Our Team Blog

Boxee’s Upcoming Firmware Update

Our goal is to release a firmware update for the Boxee Box (and in the future other Boxee-based devices) every 3 months or so. In each firmware update we try to have a healthy mix of new and improved functionality together with bug fixes.

The last firmware update came out in Feb, so you should expect to see the next update come out in May. Here is what’s coming:

  • Browser: faster loading and scrolling, favorites and history
  • Video playback: improved ffwd/rwd controls, new look for on-screen-display
  • Local files: sort by source, .nfo support
  • New languages: French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, Swedish
  • Support for Boxee for iPad.. :)

We have gone through http://jira.boxee.tv and tried to resolve the most critical/annoying bugs (we consider bug priority based on their popularity in Jira and the related discussions in the forum). Some bugs we are solving with this update:

  • Occasionally when trying to download and install applications it will result with “signature failed” message
  • Using USB IR receiver duplicate button presses are occasionally generated
  • HTTPS URLs cannot be invoked from search bar
  • Update is prompted during paused video
  • Special characters are displayed wrong
  • Playback of some overlay ads in Flash video stutters
  • The Boxee Box doesn’t recognize two USB drives with the same drive label
  • When Boxee resumes from ’sleep’ mode all artwork is gone from library view
  • iPhone remote does not refresh the available host names
  • Display file name with Chinese/Japanese/Korean characters
  • and many more…

We are about to send out the version to our early access users and start the process of collecting feedback on the build quality, new functionality and overall experience. Once we feel the version is in a good shape we will release it out to everyone.

March 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

$16.5M More For Boxee To Invest In The Future Of TV

We are happy to announce that Boxee has closed a $16.5M round of financing featuring new investors Pitango and Softbank, with participation by prior investors General Catalyst, Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. Isaac Hillel from Pitango will join our board.

Our previous round of financing was $6M and at that time we were 12 employees, our software was in alpha and the Boxee Box was a dream. Fast forward 18 months and we are a different company. 34 employees, ver 1.0 of the software and the Boxee Box is available in more than 30 countries.

We are more hungry and driven than ever. Less naive, but dreaming even more ambitious dreams. We are also recruiting, so if you are a Boxee fan and passionate about what we’re doing then maybe you can join us in either NY or TLV. Check out our jobs page.

With the new funding in place we will be focusing on 3 main things:

  • Product - We are getting lots of love as well as feature requests and bug reports. The new round will enable us to grow our development team, building new functionality while continuing to squash bugs.One of our greatest challenges will be to add more movies, TV shows, and video while at the same time making it easier to discover and watch them. We have ideas on both fronts and are excited to get to work.Many of you would like to see Boxee handle all the video on their TV with no need to switch inputs. We’d like to get there, too.
  • More Content – We recently added Netflix and Vudu to the Boxee Box. These are amazing video services. There are many more sources of content on our ToDo list in the US and internationally. We realize that with every new content source we make Boxee more valuable. We will increase the pace.
  • More Partners – D-Link is already shipping the Boxee Box, Iomega is working on a Boxee NAS device and ViewSonic is working on a TV based on Boxee. We plan to sign up more device and distribution partners, giving users more options and more ways to get Boxee.

We are really excited to welcome our new investors and thankful for the continued support of our existing investors. Most of all we’re happy that we get to continue to improve Boxee for our users.

March 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

Road Trip to SxSW: featuring Richmond, Atlanta and New Orleans Boxee meetups

Rather than fly out to SxSW we decided to make a road trip out of it, with stops/meetups at Richmond, Atlanta and New Orleans. Besides doing a meetup in each one of these cities we’d like to meet and talk with users, students, and developers. For our time in Austin we will stick with is what now a Boxee tradition: a Boxee RV and a Boxee kegger.

With this in mind, we need some help from Boxee fans out there. Please leave a comment if you can help with any of the items below:

  • Venue for meetup in each city - if you live in Richmond, Atlanta or New Orleans and have an idea for a venue (bar, big office, club, university) that can host ~ 100 people
  • A fixer - in each of these cities would be great if we would have a local “fixer” that can help secure the venue, arrange for drinks, food, sound system and in general be able to hustle.
  • Great stops along the way - any good ideas for must-stop spots along on our way. this is our current drive plan: http://goo.gl/maps/yxMO.
  • Bail agent - as a cab driver in vegas once told me “when in a new town, it’s always good to have a phone number for a good bail agent”

On the morning of March 8th we will pick up a Jeep Cherokee (or something similar Hertz tells us) and get going. We will drive it like a rental, play loud music, moon fellow travelers, eat greasy food, stay in cheap motels. We’ll also be giving out T-shirts & Boxee Boxes by D-Link along the way.

