People have a hard time believing that since I own both an iPhone and an iPad that I decided to build a few home theater PCs (HTPCs) with XBMC rather than getting a few Apple TVs. I was looking for customizability and versatility, which is something the Apple TV doesn't provide.
Posts Tagged ‘Video’
The XBMC developers added AirPlay support in version 11, and this is one of the features that really drew me to the software. One of the very reasons I contemplated getting the Apple TV was because of the streamlined AirPlay support, but with the addition of AirPlay support to XBMC 11 I thought that it would also fit my needs.
A lot of people assume that using an application like XBMC means that you are pirating all of the material you are going to watch, but there are plenty of legal video streaming solutions available as well. There are a bunch of developers that have put together plugins so that a lot of online video streaming sites can be accessed directly through add-ons in XBMC.
Now that you have XBMC set up and configured it's probably good to run through a test to see how well your system performs. I've been able to run through a 1080p flawlessly when I followed all of the buffering recommendations we covered yesterday. Not all videos are created equally though, and as a result you may find that some 1080p videos work fine for you while others don't.
Almost all of the videos that I watch on XBMC are streaming over the network from a central computer. While the idea sounds great that means that my home network becomes yet another component that can lead to performance issues in XBMC. I'm going to share my experiences so that you can get your system working smoothly with as little effort as possible.
When setting up my XBMC instances, I wanted to have a central machine in my house serve up all my media, and for that I chose to use my Mac OS X Lion machine. Since my XBMC machines are being powered by Windows 7 I ran into a bit of a predicament. In Mac OS X Lion, Apple started using the SMB2 protocol that Microsoft introduced in Vista back in 2006.
Yesterday we covered how to install new skins in XBMC, and today we are going to show you how you can customize the backgrounds skins use for each of the entries on the main home screen menu. When I hover over the movies menu, for example, mine will rotate through over a dozen photos that I downloaded of my favorite movies.
When you first get rolling with XBMC out-of-the-box, you may not be overly enthusiastic about the appearance. By default XBMC 11 ships with the Confluence skin that, while it looks clean, can easily be replaced by one of the other user-made skins. The most impressive one that I found is the Aeon MQ 3 skin which sports a very modern look that is sure to impress anyone that sets eyes on it.
One of the problems you may encounter when setting up your XBMC on your TV is that it doesn't fill the entire screen or portions of the picture are flowing off the screen. If that ends up being the case, there is an easy way to correct the problem either using the software for your video card or settings in XBMC.
If you are using multiple instances of XBMC throughout your house one thing you'll definitely want to consider is setting up a shared MySQL database that can be used to retain data about the media you have. A good example of this is saving the status of where you left off in a video.
If you're trying to treat your XBMC install like a settop box there is no doubt that you'll want to get a remote control working with it. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases it's not as simple as just plugging in a USB IR receiver and using a remote that was made for the computer.
Yesterday we covered the hardware I chose for building my HTPC, which I'm using solely for watching and streaming video content from sources that are online as well as on my local network. After I got the hardware all put together I started to dive into the software, and I made some notes that may help anyone else who is trying to optimize the performance of their XBMC computer.
If you're seeing choppy video playback on your computer it could be because you are watching a video whose quality is too high for the hardware you're using to view it. Because of how videos are normally encoded they use a variable bitrate as opposed to a constant bitrate.
I've been spending some time optimizing my Windows 7 Media Center installation, and in doing so I've found some good information that has helped me pinpoint why I don't always see perfectly smooth video when streaming to my Xbox 360.
Most of you probably recall the Photosynth project by Microsoft that gave us some breathtaking 3D navigation of popular areas. We haven't heard from the Photosynth team in almost a year, but the University of Washington and Microsoft Reasearch have collaborated on some more awe-inspiring technology.
Yesterday was a big day for Amazon as they began rolling out to beta testers Amazon Video on Demand, a video streaming service. This is the successor to Amazon Unbox, a video on demand service launched by Amazon in 2006. Unbox hasn't become the hit they suspected, partially because of the hassles involved with downloading the movies before being able to watch them.
About a year ago, we wrote about a site called Expert Village which claimed to the the World's Largest How-to Video Site. They have a team of experts who contribute videos explaining how to do something in categories like automotive, beauty & fashion, and parenting. It's a great site and they have all kinds of information available to their site visitors.