The Media Player war just got hotter

To be honest when ever I see my friends Popcorn Hour box, I can’t help but laugh a little. The interface to the Popcorn Hour Box is just hellish and although it does technically provide a experience close to XBMC and others, it was never a real runner. It always felt like it had been beaten with a truly ugly stick then left out to die. Even the name Popcorn Hour Media Tank, conjured ideas of something ugly as sin.

Well finally the design message has gotten through and Popcorn Hour has now spawned off the PopBox, which actually to me looks like a direct rip from Boxee Alpha to tell the truth, but looks far better than its previous outings.

The Popbox also now supports Apps (is there anyone who doesn’t) But instead of adopting someone elses approach, they have decided to build there own platform called DAVID. Hummm, sounds like a bad idea personally. Anyway the Popbox is going to be closer to 100 dollars that Boxee Box which is 200 dollars.

How ever thats not where it ends. I heard today that not only is the Boxee box coming out in maybe March but also you can buy the RF remote by its self. Which means someone like myself who has a custom box running boxee or xbmc can also benefit from the slick Boxee remote.

Nice you say, but there more. Up till now theres been this category of media players who just do streaming and nothing else. Roku is one and a popular other is Vudu. You connect them up and pay a subscription for like a VOD experience over your internet. Well Boxee just announced support for paid content. If content producers can make this revenue model work, it would be great. I do wonder however if that means we’ll see DRM content in Boxee soon? Really hope not…

Boxee is now my mediaplayer while at work

Boxee on the desktop

I’ve been playing with the beta version of Boxee and I’m more and more enjoying it. During work, its got the perfect interface for playing back tunes but I also discover I could also connect to my shares at home easily using Hamachi VPN. Simply pop in the ip address of your remote machine and thats it. Because Hamachi uses a 5.x.x.x address, Boxee connects and the locally running Hamachi takes over the connection. Not only that, because Hamachi’s central server is only used to connect the two points, all traffic is routed as directly as possible. Aka the lag time I’m getting is super low due to the 1meg upstream link at home and super fast connection at work. Fast enough to even play some of films if I really wanted to. I also suspect when away off site I can use my 3g/HSDPA connection to do the same with no changes to Hamachi or Boxee.

Boxee with Hamachi VPN

I know a lot of people don’t like Hamachi but to be fair I run it on almost every machine I own and enjoy how simple it makes VPN and tunneling. I’ve still had no luck with L2L: layer two but yet to try Wippen which I hear is the truly open version of Hamachi.

I could use XBMC to do the same but I actually prefer boxee’s interface for my laptop and xbmc’s for large displays. Also the social features in Boxee means if I quickly hear a tune I like or something, within a few clicks its shared and i’m back to work again. Now if only mix podcasts came with tracks…