Boxee, as you probably know, is a cross-platform media center application which you can download for free. Because it was designed specifically for the living room, it is suitable for use in conjunction with your large screen TV, with interface elements legible from the mythical 10 feet.
Whether you run the application on an Apple TV, a Mac, PC or Linux box you benefit from the same great features. Not only does Boxee allow you to play locally stored media – such as hard-disks & DVDs – as well as network attached media, but it allows you to view content available on the internet.
You might think that’s not a big deal. After all, you can start up a browser window, plug in a keyboard and mouse, and access the same content like any other computer. But you’ve got to admit it would be better if you could do this without all the extra hassle and clutter. You would want to use a remote and easily change programs from the comfort of your couch.
Boxee’s Apps feature does just that, making for a great entertainment experience. Each Boxee App offers a specially created interface for the content provider, which unlike websites, can be used from a distance. Descriptions are presented in large fonts, navigation menus use the axis (up-down, left-right), and beautiful thumbnails or cover art. You don’t have to purchase any extra hardware either – you can pair up your iPod touch or iPhone to work like a touch pad or to display buttons, via the.
To access Boxee Apps, select its icon from the home screen. You will be presented with a selection of applications that are available based on geographical location. In the United States, this tab should show around 30 different applications. Outside the US, the selection is limited because of licensing restrictions. Clicking on the logo of a Boxee app will show a dialog box. There, you can chose to start the app, add a shortcut for it in the overlay menu or remove it from the library.
You will want to add shortcuts to you favourite apps in order to access them quickly, without browsing the library. The overlay menu is accessible throughout Boxee, and will appear over the other interface elements. You can use the Esc key or the Back icon on the remote to bring it up.
I have a few Boxee apps that I enjoy using almost every day:
- BBC: They have informative podcasts on many subjects, which I will often leave running in the background while I do chores.
- College Humour: Not the smartest pranks or wittiest of humour but certainly entertaining.
- Wired: They have great gadget reviews and short bits on technology.
- Current: I’m a big fan of SuperNews, a 20 minute animated cartoon that pokes fun at anything from politics to the technology industry.
- Boxee Browser: This app will allow you to browse and search the web. It’s the only way I could use Hulu in full-screen mode.
- Flickr: Setting up a slideshow with your pics on the big screen has never been easier.
What are your favourite Boxee Apps? Shout out in the comments.