March 13, 2009 by Aaron


In our second Sourced article the spotlight is on the award winning XBMC Media Center.


What is XBMC?

Originally named Xbox Media Center, XBMC is now a full featured, award winning free and open source software media-player and entertainment hub for all your digital media.  I have been using XBMC since it's transformation from xbmp (Xbox Media Player) and was the sole reason I purchased the original xbox.  The software turned a standard game machine into a state of the art network media player - better priced and far superior to anything like it on the market at the time.  With the proliferation of High definition content, The original Xbox based XBMC didn't have enough horsepower and thus began the interest in bring Xbox Media Center to the GNU/Linux Operating System.

Currently XBMC supports the following platforms:

  • XBMC for Linux
  • XBMC for Mac
  • XBMC for Windows
  • XBMC for Xbox
  • XBMC Live (Bootable iso)

XBMC Advantages

  • Multi-Codec support.
  • Codec independent.
  • Can play media within an archive (rar,zip), even multi-spanning archives.
  • Your wife and Girlfriend can use it.
  • RSS feed support.
  • Localised weather.
  • Quicktime Support.
  • LastFM Support
  • Itunes support.
  • Distributed as open source under the GNU General Public License,
  • Extensive Python scripting plugin system.
  • Fan Art  & Album and Cover Art.
  • Fully Skinable and Customisable interface.
  • Configurable webserver, control your Media Center via any internet enabled device like a mobile phone.
  • Effortless media management.

XBMC Disadvantages

  • No native PVR capability.
  • No hardware Video acceleration - Hopefully Soon or check XBMC forums for different solutions.

XBMC Forks

All great Open source software has its share of forks and xbmc is no exception:

  • Boxee introduces a unique Social Media aspect to HTPC software.
  • Plex is a OSX specific Port of XBMC.
  • MediaPortal is a Windows only complete Home Theatre PC frontend with full PVR capability.  Loosley based of the old XBOX only XBMC builds.
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