Installing XBMC ( Xbox Media Center) on your computer can be a bit overwhelming at first, but the effort will be well worth it in the long run. With XBMC, which by the way is no longer related to the Xbox, although that is where is began, you can watch streaming video, audio, live TV, recorded TV, HD Movies, over the air TV, Blu-Ray movies, DVDs, Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu, Youtube videos, Internet Radio and much much more. Aimed at HTPC users XBMC is a great (and free) program with a massive user community that is willing to help should you come across any glitches. The most recent build of XBMC codenamed Frodo can be installed on numerous systems including Windows, OSX, IOS, Linux, even the rasberryPI.
This DIY guide will be using Windows 8, but the process is similar for most desktop systems. for windows the requirements are as follows:
- OS minimum supported: Windows XP with Service Pack 3.
- OS recommended: Windows 7, which is required for hardware video decoding.
- Windows Home Server and Windows Server are not supported but have been reported to work with some tweaks.
- For end-users the recommended minimum requirement is a x86-based computer, with a Graphic adapter that supports DirectX version 9.0c.
- x86 (Intel/AMD-based) processor with SSE support.
- Intel Pentium 4, Intel Pentium M, Intel Atom or better CPU.
- AMD Athlon XP/64, AMD Opteron, or better CPU.
- Fast modern (last few years) dual-core processor is required to decode H.264 videos in FullHD (1080p) without the assistance of a hardware video decoder.
- ATI/AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA graphic controller.
- ATI Radeon R420 (X800) or newer supported, ATI Radeon R700 (HD 4000) or newer recommended.
- Intel GMA 950 (945G) or newer supported, Intel GMA X4500HD (G45) or newer recommended.
- NVIDIA GeForce 6-Series and newer supported, GeForce 8-Series and newer recommended.
I will be installing XBMX on my 4 year old netbook and most if not all feature work fine, so if you have a relativity new PC you should be fine.
The first hing you will want to do is visit XBMC.org and click on downloads. Select your operating system and download the file. If windows prompts you to accept the download click yes.
once the file has downloaded find it in your download directory and open the XBMC install file.
Be sure to check all of the boxes, even if you do not currently have a TV Tuner card, you might want one in the future once you see how cool it is.
choose the location you wish to install XBMC, if you are not sure just keep the default and click next.
If you want to name the install folder something different ( not recommended) this is the time, if not just click next.
let the program install, it will take a few minutes.
Once the install is complete check the box that reads “Run XBMC” and click Finish.
XBMC may take a minute of so to load the first time, once it does use the arrows keys or mouse to find the “Videos” menu item and select the sub-menu item “files”. We are going to add the location of your movies/TV Shows that are stored on your hard drive or network.
Select the “Add Videos” option.
Click Browse and navigate to the location of your files.
Once you are inside the root folder that contains your media files/folders, click “OK”.
Click on the folder name to rename it.
Rename the folder to something logical such as “Movies” or “TV Shows” and then click Done.
Go back into the Video menu and right click on the folder you just added, select choose thumbnail. Depending on the theme you use you may or may not see this thumbnail in the future, but it is best to add user friendly thumbnails instead of the default folder icon.
Navigate to the location of your thumbnails.If you don’t yet have any thumbnails you can get tons of great and free thumbnails here from Xenzer over at the mediabrowser forum. Unzip his icons and save them in a location you will remember.
You can see the new icon is much more appealing. Now right click on your newly added folder and select change content.
This is the area that XBMC uses to detect what type of files your folder contains. for my example I selected TV shows, but you should select what ever type best identifies your media. For now leave all the other settings alone.
Once your folder is added it is time to customize the view. Enter into your newly added folder under the Videos suction, and click on the small grey arrow along the right side of the screen.
Choose which ever view you enjoy best.
Repeat the above steps for all of your media folders. Once you have added the folders you need we will hide a few of the administrative settings to make the user interface less cluttered. Go to the main menu and scroll all the way to the right, select the sub menu “settings” form the System menu.
Click on the appearance tab.
Under the File Lists Tab uncheck the “Show Parent Folder” and “Show Add Source” check boxes.
Now that your XBMC interface is more user friendly lets set your computer to start XBMC on when it boots.
Navigate to your XBMC folder, it should be under C:\Program Files\XBMC
copy the XBMC.exe file.
Now paste the file in your startup folder, it should be at :
There is an endless number of customizations you can make to XBMC, this is only the beginning. Be sure to check back for more DIY walkthroughs on how to install plugins, the best add-ons for XBMc and how to setup features such as Live Tv, Netflix and more!
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