Boxee one of my favourite startups at the moment is unveiling its beta version of the popular Boxee software. I’ve been using Boxee for almost an year on my Macbook Pro and needless to say the experience is simply wonderful.
With today’s Beta launch Boxee aims to enter newer territories with the launch of a dedicated Boxee Box in partnership with D-Link. What’s more important is a totally revamped and redesigned interface for Boxee, that makes using it even more fun. The UI changes aren’t the only changes though, Boxee beta brings about many major under the hood changes that will allow for less resource intensive playback of your media.
Boxee for Windows will shift from using the OpenGL graphics engine to DirectX runtime, along with support for Nvidia’s cheaper but faster Graphics chips. I believe these are major steps for Boxee, because for so long it has remained in the confines of Mac and AppleTV users, with Windows/Linux Adoption being almost negligible.
Before I tell you about the Dedicated Boxee box, lets have a sneak peak into the new Beta interface. And I have to say the new UI is a marked improvement over the old one, and I can’t wait for the nice people at Boxee HQ to give me access to the beta
This is the new Home screen. The most visible change is the shifting of the navigation from Left to top center. Along with it comes a new centralized hub for all your content. You can now see recommendations from friends on Boxee, Facebook or Twitter (via RSS feeds), recommendations from Boxee’s staff and partners (Featured) and the latest episodes from your favorite shows or things you’ve saved for later (Queue).
The new global menu, makes Navigation even more easier than it was before. This menu makes it easy to access helpful resources (TOP ‘ Logout, Settings, Now Playing, Queue, Feed, History), the main menu (MIDDLE ‘ Photos, Music, Movies, Home, TV Shows, Apps, Files) and shortcuts (BOTTOM) to your favorite Apps, TV Shows, Movies, or folders. This has to be my favorite new feature of the Boxee Beta. Makes me feel that the old navigation was boring and slow!
The screenshots above show the new TV Shows Library and Photos in action. The new sidebar on the left, makes searching/sorting etc. even more easier than it was before.
The New Boxee makes sharing even more fun and easier. After all the entire Boxee experience is a social experience. So now you’re gonna have an endless amount of media to consume thanks to your friends.
At the heart of the new Boxee is the Queue that runs thorough out the software. As you browse your library, you can continuously queue up items. So the next time you don’t have to remind yourself that you wanted to catch up with the latest episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’!
There’s a lot more that’s changed in Boxee beta, which I can’t talk about, because I don’t have direct access to the Beta. But looking from the screenshots already posted on the internet, I’m already in love with the new Boxee.
Now coming to the Boxee Box from D-Link, here’s what Senior Marketing Executive Daniel Kelley at D-Link had to say :
‘By pairing Boxee’s innovative social entertainment platform with D-Link’s technology we’re able to create a solution that introduces people to what TV should be. Additionally we’re bringing a new level of social interaction to the living room.’
The Boxee Box will have HDMI, SPDIF and RCA Audio connections, Plus two USB ports and it will work on both 802.11N. The price isn’t known yet, nor are the other technical details. What we all know is that Boxee will debut it during at the CES 2010. However rumors point to sub $200 price point which I believe will be very attractive to many home users.
Looks like 2010 will be the year when Digital Media finally makes the transition into our Living rooms. Thanks to Boxee, this is a space that we are all excited going into 2010.