Category Archives: Games

How Microsoft Tries to Boost the Numbers of its App Store

Microsoft is the undisputed leader when it comes to desktop operating systems. Currently over 50% of all the PCs of the world run Windows 7, with Windows XP still being used on many, not to mention the millions of computers running Windows 8 and Windows 10. But when it comes to mobile, things look rather different: Microsoft has to make do with the third place on the global mobile market, with Android and iOS leading detached. But the Redmond Giant plans to change this all with its upcoming update, Windows 10 for mobile, which will become available to users this quarter.

If we take a look at the numbers, we’ll see that – although it is the third most used mobile OS in the world – Microsoft’s Windows Phone has a sore need for apps. Both iOS and Android offer way over a million apps in their stores, and Amazon’s app store also has over 400,000 Android apps to offer. Compared to these, the offer of the Windows Store is a measly 300,000, far from being enough. While it’s more open than the Play Store, allowing online casino apps to be listed, it’s still behind on the numbers. So, with Windows 10, Microsoft has decided to make an extra effort to attract more developers to its side.

First of all, there is the new concept called the Universal App. This will allow developers to create multiple interfaces for their apps to be used on devices with different form factors and input capabilities. The Windows 10 that runs on your PC is basically the same as the one will run on your Windows-powered phone or tablet. Creating an app for one will basically create an app that will run on any other, with the only changes needed to be made is to the interface.

Another way for Windows to attract more apps to its own app marketplace is through making it easy for developers to port their apps to Windows. To that end Microsoft has developed a series of bridges – tools that will help the app developers deploy their apps on the Universal Windows Platform much easier. The iOS bridge is functional, Microsoft sources have revealed, and a Win32 bridge is also in the works. An Android bridge was also under development, allowing Windows Phone users to basically run Android apps on their handsets, but this is still not working as planned, so it has been delayed indefinitely.

Microsoft has revealed two new Windows-powered flagship phones to be released before the holiday shopping season starts, both powered by the mobile version of Windows 10. The phones look promising, and so does the operating system. Let’s see if the new Windows 10, along with the numerous ways to increase the Windows mobile app architecture, will be enough to breathe life into Microsoft’s struggling mobile business.

Are There Any Swing Copters Cheats Or Tricks?

If you aim to get a high score in Swing Copters, doing it yourself will take ages and still you won’t be able to score more than a 5. That does not meant that you cannot beat the score of your friend. You can use Swing Copters cheats for maintaining a high score.

Many people have admitted that they missed Flappy Bird when it was removed from the internet. But that does not mean that you will love Swing Copters. That is because the game is not as simple as you think it is. It features the most difficult gameplay, even difficult than Flappy bird.

Here are some cheats and tips that you can follow in order to get a good score in Swing Copters:

  • Tapping is the key

Tapping will get you through the game. As you tap, the direction of the copter will get changed. If you forget to tap or you miss to tap, then you will end up smashing your pilot. This will end your game. So just pay attention to where your pilot is headed. If the direction of the copter is right, just tap to send him to left. Don’t let the copter fly too far, otherwise you won’t be able to control him through tapping. Find the balance because rapid tapping may make him go crazy. Continue reading

Download free games on Steam and Amazon … Just three days!

  • Amazon gives only now eight games for Android through its App Store
  • Steam allows you to download 10 games full, free, throughout the weekend
  • The Amazon is free forever, only the Steam until Monday, but I sells with 75% discount

Download free games on Steam and Amazon ... Just three days!

Today, to enjoy the videos do not need to spend much money. In fact, you do not have to spend anything.

Cancels your appointments this weekend, turn on your PC, recharge your Android smartphone or tablet, because Steam and Amazon will offer more than a dozen complete sets. In some cases you can quedártelos forever, and others play them for free for the purpose of week and then buy them if you liked, with 75% discount.

We explain the developments in detail.

10 Free Games on Steam

Download free games on Steam and Amazon ... Just three days!

Steam launches today its traditional Free Weekend, where you can download and play for free ten complete sets of PC.

There are real great game like X-COM Enemy Unknown, a strategy title where you must prevent an alien invasion, or Trine 2 a fantasy platform offers possibly the most beautiful graphics you’ve ever seen.

It also highlights the car game Grid 2, most war strategy with Company of Heroes 2, and non-stop action in Payday 2 Other titles are. Awesomenauts, Do not Starve and Injustice: Gods Among Us.

