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View Full Version : Does anyone else hate Boxee on Apple TV?




slu
Mar 24, 2010, 10:41 PM
So I just picked up a used Apple TV and I am happy with the standard features, but I figured I'd install Boxee to get more out of it.

Boy is Boxee crap. I can navigate through the list of shows, but it is not possible to watch anything because the video is so choppy. I only installed it for Internet video and since it was useless for that, I have reverted to factory settings.

I am wireless, not wired, if that makes a difference. Anyone have a different experience with Boxee on an Apple TV or have any suggestions? I like the Apple TV for what it is, but Boxee would make it that much
better, if it worked.



Boise Jim
Mar 24, 2010, 11:08 PM
I'm a regular user of Boxee on an HTPC that I built, mainly because the AppleTV was just too limited for me. I hate to say this, but the main problem comes from the AppleTV being woefully underpowered, hence the reason why I passed on it. It just doesn't have the power to do online streaming cleanly.
Boxee is having some video issues, but knowing them it will be fixed shortly. I have found that the cleanest online video you get is to go straight to the source- i.e., go straight to Netflix to watch a movie instead of through some frontend software, like Boxee. Same thing with hulu, etc.

Boxee is fabulous at what it is intended for, but it has limitations too. I still have not been able to find HTPC software that does everything I want, but Boxee is the closest I've found.

rabbisound
Mar 25, 2010, 02:17 AM
I've installed and deleted Boxee so many times, yeah i hate it too. I don't bother now plus it's just UGLY

kernkraft
Mar 25, 2010, 02:22 AM
I wouldn't go as far as talking of hate, but I always thought of the Apple TV as a device that is so limited that it's just useless. If that is a hobby, the creator should seek professional help.

mstrze
Mar 25, 2010, 07:01 AM
I had Boxee installed and it was just about as you describe. Great when it did work, but too iffy with connections and video quality. Plus it was annoying to have to switch from the ATV OS to a completely different (and oftentimes more confusing) layout of options and sites and whatnot.

When 3.0 erased Boxee...I didn't reinstall. :(

dalvin200
Mar 25, 2010, 07:06 AM
i have boxee on my apple tv, as it's the only way i know of playing xvid's..

it is a bit cumbersome and sometimes locks up (this could be apple tv's out of date hardware though)... but it manages to do the job i guess...(at non-hd content played directly from the appletv's hdd)

The Mad Hatter
Mar 25, 2010, 07:33 AM
i have boxee on my apple tv, as it's the only way i know of playing xvid's..

Try XBMC for your XviDs/DivXs, it works great for me. As for Boxee, it's a shame, I used it mainly for Hulu and CBS feeds, but never worked well for me. Now I just use XBMC with CBS and NBC plugins. It's not but NetFlix (on my Samsung BR) quality, but it suffices.

slu
Mar 25, 2010, 09:47 AM
I am glad I am not the only one. I think Boxee on the Apple TV would be great, if it worked. I am going to try it out on my Macbook connected to my TV to see if the experience is any better. I think I may like the UI better than Plex (which I did try).

I was just so disappointed in the performance on the AppleTV. Frankly, it is surprising they make it available at all since streaming video is basically unwatchable.

I am still working on my media center setup and I thought I'd see how the AppleTV could fit. Still figuring it out. It certainly has value, but maybe not enough.

dynaflash
Mar 25, 2010, 10:29 AM
From a playback performance perspective, boxee on the atv ... afaik ( and I could stand to be corrected on this in latest boxee update ) the biggest problem is boxee does not use the atv's nvidia gpu for h.264 decoding like the stock atv software does. Therefore even though it will let you *try* to playback up to 1080p ... it puts it all on the atv's quite limted cpu. Whereas the atv stock software leverages that gpu to a much greater extent thereby extending the atv's ability to decode video while also trying to keep you within sane limits given the hardware.

Shoesy
Mar 25, 2010, 12:10 PM
Sign the petition to add crystalHD support to boxee and install the card in your atv.

Don't hate - it's ugly.

Bye Bye Baby
Mar 25, 2010, 01:44 PM
Yes I must say that Boxee is a bust for me. Video takes forever to load. Hulu has been the same for me as well. Can't say that I find them worth the effort. I have tried it in an apple tv, I have tried it on a mac mini.

They really suck.

Bevz
Mar 25, 2010, 04:08 PM
Same here, have tried it out a few times (alpha and beta) on my ATV and just can't get on with it... I only installed it for BBC iPlayer, but it just seems so slow and flakey; i now just use my Wii for iPlayer; it's slick, fast and works brilliantly. I really don't know why it's so crap on ATV, perhaps like another poster said, the ATV just isn't powerful enough :(

tom1971
Mar 25, 2010, 04:26 PM
i have boxee on my apple tv, as it's the only way i know of playing xvid's..



