Windows/Mac/Linux/Apple TV: Now your friends can actually try out Boxee. The open-source app that TV-sizes your files and streaming web content is available in alpha for Windows, and updated on other platforms with neat apps and fixes.
Besides the general advent of a much wider user base being able to get the same kind of wide-screened, media-centric experience that Mac, Linux, and Apple TV users have been enjoying for months, Boxee’s latest version streamlines the left-hand interface, parceling web-based sources into “Applications” and the files on your system into “Local Files.”
The latest release also introduces a handful of attention-getting web apps like MLB.tv, officially supported and offering full access to baseball games around the country. Others, like Current TV, Digg, some clever Twitter/Tumblr mashups and niche video sources, came from the providers themselves or the just-ended dev challenge. But the improvements users will really want to know about include generally improved streaming, M4A and M4V playback, lower CPU usage on Macs, support for Ubuntu 9.04, and DVD playback optimization.
On Windows specifically, a number of enthusiasts were already noting problems with Hulu playback (not completely unexpected, given the two projects’ history) and Netflix streaming (a real bummer), but that may be localized to specific machines. 64-bit platforms aren’t supported, and anyone using Microsoft’s default video drivers instead of their specific hardware drivers is out of luck. Windows 7 seems to install and run Boxee well enough, after a brief test.
Boxee is a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux (specifically Ubuntu), along with, through an installation previously detailed, Apple TVs. Those with Boxee accounts can grab it here directly, while newcomers should head to the link below to get an account and grab their file.