You can play these games full until Monday. Then off, but canned items. Steam offers to buy up to 80% off, and continue playing where you left off.

Access from here to 10 free games from Steam.

Free Games For Android on Amazon

Download free games on Steam and Amazon ... Just three days!

The Amazon App Store also offers free games, but they can get you all forever.

This is an excellent collection of 8 titles among which grand strategy RPG Might & Magic Clash of Heroes, the classic Where’s My Water , and the no less legendary Worms 2: Armageddon.

There is a car game, and even an aircraft simulator.

They work on any Android smartphone or tablet, but you must download via the Amazon App Store.

The app store is not available on Google Play. You must install it from this link, follow the instructions.

Top 5 Android games of the week

These are the best Android games of the week of all the developments that have occurred in recent days Google Play in these last seven days: Cars: Fast as Lightning, Medieval Craft: Town Building, Titan Empires, and Touchgrind Futsal Goal BMX.

# 1 CARS: FAST AS LIGHTNING

Top 5 Android games of the week

We begin our ranking of best Android games one for the little kids. If your kids are fans of Lightning McQueen and Mater, the famous characters from the film Cars from Disney , will love Cars: Fast as Lightning . And you can have some fun time with them.

Our protagonists are organizing a show race in Radiator Springs and will need help for everything to be perfect. You have to pick a character and get to go as lightning, to get to get the first goal. You can compete with any of the 20 characters available in the game and get improve and personalize them.

Enjoy the speed and customize your racing circuits or on rocky roller coaster with special sections for stunts. Compete with friends and see who is the best in the weekly tournaments.

And not only have to run. Also create your own Radiator Springs. There are over 30 buildings and places immediately recognize this famous film saga.

NO. 2 MEDIEVAL CRAFT: TOWN BUILDING

Top 5 Android games of the week

With Medieval Craft: Town Building can create your own world. Build houses, castles, shops or farms. And put animals to work so you can live off your land and livestock.

Help Steve, the hero protagonist of this adventure to fight the bandits and find all the elements necessary for you to build your home. Discover the variety of wildlife that you can use as well as beautiful scenery.

When you start the game, you can choose between three different modes: Survival, which will have to survive the attack of a gang of dirty monsters, Defence where you have to help a farmer save their animals and protect them from the horrible criaturoas who persecute and Creative in which you can build your own world. Each has three difficulty levels: easy, normal or hard. You choose.

Test your imagination with one of the five best Android games of the week.

NO. 3 TITAN EMPIRES

Top 5 Android games of the week

Titan Empires is a fun strategy game where you have to lead your army to victory.

Study well and develop your strategies for your clever tactics are very powerful Titans and achieve win all battles. Join an empire of players that will help fortify your city. Your warriors will have to defend your allies to defeat the Empire of Shadows, so get your own kingdom.

Recruit your soldiers as your skills and join the war dominates the empire to work together, get protection and fortified cities. Compete every month in the Master Ranks and work your way to the top.

Find the strategist in you

NO. 4 GOAL FUTSAL

Top 5 Android games of the week

Play football on your device Futsal Goal.

You can play matches in the sport, develop your tactics and get your team scoring the greatest number of goals. When you start the application you can choose from three options: Quick Play, World Cup or League. In each of them you will want to choose which teams they face.

The controls of this great Android game are simple to use and have the option to view the statistics of each of the teams. Discover the excitement of the sport facing selections from various countries.

NO. 5 TOUCHGRIND BMX

Top 5 Android games of the week

Become an expert BMX game Touchgrind BMX.

Travel the world with your bike and perform breathtaking stunts. You’ll have to learn all the tricks in order to complete all the challenges and get unlock all locations including gambling and bikes.

Touch controls and physics simulation let you can do Flips, bar spins or tail whips on your Android device. Develop your ability to get perform “even harder” on your BMX.

Watch replays to learn from your mistakes.

Top 10 games of 2014 … and 2015, according to E3

E3, the world’s largest video game, fair has released a lot of titles that will arrive in the coming months. Some of them certainly will impact and shape the way forward. We show the 10 best games of 2014 and 2015, called to revolutionize.

No. 1 The Witcher 3

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

We are in the game that will sell more new PCs and art cards next February. There will also be for PS4 and Xbox One.

His predecessors are among the best RPGs of recent years. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt used an engine of new generation designed to squeeze the PC hardware and the new consoles.

