AfterDawn: Tech news

Boxee will drop PC support in February to concentrate on set-top boxes

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 28 Dec 2011 21:09 User comments (28)

Boxee will drop PC support in February to concentrate on set-top boxes Boxee has announced that the latest upgrade to their primarily web-based media player will be the last to feature Windows, OS X, and Ubuntu Linux versions so they can concentrate their efforts on the Boxee Box and mobile clients.
They broke the news in the Boxee 1.5 announcement on their blog. Boxee 1.5, which adds a Live TV feature to the Boxee Box (with the purchase of a USB TV tuner) is currently being tested by a select group of Boxee Box owners, will be released into public beta in January.

The PC versions, albeit with fewer features, are already available from Boxee's website. They will be discontinued at the end of January, at which time they will disappear from the Boxee website.

Company spokesman Andrew Kippen wrote:

As many of you know we have been working on new versions for PC, Mac and Ubuntu. Today we are releasing a version of 1.5 for these platforms.

You can find this new version of Boxee for Mac, Windows, and Linux below:
  • Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
  • Mac OS X 10.6+ (Intel only)
  • Ubuntu 11.10 (32 bit)
As a platform, we have been able to bring Boxee for Computers to about 85% of the Boxee Box in terms of features and functionality. Due to extensive DRM and certification requirements premium apps will not be available on the downloadable version of Boxee, most notably Netflix, VUDU, and Pandora (click here for a full list).

However, if you are using Boxee for file playback you should be pleasantly surprised with better file support, a new on screen display, better networking support, and a host of other features you can read about here.


The company's decision to discontinue the software that launched them into the headlines during a 2009 dispute with Hulu appears to be something they have been considering for a while. Their decision not to support PCs for live TV certainly seemed to have foreshadowed this week's announcement.

If you are a long time user of their software, as I am, your initial reaction will probably not be positive. It is understandable if you feel a little betrayed by the company. But if you take a step back and consider the explanation, they make some good points.

The issue of DRM support is a big one for content providers. As Boxee tries to make sure their Boxee Box is compatible with services like Netflix and Vudu, and also competitive with the likes of Apple TV and the various offerings from Roku, DRM is an issue which has to be addressed.

Like it or not, the rules are set by the majority of content providers and Boxee will have to play by them to survive.

Additionally, the move toward TVs and Blu-ray players with both online capabilities and app support has relegated the HTPC to an even smaller niche than when Boxee first appeared on the scene. Once again, if you are a HTPC afficionado this probably doesn't matter to you, but it's understandable that Boxee would take it into account.

Fortunately this doesn't mean Boxee for the PC is dead. The software has its roots in open source, being a fork of the XBMC media player. For now at least, you can download the sourcecode for Boxee, up to version 1.5.0.23269 as of right now, from their website.

Even if no one picks up the torch to develop Boxee for the PC any further, at the very least what they have created can live on in its current state indefinitely. And, of course, XBMC continues to be developed. If you don't plan to switch to a Boxee Box, now might be a good time to give it a try.

You can find the latest stable release of XBMC, for Windows or OS X (Power PC version here) in AfterDawn's software section.

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28 user comments

128.12.2011 21:57

BIG MISTAKE, Boxee.

228.12.2011 23:41

I will be nice to support all OS.
Frostwire Free Download.

329.12.2011 0:20

Eh...it was never very good to start with. Good riddance. Now we just need to get rid of their useless set-top boxes.



429.12.2011 0:45

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Eh...it was never very good to start with. Good riddance. Now we just need to get rid of their useless set-top boxes.
To each his own...I find it to be excellent for local streaming and online content...The next best thing to XBMC.

529.12.2011 0:48

I'm surprised it took this long, they have not updated the PC client in a very long time. Most people on the Boxee forums knew they gave up on the PC people. XBMC is still leaps and bounds better then Boxee on the PC side, I just liked Boxee because they had Netflix, Pandora and the like. Now they don't so now bye bye Boxee, use to recommend people to buy your Boxee box but wont no more. XBMC will have a new release coming soon, already have the beta installed and am loving it.

629.12.2011 1:04

Originally posted by Mr_Bill06:
... Now they don't so now bye bye Boxee, use to recommend people to buy your Boxee box but wont no more. XBMC will have a new release coming soon, already have the beta installed and am loving it.

