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boxeeThe upcoming Boxee Box has the tech world buzzing. Will this startup, armed with the power of open source, be able to compete with Google and Apple’s offerings in the TV marketplace? I think so, mostly because of the many amazing things you can make Boxee do.

Don’t believe me? Try it out. You don’t need to buy the box to use the service: you can install it on any Windows, Mac or Linux machine and then plug that into your television (or just use on your computer as is!)


It’s easy to think of Boxee as a one-trick pony: a neat way to bring the likes of Hulu to your television. There’s more than that though: Boxee can compile videos from your social networks, aggregate your podcasts and even serve as a decent launcher for your favorite games.

One of those apps I can’t live without, I think that Boxee is the best media center around Boxee Beta - The Best Media Center App for Your TV Boxee Beta - The Best Media Center App for Your TV Read More . To really get the most out of the application, though, you need to set it up well. Here are five tips to get you started.

Enable Twitter/Facebook/Buzz

This is just awesome: every video shared by your social media contacts is aggregated on Boxee. Head over to Boxee.tv and log in. Click the Services button and you can authorize Boxee to access your social networks.

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Sign in to all your services here and they’ll integrate really nicely into Boxee. Then, when you get to your TV, you’ll be able to browse all the videos your friends are sharing. This could be footage of your newborn cousin, or an insane panda shared by an Egyptian colleague. (thanks, Nancy!) Point is, you can watch these videos from the comfort of your couch instead of at your desk at work.

boxee tv

To me this is a valuable way to keep work and play separate: I only watch web videos while at home. It’s nice to have quick access to these videos from my couch.

RSS Feeds

While you’re logged into Boxee, you might as well add some RSS feeds. Click the Feeds button and you can very quickly add your favorite podcasts:

boxee tv

Any RSS feed can go here, so be creative. If there’s a show Boxee doesn’t have an app for you can add it this way, as I did with Homestar Runner (although they sadly don’t update much these days). It’s also how I get my all-important weekly fix of The Bugle (which someone really needs to develop a Boxee App for, but I digress).

You’ll find your feed in the RSS app, once you add them. If you don’t have this app already, find it by opening the Apps section, then browsing to the App Library. Search for “RSS” and you’ll quickly find the feed.

Explore The Apps

boxee tv

While you’re looking at the App Library, I highly suggest you explore. You’ll find a great app for keeping track of the weather, another one for watching Funny Or Die videos and channels for many of the web’s hottest shows. Heck, there’s even a Justin.TV app you could use to watch sports not broadcast in your country How To Watch Sports Not Broadcast In Your Country How To Watch Sports Not Broadcast In Your Country Read More . Browse the app library and I promise you’ll find something you like.

Add The Master Repository

But if not, consider adding FuzzTheD’s excellent master repository. This can quickly give you access to plenty of apps not found in the App Library. Doing this is really easy; just open the Apps section on Boxee, then bring up the left panel. At the bottom of the left panel you’ll see this button:

boxee box

Click it, and you’ll see an option to add a repository. Add dir.fuzzthed.com and you’re in business: you now have access to an alternative collection of apps. Some of these may well find their way into the library eventually, but it’s fun to be able to stay on the cutting edge. Let me know what kind of jewels you find here in the comments below.

Set Up Games & ROMs

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While you’re playing around with that repository, you might as well add the Launcher app and turn Boxee into the ulitmate ROM and game launcher How To Turn Boxee Into The Ultimate ROM and Game Launcher How To Turn Boxee Into The Ultimate ROM and Game Launcher Read More . I find this rounds out my television nicely, giving me access to my favorite retro games. It works really well with Multi-emulator Mednaen.

Got Any More?

Can you guys think of any more must-do tweaks to Boxee? I’d love to hear them below. Go ahead and share them and you just might find yourself mentioned in an upcoming MakeUseOf post.

  1. WarShak
    November 22, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Netflix and Hulu as well as Vudu are coming to the boxee box they have just not been released for it yet.
    It was suppose to be early December

  2. WarShak
    November 22, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Netflix and Hulu as well as Vudu are coming to the boxee box they have just not been released for it yet.
    It was suppose to be early December

  3. jhpot
    October 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hulu may be blocked, but CTV and Global have lots of online content which Boxee is supposed to aggregate. Does it not do that?

    Also, I use this program everyday and rarely does it crash. But it is a touch more stable on Linux, which is the platform the box will be using, than on Windows.

  4. Ibrahim Ali
    October 11, 2010 at 2:01 am

    I have to share the above comments -- boxee keeps crashing my laptop. I still haven't managed to get around the software and I am wondering how good it really is in Canada (with all these US-only/geoblocking- with the exception of Netflix now) considering they are releasing the box in Canada on November 21.

    • jhpot
      October 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm

      Hulu may be blocked, but CTV and Global have lots of online content which Boxee is supposed to aggregate. Does it not do that?

      Also, I use this program everyday and rarely does it crash. But it is a touch more stable on Linux, which is the platform the box will be using, than on Windows.

      • Bradic
        November 15, 2010 at 1:07 pm

        I got the Boxee Box on Friday (Nov 12) and am rather disappointed. No CTV content at all and the other major network content plays rather clumsily inside a poor browser version of the Global, City or CBC sites. Without CTV content, there's a major gap. Also no Netflix app. I like my new AppleTV way more than the Boxee Box, which is a huge disappointment for me.

        • jhpot
          November 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm

          The CTV thing is too bad, but I think the Canadian content will catch up given time. And there is a Netflix app, or is that not true in Canada either?

  5. Peter
    October 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    6. Discover Plex and wish it was available for Win/Linux.

    Boxee: Social Media Integration (Feh - noise in the way of the stuff I actually want. Clumsy interface that takes 2-3x more clicks to accomplish a single task than other MCs. Zero media management options and lackluster meta data controls. Did we mention unreliable, crashy and buggy too? This software still screams alpha to me.

    In time it will become what Plex already is and probably even better. But for now, other branches of XBMC are much stronger offerings. Boxer is just trendier because social networks have to be on everything.

  6. Peter
    October 10, 2010 at 11:38 am

    6. Discover Plex and wish it was available for Win/Linux.

    Boxee: Social Media Integration (Feh - noise in the way of the stuff I actually want. Clumsy interface that takes 2-3x more clicks to accomplish a single task than other MCs. Zero media management options and lackluster meta data controls. Did we mention unreliable, crashy and buggy too? This software still screams alpha to me.

    In time it will become what Plex already is and probably even better. But for now, other branches of XBMC are much stronger offerings. Boxer is just trendier because social networks have to be on everything.

  7. Jasnzl2
    October 10, 2010 at 1:54 am

    I would LOVE to use Boxee, but it's insanely unstable for me. In fact i was just trying the latest version and it blue screened my Windows 7 64bit, something no other application ever does.

    Great pity really, looks promising.

  8. Jasnzl2
    October 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    I would LOVE to use Boxee, but it's insanely unstable for me. In fact i was just trying the latest version and it blue screened my Windows 7 64bit, something no other application ever does.

    Great pity really, looks promising.

    • jhpot
      October 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      That's odd; I use it on Windows 7 64 every day, and rarely see a crash. But you're right; that does need to be worked out.

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