The Boxee Box launch party happened in NYC last night, and with it, was the first look at the Boxee 1.0 software.
When Boxee first appeared in alpha, this is what it looked like:
It was OK, but I wasn’t a big fan of its aesthetics. However, early this year they unveiled the Boxee Beta interface, with IA work by Whitney Hess. I was won over.
It had warmth, atmosphere and character. The main navigation icons were really well done, and gone was the quirky typeface that didn’t have big screen impact. So this was pretty much what I was expecting to see in the final Box, especially as it’s the one used in all the demos and marketing material. Turns out what we’re actually getting is this:
It’s maybe too early to tell, especially from rather compressed screenshots, but after the Beta UI, it feels like such a big back-step. The font used in the alpha has returned, the warmth and personality has gone, and the icons have been reduced to over-simplified versions of their former crisp selves. Compare the icons for Movies, TV Shows and Files in particular:
Menus have been over-simplfied too, with Music and Photos (sections I use quite a bit) being relegated to a subview of files.
It feels colder and duller. I’m a little peeved that I’m not getting the Boxee that I thought I was when I pre-ordered. I’ll have to wait and see when the actual box arrives next week, but I’m more anxious than excited right now. Hopefully, there are some customisation options in the settings, but it does go against one of the reasons I fell for it in the first place. We’ll see…
Anyway, to finish on a lighter note, top marks to Boxee for using the iconic image of Michael Fish on their latest post!
Update I’ve since discovered how the Boxee 1.0 focuses more on online content than local files. The more I see of the new interface the crosser I get that Boxee threw such a curveball for the final release. I’ve decided to cancel my Boxee Box order. Until I can try Boxee 1.0 on my Mac, and be sure of what I’m getting, it’s not a purchase.