Boxee beta now open to all

Boxee.tv opens the doors to its beta software, a cross-platform program that allows users to access local and streaming media using their TV and remote control.

Boxee.tv has upgraded its much-discussed software to public beta, and it can be downloaded now for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The Boxee software, which requires a physical cable connection from your computer to your television, allows users to access local and streaming media using their TV and its remote control.

Boxee uses a combination of apps, RSS feeds, and an in-program browser to make most--but not all--streaming media available to its users. In addition, the program supports content that you've stored on your hard drive, including photos, music, and videos. Boxee works with most major file formats, including OGG and MKV. There's a socializing aspect, so that you can comment on and share what you're watching with your friends, and it hooks into your Facebook and Twitter feeds, too.

The new public beta of Boxee doesn't offer much that's different from the private beta, besides now being open to all. It's not clear how many bugs were fixed in the month since the private beta was announced in December 2009, although in a blog post Boxee states that "hundreds of bugs have been opened." The company also states that it plans to announce the full stable version at CES 2011.

There's now a Boxee bookmarklet, which allows you to mark specific videos to watch later via Boxee. It's currently limited to a handful of sites, including Vimeo, Blip.tv, YouTube, Break, Metacafe, Viddler, The Onion, CollegeHumor, DailyMotion, HowCast, MTV, FunnyorDie, and Gametrailers. To place it on your toolbar, drag this link there.

New Boxee home screen

(Credit: Boxee)

Another change is that Boxee will now work on 64-bit Ubuntu, in addition to x86 versions. Boxee will work on 32-bit Windows XP, both x86 and x64 versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, and Intel-based Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and higher. There's no official support for Apple TV yet, although it is planned. For now, there's a workaround hack.

Disclosure: Boxee uses some show and community information from TV.com, a CBS Interactive property.

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