You can use ATVFiles (and install the required codecs) to play xvid files.

Maks
Mar 25, 2010, 05:27 PM
So I just picked up a used Apple TV and I am happy with the standard features, but I figured I'd install Boxee to get more out of it.

Boy is Boxee crap. I can navigate through the list of shows, but it is not possible to watch anything because the video is so choppy. I only installed it for Internet video and since it was useless for that, I have reverted to factory settings.

I am wireless, not wired, if that makes a difference. Anyone have a different experience with Boxee on an Apple TV or have any suggestions? I like the Apple TV for what it is, but Boxee would make it that much
better, if it worked.
It's not Boxee's fault. The ATV is WAY underpowered to play streaming TV shows. It has a weak CPU, weak GPU and 256m of RAM. Boxee is great for playing local videos and music on an ATV, but the hardware just cannot handle the streaming flash videos. That is ultimately why I ended up getting a Mac Mini.

AlanShutko
Mar 25, 2010, 06:49 PM
A big part of it are the workarounds Boxee have had to do because Hulu blocked Boxee.

When Boxee had a direct hulu plugin and could simply play the videos, it was quite acceptable. I didn't have jerky video or anything. Then Hulu started putting in a lot of changes to ensure that the video was only viewable within a browser running flash. In order to work now, Boxee spawns a browser with a flash plugin. We know that Flash is a dog on normal macs... it's nigh-unusable on the hardware in an ATV.

slu
Mar 26, 2010, 09:50 AM
It's not Boxee's fault. The ATV is WAY underpowered to play streaming TV shows. It has a weak CPU, weak GPU and 256m of RAM. Boxee is great for playing local videos and music on an ATV, but the hardware just cannot handle the streaming flash videos. That is ultimately why I ended up getting a Mac Mini.

I would argue it is still Boxee's fault though. If the feature does not work on the Apple TV hardware, then why release it for the hardware? Because I was so terribly disappointed in Boxee on the Apple TV, I am unlikely to try to first when I try another media center solution. I am not sure what my next step is going to be yet, but I can say that Boxee / Boxee Box have dropped lower on my list because of this experience.

wombat888
Mar 29, 2010, 06:07 PM
There are a range of options you can choose among. The original poster says he's happy with the Apple TV - then why muck around with it? It's like saying, my toaster oven works fine, but it'll be REALLY great if I upgrade the heating element. Just let it be an Apple TV.

On the other end of the extreme, you can set up a quad Xeon rack-mounted server and hook it to your TV, perhaps with liquid cooling so you can overclock it ... running the latest version of Gentoo ...

It often depends whether you want to spend time enjoying music, videos/movies and pictures, or whether you want to spend your time being a h4ck3r dood. Apple TV is aimed at the former, not the latter.

I do realize there are some features that some consumers would want, such as Netflix streaming, that Apple TV doesn't do or doesn't do well ... but that niche is largely filled by iTunes, which has a different pricing structure but does the same basic thing in terms of letting you rent and watch a movie on your TV in near-realtime. Apple has absolutely no motivation to encourage you to use Netflix instead of iTunes for movies. The Apple TV's business model is based on increasing iTunes revenue. not on selling a bunch of boxes for $200 that cost about $200 to make and distribute.

CrAkD
Mar 30, 2010, 01:51 AM
yeah I hate it too. it slows my ATV down way to much. They need to make a device that can play everything. very fast. and have the great look of the ATV's UI. I spread all my streaming needs between my ATV, PS3 and XBOX360. My tv can stream stuff too but its wayyyyy too slow. I use my ATV mainly for itunes content and stuff I encode myself (so i have the option of using it on my iphone as well if I ever need to). I use the PS3 and XBOX for all downloaded video as its faster the messing with boxee or other ATV hacks to play divx etc. But even both of those are picky about some content. "file is corrupt" or "codec not supported" im considering getting that WD box. Ive heard it can play everything and seamlessly too.

VoR
Mar 30, 2010, 08:24 AM
http://www.aeonproject.com/gallery.html
or
http://xbmc.org/skins/confluence/
or 100's of other skins/mods/make/edit one yourself

plus

http://www.asrock.com/nettop/spec/ion%20330.asp
or any ion based net top
or any pc you buy/make

equals what you're after?

Personally I think a small learning curve and a little while importing/tagging media is well worth it for the final effect.
Everyone that's seen my xbmc setup is wowed and desperate to get one too, can't say the same for the atv and other proprietary streaming boxes I've had.

wombat888
Mar 30, 2010, 10:51 AM
"Everyone that's seen my xbmc setup is wowed and desperate to get one too, can't say the same for the atv and other proprietary streaming boxes I've had. "

Offhand, I only know of two people who I see or talk with outside of this message board who have anything quite like this, and one of those is me.

