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Old August 27th, 2011, 10:46 AM
stevebest stevebest is offline
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Default Using music playlists in Boxee box (i.e. from iTunes, Windows Media Player etc)

I'm a new UK Boxee box owner (got last week) and am on latest firmware.

I have had a wild goose chase trying to find out how I can get the Boxee to play music from iTunes, and there seems to be lots of conflicting information and poor forum threads that go nowhere. So I'm sharing my knowledge because I've had success in getting Boxee to play music the way I want it to. Hopefully this can be made sticky to help other new users who are interested in 2011 threads, not stuff from back in 2008/2009 when Boxee did not even support any playlists!

Here is my situation/setup:
  • I use Windows Vista
  • I use iTunes for managing all my music - organised into playlists (smart and static)
  • I want to play music as playlists rather than by artistic/song (which Boxee can do this natively) because I have lots of singles and prefer not to listen to a single artist or random songs. I prefer genres, playlists which are mood dependent etc.
  • I am not interested in managing/creating playlists in Boxee - that's what iTunes is for. Boxee can't do this to my knowledge so stop reading here if that's what you're after.
  • My actual MP3s are stored on my laptop but I've since copied them to my NAS drive so I don't have to have laptop on to play music from the Boxee

First thing you need to do is share your music files first so Boxee can read them via a protocol (my preference is SMB which is how Boxee will see windows network shares (i.e. \\computer\share) if you right click them in windows explorer and choose "Share".

How to share your music:
  • Find your music folder(s) on your computer or NAS
  • Right click them, share with sensible names.
  • If your music is already on a NAS and is shared, skip this bit... you just need to know the exact share name as this needs to go into the playlist

Now we need to tell Boxee to look at this share as it won't do so automatically. So let's do that...

How to add the share as a source in Boxee
  • Go into Boxee settings --> Media
  • Add a new source
  • Choose the SMB option
  • Boxee should show a list of stuff it finds on the local network - pick the one you've created above.
  • Now make sure you can browse for this music and see this share in Boxee by going to Browse --> Files --> Local folders and network shares --> Share you've just created. You should be able to see songs listed in there.
  • Remember it takes quite a few minutes to see songs appear in Boxee after you add the source - Boxee has to scan them all first. Be patient!

How to create a playlist that Boxee can read (.m3u):
  • Go into iTunes, right click a playlist, choose Export
  • Choose file type as m3u
  • Give it a name
  • Save it somewhere where the Boxee can access. My preference here is to create a folder called "Playlists" within your music directory which you've already shared above.
  • Open the playlist in a text editor and look at the paths. Most of mine said things like C:\Music\Name of a song.mp3. This needs changing to the path that Boxee can read corresponding to your share above
  • Change the path from C:\Music\ to smb://YOURCOMPUTERORNAS/Music/
  • Remember to replace all backslashes with forward slashes
  • Save the playlist file using the text editor. I didn't have any problems with encoding but I've heard UTF-8 is preferred.

Here is what one of my playlists, American Music.m3u looks like:

Code:
#EXTM3U
#EXTINF:238,Mr. E's Beautiful Blues - Eels
smb://LS-CHL8A7/share/Music/Singles/Eels - Mr. E's Beautiful Blues.mp3
#EXTINF:199,All Star - Smash Mouth
smb://LS-CHL8A7/share/Music/Singles/Smash mouth - All star.mp3
#EXTINF:171,All The Small Things - Blink-182
smb://LS-CHL8A7/share/Music/Albums/Blink 182 - Greatest Hits [2005]/06 - blink 182 - all the small things.mp3
#EXTINF:248,Steal My Sunshine - Len
smb://LS-CHL8A7/share/Music/Singles/Len - Steal My Sunshine.mp3
#EXTINF:219,Drinking In L.a. - Bran Van 3000
smb://LS-CHL8A7/share/Music/Singles/Bran Van 3000 - Drinking in L.A..mp3
#EXTINF:303,Blurry - Puddle Of Mudd
smb://LS-CHL8A7/share/Music/Singles/Puddle of mud - Blurry.mp3
As you can see, LS-CHL8A7 is the network name of my NAS drive (Buffalo LinkStation 2TB NAS). The share folder is it's default share. After that is my own subdirectories to keep things organised.

This playlist is just for Boxee - it has no business in iTunes - iTunes will continue to use it's own playlists. So if you change your playlists in iTunes, you'll have to repeat this manual export & rename process. Laborious maybe but if you spend time making great playlists, you only have to change them every so often.

How to play the playlist in Boxee
  • From Boxee menu, choose Files --> Browse
  • Scroll down past the Photos, Music, Movies, Shows items until you see the Local folders and network shares then the share you created for your music
  • Click this and you'll see any subfolders or files. Hopefully if you've created a "Playlists" folder like me, you'll have this.
  • Go into this folder and select any of the playlists
  • If nothing happens, try playing the playlist again - Boxee sometimes errors something about "concurrent failures" - this usually means your path is wrong in the playlist... so go back to steps above about editing with a text editor and tweaking the paths so they work.

Playlists will play and you can turn on/off shuffle, skip songs and rewind songs as well as pause. Unfortunately, you can't seem to see a list of songs within a playlist and browse through them - hopefully this will be something that is introduced in a firmware upgrade (hint hint!)

Hope my advice helps someone out there - I know it doesn't cover everything, just my experience. Boxee isn't that strong as a music player (yet) but it's good enough for me to be happy. Yes, I'd like it to be fully integrated with iTunes and automatically translate paths to network paths, allow me to sync playlists automatically but there are probably issues here with Apple etc, which won't be overcome quickly.

If anyone has any experience with 3rd party apps handling music (bartsidee?) or any alternative/better ways that mine above, I'd love to hear them!

Last edited by stevebest; August 27th, 2011 at 10:55 AM.
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  #2  
Old August 27th, 2011, 10:58 AM
darcilicious darcilicious is online now
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Nice set of instructions!

I use PlaylistCreator3 to convert my (exported) iTunes playlists to Boxee Box friendly playlists with the following settings under Playlist Details: select "relative" and tick "use forward slashes".

All my music files are stored in \\server\music\someFolder\artists\album and my playlists is stored in \\server\music\playlists

With the "save to" path set to the latter folder, it "just works" every time.

Another little tip someone else shared: add the playlists folder via Local Files and choose Photos (which are never scanned) -- then they're quicker to reach via Files>>Browse>>Photos
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Boxee beta 0.9.23.15885 on: HP TouchSmart 600xt/Windows 7 x64 & HP m8400f Vista x86 HTPC running Intelliremote, SageTV 7.1 beta, Orb/MP-1, Subsonic, & AirVideo, with an Olevia 247TFHD & Onyko TX-SR606 with a Harmony 550. Boxee Box v1.2.0.20310 with a 32" Panasonic TC-L32X2; and finally, an HP EX490 MediaSmart Server/WHS+MediaSonic for 12TB of storage.

Last edited by darcilicious; August 27th, 2011 at 11:03 AM.
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  #3  
Old August 27th, 2011, 04:58 PM
bartsidee bartsidee is offline
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Of course I gladly hear feedback on my own music app, but I can confirm it plays your iTunes playlist directly from the app and you can refresh them on the fly. Although this feature can be seen as beta I have not got an complains about it.
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