The main novelty of this release will be an open world of enormous extent, where you have to explore it thoroughly to advance the plot. The Witcher 3 in the trilogy of Geralt of Rivia, the witcher hunter monsters protagonist of a famous book series.

No. 2 V Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

Only Hideo Kojima can put on the market a demo of Metal Gear Solid V for 25 €, and sold over a million copies.

That did with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The full game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, released in 2015.

It’s a dream come true for fans: A Metal Gear (Set of military stealth action) in an open world that you can explore at your leisure, even on horseback.

The trailer of E3 2014 has raised controversy for its hardness and excessive violence , which is not usual in the series. Kojima justified by arguing that the player must have empathy with the protagonist because, once a hero, is beginning to live their own descent into hell.

But also leave for PS3 and Xbox One, the new engine is designed for next-generation consoles.

# 3 The Legend of Zelda

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

Nintendo has done it again. Just had to show a static picture of Link on horseback, with a view of Hyrule lost in the distance, and the words Eiji Aonuma: ” You see those mountains Can you go there if you want? “to everyone again looks to the new The Legend of Zelda for Wii-U.

Explore open worlds seems to be the Holy Grail of los best games of 2014, presented at the show E3. It’s not new, but sagas corseted closed on predefined paths and dungeons can be a revolution. You can explore the Kingdom of Hyrule on your own, and accordingly change the puzzles and plot.

Other developments, such as beam weapons and a touch ci-fi, promise a revolutionary Zelda. Just what you need Wii-U. We will have to wait for 2015.

No. 4 Destiny

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

Bungie, the creators of the Halo saga, become independent of Microsoft. Their next game will also be released for Sony consoles, next September.

Destiny in the oven takes five. A multiplayer-focused game that is both first-person shooter, an RPG and an MMO based on social interaction between players.

Encabezas a group of Guardians, endowed with powers by an entity called the Traveler, to protect the last city on Earth humans. Hunters and Sorcerers Titans will face off in exciting multiplayer battles.

Hobbyconsolas had the opportunity to interview the designers of Destiny at the last fair E3 2014.

# 5 Batman Arkham Knight

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

” Once upon a time glued to the seat of his Batmobile bat … “

A little exaggerated, but it is the essence of Batman Arkham Knight, where the Batmobile is the real protagonist.

Not only will you Batman to go from one place to another. You can also drive within the buildings, overcome challenges and fight using their vehicle.

Batman Arkham Knight dazzled at the show E3 2014, but now there are controversial because while the gameplay video we have seen in the stands of PS4 and Xbox One … it was the PC version … overtake consoles that graph level or there will be cuts? We will have to wait for 2015.

No. 6 Civilization: Beyond Earth

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

Civilization, The saga of most famous of all time strategy goes to space . It is not the first time, but this time they seriously.

The Earth’s resources are being depleted, and humanity must seek new planets to settle.

A full reset of the series, because the different characteristics of the planet, aliens and resources, change the philosophy of the game completely.

You must sign up for one of the eight factions colonize a planet, and try to survive the alien environment. Read the progress of Civilization: Beyond Earth , which will be released in September for PC and Mac.

No. 7 The Order: 1886

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

Ready at Dawn prepares this unique set of PS4, not so interested in its gameplay, for its aesthetics and staging.

The Order: 1886 is set in Victorian London in a parallel reality where humans live (and fight to the death) with a mixture of man and beast race.

The war has gone on for centuries, and now in the nineteenth century drove a group of defenders of order descended from the Knights of King Arthur, at a critical moment for humanity.

In an interview granted to Hobbyconsolas, its creators have who have dedicated years to recreate the Victorian London with unprecedented detail. Will, as most of the titles of E3 2014 highlights, 2015.

No. 8 Assassin’s Creed Unity

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

Although many accuse Ubisoft of overwork saga, the truth is that the chapter this year is more promising than ever.

Assassin’s Creed Unity will use a new engine for the PC and next generation consoles, and will include a new mode that will allow 4 players to play online co-op campaign.

One way that has caused controversy because four players can only choose main character is a boy. Ubisoft warrants argued that they are all the same character, the protagonist Arno Dorian, as each player plays their own campaign in parallel.

Assassin’s Creed Unity will be released on October 28th.

No. 9 Evolve

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

Evolve is the most promising example of asymmetrical multiplayer game: the players have different weight in the gameplay. At Evolve, one controls a huge monster of enormous strength and powers, and a third person view, while four others are “merely” human hunters, fighting in first person.

