So this is the issue ...
For some reason any videos that I "Add as Source" over the network from within Boxee (yea, a Windows share, works great in XBMC on XBOX, not on AppleTV btw), anyway, the video takes about 30-60 seconds to buffer or load, then every 30-60 seconds it pauses for another long while while I guess it's doing more buffering ... although it doesn't need to, at all.
To begin with, that's a problem that I can't quite wrap my head around either ... but anyway ...
So I thought, wonder what happens if I put the video as a local file, well it played perfectly (this is good!).
I then thought to use smb_mount from within a shell on the AppleTV in order to mount my SMB share as a local folder and see how Boxee would handle it.
Strange results followed with regard to finding files ... although note that when it can see a file, it plays as if it were a local file, ie, there's no weird buffering lag or anything.
Note: I can see the file/dir structure absolutely fine from within the shell on the AppleTV, it's a problem with Boxee reading the directory somehow.
1) If the first subdir is say "30 Rock", then all files in that directory and any sub-directories fail to play. Also it fails to list other directories. By simply changing it to "30Rock" the problem is resolved.
2) If I name a dummy directory "_top" (for instance to force it first) within the directory, all files in that directory now play and view perfectly, regardless of spaces, and all subdirs are openable. This also fixes the "30 Rock" problem.
3) If one of the sub-directories has subdirs and is named by a number (again) and the first one happens to have a space, it will ruin its own directory and all subdirs of it.
4) That all said ... it seems like a directory needs a movie file in it in order for Boxee to recognize and read any further sub-directories. i.e., a directory cannot be empty or it fails to recognize more than one subdir, but it still won't play the files from that subdir, it's as if it is pretending the files aren't in a subdir at all. This one baffles me too.
Number 4 is the biggest problem, by far. However, being unable to name a directory with a number first is also a huge issue.
Thanks for looking into these problems, I'm really enjoying Boxee!