The media centre software, Boxee has announced that there is now an official TED application available on the media platform, bringing you almost 800 informative, educational and inspiring TEDTalks!
If you haven’t heard of TED before, it is a small, nonprofit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It began in 1984, bringing people together from three industries: Technology, Entertainment and Design. In just the past few years, speakers at TED have included Al Gore, Jane Goodall, and Brian Greene. With so many great speakers, and so many amazing TEDTalks, having a Boxee application is a big move, for both TED and Boxee.
“TED’s mission is to spread ideas, and the Boxee TED App brings TEDTalks into the living room in a really effective new way,” said June Cohen, Executive Producer of TED Media. “This collaboration with Boxee has allowed us to design, for the first time, a ’10-foot experience’ of watching TEDTalks. We think viewers are going to love the new navigation model, whether they’re using their mouse or the new Boxee remote.”
If you want an example of just what to watch on TED, I highly recommend “Carolyn Porco flies us to Saturn“, from March 2007. Carolyn was the leader of the Imaging Team on the Cassini mission to Saturn, and during her presentation, she shows images from the Cassini voyage to Saturn, focusing on its largest moon, Titan, and on frozen Enceladus, which seems to shoot jets of ice. Of course this is just one of many presentations, but it is one of my personal favourites and one that I recommend to those of you with an interest in Astronomy, or just space in general.
Back to the application itself, TED is certainly one of the most well designed Boxee Apps that I’ve come across. The interface is simple, and easy to use with either the Boxee Remote, which will be shipped with each Boxee Box, or a keyboard if you’re using Boxee on a PC or Mac. At the top of the screen, you can choose to filter between “Featured”, “Themes”, “Tags”, “Length”, or search for a TEDTalk that you’re interested in.
This allows you to narrow down the vast array of content available through TED, so that you can be watching what you’re interested in as soon as possible. Also included in the interface is a “Surprise me” button which, when selected, begins to play a random TEDTalk. If you don’t feel like searching for a video to watch, and just want to get some content, then this is certainly the way to go about it!
Unfortunately, during my testing of the TED application, video playback itself was less than successful! Although I could freely navigate, search for content, and filter videos in the application, when I selected to play them back, I would hear audio, but get no video at all. This was before an error message came up, telling me that there was some kind of problem.
Fingers crossed, the teething issues will be sorted out sooner rather than later, because having TED on Boxee is a massive, massive feature to have, especially with the upcoming Boxee Box release, I very much hope I will be able to watch TED Talks browser-free in the near future.