Our Team Blog

Boxee for PC, Mac, Ubuntu Getting Fall Update

Good news for PC/Mac/Linux users - we are working to update the downloadable software version of Boxee and hope to have builds available this fall so you can enjoy the updated browser, improved playback, and lots more content that are currently available on the Boxee Box.

We know Boxee users on computers have been frustrated with the long wait and we want to be open with you about our priorities, growth, and the future of Boxee.

We started Boxee in 2007. Our goal was to make a box that people could easily plug into their TV to watch whatever they wanted from the Internet or their home network. After a while, we realized it was going to be very hard and expensive for us to build a box and decided the quickest way to get Boxee into the hands of users would be to release downloadable version of the software. A beta of Mac and Ubuntu versions came out in 2009 and we later added support for Windows.

While the downloadable software gained fans we never lost that initial dream of building a Boxee Box, so we were very excited to partner with D-Link and work together on making a Box. That decision in the summer of 2009 has given shape to the company Boxee has become.

The reason is simple - the effort to build the Boxee Box involved writing on a completely new OS, handling a totally different and more involved setup process, support for new security mechanisms, writing a new browser, integrating new hardware libraries for video, audio and graphics handling, and many more tasks. It was (and still is) an enormous task for a relatively small team, keeping in mind that we weren’t “starting from scratch” - we were adapting a product and code base that already existed which is considerably harder.

At a certain point we had to focus everyone on the Boxee Box to make sure we hit deadlines. After launch we needed everyone working to address feedback and our own demands for where we wanted the product to be. All of it came at the expense of the downloadable version. The gap between the CE and computer version grew bigger. However over the past couple of months we’ve taken steps towards bridging that gap.

Boxee_1.1

We are going to release an update for the downloadable version this fall, and hope to keep it more up to speed with the CE version going forward. We also hope to make the open source version of the downloadable version easier to use for people who want to build out their own versions of Boxee. That said, updates for the downloadable version will most likely lag behind the versions of Boxee for devices.

June 13, 2011 at 10:22 am

Boxee Lands in London: BBC iPlayer, BlinkBox, iPad Sneak Peek

Tonight we’re in East London sharing some new partners, showing off the iPad, and establishing a beachhead for further European growth. Here’s a quick run through of tonight’s announcements.

LAUNCHING TONIGHT

BBC iPlayer
Following some recent technical changes, BBC iPlayer is back and is better than ever. With a fresh new look, this is the BBC your way, giving you on demand access to all that the BBC has to offer from the past seven days. There’s nothing else to do, other than sit back, relax and enjoy your favourite BBC programmes from the comfort of your sofa at a time that suits you.

COMING SOON

Blink Box
As the UK’s largest online movies and TV website, BlinkBox is a perfect match for our first major rental service dedicated to Great Britain. They’ve partnered with pretty much every major studio to offer a huge selection of movies and TV at competitive prices and a load of free stuff as well (see one of my favorites, Summer Heights High for free). Tonight we’ve announced a partnership with them to bring their shows and movies to both the Boxee library as well as to a special Blink Box app so UK users can enjoy everything the service provides. Work starts in September with a release currently slated for the end of the year.

SNEAK PEEK - Boxee for iPad
Tonight we’re also giving people a sneak peek at the Boxee iPad App. The goal was to create something that stood on its own to bring Boxee to the iPad - videos your friends have shared, featured items, your watch later queue, as well as video files from your local network (using the new Boxee Media Server). Of course if you’ve got a Boxee Box as well, you’ll be able to use the iPad app as a way to send stuff to your TV.

We were very excited to see the event in London sell out and we think it speaks volumes about the demand for Boxee not only in the UK but across Europe in general so we hope this will be the first of many events and announcements for our European users.

Cheers,
Team Boxee

June 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Boxee goes Bollywood

We’ve all enjoyed Indian clips and music videos over the past few years, but when was the last time you watched a “Bollywood” movie that wasn’t directed by Danny Boyle? If you love the music, romance, drama, comedy or dancing inside of India’s huge film industry, check out Databazaar Media on Boxee.

Databazaar Media provides unlimited streaming of Movies, TV Shows and Music Videos in over six Indian languages such as Hindi, Bengali, English, Tamil, Marathi etc. for a flat monthly rate of $7.99. Not sure about subscribing? You can easily browse movies on the Databazaar website, and sign up for a one week trial absolutely free. Once you’ve signed in, run the Databazaar App on Boxee to bring the best Indian films to your TV whenever you want it.

