XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. XBMC is available for Linux, OSX, Windows, and the original Xbox. Created in 2003 by a group of like minded programmers, XBMC is a non-profit project run and developed by volunteers located around the world. More than 50 software developers have contributed to XBMC, and 100-plus translators have worked to expand its reach, making it available in more than 30 languages.
While XBMC functions very well as a standard media player application for your computer, it has been designed to be the perfect companion for your HTPC. Supporting an almost endless range of remote controls, and combined with its beautiful interface and powerful skinning engine, XBMC feels very natural to use from the couch and is the ideal solution for your home theater.
Currently XBMC can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. Use your media as-is: XBMC can play CDs and DVDs directly from the disk or image file, almost all popular archive formats from your hard drive, and even files inside ZIP and RAR archives. It will even scan all of your media and automatically create a personalized library complete with box covers, descriptions, and fanart. There are playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations. Once installed, your computer will become a fully functional multimedia jukebox.
It is difficult to put into words all that XBMC can do, head to the gallery to see some examples, or take the plunge and Try it Today.
XBMC has a highly “skinnable” interface meaning that it can look radically different based on which “skin” is used. Confluence is used by default, so this is what will greet you upon install. You may wish to change the look to something more flashy, more artwork-based, etc. It’s up to you. See the list below for a list of active working skins. Visit this page for help installing these skins.
Current Stable Release: 10.0 “Dharma”
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The download page makes it look like you have to install from Source in Fedora Linux. But, I looked in my Fedora 14 Repos and it was there!:) So, I installed it and gave XBMC a run on my Fedora 14 System. This System has 2.5Gig of Ram and a 1.8ghz Cor 2 Processor. And I like XBMC allot!:) It was easy and intuitive to setup the with my local files. And with just a few clicks I added plenty more Apps to even customize my installation more. It plays most of my files well. I have a large variety of file types. At first all files in my media folders showed up. Even the few that are just support files for the media (not Audio or Video Files). But after I ran clean media in the System Area. The Non Audio - Video files and the one Video file that only played the audio (no video showed up) was no longer in the list. And it hung up XBMC for about 5 minutes so that I couldn't stop it from playing until the System Caught it self up. But all of the folders still show up, but show to be empty. I hope there is a way to change this behavior. It is a real pain Opening up several folders only to find them showing nothing at all. Among the Add-ons that I installed. There was one for Viewing The Web. I tried it out and it worked well and would even be usable with a TV Remote. It's really a Text Web Browser. I was hoping to be able to find Video on the Web to Watch with it. But it being a text only browser can't see Video or even Images (only the file names of media files). I tried the Search and it worked fine and you can go to Google or what eve site you want in Text Browsing Mode. This could be useful if you just want to read some information on something and you have a High Definition TV or Monitor, it would be too blurry to read on my Standard TV and this is what my Plan is... To watch Videos from the Net on my TV. That and any Videos that I have on my Hard Drive. That's why I'm interested in an App like XBMC. It's a fun App to use and I like the layout. Calling it an App, may be a little short sited, since it is also available in a Boot-able Live CD ISO Image and you can Install it on a Computer to use as a Stand Alone Media Center PC. This feature and the way XBMC is set up, did give me some Head Aches as I was trying it out. When I went to Close The Program, I realized there was not the Usual Close Option or an X to Close the Programs with. You have to go to the Bottom Left Side of your Screen and click on the little light blue Icon there. This brings up a menu just like the one for Shutting Down your Computer. And Shut it Down it Will!:O I took an educated guess and chose the Exit Button. This did work, but not constantly. XBMC is sometime a bit slow to respond to Clicks of the Mouse and I think I didn't wait long enough. This caused me to think that the Exit Button wasn't working so I clicked on Shut Down... and it did it! It instantly shut down my computer, with all of my other Apps Running. Luckily, this is not a Disaster on a Linux System, at least not 90% of the time.... Over all XBMC did Crash about 2 time and Locked Up my System about 4 times forcing me to do 4 Hard Shut Downs with the Power Button. But this was throughout the 8 hours I played around with it, setting things up and thumbing through Videos, Pics and Music. It took me a few hours, but finally I did realize that you have to add each Web Channel that you want to watch. It doesn't come with any Defaults Pre-Setup. But it is very easy to add the Channels, just like adding the Add-on Apps. With a quick read through the descriptions and a couple of clicks you have your new channel added. But, you do have to do this for every one and there allot to choose from. I ended up with a few non English Speaking Channels. So I will have to go back and delete them, since I only understand English... The one thing that I really wish XBMC could do and what I'm really looking for, is an App that will let you Browse and Watch Hulu, YouTube and other Video Sites that I like. You may be able to do this. I read something in one of the Add-ons about needing Firefox or another Web Browser like it. But I never saw how to use it in all of the menus I went through. It's definitely different than going through a Regular Computer Program - App. But it is laid out very well for XBMC's intended Purpose. Watching TV and moving through the App with a TV Remote. I didn't try that today. But I will soon. I like it better than Moovida which is very Similar to XBMC, but with allot less Channels to choose from. And that's what makes it Better. Moovida doe use allot less resources and it never crashed on me. But, allot of the Media Wont Play in Moovida either. For instance, YouTube is one of the Available Channels in both XBMC and Moovida, but YouTube wont work in either of them. There were a couple other that didn't work in XBMC too, but I can't remember their names now. You may have better luck with some of the Codecs that didn't work in my Fedora 14 System though, because I have been having some trouble with SELinux Stopping gst-plugin-scanner from working. So, I can't play mp4's and the like in my Web Browsers, even though I have all of the Plugins Installed. I found a way to fix this hopefully. But it evolves some thinking and copying and pasting into the Command Line. I did it once and got the Audio to play on mp4's. But after re-reading the instructions, I believe I did it a little wrong and need to do it again. When I am thinking quite clear and not tired;) Here's the info on that, if your interested. The gst-plugin-scanner problem, https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=666485 Posable fix, http://danwalsh.livejournal.com/38736.html Ok, well now I am really tired.... So, I think this is enough about XBMC for now;)