So you got your Boxee Box, and you’ve been busy streaming tons of content and trying out various apps. Wonder what else is possible? A lot, actually. Here’s a list of ten helpful tips & tricks every Boxee Box owner should know about:
1. Use the Boxee Bookmarklet
Ever find a video when browsing on your PC that you really want to watch on your TV? Then simply install the Boxee bookmarklet. All you have to do is click a button in your browser toolbar every time you want to bookmark a video, and it automatically shows up in your Watch Later queue. The bookmarklet is available for Firefox, IE and Safari via Boxee.tv, and a Boxee user actually turned it into a neat Chrome extension.
2. Access Web Bookmarks
The Boxee Box features an HTML5-compatible web browser, but there’s no way to bookmark any of the sites you’re visiting. Here’s an easy workaround, using your PC’s browser: Simply bookmark all the video sites you plan to access on your Boxee Box via Delicious.com with the tag boxeemark. Then log into Boxee.tv on your desktop, go to your list of feeds and add the Delicious RSS feed with your Boxee bookmarks (it should look like this: http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/username/boxeemark). Fire up your Boxee Box, go to the apps and open up the RSS Feeds application. One of the feeds displayed will be your Delicious feed, offering access to all of your bookmarked websites, which will open in the Box’s browser. I noticed that Boxee is sometimes a little slow to fetch the latest bookmarks, but it’s still a neat way to get easy access to web content.
3. Make use of Google TV web apps
A number of web publishers have started to optimize their sites for Google TV. Google is showcasing some of these sites as part of its Spotlight gallery, which should be one of the first bookmarks you add to your new Delicious bookmarks feed. Not all of these web apps work flawlessly on Boxee, but Blip.tv, KQED, TBS and a few others have some great remote control-optimized user interfaces worth exploring.
4. Watch Live TV
Thought all you can do with your Boxee Box is stream on-demand content? Think again: Livestation’s Boxee app offers live feeds from the BBC, France 24, Al Jazeera, NASA, the United Nations, the Democratic Voice of Burma, Al Aan TV, Russia Today and others. Still want more live content? Then add Justin.tv, Ustream.tv and Livestream.com to your list of Boxee bookmarks.
5. Use the Boxee Box as a file server
Don’t have a NAS (network attached storage) drive yet? Well, you got one now: Just attach a USB hard drive to your Boxee Box, go to Settings > Network > Servers and chose to Enable Windows file sharing. You’ll now be able to access that USB drive from any PC in your network to share files locally, do backups and more. Check Settings > Network > Network for your Boxee Box’s local IP address if you’re have trouble automatically discovering the shared drive in your network.
6. Get more apps through third-party repositories
Boxee offers users the ability to install apps from third-party sources, and there are a number of repositories offering a bunch of additional apps. The most recent list of third-party repositories can be found here. Want all of these additional apps at your fingertips at once? Then simply add the Fuzzthed repository, which currently offers access to more than 100 apps. Not all of these work on the Box, and quite a few can be considered experimental, so this is definitely not something for the faint of heart. To install these apps, simply open your Box’s navigation toolbar, select Apps > Repositories > Plus and then enter the URL of the repository of your choice.
7. Get a Boxee web widget
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could tell visitors of your web site which videos you enjoy on your Boxee Box? You can, thanks to a quick hack based on Boxee’s Twitter integration. First, make sure that you have your Twitter account connected to Boxee and the option “Tweet when I share videos on Boxee” activated. Then favor / share some videos via Boxee by clicking on the heart icon. Now go to Twitter’s search widget generator and enter source:boxee from:yourtwitterusername as the search query. Add a witty title and caption, customize the widget to your liking, test your settings to see if everything is working, and then copy the widget code and add it to your site.
8. Customize your screensaver
Getting bored of those grey Boxee icons? Then put some photos on an SD card or a USB thumb drive, plug it into your box, and go to Settings > General > Screensaver > Slideshow Folder. Find the folder with your photos, select it and you’ll have your embarrassing Friday night party photos on TV whenever your Boxee Box is idle.
9. Add Multiple Accounts
The ability to switch accounts has to be one of Boxee’s most underrated features. Want your significant other to fall in love with your Boxee Box, and in turn get some brownie points redeemable for future gadget shopping sprees? Then go ahead and register an account under his or her name, connect it to his or her Facebook feed and let the Friends feature do its magic.
10. Access the BBC iPlayer
The Boxee Box has built-in VPN support, which means that you can pretend to reside in another country by changing just a few settings. Why would you do that? Well, one example would be to access the iPlayer app. The folks at Overplay have detailed instructions on how add a VPN to your Box. After that, all you need to do is go to Settings > Location and uncheck the option Hide feeds and applications that cannot be played in your location to get access to the iPlayer app.
Check out our recent Cord Cutters episode featuring a Boxee Box review, and leave your own tips for Boxee Box users in the comments!
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