Currently our schedule looks like this (click on a Meetup to RSVP):

**UPDATED March 7th (Mon) - Richmond Meetup

March 8th (Tue) - meetup moved to Monday

March 9th (Wed) - Atlanta Meetup

March 10th (Thu) - New Orleans Meetup

March 11th-12th (Fri-Sat) - Drink. Party. Meet with people. Dance.

March 13th (Sun) - The 2nd Annual Boxee SxSW Kegger (1p - 5pm)
If you were there last year you know it was a good time. We’re going to try and keep the same easy going atmosphere this year so you can just come out and meet good people, have some food, and have a few drinks. We’ll send out more updates as the date gets closer.

March 14th (Mon) - Fly back to NYC. Start cleansing process.

February 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Happy Valentine’s Day: Netflix on the Boxee Box

We are happy to announce that TV shows and movies streaming instantly from Netflix are now available on the Boxee Box by D-Link in the US and Canada.

Netflix support was the most common request we had on our blog comments, forum posts, tweets, etc. We heard you loud and clear. We were bummed that we could not make it happen earlier, but are very excited to have it out today.

To instantly watch movies streaming Netflix on your Boxee Box, you’ll need to update the software on your Box - it will update automatically to the new version (1.0.4.17443) within the next 24hrs or you can manually check for the update by going to Settings>System>Update.

I’ve been a Netflix member for years now, and anxiously waiting for the day when I could use it at home on my Boxee Box. For only $7.99 a month this is a no brainer. It’s not just about movies, I just finished the last season of Spartacus, and I’m now watching Season 2 episodes shortly after they air. Netflix already has more than 20M members, if you’re not one of them you should sign up for Netflix now. They have a one month free trial.

Netflix on the Box will simultaneously launch in Canada. Netflix on the Box is different from the version you see on the PC/Mac versions of Boxee. It has the brand new Netflix UI which they constantly update, test and improve. Additionally there’s more discovery options featuring unique Netflix recommendations and many of the movies are available in HD. If you are a Netflix fan, you will love it. Order a Boxee Box from Amazon here.

Below is an amateur video of Andrew by Andrew showing Netflix running on the Boxee Box:

Now that you’ve seen it in action, pick up a Boxee Box today.
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Included in this release is a new Application signing process was introduced with this version. If you are hosting your own Applications Repository, or developing applications on the Boxee Box, make sure to sign up at http://www.boxee.tv/developer, and generate the required keys.

If you are a Boxee Box user who is having an issue with an App in an external repository, please contact the developers and inform them of this change.

Check out all the updates to the firmware here.

February 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Firmware Update is out, VUDU on the Boxee Box Rox Our Sox

We have released a new version of the Boxee Box firmware. Your Box will update automatically within the next 24hrs or you can manually check for the update by going to Settings>System>Update (this is the update we tried to get out last week, but had to pullback after we received initial critical bug reports). Our apologies to those who had issues with the previous version and thank you for your patience (and that of your significant other).

As always there are many bug fixes and in this case lots of work on the Boxee Browser, but the big news in this release is VUDU (VUDU is available only in the US).

VUDU

VUDU on the Boxee Box means: access to the largest selection of HD movies on-demand, new releases (same day as DVD), thousands of movies available for rental at $2 for 2 nights (in standard definition). We are psyched.

The VUDU HDX format on the Boxee Box is a match made in geek heaven! (that normal people will appreciate, too). Video is 1080p HD at 24 fps. Sound is Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround. It takes advantage of some crafty engineering from VUDU dubbed TruFilm™ which optimizes the encoding, transmission and display of HDX movies on 40-inch HDTVs and larger screens. It’s kind of hard to believe this stuff is coming over your Internet connection.

Invite some friends over. Rent an HDX movie. You are guaranteed to gain new respect for your geekness and pass the crucial WAF test.

VUDU is offering every new user who signs up on the Boxee Box a $5.99 credit towards a first rental/purchase. Take advantage of it!

We’ve heard from many of you about Netflix as well - we are working on it and will post another update next week on the subject.

