Nothing’s ever simple.

April 29, 2010 at 8:51 am | Posted in Scott | 1 Comment

So, here’s the update on the no-cable experiment from my point of view.

As you know, we officially canceled the cable. My initial reaction was inexplicable fear. Actual fear. That’s probably a sign that we’re doing the right thing.

Our first big piece of “appointment viewing” after cutting off the cable was The Amazing Race, which looked great, right up until the lightning storm. As soon as the thunder started in, our reception became spotty. Right now many of you are asking, “But how often is there a lightning storm?” Those who have lived in central Florida know the answer is “alarmingly often.” That said, if the show had become unwatchable, we could have waited until the next day and watched it on Hulu.

After my last post about the HTPC, a friend suggested that I try a program called Boxee to manage streaming videos. I had heard of Boxee, but was under the impression that it was a hardware product, not an application. Turns out that Boxee itself is a free, open source application that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. They also have a set top box, called … wait for it … “the Boxee Box.”

I loaded it up one day while home sick. (Strep throat. I’m fine now, and can tell you if you’ve never had strep throat, you don’t want it, which you most likely already knew.) I expected to launch the program, play around for a few minutes then get on with my busy afternoon of sitting around moaning. Four hours later I turned off the TV convinced that I’d found the perfect solution for my HTPC. The interface is easy to understand and navigate. The selection of streaming TV shows it can access is staggering. The video quality is just as good as I was getting using just the web browser, if not better, and the whole four hours I messed around with it I didn’t have a single technical problem. There are also free Boxee remote apps for iPhone and Android. I can’t vouch for the iPhone app, but the Android App I’m using (Boxee Wifi Remote) is rock solid.

As soon as Missy got home I insisted on demonstrating Boxee to her. The first thing I did was go to the menu of TV shows and select a British sitcom called Peep Show. Hulu asked for my age, because an American clearly can’t handle TV that is freely broadcast in England. Unfortunately Boxee didn’t have a way for me to input my age. The text fields were not selectable, and I was stuck. I spent five minutes trying to get it to work, then Missy lost interest and left.

Turns out this is a known problem. It only affects Hulu programs that are labled for mature audiences and Boxee is working on it. Also, I can still shut down Boxee and watch Peep Show through Hulu’s player, but still, this is why I never got any work demonstrating products at trade shows.


1 Comment »

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  1. Scott,

    Just follow the instructions here:

    It should be pretty simple. and will let you watch anything you can view on Hulu inside Boxee.


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