(Re)Hacking a Boxee Box

I recently purchased an Amazon Fire TV Stick and love that it allows the ability to sideload applications like Kodi (I still hate that name, long live XBMC!) for media streaming. I mainly use Samba/SMB shares on my network for my media, with most of my content living on an old WDTV Live Hub. The WDTV Hub works great and is still pretty stable after all of these years (except for a few built-in apps like YouTube, I wish they kept going with updates), and the Fire TV will gladly chug away, playing any video over the network. However, I had the need to have my media stream to a third television and I didn’t want to uproot an existing device and carry it from room to room.

So I needed a third device. I already have a second generation Roku kicking around, but it doesn’t appear to be able to run anything other than the stock software at this time. I also considered a Raspberry Pi and wifi dongle, but this puts the price up to around $50 (which is more than the Fire TV Stick. I do want something cheap). I looked for a less expensive option with older media streamers and found a lot of information about the Boxee Box appliance put out by D-Link in 2008, discontinued in 2011. I first encountered this box in around 2012 when I was tasked to do some reverse engineering on it, but that’s another story. In the time since, a Google TV hacking team figured out they could do simple shell command injection when setting the Box’s host name, which eventually evolved into a group developing Boxee+Hacks, a replacement operating system. Since Boxee+Hacks, other developers have been working on a port of Kodi which you can install onto the Boxee to give you more options and better compatibility over the operating system’s built in features.

After some eBaying, I was able to get a Boxee for around $15, shipping included (Make sure you get model DSM-380!). The item description said that the box already had Boxee+Hacks installed and upgraded to the latest version, so I figured I was on my way to a quick installation of Kodi and could get up and running in minutes.

When I first booted the Boxee and checked out the Boxee+Hacks settings, I noticed that the device only had version 1.4 installed while the latest available was 1.6. The built-in updater did not work anymore, so the box never reported that there was an available Boxee+Hacks update.Navigating the Boxee+Hacks forums was a little cumbersome, but I eventually found the steps I needed to get updated and launch Kodi. I’ve outlined them below to help any other lost travelers out there.

First, though, go through your Boxee settings and clear any thumbnail caches, local file databases, etc. We need all the free space we can get and there will be installation errors if you don’t have enough free space. The installation script we will run later automatically clears the device’s temp directory, but doesn’t remove these cached files.

On the Boxee, go to Settings –> Network –> Servers and enable Windows file sharing.

If you already have Boxee+Hacks, connect the box and your computer to your home network and check the IP address for the box on either the Boxee’s settings page or by checking for a new device on your router’s console.

To make things really easy, telnet to your Boxee on port 2323 using your box’s IP address (Mine is 192.168.1.100).

 telnet 192.168.1.100 2323

Once there, we need to download and run the installer script.

curl -L http://tinyurl.com/boxeehacks | sh

If you DO NOT have Boxee+Hacks installed already, never fear. On the same Settings –> Network –> Servers page on your Boxee, locate the Hostname filed and enter the following into it.

boxeebox;sh -c 'curl -L tinyurl.com/boxeehacks | sh'

Then, navigate away from the Settings page.

After executing the command through telnet, or through the Boxee settings page, the logo should glow red on the front of the box and you should receive on-screen instructions to perform an installation.

Boxee+Hacks installation screen, from http://boxeed.in/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1216

Boxee+Hacks installation screen, from boxeed.in forums.

The installation guide works pretty well. Here, you will be prompted to install Kodi in addition to Boxee+Hacks. At this point I chose NOT to install Kodi. From what I read, once you install it though the script, it can be difficult to remove, and I didn’t want to deal with the possibilities of a difficult upgrade.

Instead, I decided to install Kodi on a flash drive. I’ve had a cheap 512MB drive that has been kicking around for close to ten years, and it is perfect for fitting Kodi. To setup the flash drive, I formatted it as FAT32 and labeled the drive as MEDIA. I’m not sure if either of these matter, but this configuration worked for me. I downloaded the latest Kodi release built for Boxee from the boxeebox-xbmc repository (Version KODI_14.2-Git-2015-10-20-880982d-hybrid at the time of this writing) and unzipped it onto my flash drive. Make sure that the all of the Kodi files are in the root directory of the drive, and not within the KODI_14.2-Git-2015-10-20-880982d-hybrid directory you get from extracting the archive.