- I have an Apple TV
- My brother has an Apple TV I gave him as a gift

Both my guests and my brother's guests tend to be dazzled by the Apple TV.

I do know some other people with computers hooked to their TVs, but it's generally a different, sloppier experience. And more Blu-Ray players have youtube and netflix features lately, which is expanding some of the concepts to more people, but isn't the complete package.

Unless you live amid a hive of Apple TV activity, I wonder who you're wowing with xbmc who you're not wowing with off the shelf Apple TVs. And in any case, the wow factor is less important than the daily useability factor.

mstrze
Mar 30, 2010, 11:31 AM
"Both my guests and my brother's guests tend to be dazzled by the Apple TV."

+1

In fact, my cousin liked ATV (and LOST FWIW) so much that after seeing it in operation at my home, he immediately went out and bought one (...AND bought every season of LOST). ;)

VoR
Mar 30, 2010, 11:51 AM
Unless you live amid a hive of Apple TV activity, I wonder who you're wowing with xbmc who you're not wowing with off the shelf Apple TVs. And in any case, the wow factor is less important than the daily useability factor.

The wow factor is from the ui, pressing the power switch and having 100s of bluray rips/dvds/tv shows instantly presented with great looking fan art. I see the atv as just a simple itunes extension, with much less of a 'wow' ui, high prices and limited media selection in my country.

Yes of course the useability factor is extremely important. I don't expect many of the people that I know to be able to set up xbmc, saying that I'm sure most of them would struggle with an atv (to its full potential) too.

Like I said in my post, I feel that it's worth the effort to set up. Once it's done, it's easy enough for anyone to use - after all, the whole point in any media centre is for consumption.

tallyho
Mar 31, 2010, 07:15 AM
The wow factor is from the ui, pressing the power switch and having 100s of bluray rips/dvds/tv shows instantly presented with great looking fan art. I see the atv as just a simple itunes extension, with much less of a 'wow' ui, high prices and limited media selection in my country.

Each to their own of course, but I like the ATV user interface for its clean uncluttered appearance. And I don't notice any limitations in the media I want to play on it - with the following caveats I suppose:
1) I don't buy movies/tv shows from the iTunes store (have rented a couple though) so not concerened about more limited selection than in USA.
2) I don't download videos in other formats from the internet, so not being able to play xvid etc doesn't bother me at all
3) I have used Handbrake to encode my DVD collection which is now packed away in boxes
4) A bit of time spent tagging with MetaX/Subler makes everything look very neat.

Oh and I do have Boxee installed, solely for iPlayer/ITVplayer, 4od and 5player. It's not great but more or less suffices when I really need to catch up with something. It's really annoying that the BBC turned on swf verification for iPlayer content, as I very briefly had Jonathan Tweed's iPlayer plugin running in the ATV user interface, which was awesome. Unfortunately, he had to pull it from his site (http://jonathan.tweed.name/2010/02/09/bbc-iplayer-for-apple-tv-an-update/)
and then the beeb turned on swf verification, which broke loads of people's xbmc plugins, but also broke the ATV plugin, meaning that Boxee and its Flash implementation of iPlayer is the only choice.

VoR
Mar 31, 2010, 08:31 AM
It's really annoying that the BBC turned on swf verification for iPlayer content, as I very briefly had Jonathan Tweed's iPlayer plugin running in the ATV user interface, which was awesome.

I hope you filled out their survey and emailed the trust! - It's disgusting that a publicly funded company has done this. They achieve what exactly by doing this?
Not that I use it very often, but I've resorted to firing up a bookmarked web browser with flash plug-in (basically what boxee does).

tallyho
Apr 1, 2010, 12:08 PM
I hope you filled out their survey and emailed the trust! - It's disgusting that a publicly funded company has done this. They achieve what exactly by doing this?
Yes, but unfortunately I think the BBC trust have said they have no plans to review the BBCs online video services, so it didn't help. The arguments put up by those in charge of iPlayer about "protecting content" are totally fatuous, of course, in that it is still possible to download (and therefore keep for ever) lots of iPlayer content, but no longer possible to stream (and therefore not keep) using XBMC and the like.

It's also kind of ironic that the BBC is now forcing people to use Flash, whereas Apple (with its new "iPad ready" list of websites) is trying to encourage people not to use Flash!

Maybe, just maybe, if Apple rolled out some sort of App Store for AppleTV, the beeb would release an iPlayer app. Until then, we just have to use some sort of inelegant workaround.