What does the PC version have to do with the standalone box? Pretty much nothing, you wouldn't recommend someone to buy it just because you like the PC client. If you have been recommending it because the box was good, it still is and will be even better, whether the PC client exists or not. One is not depended of the other.

729.12.2011 1:23

I wouldn't recommend Boxee any more because they are dropping PC support. I know one is not dependent on the other, they started the Boxee software for PC use only and now they drop support for PC's. I just think that is wrong. I always liked XBMC better, it's just there is no device that you can buy with XBMC on it like Boxee.

829.12.2011 1:34

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
Originally posted by Mr_Bill06:
... Now they don't so now bye bye Boxee, use to recommend people to buy your Boxee box but wont no more. XBMC will have a new release coming soon, already have the beta installed and am loving it.

What does the PC version have to do with the standalone box? Pretty much nothing, you wouldn't recommend someone to buy it just because you like the PC client. If you have been recommending it because the box was good, it still is and will be even better, whether the PC client exists or not. One is not depended of the other.

I think the main thing for me is I used to use the software and new what I was recommending to people. Then the software stopped getting support and the box became something of a mystery to me. I read about changes and new features even saw videos but that is not the same as using it. I am sure I will consider suggesting it to some people but at the same time I will suggest all the other boxes I have not used.

I for one will miss the Boxee software. I did not like all the things they did but after trying all the other Software out there Boxee was the best. For now I will limp along with XBMC and hope that some time it will support features I liked in boxee.

The one that even Boxee removed that I want the most is a universal search that allows me to search all VoD and then give me all my choices on were I could watch the results.

Due to Netflix demands Netflix was removed from Boxee's built in Search. (If I am wrong on this some one please correct me)

929.12.2011 1:54

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
Eh...it was never very good to start with. Good riddance. Now we just need to get rid of their useless set-top boxes.
To each his own...I find it to be excellent for local streaming and online content...The next best thing to XBMC.
So in other words, you don't think it is as good as the alternatives either.


1029.12.2011 2:22

If you are talking about XBMC as the alternative, then, yes, it is...Even though similar, they are not quite the same. there is no XBMC set top box.XBMC is excellent in principle, but trying to apply it, is not that easy. And to build your own Media PC and install XBMC,or hack a crApple TV, it doesn't come close to just buying a BB, not the money, the effort, or features.

1129.12.2011 3:08

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
If you are talking about XBMC as the alternative, then, yes, it is...Even though similar, they are not quite the same. there is no XBMC set top box.XBMC is excellent in principle, but trying to apply it, is not that easy. And to build your own Media PC and install XBMC,or hack a crApple TV, it doesn't come close to just buying a BB, not the money, the effort, or features.
It is true that you can't build a very good Media PC for the price of a Boxee box, but then, a Boxee box can't do most of the things that a good Media PC can do. As for (cr)Apple TV, that is $80 less than a Boxee...and given the DRM route they seem to be on, it won't be much different before long (other than the TV tuner support).


1229.12.2011 3:15

And what can a good media PC do that the BB cannot do? I mean, stuff that people actually use... Play discs? use a full size keyboard?

1429.12.2011 14:11

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Eh...it was never very good to start with. Good riddance. Now we just need to get rid of their useless set-top boxes.
No kidding huh???

I thought I was the only one in the world to think this. Their interface is kinda cool but other than that, rather useless.

1530.12.2011 1:01

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Originally posted by cyprusrom:
If you are talking about XBMC as the alternative, then, yes, it is...Even though similar, they are not quite the same. there is no XBMC set top box.XBMC is excellent in principle, but trying to apply it, is not that easy. And to build your own Media PC and install XBMC,or hack a crApple TV, it doesn't come close to just buying a BB, not the money, the effort, or features.
It is true that you can't build a very good Media PC for the price of a Boxee box, but then, a Boxee box can't do most of the things that a good Media PC can do. As for (cr)Apple TV, that is $80 less than a Boxee...and given the DRM route they seem to be on, it won't be much different before long (other than the TV tuner support).
Apple TV is ok, I wouldn't rate it highly.

I've had to set one up, you can stream non-DRM stuff to it, it just has to be in the correct file formats for it to stream, iTunes won't go and grab video megatag data but will do a good job for the music side.