It is 4 to 1, yes, but things are very balanced. Hunters should coordinate and fight as a team to win, while the monster will try to avoid them, separate them, and hunt them down.

Evolve is a very imaginative proposal of the creators of the hit Left 4 Dead. On your PC or next-gen console on October 21.

No. 10 Mirror’s Edge 2

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

His predecessor was lauded by critics, but also a failure in sales. Something totally undeserved, for Mirror’s Edge was an original “parkour simulator ‘in the first person, where the fighting took place unarmed melee.

This interesting proposal remains in Mirror’s Edge 2 but with more realism and smoothness, thanks to the power of new PCs and next generation consoles.

It will not be a bestseller, but promises new ways to explore and fight scenes. And studying the post, DICE, is a guarantee. Check out the developer diary Mirror’s Edge 2.

# 11 What about the rest?

Top 10 games of 2014 ... and 2015, according to E3

Sure miss some titles in this list of the best games of 2014 and 2015, according to E3. It is because we have focused on those that promise innovation and new ways to play.

At E3 2014, a handful of highly anticipated titles were presented, but they are still very green. We have just seen a cinematic, or not even that, no clue about its gameplay. This is the case of Uncharted 4 Halo 5: Guardians, or Mass Effect 4.

Others are very promising, and it sure will be fun and will sell tons, but have yet to demonstrate that incorporate interesting news: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, The Evil Within, Battlefield Hardline, Dragon Age Inquisition, The Sims 4, Star Wars Battlefront, Bloodborne, Legends Fable, Forza Horizon 2 Sunset Overdrive, Alien Isolation, Little Big Planet 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry 4, etc.

There are also very appealing remakes, but they are still a facelift of something already played: Halo Master Chief Collection for Xbox One, The Last of Us for PS4, Grim Fandango, GTA V for PC and next-gen …

What is clear is that we have many hours of quality game ahead for the next 18 months. Just choose your hardware, and get ready to enjoy …

Top 5 Android games of the week

Top 5 Android games of the week

These are the best Android games of the week from all the innovations that have occurred in the Google Play store in these last seven days: Heroes Charge, Sovereign of the Kingdom, Lego Star Wars Yoda II, Madden NFL Mobile and Zombies road racing.

# 1 HEROES CHARGE

Charge Heroes is a role playing multiplayer online. Move through the world and get beat Kron bitterest enemies. You will have to choose from over fifty different heroes. Get the best and train your team to win games in which you will have to overcome more than a hundred missions.

You can choose from a simple thug to a powerful mage or archer. You’ll have to develop your skills and get the best weapons to achieve victory in the battlefield.

Fight alone or creating alliances and team strategies with friends. You also have the option to play on special events that will test your strategic skills.

This Android game is free, but you can buy upgrades (gems to buy new heroes) from within the application itself.

Top 5 Android games of the week

NO. 2 SOVEREIGN OF THE KINGDOM

With Sovereign of the Kingdom, you will depart from a small village and you can achieve a great empire.

To become king, you have to recruit commanders to protect your deposit and take you to beat all your enemies. Customize your troops and improving their equipment to be the most powerful.

Directs Sadon, a former smuggler and the armies of rampaging orcs. Steals food, minerals or stones and burned their buildings, walls and knocks besieged the tower. Your reward will be a huge treasure.

You start building huts and have to go to get a thriving city and have your own fortification. To be invincible, it is best that you Alids you compete with other players and tournaments. Become the Supreme Conqueror playing your cards right and developing great strategies.

Design your blazon to let everyone know who is boss and enjoy one of the best Android games of the week.

Top 5 Android games of the week

NO. 3 LEGO STAR WARS YODA II

Nor Lego could resisitirse to attracting saga Star Wars. One of the five best Android games for this week is Yoda Lego Star Wars II. So if you’re a fan of the yellow comics and the films of George Luca s, you will love this game.

You can choose if you get side force and you become a Jedi by Yoda or choose the dark side and rule the galaxy with Darth Vader. Either way, you choose the side you choose, you have to run, jump and fly across the universe Lego Star Wars.

You’ll fight with light sabers, star desctructores overthrow them, combatiras in space … Exceeds level up to 8 mini figures and expires in 4 battles stellar. You choose if you join the “good” or if you want to be a bad boy.

Top 5 Android games of the week

NO. 4 MADDEN NFL MOBILE

With Madden NFL Mobile you can experience the excitement of football on your Android device.

