Boxee Saves the Day


We bought our wonderful Sony 50" rear-projection television about four years ago, and have watched the heck out of it, between regular TV, the Blu-ray player we’ve had for a year now, the Wii, and the AppleTV.  And this last weekend, we hit the milestone folks with this kind of set dread:

The bulb died.

No, there were none to be found locally (at least not from a reputable dealer; I walked quickly away from the TV repair place with parts strewn on the floor all over, where the guy asked for $175 cash for a replacement lamp).  We ended up ordering online, and the new lamp won’t show until Wednesday at the earliest.  Which means no primary set for a few days.  We can live through that, right? Read a book, start putting away Christmas decorations, and so forth…

I don’t think so.  After all, I’m a GeekDad!

So I pulled out the silver projection screen we got handed down from my folks (they used to use it to watch Super-8 movies), hooked the LCD projector my wife uses in her classroom up to my MacBook Pro, ran the audio back out into our stereo system, and fired up Boxee.  What’s Boxee, you ask?  Boxee is a wonderful media center application, still in (a very functional) alpha stage, based on the open-source XBox Media Center.

What’s awesome about Boxee is that not only does it handle local and networked media (meaning all the files on your desktop, laptiop, or networked storage), but it also pretty seamlessly integrates internet services like Hulu, Shoutcast, CBS, Comedy Central, Flickr, and Netflix streaming video.  I’ve already been using Boxee on my hacked AppleTV, but it really screams on the MBP. 

Thus it was with this little bit of A/V geekery, we were able to bond as a family over some classic Dr. Who episodes this weekend (about which I received some great comments on Twitter – yes, Boxee will integrate with Twitter to let your friends know what you’re watching). While access right now is limited (you can often get an invite if you follow @boxee on Twitter), word is they’ll be opening up the Alpha with a new release in early January.  Keep an eye out for it!

quick intro to boxee from boxee on Vimeo.

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