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XBMC

February 16, 2011

So if you have a home theater system based on a home theater PC as described in a previous post, you may be wondering how you’re going to make it all work together. You have a projector or TV, a sound system, and a computer. Neat, now you can browse the internet on a screen that’s entirely too large, right? Kinda. If you have all of your movies on DVDs or BluRays, it’s time to get them stored digitally for easier access. I’m not going to go over how to do that, so the rest of this post is going to assume that you muts have already done that.

Moving on then. You have all these movies/TV shows/music stored on your HTPC (or, at the very least, have direct access to them from the HTPC), so how do you make them easy to browse without manually going through folders on your computer and searching for a movie all while squinting at your high resolution screen? You use XBMC. XBMC, or Xbox Media Center, was an app designed and used on the original XBOX system that made browsing your media simple and easy. Since it was designed, it has moved over to being only for the XBOX to being for PCs and Macs as well. XBMC is an open-source, free project that is constantly being updated.

So how do you use it? Well, you install the program on your HTPC, run through all the setup nonsense and hopefully if you’re not dumb enough you’ve added your media to the library so that it’s easily accessible the next time you go to watch a flick which will probably be in the next ten minutes since everyone knows you have nothing better goin on. Now, when you fire up your home theater system, XBMC starts up and bang! there’s all your movies and TV shows for your browsing pleasure. Kinda looks like this:

XBMC Back Row Screenshot

There’s a bunch of other bells and whistles that it has as well like weather and whatnot, but I’m not going to get into that because it’s better for you people that never see the light of day to go check out the whether outside for yourself.

XBMC.org

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