It might also help to label the drive

It might also help to label the drive

That’s all there is to it, just plug the flash drive into the back of the Boxee and it is good to go. If you leave the flash drive in, whenever you boot the Boxee it will go right into Kodi. Leave it out and it will boot to standard Boxee+Hacks. If you boot into Boxee+Hacks and then want to load up Kodi, just plug in the flash drive and it loads automatically.

This turns a seemingly unassuming and thought-obsolete device into a pretty powerful media center, and is a quick inexpensive solution to streaming your content to yet another television.

 

Famicoman

Developer, Hacker, Tinkerer, Archivist, Retro Technologist.

 

35 thoughts on “(Re)Hacking a Boxee Box

  1. Great article .. actually I just have installed Kodi to my Boxee box and I’m loving it and enjoying it although I’m hoping to having it updated to Kodi 16 since it’s already out .

    Do you think it’s possible to have Kodi 16 soon ??

  2. Hey, Glad I came across this! And done recently in 2016. I almost though I might be the lone survivor still using a Boxee. lol
    Now, my question is, have you figured out a way to update to the latest Kodi Version or a last version of Jarvis? Or have we now been finally left in the dust?
    I know, if it ain’t broke… But I have my last working version and set up on a spare usb just in case.
    LMK if you have any ideas!

    And Thanks!!!

  3. Worked a treat although fan just packed up so waiting for replacement.
    If it is not one thing its another but good there is some life in this old box yet.

  4. Hi There,
    good article. I followed your instructions. I now have a flash drive with all the files in the root directory.
    I still cannot run Kodi. I read somewhere that I need XBMC.bin (Kodi.bin).
    I could not find that file when I extracted the files.
    I found one file with the Name KODI (but is showing as a unzipped file)

    Yes I have installed Boxee hacks

  5. Hi there!

    I want to do the install on line, but the telnet url is not work for me! I write something wrong or something is change?

  6. This was a great help thanks. I wonder if it is possible to use the same procedure above to install the Kodi / Jarvis 16.1 that recently came out? I have an issue with my VPN (PIA) saying that the platform is incompatible so thought I would see if an upgrade would do the trick…any suggestions? I have tried looking for an installer script for 16.1 but no luck.

  7. Hello,

    my boxee has the Kodi 14.2 for a while now
    do you know if there’s a way to upgrade to a newer version of Kodi ? ( that would support airplay for IOS 9 or 10 ? )

    seems like everything stopped at 14.2

    thanks

  8. for everyone asking about newer than Kodi 14.2: not going to happen.

    The linux kernel version that everything depends on can’t be upgraded (without some serious c & c++ hacking and hardware driver writing, and no one with those creds is volunteering)

    That said, @quaser1 is doing the best he can to backport what is possible to Kodi 14.2. Watch this page for new releases: https://github.com/quasar1/boxeebox-xbmc/releases

  9. Hi I have Boxee Hacks installed on my boxee box. I have tried to install kodi on the device a few times using a USB. It says I have to compile a build because it is a Linux device. Can anyone help me with this?

  10. Hi.
    I’ve got a iomega tv from d-link with boxee instaled on it . the boxee hack doesn’t work . Do you know a way to get kodi on that?
    greetings Edwin

  11. Boxee hack installed. Plugged USB with Kodi as mentioned in above post. Went onto usb and clicked kodi.. It opens with add ons and everything in it but it does not at all install it just lets me click on each item but nothing

  12. Just a thought on Kodi for you guys.

    Kodi running off os a USB Flash Drive is great, however if you want to add repositories and such you need to do yourselves a favor and use a USB 3.0 Flash Drive, and make sure you have at least a 16gig Drive.

    I say this because EVERYTHING is stored and runs off the Flash Drive. This makes life much easier in the end when you add skins, repositories, addons, etc.

