Boxee Box To Gain Hulu Plus And Netflix, New User Interface

Boxee Box To Gain Hulu Plus And Netflix, New User Interface

It's November 10th. Know what that means? It means that you're over Hump Day, and it also means that the Boxee Box is now shipping in North America. But the fun isn't stopping there. In an unusual move, Boxee has actually chosen the ship date of its Boxee Box launch to unveil a slew of new features that will definitely tempt you into buying one. The only question is this: why not announce these features months ago before you went and purchased a competing product?


We aren't saying everyone has already sunk money into a streamer by now, but quite a few probably went out and selected a Roku or Apple TV in the past couple of months. Now, maybe they should have waited. The Boxee Box just gained a lot of new functionality tonight, with promised Netflix and Hulu Plus support to come. These won't be available immediately, but the company's working hard to bring them to the Box ASAP.


Also, Boxee revealed a new user interface, not to mention a new Boxee Box remote with a dedicated Netflix launcher button. That means that the Boxee Box will have Boxee, VUDU, Netflix and Hulu Plus. Talk about a killer lineup. As mentioned before, the Boxee Box is now using Intel Inside, and that means full 1080p at 60fps output as well as 5.1/7.1 surround sound. It also supports nearly every file format we have ever heard of, a feat that many streamers can't match.

The new Boxee Box interface also has a revised search box, so maybe it's looking to cut into Google TV sales as well. There's even support for HTML5 apps, with NY Times, HBO, Turner, USA Today, Vimeo, YouTube and others already onboard. Looks like you may need to take advantage of that 30-day return policy...

Boxee Box by D-Link starts shipping, new Boxee version, Netflix and Hulu Plus, too

If you have been spending more and more time watching videos on your computer and would like to be able to watch the same stuff on your TV screen, we think the Boxee Box is the best way to do it.

Here is why:
Tons of Movies and TV Shows, Netflix, VUDU and Hulu Plus

There is a whole generation out there for whom Movies and TV shows are synonymous with Netflix and Hulu. We have some good news for these users. Both Netflix and Hulu are going to be part of the Boxee Box.

If you’re like us, you are a Netflix member instantly watching unlimited TV episodes & movies, and you want to rent new titles from a service like VUDU. It’s a killer combo and both will work great for you on Boxee.

Yes. We’re planning to bring Netflix to the Boxee Box before the end of the year.

We are also working with Hulu to bring Hulu Plus to the Boxee Box. We are very excited about the opportunity to work together to provide a Hulu experience that is optimized for the TV and the Boxee Box. We think you will love it!

This in addition to the thousands of movies and shows you can already access on Boxee. From services such as MUBI, OpenFilm, IndieMoviesOnline, and EZTakes.

Full HD all the way

You bought a TV that supports True HD and maybe even set up a surround system. Boxee can put them both into great use. Boxee plays videos in 1080p at 60fps without breaking a sweat and it will pass through 5.1 and 7.1 audio to your receiver.

The Internet has lots of 1080p videos (even YouTube), your new digital camera may also be able to produce 1080p videos. There is no reason to settle for 720p.
We eat codecs

The world of digital video is a gory mess. There are numerous codecs, video formats, audio formats, subtitle standards and people to mix them all together. The result is that your hard drive is likely filled with some weird Frankenstein files that make other devices choke.

Not all media players are made the same. We put some crazy hours going through a checklist of videos we thought the Boxee Box should be able to play. In Boxee playback you can trust. We think we have the best and most exhaustive player.

MKV, SSA, PGS, AC3, VC1, TS, H264, FLV, ASS, AVI, OGG, ISO, M2TS, VOB, SRT, AAC, FLAC, may be (should be) meaningless acronyms for some of the people reading this post, but they matter a lot when you click on a file and want play it rather than get an error message.
Waste hours watching videos shared on Twitter and Facebook

I can’t remember the last time I channel surfed on my TV (I don’t have cable now.., but even when I had one..). It is a frustrating, inefficient way to get to something you like in the age of the Internet, recommendation engines, social networks, etc.

