Getting Boxeebox root and making it useful again

boxee

When it was released just three years ago, the Boxee Box – a set-top box designed to run the Boxee HTPC environment – was a pretty cool little device. Even though it was somewhat crippled from the get-go, the Boxee Box had a lot of neat features including a remote with a QWERTY keyboard, the ability to stream media over a home network, and automatic scraping of IMDB for proper info for all your torrented media. Team Boxee recently left for Samsung, and the severs have been shut down, but that doesn’t mean your Boxee Box has outlived its usefulness. Here’s a few hacks to get your Boxee Box up and running again, sent in by [Ryan].

Last year at DEFCON 20, [GTVHacker] demonstrated two ways to get root on the original Boxee Box. The first is a software root method that runs a shell script on every boot. The second is a far more elegant hardware modification that involves cutting two traces and soldering wires to a UART adapter.

Root is fine, but what the Boxee Box really needs is an update to its media player. Boxeehack does just this and only requires a USB stick for installation. Boxeehack puts back some of the default XMBC functions that were removed from the Boxee Box, and gives anyone running this media center root.

It may be old and unsupported, but there’s still plenty of life left in the Boxee Box. They’re also pretty cheap, so if you’re looking for a small media player for your TV, you might want to think about picking one of these boxes up.

Flexible web interface makes the universal remote nearly perfect

[Fall Deaf] built an Arduino based universal remote control system. It uses a shield which has both an IR receiver and transmitter. This gives it the tools to learn codes from your existing remotes and play them back in order to control the devices. This functionality is really nothing new, but we think the user interface he developed for the system is absolutely fantastic!

Software is web-based. You can simply point a remote at the Arduino and push a button. The receiver will store the code which can later be assigned to a virtual button. The image above shows the channel-up option being created; it will be added to the list once confirmed. From there any web enabled device – smart phone, tablet, netbook, etc – can be used as the remote for the system. The only feature we think is missing is the ability to alter the layout of the buttons, with larger areas for the most frequently used commands.

After the break you can see a demonstration of this system, as well as the one extra feature we haven’t touched on yet. [Fall Deaf] included a Piezo element in the hardware design which lets him knock on his coffee table to use the remote if a smart-device isn’t close at hand.

[Read more...]

Add IR control to your WiFi router

wrt54g_ir_receiver

[Craig] wanted to use Boxee on his TV but his computer was in a different room. He rigged up a rather dubious method of delivering the A/V signal (this is a hack in the most guttural sense). More interesting to us is his solution for a remote control interface. We’re familiar with building USB connected infrared receivers but [Craig] decided to patch one into the serial connection on his Linksys WRT54G router. [Read more...]

Apple TV with Boxee and more update

atvusb-creator

In November, we covered installing Boxee on AppleTV using atv-usb-creator. [Danny] has written a tutorial on installing Boxee, XBMC, NitoTV, SSH access, and external USB hard drive support. His method installs most of the software via the USB patch stick, then uses the SSH support to enable the external drive and install NitoTV. The tutorial lists a Mac running OSX 10.4 or newer as a prerequisite but there is now a Windows version of atv-usb-creator. According to their Google Code page Linux support for this package is on the way.

[via AppleTV Hacks]

Hackit: Boxee now on Windows

Boxee, the free media center management and streaming application, is now available for Windows platforms. We’ve been following the developments of Boxee since we first announced its alpha this time last year. At that time, it was only available for OSX with promised Ubuntu support. We were a bit skeptical about the interface noting, “Unfortunately all the dynamic resizing, animated, sliding, floating info boxes make it behave like the zooming user interface’s retarded cousin”. Our interest in Boxee was almost entirely based on it being a fork of XBMC, the media center project developed for initially for hacked Xboxes. It was interesting to see Boxee become the interface of choice for hacked Apple TVs and then go mainstream with a big push at CES.

Have you been using Boxee as your media center? What do you love/hate? What about alternatives like XBMC, Plex, or MythTV?

Boxee and Apple TV

boxee

We’ve been following Boxee (not Boxxy) since its public alpha debut last Summer. We were captivated by it. Who expected a project built off of code originally intended for hacked Xboxes would be shown on NBC’s Today Show? We’ve been promised internet connected set top boxes for years, but it seems like Boxee is here to stay for two solid reasons: 1. It’s free. 2. Major content providers have finally figured out how to publish online and Boxee supports them. You can replace your network television with on demand content from Hulu, ABC, and the like.

One of the most affordable platforms currently supported by Boxee is the Apple TV. Lifehacker has a guide for installing Boxee on an Apple TV. You prepare a USB flash drive that is then used to patch the stock firmware. Once installed you can take advantage fun features like downloading torrents directly to the box.

Boxee on Apple TV 2.3 firmware

We heard some fear mongering that Apple had released Apple TV firmware 2.3 to break Boxee and XBMC. It certainly was a side effect of the upgrade, but that doesn’t matter now since a new version of ATV USB Creator has been released to work with the new firmware. So, everything is essentially back to normal for the two media center programs.