    I am currently looking for a way to run Android or some other OS on the Boxee to avoid issues with Boxee killing their servers once and for all now that Samsung bought them.

    It’s now 2017. There is ZERO development for this box, and that’s unfortunate because if you can get SMB working this works great as a hub for external storage devices to be used throughout the network, in a device that takes up far less power than a PC or Server to file share.

    I have a WD Live acting as my Samba Server right now, solely just to share media to my Nvidia Shield AND allow me to copy files from my laptop directly to the hard drives connected to the WD Live.

    One thing WD did right was allow you to map your WD LIVE directly to your PC’s for direct HD access and full read write capability.

  13. G’day mate,
    Thanks for the information. For some strange reason my old Boxee is the one (until your article) redundant device I have not been able to throw out. I think it’s because the remote was so good at the time. Whatever, you have given it a new life. Brilliant how you simplified it. Very happy reader!!! (Win 10 users need to turn on telnet in settings – stupid Microsoft) Thanks again.

    1. I have two Boxee’s that work fine as networked media players but are blocked from the internet Netflicks, Youtube apps etc. Did this hack enable internet access?

  14. No upgrade in boxee’s future to anything higher that 14.2. The kernel architectural minimum requirements are not met.
    But for me the boxee donated the best part of it in a remote control transplant.
    Took out the RC receiver and rebuilt it into a USB receiver. The remote control lives on to control my openelec.

  15. I had an old version of BoxeeHacks and the Kodi installation did not work until I upgraded the BoxeeHacks version. The BoxeeHacks update version feature did not work from within Boxee, so I resorted to a clean install using the shell injection and then everything worked like a charm.

  16. I was not able to get Kodi on BOXEE. I did Boxxee+Hacks. Obviously I need someone to explain the steps to someone who is not a programmer, because I must be doing something wrong. I don’t know how to clear the cache. I have kodi on an android but I loved my Boxee because it allowed me to use my surround sound. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  17. way off question…

    is it possible to hack the boxee to become something of a game system for emulators/home arcade? kind of like a raspberry Pi?

    i have this exact unit of boxee and have little use for a home entertainment system that almost all the boxee’s are being hacked into. would rather game system it if it’s even possible..

  18. The Kodi hack may still run, but because the hardware is old the Kodi system requires more running power. Mine still works sometimes but i can’t find sources often. (as those have been constantly upgraded and changed) My Netflix still runs perfectly on the hack as does Spotify.
    I was also wondering if I could raspberry Pi it?

  19. I recently bought my Boxee Model DSM-382 Version 2.4.0.8650 and have been having trouble to conect to Netflix lately, everytime I try it marks error and it does the same when I try to watch videos in You Tube.

    After doing a lot of research on the internet I tought your tutorial would help me at last, but it doesnt apply to the model and version of the one I got. I can’t find NOTHING on hacking this specific BOXEE and I want to cry..

    It really sucks. Can somebody help me please

  20. Hey there.

    So I finally got Boxee out of the attic and even managed to install Boxee Plus so I could use Kodi on it….however the version I have is 1.4.6, and apparently I need 1.5.3!!
    Googled for the 1.5.3 version but cannot locate it at all, BoxedIn seems to be offline now but then it has been a few years o\now.

    Can anyone point me to the 1.5.3 (or even 1.6.0) version I can download from please?

    1. @Vega:
      checkout https://github.com/cigamit/boxeehack
      That’s version 1.6.0 of Boxee+Hacks.
      In addition to the files mentioned in the install guide you should also copy the “hack” folder to the root of the USB drive.
      Without the folder “hack” on the USB drive the installer will try to download the necessary files from a resource (boxeed.in) that is no longer available.

      Best of luck
      Arno

  21. My boxee will not connect to the internet. I have done a factory reset and cannot get past the initial set up because it can find my network but not connect to the internet. Any ideas? I want only to use the boxee to run a hard drive without the internet at the lake.

  22. Is there a way of installing Kodi on my Boxee without having internet access. You might know “they” have closed down the servers enabling you to login and my three Boxee’s just became bricks.

    Maybe Kode will unbrick them 🙂

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