UK HEI Boxee Channel

A week or so ago, Liz Azyan posted a list of UK HEI Youtube channels. Although not quite as polished as @liamgh et al’s OU Boxee app, I piucked up on a couple of suggestions Liam made over a pint last night about simply subscribing to an RSS feed in Boxee to roll my own UK HEI Youtube Boxee channel thing…

So here are the institutional channels:

and here’s a peek inside one of them:

This lets me watch the most recently uploaded videos to all (?) the UK HEIs’ most recent uploads to their Youtube channels, organised by institution via a lean back TV interface.

(You might be able to submenu the institutional channels/streams according to playlists they have specified, as well as tidying up things like icons/logos, maybe, but this was a 10 minute hack, rather than a half hour hack, ok?!;-)

Here’s the recipe…

1. Grab the table from Liz’s web page and create a feed from it:

2. Generate the feed URIs for the most recent uploads to each channel (in the form required by Boxe – e.g. rss://

Filter out stuff that isn’t a feed and complete the pipe:

We can now grab the RSS feed from the pipe in the normal way and subscribe to it via a personal account on the Boxee website.

If you now launch the Boxee app, select:



Video Feeds (My Feeds)

– the UK HEI Youtube Videos Channel

And from there, you should be able to browse – and play – the recent uploads to all the UK HEI Youtube channels that Liz has listed.

Not that I had a niggle with my Boxe player – I could hear the audio but not see the video for any of the Youtube videos when I tried to play them. If anyone else tries out this channel and gts the same problem, please let me know and I;ll see if it’s a feed problem. Otherwise, I’ll assume it’s a local glitch…

Here’s the RSS feed URI again: “UK HEI Youtube Channels on Boxee” RSS feed

PS out of interest, if I had bid to do this as a #jiscri project, how much should I have asked for?
planning: 10 mins chatting with Liam over a pint ysterday;
design: <5 mins looking up Youtube API/URI patterns
implementation:: <5 mins creating Yahoo pipe
configuration: <5 mins subscribing to the pipe feed in Boxee
testing: <5 mins seeing if it worked in Boxee (which it doesn’t, properly, but I’m blaming that on a local problem and trustung that it does actually work… err…?!;-)
Okay, so all told it was maybe a sub-20 minute hack rather than 5 minute one?
documentation: (i.e. blog post) 30-45 mins, incl grabbing screenshots.

And I’m on holiday today…

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

5 thoughts on “UK HEI Boxee Channel”

  1. This is great, just been watching a few videos from various universities using this feed (video is working for me).

    Two things spring to mind as a result of this: firstly, using pipes provides a great way to mix channels and experiment with providing different packages of content, which could always be later turned into an app. Being able to mix your own “tv channels” is quite an exciting prospect.

    Secondly, it has been really interesting having videos from lots of HEIs in one place. It is making me more aware of how much interesting video content is produced by HEIs, which is easy to miss if each HEI only has its own portal. So the way the feed integrates content is creating opportunities for discovery.

  2. Here’s where you can find the feed for another channel – UK newspapers on Youtube:

    This time, the list of channels are bookmarked using delicious, and the pipe pulls a feed in from there to create the boxee formatted feed.

    Here’s another built using the same recipe – UK Government Departments Boxee Channel

    We can also tweak the pipe so that it handles playlists as well as recent uploads by user – the Differential Equations Boxee Channel pulls in a couple of OER playlists on differential equations, for example:

  3. Nice work. There is YouTube EDU if you want to see HEI content in one place and European universities will be included in this within the next few weeks:
    But your solution is so much more creative and tinkerful!

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