The Boxee project has come a long way from its humble origins as a fork of the Xbox Media Center, bringing easy video playback and a couch-to-screen UI to the Mac, then later to Windows and Ubuntu, and now to the company's own dedicated Boxee Box hardware (soon to support live broadcast TV). There's a solid ecosystem of app developers making themselves at home with Boxee.
The company is releasing version 1.5 of its desktop app for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu this week, featuring many of the improvements that will be appearing in the Boxee Box firmware early next year, but there's a caveat. This will be the final release of Boxee's desktop build; future development efforts will be focused on the Boxee Box hardware and on tablets like the iPad. The 1.5 version will be available for download on Boxee's site through the end of January 2012, which gives the Boxee team a bit of time to take down the "roll your own" section on the Boxee site.
For Mac HTPC devotees who will now be looking for a Boxee alternative, the Plex project is also partially built atop XBMC, along with a proprietary server component; there's even a Plex iOS app available so you can watch on iPad. Of course, the parent XBMC app is still going strong, and a beta build of version 11.0 Eden came out just last week. Both Plex and XBMC are also now supporting jailbroken Apple TVs for playback. Plex requires an Intel Mac running 10.6 or higher, while XBMC continues to support PowerPC Macs along with Intel models.