Boxee gets support for Netflix streaming

Media center software maker can now stream movies through Netflix Watch Instantly.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Boxee is releasing on Thursday a new version of its media center software that adds support for Netflix Watch Instantly streaming movies.

Unlike streaming solutions from Roku and Microsoft's Xbox 360, Boxee's effort includes the option to both browse and search through Netflix's library. Roku's box and the Xbox are currently limited to showing users the videos from their saved queues. The two also require special hardware (and in the Xbox's case a paid Xbox Live Gold membership), whereas Boxee works on any Intel-Mac or Linux PC. Boxee's service is not yet available for Windows.

Another caveat: Netflix streaming is not yet available for the AppleTV version of Boxee. I'm told the main reason is that Microsoft Silverlight, which is what Netflix uses as a delivery method for its streaming content, has hardware requirements roughly double that of the processor inside the AppleTV. Silverlight requires a 1.83GHz dual-core Intel processor, while the AppleTV only sports a 1GHz "Crofton" processor--a derivative of the Pentium M.

Along with Netflix support, Boxee now links up with MTV to pop up music videos for any songs in your library that it can match. There's also support for YouTube videos that have been encoded in h.264, and new player interfaces for Hulu, CNN, Picasa, YouTube, and Flickr. The updated UI offers slightly more streamlined playback controls, solving one of my big quibbles with the last release, which actually kept you from being to skip around a video's timeline in Hulu and CBS videos.

Existing Boxee users should get an update notice when firing up the app later Thursday. The service remains in private alpha. You can sign up for it here.

Netflix on Boxee includes both your instant queue and the option to browse and search through Netflix content. Boxee