Freedom Box: Internet Multimedia on TV with XMBC
Redirecting the WWW Rabbit Hole
You know when you’re browsing around, bumping through YouTube, updating on a few news sites, jumping back to YouTube, over to TED, catching a few previews or episodes at ABC.com, getting sucked into Wikipedia, movie trailers, watching a short documentary at Al-Jazeera, maybe with some Spotify or Pandora in the background, and on and on…? It keeps the computer busy.
The rabbit hole might be inevitable, but as keyboard pounding, photo and video editing, occasionally successful productivity hunters, we’d prefer to actually use our computers for more than just a content vector, and we really like the idea of putting the rabbit hole in the TV.
We recently got hip to the latest version of McIntyre Media’s Freedom box, and we’ve found that the name applies.
Web-Based Content Minus the Laptop/Desktop;
Plus an XMBC Open-Source Multimedia Manager
The Freedom box works by routing web-based multimedia directly to your TV (via HDMI). It’s wildly customizable for the super geeky, yet easy and intuitive enough for the everyday consumer. Be it TV, movies, podcasts, internet radio, and whatever else might be streaming out there, the Freedom box can pull it in.
Basically, it’s a little multimedia-focused computer running the free, open-source, widely compatible XMBC platform. Without charges or subscriptions, it siphons multimedia from all over the internets and presents it in one customizable interface. The box is SD card-expandable, and you can also externally hard drive whatever content you already own.
AkihabaraNews knows the people behind McIntyre media, and we’ve tried out the Freedom box (Tokyo-based readers can also give it a go at Suji’s Restaurant every Thursday evening). They’re old-school yet cutting-edge geeky, which we like, and they really understand the challenges of ex-pats seeking content from home.
For those of us living in Japan, getting non-Japanese programming streamlined into one location - our TV, not our computer, bypassing the neverending proxy workarounds - a real pain for the less-geeky among us, and the whole free content part - it’s nice.