Here are the firmware upgrades included in today’s release:

Enhancements:

  • Settings to control de-interlacing and video filters configuration
  • Support for language selection in subtitle/audio
  • Forced subtitle automatic selection during MKV file playback
  • An option to ignore the prefix in the sort order for movies/albums/artists which start with ‘The’ and ‘A’ (big one!)
  • Enhancements to Browser performance
  • Browser opens in lower resolution to allow easier reading of text
  • Browser is zoomed into Video by default for non auto full screen websites
  • Direct launch of website when defining full URL in the search bar
  • Preselecting the current chapter when opening chapter selector for MKV/BluRay

Bug Fixes:

  • HTTPS support for the browser
  • 4:3 Videos Stretched to 16:9
  • MKV Chapter Time is Displayed Incorrectly
  • Audio dropouts in DTS-HD audio
  • Improved WTV support
  • 3gp playback errors
  • Improve BluRay titles loading time
  • Allow larger subtitles time offsets
  • Audio re-buffering when entering commercials in TV episodes.
  • Viewing “Info Menu” while watching 24hz videos cause temp reversion back 60hz
  • With playlist over 999 items, track numbers overlap repeat icon in OSD
  • TV Shows no longer show as watched and can’t set to watched/unwatched
  • Crash at manual resolve if the user rapidly presses the menu/back button whilst the OS tries to apply details to files in a folder
  • When choosing from search suggestion list -> update the search editbox
  • Embedded fonts ignored on MKV playback with embedded SSA/ASS subtitles
  • SSA/ASS Subtitles position and font
  • Overlapping text when network settings changed
  • Empty state for App Favorites appearing for empty third-party repository
  • Crashing while resolving metadata for movies from UPNP
  • Listview mode is not preserved when returning from an artist selection
  • In certain cases video freezes when selecting play after pausing
  • Playing a video and after several times of pausing and skipping the video freezes and audio continues
  • Boxee remembers wrong PGS subtitle track in MKV file after leaving and then resuming playback
  • All subtitles (PGS) appears as ‘unknown’ for some BluRay titles
  • Crash when attempting to identify media via UPNP
  • Some .mkv and .m4v files with 2.35:1 AR are playing back vertically stretched to 1.78:1
  • Hang and video freezes or black screen when Pause Resume and or seeking FF/RWD during playback
  • Hang on WMV Stream Seeking
  • Crashed on shutdown and restarted automatically
  • Scrolling in Files Browse list results in partial control of Files menu and also crash
  • SMB credentials are not saved on reboot
  • When deleting an item from the watch later list the focus location of the last item is not remembered
  • Music tracks which are longer than an hour appears as “01:00:…” on the OSD
  • Rear channels on AAC 5.1 are not played properly w/ LPCM 5.1 out
  • Prompting user for credentials that are not used in accessing shares
  • Can’t access network share due to Window Live on Windows 7
  • large flash videos stop playback when reaching Boxee file system limit
  • Reconnecting to disconnected shares disables selection in the Movies database view
  • Subtitles is disabled in the playback OSD for local content
  • No video only audio while playing certain m4v files
  • Flash video audio drops out for long length online videos
  • Disconnects from OSX SMB sources
  • Occasional loss of focus on main menu
  • Unidentified files in File Source with “Movies” in path name are being identified as a title called ”Movies”
  • Crashed on shutdown and restarted automatically
  • Scrolling in Files Browse list results in partial control of Files menu and also crash
January 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Boxee at Vegas, CBS, VUDU 3D, sneak peek at our iPad App

From the early days of Boxee the CES Show as always been great for us. It’s a time for us to meet with partners, press and users and show off some our latest stuff. It’s also a time for us to party (but i’ll leave that for a different post…).

We already announced new device partners, Iomega which is building a Boxee-based NAS and ViewSonic which is building a Boxee-based HDTV, but these devices also need access to content, which is why we are excited to announce that we have a new partnership with CBS, Americas most watched broadcast network, and we have extended our partnership with VUDU to also include 3D titles.

CBS

We have signed an agreement with CBS that will give Boxee users the ability to purchase full episodes from CBS starting later this year. We are excited about the opportunity to work with a major network on offering premium content to Boxee users, as well as create new revenue opportunities for both sides. As part of the deal, users will have the ability to purchase hit CBS television shows both current (The New Hawaii Five-O) and old (hello MacGyver!).

