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Boxee Beta Rolls Out to Apple TV Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 February 2010
ImageBoxee, the media center application built around social sharing, has just rolled out their Boxee Beta build for Apple TV users.  Users can load the Beta build onto a USB memory stick and load the software onto their Apple TV.  Boxee launched their Beta version of the software in December 2009, but without support for the Apple TV.

I've been experimenting with builds of Boxee since its inception and I'm quite impressed with the strides that they have made over the last two years.  Just a few months ago, they announced their intention of releasing the Boxee Box in partnership with D-Link (link).  The Boxee Box is a slick looking media center designed to roll out the Boxee software solution on a much grander scale.  That being said, you can utilize the Boxee software on any Windows, Mac or Linux PC for free (as well as the previously mentioned Apple TV).

What makes Boxee Beta different from previous releases is a shift from a platform focus to a content focus.  For instance, let's say you wanted to watch an episode of Lost.  In the previous setup, you would launch Hulu or ABC application, search for the episode and watch the program.  Within Beta, you can simply do a keyword search for Lost and it will automatically bring up a list of episodes.  When you click on the episode, it will tell you the sources available and you can add it into your queue / direct watch from there.

Boxee TV

There's also an increased focus on applications.  Boxee supports independent app development, similar to the iPhone.  There's currently over 150 apps on the store and that number continues climb as Boxee's popularity increases.  There are well known apps like Netflix, Pandora and Flickr as well as many feeds from a variety of web-only content providers.  

The social networking function works in conjunction with Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed to integrate your television / movie watching preferences into your social feeds.  Boxee also makes recommendations based on what your friends are watching.  Boxee is making strides in recommending related social networks based on your friends as well.  If you are browsing through a friend's Last.fm music playlist, you may also see a link for their Flickr account pop up in your feed.  

For those familiar with the previous versions of Boxee, you will notice a simplified look to the design in this rendition.  The Home Screen is now divided into two sections; the top contains the six main functions (Photos, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Apps and Files) and the bottom contains your friend feed, featured content and the queue.  The new design has made browsing somewhat easier and it feels like it's nearing the final release for the Boxee Box. 

Home Screen

Boxee is also working on launching a payment platform, sometime in Summer 2010.  This will allow them to increase their number of content providers and overall library of titles; opening the door for newly released movies to be rented / purchased on the platform.  It will be interesting to see if Boxee's torrent downloading functionality (buried in the setting menu) will come under question by movie studios before the payments platform launches.  

You can find a full set of instructions on how to install Boxee Beta on Apple TV here.  You can also find our full review of the Apple TV at this link.

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