As it seems to work on the freq of the sound file and grab the right data for what matches so it doesn't even require any sort of mega tag data to get the right details.

For the video side you have to enter everything yourself, also will only stream at 720p but I guess that more for streaming from their own servers than anything else.

1630.12.2011 1:06

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
And what can a good media PC do that the BB cannot do? I mean, stuff that people actually use... Play discs? use a full size keyboard?

Play any file format you can think of and more.

Also data space won't be an issues either.

I've used the boxxee software it's nice but is limited (most of this stuff is) if it can't get access to the net then you can't add info or megatag data to the files it's also limited to a couple types of file formats.

1730.12.2011 9:14

Originally posted by xtago:
Originally posted by cyprusrom:
And what can a good media PC do that the BB cannot do? I mean, stuff that people actually use... Play discs? use a full size keyboard?

Play any file format you can think of and more.

Also data space won't be an issues either.

I've used the boxxee software it's nice but is limited (most of this stuff is) if it can't get access to the net then you can't add info or megatag data to the files it's also limited to a couple types of file formats.

A couple types of file formats? My BB will play any format I can throw at it. And you can most definitely add info to media files without the need for a network connection. The BB has had .NFO support since earlier this year.

Carl V. O.

1830.12.2011 12:14

Originally posted by carlvo:
Originally posted by xtago:
Originally posted by cyprusrom:
And what can a good media PC do that the BB cannot do? I mean, stuff that people actually use... Play discs? use a full size keyboard?

Play any file format you can think of and more.

Also data space won't be an issues either.

I've used the boxxee software it's nice but is limited (most of this stuff is) if it can't get access to the net then you can't add info or megatag data to the files it's also limited to a couple types of file formats.

A couple types of file formats? My BB will play any format I can throw at it. And you can most definitely add info to media files without the need for a network connection. The BB has had .NFO support since earlier this year.
Here's the advantage of an HTPC for me. It's about upgradability and having more control over the interface. By upgradability I mean I can add internal hard drives, optical drives (including burners), and any other peripheral I might find handy including my choice of TV tuners, card readers, and game controllers. In addition, I won't have to wait for some hardware vendor to support new features. Software support for new formats and specs almost always precedes hardware simply because updates are so much simpler and cheaper.

In terms of the interface, I can choose between Windows Media Center, XBMC, SageTV, MediaPortal, or many other options. If I find a better piece of software tomorrow, I can switch to it without replacing my hardware.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

1930.12.2011 12:25

I also like the ability to use my HTPC to play games. There was also a large amount of time that some things like Hulu or Netflix that worked on the computer but not Boxee. Usually support works first on a computer then they add it to other devices like Boxee.


another advantage for me is I always have spare computers. If I did not use them for a HTPC I would just though them out. so for me it is free compared to buying a dedicated box.

2031.12.2011 2:08

Sounds like the first step to their death warrant.


AMD Phenom II 965 @ 3.67Ghz, 8GB DDR3, ATI Radeon 5770HD, 256GB OCZ Vertex 4, 2TB Additional HDD, Windows 7 Ultimate.

http://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices

211.1.2012 1:44

Originally posted by vurbal:
Originally posted by carlvo:
Originally posted by xtago:
Originally posted by cyprusrom:
And what can a good media PC do that the BB cannot do? I mean, stuff that people actually use... Play discs? use a full size keyboard?

Play any file format you can think of and more.

Also data space won't be an issues either.

I've used the boxxee software it's nice but is limited (most of this stuff is) if it can't get access to the net then you can't add info or megatag data to the files it's also limited to a couple types of file formats.

A couple types of file formats? My BB will play any format I can throw at it. And you can most definitely add info to media files without the need for a network connection. The BB has had .NFO support since earlier this year.
Here's the advantage of an HTPC for me. It's about upgradability and having more control over the interface. By upgradability I mean I can add internal hard drives, optical drives (including burners), and any other peripheral I might find handy including my choice of TV tuners, card readers, and game controllers. In addition, I won't have to wait for some hardware vendor to support new features. Software support for new formats and specs almost always precedes hardware simply because updates are so much simpler and cheaper.

In terms of the interface, I can choose between Windows Media Center, XBMC, SageTV, MediaPortal, or many other options. If I find a better piece of software tomorrow, I can switch to it without replacing my hardware.
So now we're comparing luxury bicycles with Cadillacs:)?

