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Saturday, May 4

XBMC Media Center 12.2

XBMC the award winning multimedia suit has released its latest version to enrich your media experiences. This freeware alternative of the other popular media suits like Windows Media Center is widely used and customized by the vast number of users and a healthy community. If you are a fan of media center or suits then you must look into this handsome application with support for almost any device you own.

XBMC at .NeXT

Title: XBMC Media Center 12.2
Platforms: Windows All Versions, Linux, Mac OSX, Xbox, Android, iOS(Devices and AppleTV 2)
Languages: Multiple languages
License: Open Source, Freeware
Date added: May 3, 2013
Official Site: XBMC

XBMC is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. XBMC is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, with a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, such as podcasts from the internet, and all common digital media files from local and network storage media.

Quoting the official site - "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."

The commong features of XBMC includes(from XBMC wiki):

1. XBMC's Addons Manager and addons

Add-ons are packages that add features and functions not normally included with XBMC. Add-ons are developed by people on Team XBMC and third-parties. XBMC has a growing list of community driven add-ons for online content like YouTube, Hulu, Grooveshark, Pandora Radio, as well as skins (themes) and more available from a common official repository, while still enabling third-party developers to also host their own unofficial repositories for add-ons that any user can choose to add themselves if they like.

1.1 Scrapers (web scraping for metadata)

XBMC has the built-in optional function to automatically download metadata information, cover art and other related media artwork online through its web scrapers that looks for media in the user's audio / video folders and their sub-directories. These "scrapers" are this way used as importers to obtain detailed information from various Internet resources about movies and television shows. It can get synopses, reviews, movie posters, titles, genre classification, and other similar data. XBMC GUI then provide a rich display for audio and video files that the scrapers has identified.

Scrapers use sites like themoviedb.org to obtain thumbnails and information on movies, thetvdb.com for TV show posters and episode plots, or CDDB (via freedb and Discogs, etc.) for audio CD track listings.

1.2 Skins (themes)

Skins allow users to drastically change the appearance and fundamental user interface of XBMC. "Confluence" and "Project Mayhem" are the two official skins; "Confluence" is the default since version 9.11, and "Project Mayhem" was the previous default which is now in its third version, commonly known as "PM3.HD" (PM III High-Definition).

Users can also create their own skin (or simply modify an existing skin) and share it with others via public websites that are used for XBMC skins trading and development. Many such third-party skins exist that are well maintained by the community, and while some skins are originals with unique designs, most initially begin as a clones or an exact replica of other multimedia software interfaces, such as DivX Connected, Apple Front Row, Windows Media Center Edition (MCE), MediaPortal, Meedio/MeediOS, HDeeTV, Kaleidescape, Wii Channel Menu (Xii), Xbox 360 Blades (MC360), Xbox 360 New Xbox Experience (Xperience), and others.

The flexibility offered by XBMC skinning-engine is also useful for third-party companies who wish to make derivative work of XBMC as it makes it easy to rebrand the environment or make deeper changes to the look and feel of the user interface.

1.3 Web Interfaces

Web Interface addons for XBMC normally allow browsing a media library remotely, to handle music playlists from a computer instead of television. Others allow remotely controlling the navigation of XBMC like a remote for remote controlling of an installed and concurrently-active XBMC session running on a computer if it runs on an internet tablet or similar device with a touch interface. And yet other still acts like a media manager to allow modifying metadata and artwork in XBMC's video and music libraries.

2. Audio, video, and pictures playback and handling

XBMC can play media from CD/DVD media using an internal DVD-ROM drive. It can also play media from an internal built-in hard disk drive and SMB/SAMBA/CIFS shares (Windows File-Sharing), NFS, WebDAV or UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) shares. XBMC can also take advantage of a broadband Internet connection if available to stream Internet-video-streams like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and Veoh, and play Internet-radio-stations (such as Pandora Radio). XBMC also includes the option to submit music usage statistics to Last.fm and Libre.fm. It also has music/video-playlist features, picture/image-slideshow functions, an MP3+CDG karaoke function and many audio-visualizations and screensavers. XBMC can in addition upscale/upconvert all standard-definition (480i/480p/576i/576p) resolution videos and output them to 720p, 1080i, and 1080p high-definition resolutions.

2.1 Format support

XBMC can be used to play/view all common multimedia formats through its native clients and parsers. It can decode these audio and video formats in software or hardware, and optionally pass-through AC3/DTS audio, or encode to AC3 in real time from movies directly to S/PDIF digital output to an external audio-amplifier/receiver for decoding.

Supported formats

Physical digital media: Blu-ray Disc (unencrypted), CDs, DVDs, DVD-Video, Video CDs (including VCD/SVCD/XVCD), Audio-CD (CDDA), USB Flash Drives, and local Hard Disk Drives

Network protocol clients: AirPlay/AirTunes, UPnP, SMB/SAMBA/CIFS, AFP, Zeroconf/Avahi/Bonjour, NFS, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, RTSP (RTSPU, RTSPT), MMS (MMSU, MMST), Podcasting, TCP, UDP, SFTP, RTP and RTMP (including RTMP, RTMPT, RTMPE, RTMPTE, RTMPS), DHCP, NTP, WebDAV

Network protocol servers: JSON-RPC server, D-Bus server, Web server, FTP Server, and UPnP AV media server, and a multi-protocol Event Server