VUDU + 3D

The VUDU service will soon be made available to Boxee Box users (it is already available on PC and Mac), but we have some more good news. VUDU just announced they’ll start streaming movies in 3D, which will also be available on the Boxee Box, so if you have an HDTV you will be able to enjoy the largest HD VOD library with the newest releases (as soon they come out on DVD) in the VUDU HDX format, and if you happen to have a 3D TV then you’ll be able to tap into a growing 3D movie library.

Boxee for iPad

We have been working the past few months on Boxee for iPad, and while it is not ready to launch we are giving people at the CES Show a sneak peek of the App. It enables you to access videos from your Watch Later list as well as from your Feed (stuff shared from Facebook / Twitter), and staying true to Boxee roots also enables you to stream videos directly to the iPad from your PC/Mac (without requiring you to sync).

You can watch videos on the iPad using the new app, but it only takes one click to send that video to your D-Link/Iomega/ViewSonic Boxee device. “Ze nice,” as we say in the office.

So 2 new devices from new partners, an iPad to accompany them all (including the Boxee Box by D-Link), and some great new content on its way. It’s going to be a big 2011 for Boxee and our users - and we’re happy to be starting the year off with a bang.

January 6, 2011 at 10:49 am

TV powered by Boxee? Oh, Yes! ViewSonic is building one

In the market for a new HD TV? Want to get one powered by Boxee? Well we’ve got some great news for you.

Today at CES ViewSonic is showing a 46″ HD TV that is powered by Boxee.

Like in the case of the D-Link and Iomega boxes the ViewSonic TV has Intel Atom CE4100 inside, which means it can deliver the ultimate Boxee experience, playback of 1080p, browser, accelerated Adobe Flash, HTML5, apps, local, Internet, etc.

The Internet is becoming a key source for video for the main stream consumer and it is reflected in the demand for a connected living room experience. People will get connected in different ways and our goal is to try and make Boxee available on a multiple categories of devices.

If you already have an HDTV and want to get connected than Boxee will be available for you on a variety of standalone boxes, but if you are in the market for a new HD TV you will soon have the option to get one based on Boxee’s software, which is perfect for people who want to reduce the number of boxes in their home theatre setup.

If you happen to be at CES this week you should stop by the ViewSonic booth (South Hall #30873) and see the TV in action.
Pricing and availability will be announced later this year.

January 6, 2011 at 8:52 am

Boxee partners with Iomega, NAS device running Boxee is coming

We are happy to announce that Iomega will be bringing out a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device running the Boxee software.

Boxee is a software company (even though some people mistake us for a set-top box maker) and we would like to get our software embedded into as many devices as possible: set-top boxes such as the Boxee Box by D-Link, NAS devices such as the upcoming Iomega TV with Boxee, TVs, BluRays, Game Consoles, etc.

Iomega will be our second device partner and we hope to continue to grow the list in 2011 and beyond.

We love the idea behind a NAS device running Boxee. For people with media storage that’s running low, it’s a perfect place to expand their collections while giving them wireless / wired access to their existing collection on a TV. The Iomega product will come with 3 different configurations: Diskless, 1TB and 2TB. If you have large HD files that are just too much for your WiFi network to handle then having them stored locally is a perfect solution.

Like the Boxee Box by D-Link the Iomega TV with Boxee is powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor CE4100, bringing the fire power required to play 1080P HD videos, run a TV browser, play Adobe Flash 10.1 and more. Having both Boxee-based devices running the same system-on-chip is also making life simpler for us, since we can develop virtually identical firmware for both.

Iomega is a worldwide leader in storage solutions, with a variety of NAS, external hard drives, multimedia drives, and removable storage solutions. We are excited about the partnership and the opportunity to bring Boxee goodness to a new type of device, giving users more options for getting Boxee to their TVs.

The pricing of the Iomega TV with Boxee will be (MSRP):

  • No disk - $229
  • 1TB - $299
  • 2TB - $349

We expect the product to be available in the first half of the year.

Iomega TV with Boxee - Box and RemoteIomega TV with Boxee - Home Theatre

January 4, 2011 at 12:01 am

VUDU Arriving Next Week, Netflix By End Of January

We’re sorry that VUDU and Netflix will not be available on the Boxee Box until January.

These services provide amazing access to a huge catalogue of movies and TV shows in great quality. They are pillars of the future we see at Boxee where you can watch almost any movie or show, whenever you want. They were also inspirations that helped us decide to start Boxee in 2007.

