Boxee – Cool Media Center for Mac and Ubuntu

Are you sick of Mac OS X Front row, Windows Media Center or want a media center for Linux. Boxee is a new kind of media center that runs on Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux, it will also support Windows in the near future (meanwhile check out cool windows media center alternatives). The framework that Boxee is built off of is XBMC which is the best media center available for Xbox.

Boxee is basically XBMC on steroids because it has social networking features so that you can view what your friends are watching and listening to on Boxee, as well as plugins that are written in Python so you can really customize Boxee a lot. Boxee also gas a skinning engine so if you get bored of the default look of Boxee then you can always download other skins or make your own.

Get on Boxee

Because Boxee is still in alpha there is a very limited amount of invitations that they’re going to give out so the best thing to do is to get to as soon as you can and enter your email address so that you can get on Boxee as soon as possible.

Once you’re emailed your invitation and go to their website you’ll be asked to enter a few details such as username, email, etc and it shouldn’t take anymore than 20 seconds to complete. After you’ve signed up you’ll be logged into your account.

The first thing that you will see when you login is a feed of your friends. Within the feed you will see the latest movies that they have watched and the latest music that they have listened too. If they rated it and liked it a thumb up will appear but if they didn’t like it then a thumb down will appear on the feed next to that movie or song. Whatever they listened to or watched will also linked to the imdb or page depending on if its a movie or music.

Under the Profile page is information about movies you’ve watched and music you’ve listened too.
The Friends page displays all your friends and also allows you to invite and add new friends.
Under the account page you can change your personal information and who you want to share your information with such as the world, your friends or nobody. Here you can also change your picture that is displayed throughout your profile.

At the bottom of the account page you have services. Here you can enter your twitter, friend feed and tumblr information and decide what information to share.
With these services you can twit, post and share.

Download and Installing Boxee

To download Boxee simply press the Download Boxee link once you’ve logged into your account then choose either the Mac OS X version or the Ubuntu Linux version. Support for Windows will most likely be added soon.
If you want to see the code behind Boxee then just simply download the source from the download page and play about with it.
If you’re on a broadband connection then Boxee should download fairly quickly as its only 30mb. The OS X version downloads as a package so you double click the package and click agree then click next then once the installation has finished Boxee will be in the Applications folder.

Using Boxee

When you first load up Boxee you will be presented with a window like the one shown above. From here enter your username and password for Boxee and you’ll be logged in.

This is what Boxee will look like the first time you login. In the top right corner is the weather and the time. Down the left side is what’s new, video, music, pictures, profile, downloads, settings and exit.

The main content that you see is the what’s new content and this is videos and music that your friends have recently listened too and watched.

When you select Video and hit enter you’ll see two more options My Videos and Internet Videos.
My Videos are movies that you have on your computer locally and Internet Videos are videos that a streamed from the internet and updated automatically via an RSS feed.
When you load up the Internet Videos for the first time the RSS feeds for sites that are there is, CNN, Revision3, Cnet and Youtube.

For music it is the same but for the music streaming websites its jamendo, muxtape, shoutcast, bbc, and NPR. You can also listen to music that is on your computer or in your iTunes library.

Pictures allows you to look at pictures that you have on your computer or you can search for pictures on Picasa and Flickr.

Under Profile you can see the latest content that you and your friends have viewed on Boxee.

Downloads allows you to view content that you’re currently downloading.

Under the Settings tab you have options for video, music, pictures, network, appearance, system, media sources, general and the credits of the people who made Boxee.

I think that Boxee is a really good media player and that it is a lot better than Front Row.

Want An Invite?

If you want to give Boxee a try we’re giving out invites to the first 20 people who ask for them in the comments.


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