  • Container formats: AVI, MPEG, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV/MKA (Matroska), QuickTime, MP4, M4A, AAC, NUT, Ogg, OGM, RealMedia RAM/RM/RV/RA/RMVB, 3gp, VIVO, PVA, NUV, NSV, NSA, FLI, FLC, DVR-MS and WTV
  • Video formats: MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.263, MPEG-4 SP and ASP, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), HuffYUV, Indeo, MJPEG, RealVideo, RMVB, Sorenson, WMV, Cinepak.
  • Audio formats: MIDI, AIFF, WAV/WAVE, AIFF, MP2, MP3, AAC, AACplus (AAC+), Vorbis, AC3, DTS, ALAC, AMR, FLAC, Monkey's Audio (APE), RealAudio, SHN, WavPack, MPC/Musepack/Mpeg+, Shorten, Speex, WMA, IT, S3M, MOD (Amiga Module), XM, NSF (NES Sound Format), SPC (SNES), GYM (Genesis), SID (Commodore 64), Adlib, YM (Atari ST), ADPCM (Nintendo GameCube), and CDDA.
  • Digital picture/image formats: RAW image formats, BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, MNG, ICO, PCX and Targa/TGA
  • Subtitle formats: AQTitle, ASS/SSA, CC, JACOsub, MicroDVD, MPsub, OGM, PJS, RT, SMI, SRT, SUB, VOBsub, VPlayer
  • Metadata tags: APEv1, APEv2, ID3 (ID3v1 and ID3v2), ID666 and Vorbis comments for audio file formats, Exif and IPTC (including GeoTagging) for image file formats

2.2 Video playback in detail

2.2.1 Video Library

The Video Library, one of the XBMC metadata databases, is a key feature of XBMC. It allows the organization of video content by information associated with the video files (e.g. movies and recorded TV Shows) themselves. This information can be obtained in various ways, like through scrapers (i.e. web scraping sites like TheMovieDB, TheTVDB, etc.), and nfo files. Automatically downloading and displaying movie posters and fan art backdrops as background wallpapers. The Library view allows users to browse their video content by categories; Genre, Title, Year, Actors and Directors.

2.2.2 Video player

XBMC uses a video-player 'core' for video-playback called "DVDPlayer". This in-house developed cross-platform media player was originally designed to play back DVD-Video movies, and this includes support native for DVD-menus, (based on the free open source libraries code libdvdcss and libdvdnav). DVDPlayer is based on FFmpeg and today supports all widespread mainstream formats. One relatively unusual feature of this DVD-player core is the capability to on-the-fly pause and play DVD-Video movies that are stored in ISO and IMG DVD-images or DVD-Video (IFO/VOB/BUP) images (even directly from uncompressed RAR and ZIP archives), from either local harddrive storage or network-share storage.

2.3 Audio playback in detail

2.3.1 Music Library

The Music Library, one of the XBMC metadata databases, is another key feature of XBMC. It allows the organization of a music collection to allow searching, and creating smart playlists by information stored in music file ID meta tags, like title, artist, album, production year, genre, and popularity. Automatically downloading and displaying album covers and fan art backdrops as background wallpapers.

2.3.2 Audio player cores

For music playback, XBMC includes its own in-house developed audio-player, "PAPlayer" (which stands for "Psycho-Acoustic Audio Player"), and this audio-player core's most notable features are on-the-fly resampling of the audio frequency, gapless playback, crossfading, ReplayGain, cue sheet and Ogg Chapter support. The "PAPlayer" audio-player handles a very large variety of audio file-formats, and it also supports most different tagging standards. XBMC also have support for most popular karaoke computer file formats, and is able to play and display timed song lyrics graphics/text from CD+G, LRC, and KAR files.

2.4 Digital picture/image display in detail

XBMC handles all common digital picture/image formats with the options of panning/zooming and slideshow with "Ken Burns Effect", with the use of CxImage open source library code. XBMC can also handle CBZ (ZIP) and CBR (RAR) comic book archive files, this feature lets users view/read, browse and zoom the pictures of comics pages these contain without uncompressing them first.

About a month and a half after the release of XBMC 12.1, we are happy to announce XBMC 12.2 with substantial fixes for 12.1 and 12.0 across all platforms. Fixes include:

  • Fixed infinite loop on addon dependencies, resolves crashing problem that arrose immediately post 12.1 launch
  • Numerous UPnP fixes
  • Memory leak fixed when XBMC is minimized
  • Various Raspberry Pi playback fixes and software codec support
  • Fixed OSX audio mixing
  • Fixed some audio-related crashes in Linux builds
  • AirPlay fixes
  • Bluray folder resume-bookmarks now work
  • Ability to scan for new content on file folders has been reimplemented
  • Language updates from Transifex

Fixes from 12.1 included:

  • XBMC now supports using OSX’s default output device for audio as well as hardware decoding with Intel GPUs in OSX
  • XBMC no longer hogs audio for Linux and on resume audio will continue to work in Linux
  • Full iPhone 5 resolution is now enabled
  • Volume buttons on Android devices now control Android volume, rather than XBMC volume
  • Volume buttons on OSX devices once again control OSX volume, rather than XBMC volume
  • Player optimization on the Raspberry Pi, including more efficient playback, better subtitle support, and many crash fixes
  • iOS 6 support on the AppleTV 2.
  • XBMC does not crash when listed on the AppleTV top shelf
  • Added support for additional Xbox 360 controller types
  • Broader and more intelligent support for CEC devices
  • Fixed problems with several addons due to broken binary read/write in our python interface
  • Language fixes, including 7 new languages: Albanian, Burmese, Malay, Persian (Iran), Tamil (India), Uzbek, Vietnamese
  • AirPlay fixes, including making discovery of XBMC more reliable on OSX
  • Numerous crashing and stability fixes across all platforms

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