What started out as a simple media center application for the X-Box has since grown into one of the most popular and feature-rich media centers for computer users. XBMC Media Center, formerly known as X-Box Media Center, can now be downloaded for practically any system, including Windows, OSX, Apple TV, or Linux. Basically, the idea behind XBMC is to give users an incredible multimedia player experience, turning your computer or device into a fully-integrated multimedia system. In this guide, we will give you some tips and tricks to turn your computer into a fully-functional media center with all of the bells and whistles you could wish for.
Step 1: Download, install and run XBMC on your system
The first step is to head over to XBMC.org/download to download XBMC for your system. You can choose to download XBMC for Windows, Linux, OSX, Apple TV, or XBMC LiveCD. LiveCD is a version of XBMC that can be burned to a CD then run on a system without having to install the application. Once you have downloaded the installer, go ahead and install it, then run XBMC to get a feel for the software.
Step 2: Setup your remote control
What good would a feature-rich media center be if you couldn’t use a remote to control the action from your favorite couch? Before you go out and buy a remote control, be sure to look up which controls will work with XBMC for your particular operating system. It may take a little work to configure your remote control the way you want to, but these programs can help make your remote configuration easy:
- For Windows - WinLIRC or EventGhost can be used to configure practically any standard infrared remote control to work with your Windows system.
- For Apple - You can easily head to the XBMC Configuration pane and set the Apple Remote option to Standard mode.
- For Linux - You can use practically any Windows Media Center remote without any hassle.
- XBMC also has a built-in web server with a remote control tool to use directly on your computer.
Step 3: Customizing XBMC’s look
While the default XBMC skin is beautiful as it is, you can customize the look of your media center with the use of user-create skins. Head over to the XBMC website and hit-up the skins section to get access to some amazing skins. Make sure to install your skins to the right directory if you want to use them:
- Windows - C:Program FilesXBMCskin
- Mac - ~/Library/Application Support/XBMC/skin
- Linux - ~/.xbmc/skin/
Step 4: Managing your media info
The best thing you can do to truly take your XBMC experience to the next level is to make sure that your media collection has all the right information embedded into each file. You can do this with software like Media Companion, which can scrape your movie media collection, grab information such as movie credits, title, year, synopsis, movie posters and images, and more. Once you update your media files with this information, you can run XBMC and you’ll find that all of the information you just embedded into your files will be shown on command. You’ll even be able to use XBMC to search your media collection by specific entries, such as year, director, actor, and much more.