BoxeeTV on AppleTV - Getting up and Running
BoxeeTV is a new home theater type software, but they have gone a different route in the ways they began distributing. They launched with an initial alpha version for Linux, Apple, and AppleTV's, and shunned us Windows users. That didn't bother me as I wanted to get my hands on it, until I remembered how terrible I was with Linux. So I was content on waiting for an alpha version of Windows, and the wonderful folks at Boxee promised to get me one...that was until they kept releasing such cool features and forced my hand--I had to buy an AppleTV solely for the purpose of installing Boxee on it!
The benefits for me of using the AppleTV over the alternatives were obvious. Already having a dedicated Vista Media Center PC, I did not want to kill my electricity bill by powering an entirely new PC strictly to run Linux and Boxee, so with the AppleTV, which is showing a wattage of between 18-22 Watts is a vast improvement over the 100+ Watts a computer would draw. Do I wish AppleTV was lower like an HP Media Center (7 watts), sure, but given that it's essentially a computer and it allows me to run Boxee...I can live with 22.
Wattage aside, the AppleTV is just slick. I am personally not a big Apple fan--in fact, the only previous Apple items I own are a Shuffle (since retired for a Sansa Clip) and a half broken Ipod Video my sister donated to me. Having said that though, I am impressed with the production qualities of the unit itself. And what's not to like--it's small, thin, and best of all, QUIET! Unfortunately, it's just not very cheap, but you can find an older 40gb 1st generation version for under $200 on eBay, so not too exhorbant.
It took me less than 1 hour to get everything up and running, and honestly the majority of that time was spent downloading with a slow internet connection. The folks at Boxee have some ridiculously great walk-throughs of the entire process, making it a snap from my Vista laptop. Fortunately, I did not run into any problems, but for those less fortunate there's a wealth of information available on their forums.
So far, so good. I updated my AppleTV, then flashed it using a thumb drive (they scare you on the videos saying you should only use a specific one, but I'm using a cheapo generic 2gb USB stick and it worked just fine). The actual flashing is super fast, and then I updated both the launcher and Boxee, and before I knew it, voila. I had Boxee running alongside my AppleTV. I don't use Itunes, so we know the AppleTV portion is not going to get much use...but stay tuned and I will report more on my findings of Boxee!