XBMC Media Center Final

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 20, 2008
Updated • Feb 22, 2014
Software, Windows software

The final version of the XBMC has been out for a while now. We covered an alpha release back in August and it is time to check on the final release and promote the product further. It may sound a bit biased but I'm using the XBMC for years on my old modded Microsoft Xbox system. While it has seen some gaming in the past the main reason for modding the system was to add the XBMC to the Xbox to be able to watch movies and videos that have been ripped or downloaded on the television and not on the computer.

XBMC has been expanded since then and it can now be installed on various platforms including Windows, Linux or Macintosh computers. It is intended to be used for media PCs (like the Xbox but with additional features) that stream the media to the television but it can be installed on any computer meeting the requirements obviously.

The interface has been designed with usability and wow effect in mind. Links to video, music, images, settings and plugins are available from the main menu. The first three entries lead to similar sections of the media center. The user has to first pick at least one data folder that contains files that can be read by the player. This takes a few seconds at most and it is possible to navigate with the keyboard, mouse or gamepad in the menus.

The media center will pick up metadata automatically but it can also search the Internet for additional information like movie posters, plot summaries or actors.

Plugins enhance the system further. They can add all kinds of new functions to the system like games, communication, news and service integration (Youtube, Apple Trailers, Podcasts).


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Crazy Zeke said on February 12, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Can’t believe the couple of comments drom people accusing XBMC of being buggy and useless! It’s a fine piece of software. Seems to be more popular with computer savvy individuals as it can take some fine tuning to get it running well.

    I was so impressed I just had to upgrade the HDD to a 500GB one and connect it to the home network permanently. Now it’s got over one hundred movies, dozens of TV shows, a few hundred albums, 25 Xbox games, 8 emulators (the SNES one has 800+ games) and will gladly stream ITV Catchup, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and SHOUTcast. Not to mention streaming from PCs around the house and if I leave it on when I go out I can access it remotely via FTP for uploading new media or downloading existing content elsewhere. Soon it’ll be able to stream remotely as well, so no matter where I am if I have a computer with a fast enough internet connection I’ll be good to go.

    Best format support of ANY player I’ve found on any platform – it’s played everything I’ve thrown at it apart from high definition H.264 video (this is the hardware limitation of the original Xbox not the software). It’s turned a “take it or leave it” games system into a powerful media hub, and it hasn’t cost me a penny to do so.

    If all this is not the hallmark of great software then please show me what I’m missing!

  2. arma said on February 4, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    thank yöu

  3. CrazyLand said on January 27, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Hi there

    I have to agree with Rupert on this, i have been using the XBMC for a year now in my bedroom as a media center on a 47″ HDTV, I have had no problems with it other then i use some powerline netowrk stuff that the mbs are not what they could be…

    Other then that i love this app, it does what it says and more, as for the scripts i have used them and have had some crash the software to where i have had to do a hard reboot but that is on the script side not the XBMC side.
    As for playing dvd’s i have yet in a year to try to play one since i encode my dvd’s and put them on a house server and stream it to the xbox, so if people want to do that then go build a pc and put a server program on it like i did add lots of hdd’s hook it to your network and stream away, Any ways a big thumbs up to the XBMC team for this :)

  4. Anonymous said on December 15, 2008 at 12:53 am


  5. Rupert said on November 21, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    madforit, I think you have also got the wrong end of the stick – whilst I think XBMC does offer UnPn functionality, it is NOT a media server. It is a Media Center (hence the name) and it certainly is not designed to stream content to the Xbox360 (see my above comments for what it is meant to do). If you want a media server, then try something like mediatomb, Twonky Vision, uShare, Fuppes or Firefly Media Server (though that might only be for iTunes). They are actually designed to do what you want, XBMC aint.

  6. Rupert said on November 21, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    garbanzo, you are completely missing the point of what XBMC is meant to be. It is not meant to ne a media player like foobar or VLC, it is a Media Centre – hence GUI is all important. It is meant to be on the screen all the time, no need to look behind it at what it is running on. It is mainly meant to run in your living room and act as your main way to access your music and videos.

    Comparing it to foobar and the like is completely wrong. It should be compared to Windows Media Center, AppleTV, Media Portal, Sage, MythTV and Boxee….

  7. garbanzo said on November 21, 2008 at 10:25 am

    kmplayer is awesome. foobar2000 is awesome. this is not awesome. it’s a media player that’s all GUI.

    how does it fare with H.264 mkv files? does it normalize audio when playing avi’s? crossfade mp3’s?

    how does it work with videos that are stored on DVDs? can’t really put those in the library…

    if eye candy is what’s important, then i guess this is good. otherwise i don’t see any benefit.

  8. madforit said on November 20, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    This seems to happen with all these so called media servers,ive just downloaded TVersity to run through the xbox 360 and the frontend which uses macromedia flash seems to lock up on a regular basis-shame as it seems like a nice
    bit of software.
    Might give your suggestion a try if i cant get a workaround of TVersity,thanks.

  9. Rupert said on November 20, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    I have to diasaagree with these people. The core functionality of XBMC is awesome on both Xbox and PC (windows and linux). Yes, Appletrailers is slow, but then that is merely a script – not what XBMC is all about. As a music and movie player (stuff on your harddrive) it is an awesome app. It does require a powerfull PC (hence it was slow on your PC) – remember, it was originally written for an Xbox, not a PC. It has also spawned boxee http://www.boxee.tv/ which is a pretty awesome app with some great functionality.

  10. brian said on November 20, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    while a beautiful community project app, even the XBMC on the XBox is buggy. if I’m surfing podcasts and Apple movie trailers, it is certain to lock up on me at least a small handful of times in the space of a couple of hours.
    And XBMC for the PC doesn’t do scripts, so half the functionality is gone right from the start. it also is very spotty depending on the computer installed on. on a couple, I’ve seen it spontaneously quit (duplicable) after just a few seconds of tinkering.

    it’s great effort, but I hope this is not a FINAL Final.

  11. garbanzo said on November 20, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    i tried this last week, and uninstalled it almost immediately. it was slow, clunky, and unpolished. the interface was cluttered and very unintuitive, i had a hard time finding my way around which is rare for me.

    it might be ok if you’re willing to spend a lot of time populating it and learning its intricacies. but i think i’ll stick with MPC. it loads any media file i have in under a second. it’s not as sexy, but when i’m watching a movie, i really don’t care.

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