Create your team with the biggest stars in the NFL and plays all season. Choose your own template getting the best players. You’ll have to manage and update their signings.

Click on your opponents and challenge your friends to play and enjoy the countryside. Make launches in Face to Face mode or play all 16 games that make up the entire season. Will you be able to reach the Super Bowl?

Also you can follow the NFL authentic as you’ll live updates with real events and players. The game is free, but you can buy upgrades from within the app.

Take to the pitch with one of the five best Android games this week.

Top 5 Android games of the week

NO. 5 ZOMBIE ROAD RACING

Delve into the zombie apocalypse Zombie Road Racing.

Take your car and running through deserts, forests and roads surrounded by zombies. Earn money to upgrade your car or buy a more powerful and faster to crush all zombies that appear in your way.

You can get 7 different vehicles, customize your trip, move on 6 disitintos environments: forest, desert, arctic, highways, mining and space. Domina consique physics and balance on the car. Do not fall and reaches as far as possible in this crazy race.

chronology

The 5 Best iPhone and iPad games of the week

In the App Store there are plenty of iOS games. These are the best games for iPhone and iPad that have occurred this week: The Red Bull Air Race Game, chronolgy: Time Changes Everything, The Sleeping Prince, Spider-Man Unlimited and Evoker.

RED BULL AIR RACE THE GAME

red_bull_air_race
red bull air race game

Become an air ace game  The Red Bull Air Race Game.

Experience the excitement on your device to one of the fastest motorsport, the Red Bull Air Race. You will have to compete on international stage race with a blistering pace.Flip the world and flies in the best tracks from Abhu Dhabi to Las Vegas, to Ascot.

Challenge Red Bull stars as Matt Hall Hannes Arch or height in a fight. Progresses from novice to expert along the more than 200 races, events and duels that make up this exciting game. You will have the opportunity to compete in weekly tournaments and earn points and rewards.

Decide if you prefer to handle touch or tilt controls. You will have to accelerate and turn to climb to the top of the podium Air Race. Enjoy a relentless career with one of the five best games for iOS week.

Download game

  1. CHRONOLOGY: TIME CHANGES EVERYTHING

chronology
CHRONOLOGY

Chronology: Times Changes Everything is an adventure platform game that is played by an inventor who has witnessed the end of the world. He wakes up groggy in the middle of nowhere without getting remember.

You’ll have to manage past and future fix for this. Take on the Old Inventor, accompanied by his friend the snail, and leverages his skills to travel through time, stop or manipulate objects and solve all the puzzles.

The game is free, but you can buy upgrades from within the app. Master time with one of the five best iPhone and iPad games of the week.

Download game

  1. THE SLEEPING PRINCE
sleeping_prince
SLEEPING PRINCE

In the Sleeping Prince will have to help the protagonist to save the inhabitants of Cloudreach, who are under the influence of a spell prince. You should only consider a “small” detail. Our heroes are asleep ..!

You’ll have to use your finger to launch, promote and Prince Risky shed through the game to get save the kingdom and the princess of his dreams. Collect items, attack enemies, avoid traps and solve puzzles. If you log in to Facebook, you can see your position in the standings.

In this mission against the evil Sydney Slimes, artifice wicked spell, you will not be alone as you will have the able assistance of magician Plushkin you can lean on the powers of the King and Queen. Exceeds 40 levels that make up the game. Find Z coins, gems and stars to unlock levels. The game is free, but you can get improvements from within the application itself.

Download game

  1. SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED
spider-man_unlimited
Spider Man Unlimited

If you’re a fan of one of the most famous heroes of Marvel, Spider-Man Unlimited you’ll love. Another great iPhone and iPad games this week.

Discover this new adventure episodes in which you have to create your own army of Spider-Men to get stop the Sinister Six to be moving from dimension to dimension, leaving them shredded.

This is the first runner of Spider Man.’ll Have to swing, run, and of course, climb the walls at various venues in Manhattan. Defeat evil and plays with boss battles and 25 missions per set. Enjoy daily and weekly events and get all the rewards. The game is free, but you can buy upgrades from within the application itself.

Will you manage to stop the Sinister Six before they get to our dimension? Get the best Spider-Men missions and send them through the heart of the city of New York.

Download game

  1. EVOKER-A MAGIC FANTASY GAME

evoker
Evoker

With Evoker-A Magic Fantasy Game you enter a world of magic and fantasy.