Services like Databazaar continue to highlight the benefits of streaming entertainment - namely that filmmakers from the other side of the globe are able to deliver their movies to huge new markets quickly and easily. We’re happy to be working with Databazaar to support Indian filmmakers, and very excited to share all their great content with our users.

June 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Headweb’s Movies Arrive For Boxee’s Nordic Users

The official Headweb App has just arrived in the Boxee App Library for users in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

Headweb_Boxee_Box_500

Headweb’s Scandinavian on-demand movie streaming service has won numerous awards over the past few years for delivering a great experience. They’ve done an amazing job of building out a solid service that offers premium films which, at its core, is built around satisfying users - you can watch on Mac, PC, Linux, LG Smart TVs, PlayStation 3 and now on Boxee. The new app delivers over 4,500 titles from Hollywood to independent films, with everything in high quality.

The App is live for users in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark now - sign up for an account at Headweb.com and try it out. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

May 26, 2011 at 3:22 am

Boxee Box Grows Into a Size 1.1

**UPDATE** MAY 18 - Boxee version 1.1.1.19092 is now available and rolling out starting today (May 18) through the weekend. This version contains volume control as a setting, and fixes to the way we were processing sound.

So it might only be a few decimal points difference from the current 1.0.4 release, but this version of the Boxee Box by D-Link has quite a few new things under the hood. We’ll be rolling this version out over the next few days to all Boxee Boxes, but if you can’t wait you can find instructions on manually updating your Boxee Box on our forums.

Here’s what we’ve got for you in our fifth update to the Boxee Box:

1) Browser Upgrades

Favorites (Bookmarks) & History - Now you can easily get back to pages you’ve just viewed or ones you visit most often.

Browser with Top Bar

Browser - Favorites

Browser - History

New On Screen Display (no auto-full screen*) - We’ve cleaned up the web playback OSD to let you see more of what’s going on in the background and to include access to a few more options down below.

Full Metal Jacket - Boxee Web Playback OSD

HTML 5 To The Max - We’ve improved our support for HTML 5 so you’ll now be able to access more content, like HBOGO.

HBO Go

2) Movie Trailers - What better way to keep up with the latest movie releases than by watching movie trailers on your TV until your heart’s content.

Movie Trailers

3) On Screen Display Loses Some Weight - We’ve revamped the OSD and included an awesome new seek bar for precise rewinding/fast forwarding, slimmed down the button count, and made it easier to see what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ve also removed the volume control for a more consistent experience.*

OSD v1.1

4) Customized Artwork / Info for Media Files - Why let Boxee pick movie art and descriptions when you can have your own? Import video into Boxee and add your own artwork and metadata to accompany it with NFO files. Works like a charm on home movies.

5) Local File Playback - We now have support HFS formatted drives, seek functionality inside music playback, and you can filter local files by source.

6) Share Where You Want - now you can specify whether you want to share that ColdSteel video to Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr with a helpful character counter built-in.

Share Pop-Up

7) MLB.TV Upgrades - This new version has enabled a lot of updates to the MLB.TV app so now you’ll be able to watch live and archived games, jump to specific innings or game events, see pop-up details on every pitch, and have a much easier time rewinding and fast-forwarding in games.

8) More Languages - The Boxee Box is on sale in 34 countries. While “Boxee” translates well into all of them, the rest of the words on screen are a bit off. Now users can enjoy Boxee in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Hebrew, Danish, Dutch, Turkish, Russian, Arabic, Portugese (Brazil), Czech, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish.

Language Support

9) New Content - we threw in some extra content just for good measure.

Wealth TV Logo

A team of acclaimed producers create fresh programs on private jets and exotic first-class travel as well as intellectual discussion on money and philanthropy, all in HD.

SnagFilms Logo

Committed to finding the world‘s most compelling documentaries, whether from established heavyweights or first-time filmmakers to make them available to the wide audience these titles deserve. SnagFilms serves up full-length documentary films for free.

Conclusion

We hope you like all the changes (full release notes here), and we always love to hear your feedback on Facebook, Twitter, and on our forums.

You may have noticed the * next to the volume and auto full-screen features above. We’ve spent a lot of time discussing internally and have decided to create a more consistent experience by removing features that work inconsistently. While it might not instantly be apparent, over the next few versions we will streamline the interface so that everything works the same, no matter whether you’re in an HTML 5 app, a normal web page, playing a movie file, or watching video from inside an application.

**UPDATE - We have heard from enough passionate users about the volume control functionality that we will be bringing it back via settings in the next update. We will continue to search for an elegant solution that works across content sources as well.

