Monday, May 20, 2013

XMBC - Tons of free Movies and TV shows at your Living room


It's been 2 years since I posted my last blog. I guess I found the spark again. I don't know when I am going to stop writing blogs again. I guess until I get better things to do. :P Let's see !!

So, today's topic is XBMC !!!, There are two reasons why I wanted to post an article in middle of this night, One: Its 2am and I coudln't sleep, Two: XMBC is an awesome open source project that I am really happy to know about. So, I decided to spread the awesomeness and if my time permits write a plugin to XBMC for the community. :) 

XMBC, originally, Xbox Media Center  - an open source media center was developed  for XBOX gaming console.  But later, it is no longer supported for XBOX console. However, there seems to be fork project called Xbmc4Xbox. You can find more information at XBMC wiki page

Though I knew about this project about 3 years ago, in recent days it grabbed my attention because XBMC is now developed and supported for Android Platforms as well. Yes, if you are owning an Android mobile phone with decent CPU and RAM, you can install XBMC on your mobile too. You can find more information on prerequisite at XBMC site. And, don't forget to connect to a WI-FI network if you have limited data usage plan. 

XBMC is supported on multiple hardware platforms. If you have an jailbroken Apple TV, you can install on it too. Download link lists all supported hardware platforms. 

My New Gadget - MK812: 

MK 812 from www.miniandroidpc.com
I can install it on my Samsung S III, but I don't want to find buy an USB to HDMI adapter to watch it on my TV, more over I wanted something like Raspberry PI which is cheap and should be connected to my TV all the time. So, after some research, I came across Android Mini PCs.  Its Android-on-stick, based on ARM based processor, Mali-400 MP GPU, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, cable of displaying video upto 1080p, without a inbuilt display or battery. There are hundreds of manufacturers (no known manufacturers) producing this with various hardware configurations and so the tough part was to find a reliable one. I invested considerable amount of time reading forums and review comments for few famous brands among the internet community and I finalized on MK812 from http://www.miniandroidpc.com/. It was $70 and I paid $5 for expedited shipping. The device works without any major concern however at times, HD videos are sluggish. I have been in touch with manufacturer to find a solution for this. I think the pros and cons can stand out as separate post by itself.

Back to XBMC !! 

I installed XBMC on my new MK812 and now I can watch tons of media without connecting my Laptop to my TV every time  I wanted to watch an online video on TV.

I also installed the following plugins in XBMC: 
  • Icefilms.info 
  • 1Channel.ch
  • Navi-x 
  • Einthusan
  • Techsathish.net
  • YouTube 
  • Dailymotion

Few of these plugins, almost all of them except YouTube and DailyMotion, are not developed and hosted in XBMC.org. However, they are developed and hosted on community website www.xmbchub.com. So, you will have to install the developer's plugin repository in order to install the plugin itself. Example, to install Icefilms.info Plugin, you need to install its repository and then install the plugin under Video menu on XBMC. You can also find the instruction on how to install the repository at Google Code site. And, few plugins like Navi-x can be downloaded as zip file and installed directly to XBMC from its System settings. 

Icefilms.info - A great collection movies, TV Shows and music videos. Repository at Google Code 

1Channel.ch - Another movies, TV shows and music vides collections, you will find most of the videos are Standard Definitions, but its vast movie collections compared to Icefilms.info. http://www.xbmchub.com/blog/download/4/

Navi-X - Its a platform by itself which runs inside a XBMC (can also run standalone). Its a content aggregator  provides ability for users to create media playlists and share it with community. I use it mostly to stream Tamil channels. The supports site scrapper option to parse video sites and provide media playlists. Its user driven movie collections are HUGE that I will not be able to write about each of them here.

Einthusan - Indian movies and music videos. I like the video quality and its one of my favorite for watching Indian Movies. 

Techsathis.net - Apart from Youtube, I depend on techsathis.net to watch Tamil TV Shows particularly  Vijay TV Shows. There is no good Plugin for it yet. There is a beta? version available at But I am also want to get my hands dirty developing / improving this plugin. 

Other major plugins like YouTube, DailyMotion, TED Videos are also available. 

With so many options and sources, XMBC is great option to stream online media in your living room with help of cheap hardware.