To get beat the evil Lord Morden, you have to invoke magic Scriptures, exercise your skills, collect letters and form a unique group of heroes. Test yourself against thousands of players playing and develop the best strategy to win.

Exceeds hundreds of quests, fighting bosses, gets the most magical creatures and ends in multiplayer battles. Choose carefully your creatures and spells and lift you get a winner.

Download game

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Digital Content Your Way (Boxee)

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A few years back my friend and I built our own Tivo like boxes with Ubuntu and MythTV.  The process was less than simple and involved a lot of tweaking and experimentation, but the end result was actually quite nice.  Today this process has been simplified a great deal and users can grab one of many pre-built MythTV Linux distributions such as Mythbuntu.  I ran my MythTV box for a few months before I ran into a hardware issue.  I swapped out a few parts with no luck and without much time to troubleshoot it the box sat idle for over a year.

Since that time I’ve experimented with a number of services to get my digital content; DirectTV, Tivo, the Galleon Tivo Media Server, Amazon Video On Demand, BitTorrent, Usenet, iTunes, Hulu, Joost, Schmooze.TV, Netflix, etc.  Each of these methods has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.  Some are fairly nerdy and unfriendly to the average user.  Others have a cost component that may or may not be within ones budget.  One component that has always been required in my setup was digital cable (i.e.) Comcast and/or DirectTV.  These services have worked without issue, but are very costly and come overloaded with commercial advertisements.  We have used Tivo for over 6 years now to morph digital cable into tolerable on demand and commercial free content.  I do not mind advertising in the free content found on sites like Hulu, ABC, CBS, etc, but when I spend as much money as I do with my digital cable service I don’t appreciate the additional marketing.  In recent years digital cable companies have started to create their own on demand services and Tivo like interfaces.  I’ve not been impressed with a single one thus far though.

With the amount of digital content available on the Internet these days I decided it was time to have a go at eliminating digital cable from my list of services.  The current economic crisis has made this even more appealing since who wouldn’t be up for dropping a costly monthly bill or two.  There are various methods of retrieving TV shows, movies, and music on the Internet in an illegal manner, but I am focused legal methods and as I stated earlier I am ok with advertisements in otherwise free content.  So I started by laying out what my ultimate setup would feel like.  I want on demand access to TV shows (past and present), a collection of Movies (past and present), my own library of digital content (music, dvds, pictures, etc), and a streaming music service.  I want all that in an single interface that I can interact with via my remote control over my broadband Internet connection.  Lastly, I’d prefer it be something based around open source technology.

MythTV and Tivo are great products, but they piggyback on the requirement of having digital cable and so for this effort those services are out.  I’ve selected a new product called Boxee to handle my requirements, “boxee gives you a true entertainment experience to enjoy your movies, TV shows, music and photos, as well as streaming content from websites like Hulu, Netflix, ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, Last.fm, and Flickr.”  Boxee is still in an alpha state, but in reality I’ve found the product to be quite stable.  They offer downloads for the Mac OS X Leopard or Tiger (Intel only) and the Ubuntu 8.04 or 8.10 (32bit) platforms.  I setup an account, downloaded Boxee to my Apple Mac Mini, went through the simple installation process, and tied it into my various services.  I challenged the family to spend the weekend without using the DirectTV box.  We consumed all our digital content via Boxee running on our Mac Mini plugged into our big screen TV.  We’ve actually found ourselves watching more content and even exposing the kids to quite a few shows we had as children like Bewitched, I Dream of Genie, Perfect Stangers, etc.  We’ve looked through our photo albums and those of our friends hosted on flickr.  We’ve watched a number of  movies streaming from Hulu and Netflix, and listened to music streaming from Last.fm as we did some chores around the house.  We took a family poll and Boxee is a winner.

I’ll be canceling my digital cable and Tivo subscriptions today.  I have two Tivo boxes and one is a lifetime subscription so I can always bring it back online as needed.  It is pretty simple to manage the other via Tivo online as well.  I have already scaled back my Netflix service from 4 dvds at a time to 1.  This is an effort again to save money and because after 5 years we just aren’t using the service as heavily as we once did.  I am keeping Netflix mostly because I want access to their streaming service, but also because I am a big fan and want to support their efforts.  I’m a huge fan of Tivo as well, but without digital cable there just isn’t a reason to keep it right now.  In addition to recording TV I also used it to access my digital library and rent movies from Amazon, but these functions will be replaced by Boxee.  It is worth noting that Netflix and Tivo have partnered to deliver streaming movies as well, but this service is only available for TiVo® HD, TiVo® HD XL and TiVo® Series3™ DVRs.  I have two older series 2 models that work just fine outside of being able to access the Netflix service and I’d rather not purchases new ones at this point.  Another interesting option for Netflix fans is the Netflix Player by Roku.  I’ve heard good things about this one too, but again I’m not looking to purchase any new devices and I really want just one interface for everything like what Boxee provides.  Overall, I think we’ll probably save about $100 a month which I am quite pleased with.

