Boxee is a cross-platform freeware media center software with a 10-foot user interface and social networking features designed for the living-room TV. Boxee is a fork of the free and open source XBMC media center software which Boxee uses as an application framework for its GUI and media player core platform, together with some custom and proprietary additions.
Marketed as the first ever "Social Media Center", Boxee enables its users to view, rate and recommend content to their friends through many social network services and interactive media related features.
Boxee supports a wide range of multimedia formats and includes features such as playlists, audio visualizations, slideshows, weather forecasts reporting, and an expanding array of third-party plugins. As a media center, 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.
Through the processing power of modern PC hardware, Boxee is able to decode high-definition video up to 1080p. Boxee is able to use Nvidia's VDPAU on Linux-based operating-systems, and DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration) on Windows Vista and newer Microsoft operating-systems to utilize GPU accelerated video decoding to assist with process of video decoding of high-definition videos.
With its Python plugin system, Boxee includes incorporated add-on features such as Apple movie trailer support and subtitle downloading, as well as online internet content channels and services, like BBC iPlayer, Jamendo, Joost, Last.fm, NPR, SHOUTcast internet audio plugins, ABC, Blip.TV, CNET, CNN, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV Music, MySpaceTV, Netflix, Revision3, YouTube, The WB Television Network internet video plugins, and Flickr and PicasaWeb picture viewing plugins. All are available as media sources available alongside the local library.
What are the minimum system requirements to run Boxee?
Boxee can probably run on anything, but the things that it will run well on:
- x86 (Intel/AMD processor) based system running at 1.0GHz or greater
- 512MB system memory (RAM) or more
Graphics controller / card / adapter and device drivers capable of
- OpenGL 1.4 (+ GLSL) or higher (please read this for further info regarding Boxee and OpenGL).
- 32-bit colors or more
Boxee currently runs on the following systems:
- Mac OS X 10.4 or higher (Intel processor based only)
- Linux (ubuntu 32-bit or 64-bit) 8.04 or higher
- Windows XP or Vista ,Windows 7 (64-bit x86 is not officially supported)
Version 1.5 of Boxee is currently being tested by Boxee Box Early Access users and will soon be available in Beta. We plan to release 1.5 together with Live TV later in January. Here’s some of the new features you can look forward to on the Boxee Box…
Home Screen We’ve added links to the standard menu to launch the Browser and Live TV (once you’ve attached the dongle). We also gave the featured section a small facelift.
Menu The Menu is now more accessible, popping up as an overlay that lets you quickly navigate between different sections or search. we also optimized search to minimize the number of clicks.
Movies & TV Shows We updated the layout of Movies and TV Shows for easier navigation by Genre and Source as well as providing quick access to trailers. There is also a new Movie details screen with extended synopsis and cast & crew information. For TV Shows it is now much easier to jump between seasons and see which episodes you already watched.
Watch Later & Friends We expanded the thumbnails in Watch Later & Friends sections and now let you filter between clips, TV Shows and Movies.
PC Update As a platform, we have been able to bring Boxee for Computers to about 85% of the Boxee Box in terms of features and functionality. Due to extensive DRM and certification requirements premium apps will not be available on the downloadable version of Boxee, most notably Netflix, VUDU, and Pandora (click here for a full list). However, if you are using Boxee for file playback you should be pleasantly surprised with better file support, a new on screen display, better networking support, and a host of other features you can read about here.
Growing Past the PC This 1.5 release will be the last version of Boxee for PC/Mac/Ubuntu. It will be available on Boxee.tv through the end of January.
We believe the future of TV will be driven by devices such as the Boxee Box, Connected TVs / Blu-Rays and 2nd screen devices such as tablets and phones. While there are still many users who have computers connected to their TVs, we believe this use case is likely to decline as users find better alternatives. People will continue to watch a lot of video on their computer, but it is more likely to be a laptop than a home-theater PC and probably through a browser rather than downloaded software.
To our computer users… to those who have come out to our NYC and SF meetups, talked with us at Engadget, GDGT, and Giz Gallery events, or enjoyed Austin BBQ with us during SxSW, or simply messaged with us on Facebook, Twitter, and our forums… thank you for all your support – we would not be where we are today without you. But we can’t stay here.
We are excited about the upcoming release of Boxee Live TV and our new product roadmap for 2012. If you are a current Boxee user on a computer we hope that you will enjoy 1.5 and maybe when you are ready to retire that good ol’ HTPC/Mac Mini you will decide to get a Boxee Box.