My favorite media center software, boxee, has just released a new alpha update for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 users and Apple TV users. This update, which the boxee team classifies as bleeding-edge (which means, if you don't want to deal with any potential bugs, wait for the more stable release scheduled for March 24, 2009) adds the "App Box" -- boxee's version of the App Store, automatic updates, and most excitingly, a new video-optimized RSS reader. The new RSS reader allows users to access Hulu's public RSS feeds directly from boxee.
Two weeks ago, boxee was forced to remove Hulu streams from its service. As boxee noted in its blog, users aren't going to wait around for Hulu's content providers to get with the program, or for an official agreement to be ironed out. Within hours of the initial Hulu shutdown, industrious coders created alternatives anyway; those alternatives were thwarted, rebuilt, thwarted again, and the game continues on. Although the RSS feed implementation isn't as slick or as quick as boxee's stand-alone app was, it's a start. Plus, on my 40" Samnsung HDTV, the quality wasn't bad at all. Playback was a little more stilted than via the direct boxee app, but it is certainly more than watchable.
Boxee's "App Box," which is similar to the Plex App Store, utilizes a lot of video source plugins previously available from places like BoxeeHQ. Now the installation process is one-click, and not a bunch of steps. Right now, the only repository of apps set by default is the official repository, which contains add-ons built by boxee or trusted sources, but you can easily add access to additional sources as they crop up (dir.boxeehq.com will get you access to every BoxeeHQ app). Some of the new sources that are especially cool: TED Talks and Boing!Boing! video. BoxeeHQ is prepping a PBS app for the March 24th boxee release, so lots of cool stuff is on the way.
To download the latest boxee release, head over to app.boxee.tv, head over to Download and download the Mac version. Apple TV boxee users just need to go to Downloads in the Launcher menu (where Boxee and XBMC are located) and grab the latest version (it'll say 0.9.9.5324 test version) that way. If you need to put boxee on your Apple TV, head over to the ATV-USB Creator page and you can get all the information you need to create a patchstick.
I've updated my Apple TV and my MacBook and I'm digging the new features. What do you think?