After a successful weekend with Boxee I decided to tear apart that old MythTV machine and try to setup a Boxee Media Center for the bedroom with Ubuntu as well.  I’ll keep that for another blog post since it is less about why I’ve selected Boxee and more about how to setup Boxee with Ubuntu.  I hope you found this helpful and that you decide to give Boxee a shot in your home as well.  Enjoy!

boxbee

Setup Boxee on Ubuntu 8.10

boxbee

As I mentioned in a previous post I recently switched over to Boxee for all my digital content needs.  My initial Boxee setup was done with an Apple Mac Mini.  The installation/configuration process in that case was extremely simple.  The first Boxee Media Center worked out so well that I wanted a second one to replace digital cable and Tivo in the bedroom as well.  I have a second Mac Mini, but it is a bit older and I quickly realized it would not work with Boxee since they do not support the G4 chip.  In addition to Mac OS X boxee also supports Ubuntu 8.04 and 8.10.  So I decided to tear apart some old boxes I had laying around from past MythTV experiments and build a myself a new Boxee Media Center with Ubuntu 8.10.  The Boxee setup process for Ubuntu 8.10 was not as simple and so I wanted to document it here for the benefit of others.

Let me first talk a bit about the hardware. I want to keep this fairly generic so I will not go into great detail on most of the hardware specs. It is Linux after all and should work well with just about anything.  I am using a standard tower, a 430 watt power supply, 1.5 gigs of memory, a standard motherboard with SATA support, an AMD64 2GHz processor, a wireless G network card, an Nvidia graphics card with HDMI and S-Video out, and a 400gig SATA hard drive. The only specific piece of hardware I want to mention is the TV tuner card, a Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-150. I originally purchased this for a MythTV box where video capture was an important component. For Boxee this is less of an issue since it is not about video capture, but rather about digital media consumption. I am using it in this case because it comes with a Hauppauge remote control and IR Blaster. The Mac Mini ships with a remote control and so this is not an issue, but with Ubuntu we’ll need to configure this after market remote. I believe Boxee has support configured for the Microsoft Media Center Remote out of the box, but for those of us not using it more work is required. OK on with the setup…

1) Once your hardware is ready, start by downloading Ubuntu 8.10 and creating a CD.
2) Install Ubuntu and use the update manager to get the latest updates.
3) Use Synaptic to install the ivtv and ivtv-util drivers for the WinTV card.
4) Use Synaptic to install lirc for dealing with the remote control.
5) If you are using an Nvidia graphic card you might want to enabled Nvidia Accelerated Graphics driver under System->Administration-Hardware Drivers.
6) Prepare to install Boxee.
1. Go to System > Administration > Software Sources.
2. In Sources Software dialogue, select Third-Party Software tab, click Add,
and enter: * deb http://apt.boxee.tv intrepid main
3. After closing this dialogue you can either use Synaptic and select Boxee for download, or use a terminal window, and enter sudo apt-get install boxee.

7) If you are using the Microsoft Remote you can skip this step. If you are using the Hauppauge remote control read on. If you are using something else then you are on your own.

For the Hauppauge remote control you’ll need to do the following:
a) Replace default remote control keymap file with one more suited for this remote:
cp ~/.boxee/UserData/Lircmap.xml ~/.boxee/UserData/Lircmap.xml.org
vi ~/.boxee/UserData/Lircmap.xml

Add a new remote option to the existing remote list in this file with the contents of this thread: http://forum.boxee.tv/showthread.php?t=2765&highlight=hauppaugehttp://forum.boxee.tv/showthread.php?t=2765&highlight=hauppauge

b) Update the /etc/modules file:
echo “lirc_i2c” | sudo tee -a /etc/modules

c) Update the /etc/modprobe.d/aliases file:
sudo vi /etc/modprobe.d/aliases

– Now look for the char-major section and add the line below the right order:
alias char-major-61 lirc_i2c

d) Verify and/or update the /etc/lirc/hardware.conf file:
sudo vi /etc/lirc/hardware.conf

