XBMC, originally dubbed Xbox Media Center, was once the go-to media application that tech hobbyists would use to mod the original Xbox. While the Xbox 360 went on to support more native solutions such as Windows Media Center, XBMC has matured to become compatible with other platforms, such as OSX, Windows, Linux, Android and iOS.
Even though several other media applications such as Plex, AppleTV Home Sharing/Air Play, PS3 Media Server and Myth TV have gained major popularity, XBMC can still be considered the open-source favorite amongst cordcutting and HTPC enthusiasts. Today, XBMC 12, codenamed “Frodo,” was launched with a surprising number of updates. Here are 10 facts you need to know about it.
1. The New XBMC AudioEngine Provides HD Audio Support
The biggest update there is to XBMC 12 is the addition of AudioEngine, allowing XBMC to play true HD Audio. Prior to XBMC 12, little was done to it in the areas of audio. Sound was limited to the original 16-bit architecture of the original Xbox. Now, XBMC has been updated with its largest audio component, allowing for true HD Audio integration.
2. You Can Watch Live TV
When setup correctly, the new XBMC can play live TV via a built in Live TV backend server that connects to a TV tuner adapter.
3. You Can Now Use It as a DVR
Now that you can watch live TV with XBMC, you can also use it as a PVR (Personal Video Recorder)/ DVR. The version of XBMC comes bundled with a few PVR backends, but you’ll need to download separate PVR add ons from this forum.
4. It Supports Raspberry Pi
Raspberry Pi, the credit card-sized Linux board originally built for educational purposes, is starting to expand its reach with tech hobbyists. If you are a tech hobbyist that tinkers with Raspberry Pi, you can now build your own small XBMC machine.
5. You Can Now Install XBMC on Android Set-Top-Boxes & Devices
Android set-top-boxes, including the failed Nexus Q experiment, haven’t been all too popular. That hasn’t stopped the newest version of XBMC to be compatible with them. You can now run XBMC from android set-top-boxes. You can even launch Android apps from within XBMC. It may seem unnecessary, but you can also install XBMC to Android phones and tablets. A word of caution: currently hardware video decoding is very limited in Frodo’s current state.
6. XBMC Improved its AirPlay Support to Run on All iOS Devices
Previously, any device using XBMC can receive AirPlay content from an AirPlay device. Now, there is AirPlay audio support for Windows.
7. Windows And Linux Users Can Use An Xbox 360 Controller
If you have an Xbox 360 Wireless controller for Windows, you can now use it to navigate through your XBMC media files on a Windows or Linux machine.
8. You Can Now Add Tags So that “Army Of Darkness” Comes After “Evil Dead 2″
For better file management, XBMC now supports tags. This is especially convenient if you collect shows or movies that should be organized in sets. For example, you’ll no longer need to scroll up your library to watch Army of Darkness after watching Evil Dead 2, or you can watch Live Free or Die Hard after watching Die Hard With A Vengeance.
9. You Can Share Video Libraries Easier with Advanced UPnP Sharing
Users may now share video libraries more easily through Universal Plug N Play Sharing. If you have several devices that use XBMC in a single network, those devices can now share libraries between each other.
10. It Has Advanced Filtering So You Can More Easily Browse Your Music & Videos
Advanced Filtering has replaced XBMC’s simple filtering so that it’s even easier to find specific files. Users can filter videos by year, genre, actors, directors, and even which videos haven’t been completed.