221.1.2012 3:27

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
Originally posted by vurbal:
Originally posted by carlvo:
Originally posted by xtago:
Originally posted by cyprusrom:
And what can a good media PC do that the BB cannot do? I mean, stuff that people actually use... Play discs? use a full size keyboard?

Play any file format you can think of and more.

Also data space won't be an issues either.

I've used the boxxee software it's nice but is limited (most of this stuff is) if it can't get access to the net then you can't add info or megatag data to the files it's also limited to a couple types of file formats.

A couple types of file formats? My BB will play any format I can throw at it. And you can most definitely add info to media files without the need for a network connection. The BB has had .NFO support since earlier this year.
Here's the advantage of an HTPC for me. It's about upgradability and having more control over the interface. By upgradability I mean I can add internal hard drives, optical drives (including burners), and any other peripheral I might find handy including my choice of TV tuners, card readers, and game controllers. In addition, I won't have to wait for some hardware vendor to support new features. Software support for new formats and specs almost always precedes hardware simply because updates are so much simpler and cheaper.

In terms of the interface, I can choose between Windows Media Center, XBMC, SageTV, MediaPortal, or many other options. If I find a better piece of software tomorrow, I can switch to it without replacing my hardware.
So now we're comparing luxury bicycles with Cadillacs:)?
I was answering a question. I have no idea what you're talking about.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

231.1.2012 8:20

I am talking about a $160, 4 inch box, you're talking about a closet full of hardware worth over $1000...

241.1.2012 10:37

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
I am talking about a $160, 4 inch box, you're talking about a closet full of hardware worth over $1000...
True a HTPC could be that expensive but it doesn't have too. Before the Hard Drive Prices got out of control you could build a decent High Definition capable HTPC for under $500 and you can do so much more with it than a BOXEE.

Of course to each is own so that is why there is choice. Your comment about bycicles and cadillacs was not necessary.

AMD Phenom II 965 @ 3.67Ghz, 8GB DDR3, ATI Radeon 5770HD, 256GB OCZ Vertex 4, 2TB Additional HDD, Windows 7 Ultimate.

http://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices

252.1.2012 9:37

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
I am talking about a $160, 4 inch box, you're talking about a closet full of hardware worth over $1000...

You made the comparison.
Originally posted by cyprusrom:
And what can a good media PC do that the BB cannot do? I mean, stuff that people actually use... Play discs? use a full size keyboard?

And I certainly haven't paid anywhere near $1000 for my HTPC. The used PC cost me $150. Two USB tuners cost me $150 (they're cheaper now) and the few hardware upgrades I've done were just repurposing parts from other computers when they died or got replaced. I've paid exactly nothing for software for it.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

262.1.2012 12:07

Okay,I didn't realized that everybody has just an abundance of parts laying around to slap together a HTPC...The fact is, we're not comparing apples to apples. We are indeed comparing Cadillacs to bicycles. No matter how top notch and hi-tech might be in its class, a bicycle is not meant to perform what a car can do.
if you want to compare BB for example and say "it's useless"--compare with something like WD devices, Popcorn, Patriot boxes...For what it was meant to do---and is just an opinion--I think is pretty sleek, works well, and has the edge on plenty of its competitors in the same class.

272.1.2012 13:14

Thing is now that the computer can't run BOxee software it has one less thing it can do. It still might be better but the software was a very good option and will be missed bye me

282.1.2012 16:04

Originally posted by cyprusrom:
Okay,I didn't realized that everybody has just an abundance of parts laying around to slap together a HTPC...The fact is, we're not comparing apples to apples. We are indeed comparing Cadillacs to bicycles. No matter how top notch and hi-tech might be in its class, a bicycle is not meant to perform what a car can do.
if you want to compare BB for example and say "it's useless"--compare with something like WD devices, Popcorn, Patriot boxes...For what it was meant to do---and is just an opinion--I think is pretty sleek, works well, and has the edge on plenty of its competitors in the same class.

I wouldn't go so far as to say you shouldn't compare them, as long as you are clear about them being very different things. Neither is categorically better than the other. A set-top box is not for me because there isn't one that fits my (fairly unique) requirements. That's not to say I don't recommend them for some people, just that claiming set-top boxes are universally superior is just as silly as saying PCs are.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

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