Under The Microscope

Airfoil and the Boxee Box

Do you own a Boxee Box? If so, you’re in luck, as it’s the newest device we’ve tested with Airfoil, and it works just great to receive audio from your Mac or PC. Sending audio to the Boxee Box didn’t actually require any updates to Airfoil, nor even a download of Airfoil Speakers. This compatibility is available with a simple update to the Boxee Box’s firmware.

The Boxee Box

The Boxee Box: No Stacking!

Getting AirPlay Receiving Set Up

When it arrived, our Boxee Box had some very old firmware. Updating this was easy though, with the built-in updater found in Settings. Once the new firmware (version 1.2) was installed, AirPlay receiving needed to be activated. This can done by going to the Settings, selecting Network, then choosing the Servers settings. The last item there is called (somewhat-misleadingly) Enable streaming from iOS devices. Once you turn this on, you’ll see Boxee appear in Airfoil:

Airfoil sending to the Boxee Box

Airfoil sending MOG’s audio to the Boxee Box.

The Result

The most important result of course is that, audio from your Mac or Windows machine flows through Airfoil and out to the Boxee Box. This works great, and enables you to send any audio from your computer. There are a couple drawbacks, however.

First and foremost, the Boxee Box does not play audio in sync with other outputs. If you just want to send from a Mac or PC to Boxee, great. But you won’t be able to include Boxee in a multi-output system if you want everything in sync.

As well, there aren’t a lot of frills here, however. When Airfoil sends audio out, we pass along metadata from supported sources (on Mac and Windows). For instance, here’s what the AppleTV shows when receiving audio from Spotify:

TV showing the Apple TV's display

Airfoil sending Spotify’s audio to the AppleTV

Unfortunately, with the Boxee Box’s current setup, you’ll get only a simple screensaver:

TV showing the Boxee Box's display

Airfoil sending Spotify’s audio to the Boxee Box

That said, the audio plays just fine, so it’s a promising start. If you’ve got a Boxee Box, just turn on AirPlay receiving, and you’ll be able to send it any audio from your Mac or PC using Airfoil!

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