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Handson Boxee app for iPad

first_imgAfter seeing considerable success on computers and then moving over to a dedicated box, HTPC client Boxee has finally made its way to the iPad. The app is primarily designed to be a place to watch streaming web video on your tablet, but its functionality doesn’t end there. When paired with Boxee’s Media Manager it can stream videos from computers on your network as well. So Boxee is on a new device, but the goal is the same: give users a single place to collect their video content, be it Netflix, local video, or web clips suggested by friends.By default the app doesn’t do much–it can give you access to featured videos, your friends’ shared videos, and videos you’ve saved for later. The selection is pretty slim if you don’t have a lot of friends on connected accounts (or at all) or you haven’t been saving a lot of videos with Boxee’s bookmarklet. But you can change that! By using Boxee’s website you can expand the amount of content Boxee displays by connecting different web services. Enabling Netflix access does not seem to allow the app to play Netflix videos in the app, but by connecting Facebook you’ll be able to view the videos your friends have shared there (so long as they’re not from Hulu). Once you watch videos you can share them using email, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.A lot of the the Boxee app’s best stuff relies on a piece of software for your computer: Boxee’s Media Manager (above). By connecting with this the app can send videos from the iPad to your computer (without transcoding them). It’s simple enough–if the iPad and computer are on the same network the Boxee app will see your Boxee account on the computer and share media from one to the other. Using the app you can also, apparently, send video from the iPad to a Boxee box, but I wasn’t able to test that out.Quick take: I’ve tested the app out a bit and everything worked well. My video selection wasn’t great, but it’s all about saving videos to watch later and adding friends. The Media Manager is a bit clunky compared to the standard Boxee client but it works well, easily connecting my laptop and iPad 2. The navigation to my computer’s shared media on the app happens at the folder level so it’s slow to navigate and organized only as well as my files are, but once I found what I wanted the videos all played back quite well. The media sharing has the feeling of a parlor trick, but if you have enough video on your computer then it could, possibly, be useful. The rest of the app works well, with easy swipe-based navigation and simple controls. The web video streamed well, with pretty reasonable quality, and was easy to get into full-screen mode.Overall, the iPad app in its current form augments the Boxee experience on the computer, it doesn’t replace it.Boxee on iTuneslast_img read more