Boxee releases new alpha version, adds Netflix

“We could not ignore the number of people asking for Netflix on boxee… so we called, emailed, and in general harassed the Netflix team.. in the meantime, we went to the keyboards coding ferociously to make it work on boxee,” Avner Ronen reports for The Boxee Blog.

“The good news: you can now access Netflix on boxee, get your Instant Queue and Recommendations, browse Recently Added and Most Popular, sift through the entire Netflix Watch Instantly selection by Genre and Search,” Ronen reports.

“The bad news: we could not make it run on Apple TV. we tried real hard. vulkanr was almost able to tame it, but he was bucked by the Apple TV’s 1Gz processor. it screamed back at him in thick Scots brogue, ‘I can’t do it captain, I just don’t have the power!’ we’re still working on it, but don’t have a solution, yet.. also there is no Netflix for Ubuntu, yet (i believe Netflix mentioned they will support Linux later in 2009),” Ronen reports.

The latest version of the boxee alpha is not just about Netflix, though. there is also:

a new Hulu – looks more like, enables you to login (so you can get your Hulu Queue), works faster, and playback should be greatly improved on Apple TV
a new YouTube – new look, as well as higher quality video playback. some of these YouTube clips look pretty good on your 46” LCD
a new CNN, Flickr, Picasa and Apple Movie Trailers – we’ve re-written all of these plug-ins to work faster and look better
Boston Globe’s The Big Picture – it’s a great photo-blog, which we really like, and thought could be pretty cool in a 10-foot experience. if you’ll like it we could bring much more of these type of services (let us know!)
integration with MTV Music – when you click on an album you’ll see a new option to let you watch music videos of the artist. check it out. MTV said they can give us higher quality videos, and we have a few more ideas for providing a great music video experience on boxee
• theWB – on our quest to bring more TV content to boxee theWB is the latest addition. it means shows like Buffy, Babylon5, Firefly, One Tree Hill and The O.C. are now available on boxee

On the bug fixing/polish front:

• support for skip forward, rewind in Hulu, CBS, etc. – this is a big one.. should work now. the code behind it is sooo ugly that yuvalt had to chew on anti-nausea tablets while writing it
• improved streaming of podcast, trailers and youtube videos – we rewrote the buffering/caching mechanism. Skip and rewind within video streams is now much better
• more boxee less crashee – it’s still alpha, and it will crash from time to time (we promise), but this version is supposed to be more stable. we are trying to weed out those nasty bugs – help us out by submitting bugs to or post in our forum
• faster scanning of local/network media – your movies, tv shows and albums should be identified faster. if you have a huge music collection then you could still cook a 7-course dinner, wash the dishes and read a telephone book before it will be done, but it’s greatly improved..
• new on-screen keyboard – as dave described when he reported the bug “typing a URL with our on-screen keyboard is a once in a lifetime experience. you do it once, and never want to do it again”. so we made it a bit better
• faster loading of the movies/music screen in case you have hundreds or thousands of albums.
• fixes and new look for to the lyrics and subtitles features – the new auto-scroll of the lyrics is arbitrary… but sometimes it works pretty well. fooled me the first time I tried it

If you’re using boxee on Apple TV run the Update to get the latest version. If you’re on Mac, more info and download here.


  1. Add Netflix is great and all, but my question is… why?
    I mean, you need to have and Intel Mac to run boxee. You need to have and Intel Mac to stream Netflix. What is the advantage of having it run in two places. Now when they get Netflix working on the Apple TV, great… or if they were to have boxee run on non-intel Mac with the Netflix streaming.

  2. So a company like Netflix seemingly has no problem with their service running on other formats and within other systems, and I would assume other content providers would be the same. I don’t understand why Apple don’t add more to Apple TV or indeed Frontrow, it can’t be that they want to make revenue solely from the store because they can’t be making that much and they allow flickr and youtube already.

    I like the idea of Boxee but I really didn’t dig the interface when I tried it recently.

  3. They seem to have no problem ignoring people asking for an account however. I requested an account three times in the last two months, NO LUCK YET!

    Maybe we can harass them into answering their own account requests!

  4. Thank you, nekogami13, for your courteous answer. I wish other people could do so; unfortunately, a few contributors to this blog apparently find it necessary to say something insulting just because they know something that someone else does not.

    What is your problem, Roy? Does it make you feel superior to call someone an idiot because they forgot they could Google something? Look at how nekogami13 and others responded: no snide remarks — just the information I was seeking.

    “You can open a new browser while your MDN one remains.” Wow, Roy, no kidding? I’ve got news for you man, I’ve probably been using Macs since you were in diapers. I simply thought I’d ask a question here instead of Googling it. Is that a crime?

    This is why I rarely post anything here; some people are so arrogant and pompous that they seem incapable of answering a question without insulting the person seeking information. It’s people like Roy that cause others to think of Mac users as snobs.

    I don’t care how old you are, Roy, but if you want to get anywhere in life, I suggest you learn some common courtesy while you’re at it.

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