Hacking Boxee

I wanted to validate a principle “if I am watching a movie and I was supposed to exercise, can I pause the movie and get a nudge?”.
To do so I started hacking BOXEE. The product is commercially dead now but it still by far my most favorite MPC.
In order to control the playback system, you need to make sure that you can write code that is executed while the movie is playing. In its natural state, the Boxee doesn’t let you do that unless you write an application that playback. That route was possible but also was less entertaining from the development point of view and there’s basically zero support out there.
So I decided to hack Boxee with an upgraded twist. Entering… XBMC. Unless you have been leaving under a rock inside a cave covered by glacial material you should know what that it is, if you don’t just take a look at this.
The first step was to add support for installing anything via ssh and memory stick. That can be easily achieved in the following way. Specifically, you add at the hostname under the network panel this: 
boxeebox;sh /media/BOXEE/install.sh 
That will install some packaging that mildly enhances the default features, along with some precious networking support.
Now you can ssh into your Boxee, with the following ssh root@<boxee_ip> the default password is secret  — now it’s even a bigger secret.
If that worked as expected, format a USB stick with a FAT filesystem format and after plug that into the back of Boxee. Assuming that you are still connected via SSH with Boxee type the following:
wget -O /tmp/installer.sh && sh /tmp/installer.sh
Then follow the instructions on the screen. They are not pretty but they are definitely very hacking fashionable. That script will download the latest of XBMC/KODI and install it on Boxee.
If you happen to mess things up at some point, perform a hard reset holding the power button on Boxee between 7-10 seconds. That should do it. The next step is to control playback from remote. I will post my findings as I reach some decent results.
As you usual perform everything at your risk and don’t blame me for anything that goes awry if you want to reward me just donate some money to who needs it. That’s the cheapest disclaimer ever :-)
Happy hacking!


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