OK, this doesn’t really have anything to do with San Francisco other than the fact that I’m a computer geek and there’s lots of us in SF, but I have to share this because it had a pretty big wow factor for me. It’s a program called Boxee. This is a little hack that you load onto your apple TV with a thumb drive and it adds a boxee category to your apple tv that lets you watch streaming video from the internet. Why is this cool? Because now I can watch TV shows and movies for free on demand from hulu.com. I can also view on demand shows from Comedy Central, CNN, CBS, plus Netflix the list goes on and on.
The authors of Boxee also stay on top of things and offer regular updates which you can update from your apple TV. The hitch? It’s in alpha stages right now and you can only get the software by getting an invite from the boxee crew. I found the quickest way was to follow them on Twitter then just send them a direct tweet asking for an invite. It also has companion software for your computer, but currently only works on intel macs and linux machines. Windows is in the works.
The installation now is much easier and doesn’t involve using the terminal interface. There is a third party that wrote a program called the ATV USB Creator. This program downloads and installs on a thumb drive all the software needed to install boxee on your Apple TV. Just run the program then take out your newly created patchstick and plug it into the back of your Apple TV and unplug it then plug it back in. You Apple TV will boot from the stick and load the software at which point you unplug your apple TV again, remove the stick and plug it back in and follow the process of logging into your boxee account. Apparently you can download the software to the patchstick even if you haven’t received an invite, but once you have it loaded you’ll need to log into your account to use boxee so I wouldn’t bother doing this until you have the account.