– Verify your setup matches the following and/or change if not:

#Chosen Remote Control
REMOTE="Hauppauge TV card"
REMOTE_MODULES="lirc_dev lirc_i2c"
REMOTE_DRIVER=""
REMOTE_DEVICE="/dev/lirc0"
REMOTE_LIRCD_CONF="hauppauge/
lircd.conf.hauppauge"
REMOTE_LIRCD_ARGS=""

#Chosen IR Transmitter
TRANSMITTER="None"
TRANSMITTER_MODULES=""
TRANSMITTER_DRIVER=""
TRANSMITTER_DEVICE=""
TRANSMITTER_LIRCD_CONF=""
TRANSMITTER_LIRCD_ARGS=""

#Enable lircd
START_LIRCD="true"

e) Update the /etc/lirc/lircd.conf file: sudo vim /etc/lirc/lircd.conf – Add the following to the bottom of this file:

begin remote

 name hauppauge_pvr150
 bits 13
 flags RC5|CONST_LENGTH
 eps 30
 aeps 100

 one 0 0
 zero 0 0
 gap 200000
 min_repeat 4
 toggle_bit 2

 begin codes
 POWER 0x00000000000017BD
 GO 0x00000000000017BB
 TV 0x000000000000179C
 VIDEOS 0x0000000000001798
 MUSIC 0x0000000000001799
 PICTURES 0x000000000000179A
 GUIDE 0x000000000000179B
 RADIO 0x000000000000178C
 OK 0x00000000000017A5
 UP 0x0000000000001794
 LEFT 0x0000000000001796
 RIGHT 0x0000000000001797
 DOWN 0x0000000000001795
 BACK/EXIT 0x000000000000179F
 MENU 0x000000000000178D
 PREVCH 0x0000000000001792
 MUTE 0x000000000000178F
 VOL+ 0x0000000000001790
 VOL- 0x0000000000001791
 CH+ 0x00000000000017A0
 CH- 0x00000000000017A1
 RECORD 0x00000000000017B7
 STOP 0x00000000000017B6
 PLAY 0x00000000000017B5
 REW 0x00000000000017B2
 FFW 0x00000000000017B4
 REPLAY 0x00000000000017A4
 PAUSE 0x00000000000017B0
 SKIP 0x000000000000179E
 1 0x0000000000001781
 2 0x0000000000001782
 3 0x0000000000001783
 4 0x0000000000001784
 5 0x0000000000001785
 6 0x0000000000001786
 7 0x0000000000001787
 8 0x0000000000001788
 9 0x0000000000001789
 * 0x000000000000178A
 0 0x0000000000001780
 # 0x000000000000178E
 RED 0x000000000000178B
 GREEN 0x00000000000017AE
 YELLOW 0x00000000000017B8
 BLUE 0x00000000000017A9
 end codes

end remote

8) Now that should be it, but I ran into a few issues with Boxee on Ubutnu 8.10. I’ll discuss them below and perhaps they will help others with similar issues. You should try starting Boxee at this point and see if you have any issues. You can find Boxee under your Applications->Sound and Video menu. If everything seems fine you’re done. If you get the black screen of death then read on.

Troubleshooting:
After launching Boxee I received a black screen which I could not escape from. None of the normal keyboard escape methods worked and it required a hard reboot. To work around the black screen issues I took two steps.

a) Removed PulseAudio as outlined in bullet point 2 of the following article – http://www.highonsolder.com/blog/2008/11/22/boxee-ubuntu-810-setup.html

b) Downgraded the Nvidia Accelerated Graphics driver under System->Administration-Hardware Drivers from version 173 to 96. The latest driver simply would not work.

Additional Notes:
1) A good many popular multimedia codecs are not shipped with Ubuntu by default due to legal restrictions.  You can add them into your installation with the following command:
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras

2) The Netflix plugin is not currently available on Linux.  More on the Netlfix encoding/streaming process here – http://blog.netflix.com/2008/11/encoding-for-streaming.html.

3) If you’d like Boxee to automatically start on boot then go to System->Preferences->Sessions and add an entry for Boxee with the same command being used in the Boxee menu entry noted earlier (right click on that menu entry to determine the proper command). Reboot and verify that Boxee and lirc start on boot.

4) If you are looking for ways to pull in additional content I suggest you have a look at Bittorent, Tranmission, and Ted.

Enjoy!