doesn’t charge you any monthly fees. However some premium applications accessible through Boxee require a fee.
OK … so how do I get Boxee?
The first thing you need to decide is what hardware to run Boxee on … you can either buy a dedicated hardware (the easiest option) or you can suply your own.
The easiest way to get Boxee is to buy the dedicated Boxee hardware from D-Link. You can buy it directly from Boxee (if you are in the US) or buy it from local retailers. In Australia the retailers are Harvey Norman, Dick Smith and Office Works.
The cheaper way of getting Boxee is to provide your own hardware. But what do you need to do ..
- Download Boxee’s free software and
- Install it on any computer capable of being connected to a TV – Examples include Mac Mini, Apple TV and any standard Linux or Windows PC.
- Add a cable (which one depends on your TV and computer) . Most TVs support HDMI and most computers support DVI. If you’re lucky, your computer will have an HDMI port. If not, you’ll probably need an adapter to convert your computer’s video-out signal to either DVI or HDMI.
- Use a iPhone/Android to control your Boxee or buy a PC remote separately (if you use a Apple computer you can use the Apple Remote)
In short Boxee is easy to use and will make it easier for you to access more content easily from your TV … And wait I hear there is also an iPad app coming. Can’t wait.