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. I can only imagine the amount of time that’s been spent on the skin given how polished it is.

So how do you get an awesome skin like Aeon MQ 3 installed? For some of the skins they are offered directly through the official XBMC repository (Settings -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> XBMC.org Add-ons -> Skin), and there are a couple of skins in there that are worth checking out. One of my favorites is probably Transparency, but I still prefer Aeon MQ 3.

For Aeon MQ 3, the process is a bit different. For this particular one you’ll either need to download the skin manually or you can set up the developer’s repository. I’m going to show you how to set up the repository and install the skin that way because that means you’ll be able to get future updates a lot easier. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download the “Skin Aeon MQ 3 – Repository” file
  2. In XBMC navigate to Settings -> Add-ons
  3. Select the option to Install From ZIP File
  4. Browse for the repository file you downloaded and add it
  5. You should be automatically returned back to the Add-ons screen. From there go to Get Add-ons -> Repo Aeon MQ 3 -> Skin -> Aeon MQ 3. You should now see the Install button to install the theme.
  6. When the download finishes you should get a prompt asking if you want to switch to the new skin. Choose Yes.
  7. When you go back to the XBMC home screen you’ll be prompted with a short wizard that walks you through a couple of the basic configuration steps. You’ll also be able to choose how complex/customizable you want the skin to be. For myself I went with the Normal option, but don’t fret too much over any of the options you choose because you can always go back and change them in the skin settings.

You should now be sporting a refreshed XBMC look and feel, but to really take advantage of it you’ll need to dive into some of the skin’s settings (Settings -> Skin). If you went with the Aeon MQ 3 theme you may want to enable some of the alternate views for your videos:

  1. In XBMC go to Settings -> Skin -> ViewTypes and browse through the different views that are available. Turn on any of the views you think you might want to use, but note that some of the views require other add-ons since they use artwork that the built-in TV/movie scraper doesn’t grab. This is what the view selection looks like:
    Xbmc 3d view
  2. Navigate back to one of your media folders in XBMC, and you should be able to either press the up/down or left/right arrow to make the view menu appear along the left side of the screen. From there you can switch between any of the views you just enabled as well as tweak certain aspects of each of the views.
    Xbmc banner view

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