Quick start guide
|General topics||First time user||Quick start guide|
This guide is designed to get you up and running with XBMC in the shortest time possible, and was written with the most typical use cases in mind. For more in depth information please refer to the XBMC online wiki manual.
The XBMC interface is designed with the 'Home Theater' in mind. This means it is best viewed on a large-screen TV while you sit on your couch 10-feet away from that TV, rather than on a small monitor while you sit at your desk. Because everything is designed with the home theater experience in mind, the best way to interact with XBMC is with a remote control, rather than a computer mouse. If it helps, think of XBMC as the ultimate DVD-player/set-top-box.
1 Installing XBMC
XBMC can be installed on a wide range of supported hardware, from normal desktop computers, ARM powered tablets and phones, to tiny set-top-boxes, and more.
If you haven't already done so, download XBMC from http://xbmc.org/download/ or see the installation guides here:
See the Installing page for additional guides.
2 Adding files
While you can just use XBMC with plain file views, adding/scanning files to the library will add rich features such as cover art, summaries, thumbnails, trailers, and more.
To just quickly add files see Adding videos to the library/Adding media sources.
2.1 Adding videos to the library
Step 4: Now browse to where you keep your videos stored. Once you have found the folder you keep your videos in, select the "OK" button. If you keep them shared on a network drive, read the Configuring PC Shares article for more information about setting up a share on your computer first.
Step 7: There are a number of options underneath, see Setting content and scanning to check what options to enable. Then select "OK"
2.2 Adding music to the library
In order to be able to include information on your music collection in the library, XBMC needs your music to be tagged. When your collection is scanned, XBMC stores all the tagging information (artist, album, year, genre, etc) in the database which allows you to efficiently search and manage your music collection. Today most media applications and players (e.g. iTunes / iPod) organize music by this ID tag information.
2.3 Adding pictures
Adding sources for your pictures follows the same method as adding other media sources. From the Home Page navigate to Pictures, select Add Source and browse to the location of your picture files.
3 Using a remote control
In XBMC the primary environment was designed for the living room (10-foot interface) and controlling it only with a remote control. While XBMC does support mouse, keyboard, and even touch controls, the main method of controlling XBMC is designed around is the typical remote. This further enhances the appliance feel of the XBMC and fits next to (or replaces) the other remotes that are likely to be in your entertainment room.
4 XBMC add-ons
Add-ons are packages that add features and functions not normally included with XBMC. Add-ons are developed by people on Team XBMC and third-parties. XBMC has a growing list of community driven add-ons for online content like YouTube, Hulu, Grooveshark, Pandora Radio, as well as skins (themes) and more available from a common official repository, while still enabling third-party developers to also host their own unofficial repositories for add-ons that any user can choose to add themselves if they like.
For this example a skin is being installed, the same method is used for other add-ons.
When the add-on has finished downloading XBMC will enable it and depending on the add-on ask if you want to start using it. Add-ons will then appear in their appropriate section (e.g. skins in the appearance section of settings, movie scrapers in the options of scrapers when adding a new movie source)
5 Changing the look and feel of XBMC
XBMC is unlike many contemporary media and gaming centers, in that it can be easily customized to look completely different using skins while still remaining equally as useable and providing access to all your videos, music, and more.
To get new skins, go to:
You will be provided a list of currently installed skins and an option to "Get More..." where you can download additional skins.
6 Important note about the Context Menu
As you read this wiki and experiment on your own, you will quickly learn about the value of the context menu.
To use it, while highlighting an item, press the C key on the keyboard. If you are using a mouse, you can right click while hovering over an item. With remote controls, this is normally thebutton.
7 Alternative guides
- Lifehacker.com - Create a Kickass, Seamless, Play-Everything Media Center: The Complete Guide
- The Frodo Guide by Henry Ford
- Beginner Tip: How to add videos to XBMC Frodo/pre-Frodo from a network share by Nathan Betzen
- Makeuseof.com - How to set up your XBMC Media Center
- XBMC Install and Config HOW-TO for Linux Its for xvba, however apart from drivers the rest is a MUST read for Linux novices.
7.1 Video guides