It’s time for the TV experience to catch up.

Connect your Twitter or Facebook account to Boxee and get a feed of funny, thought provoking (well depends on who you follow) videos directly to your TV.

Search

I usually have no idea what I want to watch when I sit down on the couch, so seeing what my friends have shared or browsing through Netflix recommendations is what I usually do, but for the cases where I know I want to watch a clip from last night’s Colbert Report or a music video I heard about Search is the answer.

In Boxee you are always a click away from a search bar that lets you search the Boxee TV Shows, Movies and Apps libraries as well as the entire web for videos.  Even better, the Boxee Box will start searching as soon as you start typing… it’s like Quiksilver for your TV.

HTML5 FTW

Frankly we would hate to see the future of made for TV experiences be built on top of a couple of proprietary app platforms that result in a bunch of disconnected islands. We hope the future of made-for-TV apps will be HTML based, so everything is linkable, searchable, shareable, etc. The stuff that makes the web great.

Boxee now supports HTML5 apps, which means that if you write an HTML page designed for 10ft it will work on any Boxee and Google TV devices, and hopefully other platforms will embrace this trend rather than try and invent their own platforms, which makes life hard for content owners, developers and ultimately slows down innovation in this space.

NY Times, HBO, Turner, USA Today, Vimeo, YouTube and many others have already created HTML5 Apps. We hope thousands more will follow.

Zef Side
And a browser, too

We are not big believers of browsing the generic web on the TV screen. Your laptop, tablet or mobile phone are much better devices for that purpose, but there are a lot of videos out there that you can only reach by opening a browser or typing a URL, so the Browser is kind of a fall-back in case there is no easier, quicker, cleaner option of getting to a video you want to watch.

This version of Boxee includes a beta version of our WebKit browser. You can type any URL go interact with the webpage, fill a form, launch a video in fullscreen. It’s not the greatest experience, but it usually gets the job done.
Changes to the user interface

For those of you of who have been using the Boxee Beta, this version includes quite a few UI changes.

Home Screen: The home screen of Boxee is simpler making it easier to navigate for new users. It features content or apps we believe are worth checking out and big, clear links to the main sections of Boxee

Menu: We made some big changes to the main menu. You can bring it up by clicking the Menu button. It enables you to quickly navigate through TV Shows, Movies and Apps or search for something.

Music / Photos: We’ve really focused this version of Boxee on video.  With that in mind we decided to push music and photos into the files menu until we give it a little more TLC.

New Apps:

VEVO is the web’s number one premium music video service with over 1.1 billion worldwide streams and nearly 60 million unique visitors in the U.S. and Canada each month.  They’ve done an amazing job at giving people one coherent place to get great high quality vids from today’s top artists.  Building an app with VEVO was a no-brainer.

You’ll get access to

    * the latest videos featured on VEVO,
    * channels curated by VEVO like throwback hip-hop, alt rock, and Indie
    * up close interviews, impromptu performances caught on tape, and other videos
    * the Top 10 videos on VEVO and across major genres this week

So jump into the app and turn your TV into a music video jukebox.

Vice Magazine is one part Lonely Planet, one part National Geographic, one part Vogue, one part Nightline, and one part Hot or Not…  If you’re looking for a gateway into underground culture anywhere in the world, chances are someone from Vice has the keys, which is why we’re excited to have VBS.TV, a video offshoot of Vice now on Boxee.

The brainchild of Shane Smith, Eddy Moretti, Suroosh Alvi and Spike Jonze, the Vice Broadcasting System (VBS) is a web-only network that streams a mix of domestic and international news, pop and underground culture coverage, and the best music in the world. People have used words like eclectic, smart, funny, shocking, and revolutionary to describe VBS, but we prefer to think of them as a shining example of fresh, interesting content that might be too interesting for mainstream TV.

Lastly, Accuweather has been kind enough to give us access to their weather API to build out a good looking app on Boxee.  We still don’t know which way high and low pressure systems turn, but we figure the weather channel makes money so there’s got to be something to this.  They’ve been a great partner and we look forward to bringing more apps

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