If you’re new to Boxee or received a Boxee Box as a gift, you can surf through previous blog posts and our forums to see how our team has done its best to create the product that all of us wanted to enjoy digital “stuff” on our TVs. While both services are up and running in our offices on the Boxee Box, we need some more time to test each application to make sure they are ready for launch. We expect VUDU to be up and running next week. We have a brand new version of Netflix we expect to arrive by the end of January.

I know many users will be upset. I am disappointed that we couldn’t make it happen in time for the end of the year. However I’d ask that you put your faith in us. There are countless devices with access to these services available, but I’d like to think you chose Boxee because we offer something different, in our approach, in our commitment, in our passion, in the way we communicate (whether its good stuff or bad), and in how quickly we move on the stuff that matters most to our users.

Looking back at 2010 it’s hard to believe so much has happened in just 12 months. We are going to be at the CES Show next week and are really excited about 2011. For us it’s going to be about continuing to improve the Boxee software, getting Boxee on additional devices, bringing more content (both in the US and internationally) and making Boxee available on more screens.

Happy New Year everyone!

December 31, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Boxee Box firmware update, UI tweaks and some love for 3D, too

Earlier today we released a firmware update for the Boxee Box (details below). If you don’t see the ‘update’ icon on the top-right of your home screen, go to Settings>System>Update to manually check for and download the update.

We are still focused on bug fixing and minor improvements based on user feedback we’re getting from our early users. In this update we also made some minor UI changes to address certain usability issues related to playback of local files (added more filter and sort options, quicker navigation in long lists based on A-Z, ability to mark movies as Watched/Unwatched).

Initial Selection

The next firmware update should come out before the end of the year, with major improvements to the browsers, new content/apps and more bug fixes.

Improvements and additions:

  • Enabling user flavor selection (online/local files inclination) during first login and via Settings
  • Added alphabetical scrollbar for local files
  • Enhanced sorting options in browse screens (A-Z, Z-A, most popular, newest/oldest…)
  • Add Genre filter support for local files
  • Mark movies as watched/unwatched from the Action menu
  • Added option for hourly scan of SMB/UPnP/USB sources
  • Added SMB client defaults to Network Settings
  • When watching side-by-side or over/under video, the subtitles and OSD would not be visible when wearing 3D glasses. The user now has the option, under Settings, to have the user interface properly displayed when watching 3D videos

Bug fixes

  • Do not de-interlace of video when the TV is in interlaced mode (e.g. 1080i)
  • HFS+ volumes display UUID instead of volume name under some conditions
  • Video OSD text background too small for text title when playing video with long titles
  • When connecting to VPN, Boxee didn’t refresh region code
  • Boxee doesn’t change DNS configuration when VPN is set up
  • Can’t connect to hidden wireless networks
  • Can’t connect to network using WPA passcode with special characters
  • When Internet connection is restored, menu doesn’t show online channels
  • DVD .iso playback aspect ratio incorrect
  • DVD playback displayed some artifacts
  • “Resume From” doesn’t work on DVD ISO/Folders
  • Zoom on DVD (.iso and folder) video does not work as expected
  • .vob files playback (standalone files) is stuttering and low FPS
  • DVD .iso playback over Wireless N: excessive buffering, playback speed issues, random exits
  • “Vietnamese” character set is misspelled in System Settings
  • Show “Remove From Favorites” button in episodes list, even if no episodes are available
  • SMB credentials are not saved upon restart
  • Write failure when accessing Box-attached disk over SMB
  • SMB file sharing of external HD size reporting is wrong
  • Become unresponsive and hang during playback of AVC .mkv file from SMB mapped drive
  • Crashes when indexing some videos inside .rar files
  • Crashes indexing mp3 file with corrupt embedded thumbnail
  • Stretch 16:9 and Stretch 14:9 not working properly
  • Shoutcast and Radiotime: Switching stations or Cancel causes interface to freeze and console output to crawl
  • Some .mkv files do not playback properly (some flavors of H.264)
  • Support packed bitstream muxing mode in .avi
  • Some .wtv files do not playback properly
  • Constant buffering on 1080p BD .mkv files accessed wirelessly on Boxee
  • Boxee crash when browsing into unidentified Files
  • Playback choked and crashed during viewing of .mp4 file
December 13, 2010 at 3:13 pm