After a year slaving at their keyboards the development team behind XBMC have emerged from their dungeon. The clever XBMC monkeys have at last released XBMC 11, code name Eden. This simple piece of open source software is able to convert any humble PC into a TV blasting multimedia device.
This widely used software has over the years grown a massive community and spread itself across the major computing platform, Windows, Linux, OSX, and iOS. Those willing to jailbreak their AppleTV can even run XMBC on the little black box.
The key to XMBC is the interface, specially designed to be seen on a TV from 10 feet away everything about XMBC is the opposite to how a PC normally works. Favouring remote controls over keyboards and losing the desktop, replaced with animated menu’s this is a proper multimedia centre interface.
Behind the scenes XMBC has received quite an overhaul. Almost every aspect of the code has been improved. Addons Framework, GUI engine, media playback, and skins have all received attention.
Remote control support has been greatly simplified by heavily upgrading JSON-RPC support. The new JPEG decoder and some smart rendering techniques work behind the scenes to improve speed, providing smoother transitions. XBMC 11 is faster and the new transitions seem smoother.
Stability has also received much attention, Addon rollback should prevent unnecessary crashes, new protocols and Improved networking support also help. Other features of the new release include Improved library functions that are simpler and far more powerful. The weather service and Confluence the default skin have received an update. IP weather look up will automatically set the weather location, spooky.
Apple fans have new options to tweek, adjustable refresh rate support along with the now fully working AirPlay –both OS/X . AppleTV owners are already experimenting with XBMC 11, reports are positive with Eden running very smoothly on the little mini Apple.
Versions for Windows, Linux, OSX, and iOS are available, taking XMBC even further is , the awkwardly named XMBCbuntu. Replacing XBMC Live these versions of XBMC build XMBC right into its own build of Ubantu, with integrated browser, flash and the Ubantu desktop. A huge number of addons and customizations allow XMBC to link with TV tuners, control cable boxes, even integrate arcade emulators and other applications.
Eden brings many improvements to a platform that is due to celebrate its tenth birthday next year. Used by many media devices – boxee, vuBox, Lucid – XMBC is the best media interface that no money can buy, it’s free, it’s slick and it’s excellent.