Boxee has spoiled this post-Christmas week with a morsel of bittersweet news. The company has unveiled the latest version of its software for Windows, Mac and Linux. Revision 1.5 is being tested by select "early access" Boxee Box owners with a public beta scheduled in January, but PC users can download the latest build today. The update introduces various changes to the entertainment hub's interface.
The home screen has received links to the standard menu to launch the integrated Web browser and Live TV (assuming you have the dongle), the menu now appears as an overlay with refined navigation between sections or search. It's also easier to sort video content and find additional information about the material with an extended synopsis. Boxee says it has reduced the number of clicks required to get around.
The bad news? This will be the last update for PC users. The company has decided that dedicated set-tops will play a larger role in the future of TVs than HTPCs running a conventional desktop operating system. As such, Boxee feels the need to refocus its efforts accordingly. Free downloads of version 1.5 will be available from Boxee's website through January, but you'll have to rely on other mirrors after that.
"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," the developer explained. "To our computer users...thank you for all your support – we would not be where we are today without you," it acknowledged. Many PC customers are using that fact to protest Boxee's abandonment plan.
"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," the company said. Next year will bring many additions to Boxee's product line, including the aforementioned Live TV dongle (provides access to the free over-the-air HDTV broadcasts that launched in 2009) and, hopefully, a new set-top.