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05 January 2012, 14:26

XBMC 11 enters beta, final desktop version of Boxee 1.5 arrives

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As the XBMC developers release the first beta of version 11.0 of their open source media centre software, the Boxee developers announce that the newly released version 1.5 of their media centre software will also be the last open source version.

The first beta of XBMC version 11.0, code-named "Eden", has been announced by its developers. According to them, the beta brings "improvements to nearly every facet of the XBMC experience" with a number of new features added to the popular media player. In the new version, the default Confluence skin has been updated and the Add-on system now includes a Rollback option which allows users to fall back to a previous version of an installed add-on. Other changes include "massive speed increases" in features such as Dirty-region rendering, better networking support, library improvements, a new JPEG decoder and support for AirPlay.

The developers note that they have also improved hardware support and are "in the process of drastically altering XBMC Live", their live CD/USB bootable version, "to make it more like a full '*Buntu' version of XBMC with massive changes to the boot and install process". However, the updated live version of XBMC is "not quite ready for prime time" and details of the changes will be published in the coming weeks. XBMC 11.0 "Eden" Beta 1 is available to download from the project's site and is licensed under the GPLv2.

Boxee logo The development team behind the Boxee media centre software, a fork of XBMC, has detailed some of the changes and new features in the version 1.5 release. Currently available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, Boxee 1.5 introduces updates to the Home Screen, bringing minor visual changes and adding direct links to the Browser and Live TV options, and improving overall menu accessibility.

The Movies and TV Shows layout has been changed to allow for easier navigation and to add an overview page with more details including an extended synopsis of the selected video. Version 1.5 is not yet officially available for the Boxee Box by D-Link, but it is in testing for Boxee Box Early Access users and should enter beta soon.

However, after having previously promised to bring the open source version back into sync with the version used on the Boxee Box, the developers have now confirmed that the Boxee 1.5 release "will be the last version of Boxee for PC/Mac/Ubuntu" and that it will only be available until the end of January. Boxee says that it believes that the future of TV will be dominated by devices including the Boxee Box and internet connected TVs and Blu-ray players, as well as tablets and smartphones. "If you are a current Boxee user on a computer we hope that you will enjoy 1.5 and maybe when you are ready to retire that good ol’ HTPC/Mac Mini you will decide to get a Boxee Box," added the company.

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