**2ND UPDATE - If your sound isn’t being processed properly in the new version - we have fixed the issue and it will be part of a new version rolling out to users this week (that also includes the volume control update above).

May 11, 2011 at 8:59 am

Boxee Coming to the UK

It’s official!

We’re throwing our very first international event in London on June 7th. Sign up to join us here!

Register for Boxee UK Launch Party in London, United Kingdom  on Eventbrite

Since launching the Boxee Box last November, we’ve seen a lot of growth in the UK and with lots of great broadcast content appearing online through services like BBC, SeeSaw, LoveFilm, BlinkBox, and others it’s a market that’s ripe for our type of TV. We can’t wait to visit with our London users, demo a few new partners, and raffle off some Boxee Boxes… and hopefully enjoy a good pint.

Since we’re new to London we’re asking people for 5 quid for the RSVP to better gauge head count. In addition to getting you in, that 5′er gets you:

  • a special edition Boxee T-Shirt created just for the London event
  • a Boxee sticker
  • a free drink

In addition to the upcoming event, we’d also like to announce that Wil Stephens has officially joined the Boxee team. Wil shall be heading up our business development and marketing efforts in Europe, and has already been making the rounds at events like MIPTV to help bring more European content onto the platform. His expertise in digital media from running Cube (a company he founded) made him a logical fit as we look to become the dominant software provider for set top boxes in Europe . We’ll also be hiring a few more positions in the London office so follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see an alert when those job posts go up.

Avner, Wil, Rob and I will all be at the event so you’ll have a chance to catch up with quite a few members of team Boxee whether you’re an app developer, content provider, user, or journalist.

May 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

Boxee and Open Source Software

We’re passionate about open source software - it forms the basis of the software we’ve spent the last 4 years building and we love the spirit of the community around it. Without it, we would not have been inspired to build Boxee in the first place.

Boxee’s software is mostly licensed under GPLv2 and we make all open source code for Boxee’s PC software and embedded devices available for download on our website. Boxee is originally forked from the XBMC’s open source code, and we continue to contribute to this great project.

Yesterday there was some noise in the open source community that a utility included with a pre-release version of the Boxee Box software is licensed under the GPLv3. The utility, gpgv2, came in a pack of gpg utilities, including libgcrypt, which we use, and was erroneously included - but never used, and we subsequently removed it from the Boxee Box software. We have already put a new internal process in place for adding new F/OSS to Boxee and we are also doing a complete audit of our software to better document the licensing of the open source code we use.

In the end, the spirit of the initial argument was born more out of frustration with the inability to hack the Boxee Box. We had always hoped that the Boxee Box would be able to run XBMC, enable old-school emulators, and make breakfast in the morning. But it quickly became clear that to release a device with premium content, we’d need to put strict security measures in place. Lose the security requirements and lose access to some of the Boxee Box’s most popular content.

We started Boxee to see if we could take XBMC’s open source project and turn it into our day job. 4 years later, I’m pretty sure it’s turned into our day, evening, and night job.

The open source community continues to deliver some of the most innovative projects around and we’re happy to be a part of that, especially as a company that’s shown open source people out there that you can turn your passion in your profession.

- Tom

Boxee Co-Founder

April 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Refer a friend’s resume, win a Boxee Box

Refer A Friend

April 5, 2011 at 8:46 am

It’s Time For The Opening Pitch…

It’s opening day for Major League Baseball fans around the globe and on Boxee.

Passionate fans have been anxiously watching pre-season games in anticipation of today. Now that Opening Day is here, fans can watch every out-of-market regular season game LIVE or on-demand in HD quality on Boxee’s MLB.TV app*. Sign up now for either MLB.TV Premium at $119.99 a year and $24.99 a month, or MLB.TV at $99.99 and $19.99. For fans on the fence about purchasing a subscription, you can access a free game of the day with your MLB.com account through the month of April to help knock it out of the park.

If you haven’t seen a game on MLB.TV, you owe it to yourself to see how good live streaming events can look. MLB.TV has done an amazing job of not only delivering great picture and sound for live games, but they’ve added enough extras to make any techie drool.

Chewbacca Baseball

To start watching your favorite teams go at it, sign up for an account with MLB.com, and then pair your MLB.com account with Boxee.

To everyone who’s lucky enough to be attending a game today, have a hot dog for us. We’ll be cheering from our desk chairs : )

- Team Boxee

* HD quality subject to availability. Blackout and other restrictions apply and are subject to change. Visit MLB.TV for more details

March 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm

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