updated 11:40 am EST, Mon December 26, 2011
Boxee 1.5 marks shift from desktop to devices
Boxee marked a swansong for its desktop app with the launch of 1.5. The app has a newly refreshed interface with quicker access to the browser and the menu appearing as an overlay with quicker search. Movie and TV sections have been given their own updates, such as easier navigation by genres and sources, more details, and a better way to check for unwatched video episodes.
The app is available for Macs using Snow Leopard and later, Windows XP or later systems, and Linux boxes running Ubuntu 11.10 or later in 32-bit. Its release is the last official desktop version and will be pulled after late January, when the interface comes to Boxee's own hardware with the Live TV Tuner add-on.
Andrew Kippen from the company explained the decision to axe the desktop app as a belief that TV was more likely to be driven by dedicated hardware, Kippen argued. Along with the Boxee Box, it saw Internet-aware Blu-ray players and TVs leading the charge as well as sharing-capable smartphones and tablets. Makeshift setups with computers hooked up to TVs were less likely to stay.
He also underscored the widening gap between the software version and what the team was allowed to do with the Boxee Box. Limitations on certification and copy protection imposed by Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, and others prevented Boxee from offering much of what it wanted.
The switch will leave just a few home theater app substitutes, such as Plex.