In XBMC one of the things that is probably the most important is to get the software hooked up to your personal media. This includes media from all of your various collections like videos, pictures, and music. If you’re new to XBMC you’ll probably be better off adding your first source or two through the XBMC interface, but after that you can make the changes a little more quickly by directly updating the appropriate configuration file. So we will show you both ways.

We will even take things a step further and explain how you can have all your XBMC instances share the same configuration file. With that in place anytime you add a new source to the configuration file that same source will be added to any XBMC instance using that file.

Note that our tutorials below are going to focus on videos, but a similar process can also be applied to music and pictures.

Adding Sources in XBMC

Here are the steps you need to follow if you want to add your media to XBMC through the built-in interface.

  1. Go to Videos -> Files -> Add Videos
  2. XBMC will let you add sources in one of two ways:
    1. Click the Browse button and browse for your media based on the type of source:
      Xbmc browse shared media
    2. If you know the path to your media source you can just enter it in manually:
      Highlight the None option and press Enter:
      Xbmc manual media 1
      Enter in the path and select Done:
      Xbmc manual media 2
  3. Enter a name for your media source at the bottom of the window and press Enter:
    Xbmc media source name
  4. Select the type of media the folder contains so that it can scrape information from the Internet for each of the files contained within the folder:
    Xbmc media source type

Adding Sources in the Config File

If you have a ton of folders that you want added to XBMC then using the interface above may not be the most efficient and practical method. You can speed things up a bit by editing the configuration file directly. For starters go ahead and close out of XBMC, and then navigate to your profile folder:

  • Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/XBMC/userdata/
  • Windows: %appdata%\XBMC\userdata\

Once in your profile directory find and open up the sources.xml file. If the file doesn’t already exist I recommend adding a source in the XBMC interface first so that you can see what the structure of the file looks like. When it comes to videos you’ll be adding nodes in the <video> section of the file that look like this:

<path pathversion="1">smb://</path>

In my particular case this will create a source pointing to a shared SMB/Samba/CIFS folder for movies that I had set up. You can also use paths to local folders or any of the supported source types.

There is one caveat that I should mention about adding media directly through the sources XML file. While any changes you make to the file should be reflected in XBMC once you restart the app you’ll still need to go in and update the type of videos contained in the source. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. In XBMC go the Videos -> Files
    Xbmc video content scraper 1
  2. Highlight the source you just added, and then open the context menu by pressing “C” on the keyboard. Then select the Change Content option:
    Xbmc video content scraper 2
  3. Now you can choose the type of media contained in the source (TV shows, movies, music videos):
    Xbmc video content scraper 3

Sharing One Config File

How about we take a look at sharing the XML file now that you have already familiarized yourself with the file itself. The process is pretty simple, and for a more detailed explanation I will refer you to our guide on sharing configuration files in XBMC.

For more experienced users I will point out that all you need to do is add the following lines to your advancedsettings.xml file:


Just update the path with the shared location of the sources.xml file. Repeat this process for every instance of XBMC you have running in your house and they should all pick up any sources that you add or remove.

After doing all of this may need to run through the steps mentioned above for setting the content type on each of the sources since that’s not configurable through the sources.xml file, but that’s just a minor step.

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