Intro FAQ

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Home icon grey.png   ▶ Intro FAQ


1 What is XBMC?

XBMC (formerly "Xbox Media Center") is a free, open source (GPL) multimedia player that runs on the Microsoft Xbox™, as well as on PCs running Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. The software is in the process of being ported from its original Xbox version, and currently some platforms are not yet feature-complete.

2 What can XBMC do?

  • XBMC can be used to play/view the most popular video, audio, and picture formats, and many more lesser-known formats, including:
  • Video - DVD-Video, VCD/SVCD, MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, XviD, Matroska
  • Audio - MP3, AAC.
  • Picture - JPG, GIF, PNG.

These can all be played directly from a CD/DVD, or from the hard-drive. XBMC can also play multimedia from a computer over a local network (LAN), or play media streams directly from the Internet.

  • XBMC can play DVD-Video movies (with and without menus) from ISO/IMG images and even ZIP/RAR-archives.
  • XBMC has playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations.
  • XBMC can in addition run python-scripts written for XBMC as plugin widgets.
  • XBMC has a simple user interface that's pleasant and easy to use.

All these features enable your device to function as a full multimedia jukebox.


3 What features does XBMC have?

See the complete list of supported features.

3.1 Does XBMC support or feature this and that function...?

See the complete list of supported features/formats here or try it yourself and find out!

You might also want to look in the manual.

3.2 Exactly which media formats can XBMC play?

See the complete list of supported features/formats here, if it is not listed there then XBMC does not support it (yet)!

3.2.1 What media codec versions can XBMC play?

Again, See the complete list here

4 Does XBMC support High Definition (HD) resolution media?

Yes and no, but the answer is a little more complicated than that, see bellow:

4.1 XBMC for XBox

In general, XBMC running on a standard Xbox cannot play native HD format videos, but can upscale standard definition or lower format video to HD resolutions.

The XBox's 733Mhz Intel Pentium-III CPU, is too slow to play native HD video (Microsoft® and DivX® recommends a 2.4 Ghz PC + 384MB RAM for 720p MPEG-4 playback!). This means that you might only get maybe 10-20fps (frames per second) displayed, which will appear jerky and un-viewable.

On a standard XBox the following HD formats are supported:

  • 480i/480p/576i/576p output at 480p (Not Scaled).
  • 480i/480p/576i/576p output at 720p (Upscaled).
  • 480i/480p/576i/576p output at 1080i (Upscaled).

The following video resolutions are NOT supported, at any output resolution:

  • 720p
  • 1080i

4.1.1 Upgraded Processor

It is possible to upgrade the processor in an Xbox (for example, with the DreamX-1400 from FriendTech, to one which is at capable of decoding some native HD videos (i.e. those encoded with MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 ASP (H.263) at up to 720p). FriendTech do offers trade-in). Note! You must enable/setup your HDTV settings in Microsoft dashboard, (on NTSC Xboxes).

4.2 XBMC for Linux, XBMC for Mac, and XBMC for Windows

Since the components in a personal computer running Linux, Mac or Windows operating systems can be upgraded, the limit of resolution that XBMC is able to playback will be dependent on the exact hardware in that system. Note however that the primary dependency is the CPU, because XBMC uses software decoding for all video streams.

4.3 Does XBMC support Blu-ray or HD DVD playback with out without menus?

No. There is not yet any C/C++ open source software out there yet capable of fully playing back Blu-ray or HD DVD so we can not add the code from somewhere in any case. FFmpeg (the open source codec-suit that XBMC uses) will probably relativly soon be able to decode all audio and video codecs used in both Blu-ray and HD DVD, but even when that happens you still have to get around the DRM encryptions used by the disc formats and there is not yet any C/C++ open source software library capable of that on-the-fly, nither is there any C/C++ open source software library out there capable of displaying Blu-ray or HD DVD menus. XBMC need C/C++ open source software libraries for all of these things to fully support Blu-ray or HD DVD playback.

5 Where can I suggest/request a new feature or function to be implemented into XBMC?

You can log a NEW feature/function request in our RFE Request Feature Tracking System, (we recommend you register and login on our Trac tracking-system, if you are already registered on on the XBMC Community Forum then know it is the same login so no need to re-register). Just make sure that you first remember to search for existing "Feature Requests" before logging a new request! You should take note that we guesstimate that 99% of all new requests XBMC users post have already been requested before so it is imperative that you search thoroughly! You may also post a copy of your suggestion in the feature-suggestion section of our community-forums if you want it open for discussion, however, again you must search there too before you can post, (we do not enjoy reorganising duplicate posts). Please respect that your request only counts as a suggestion, there' s no guarantee that it will implemented soon or ever. Known that almost all users think their own ideas is the most important, and a very common comment is: "if you only add these features then XBMC will be perfect for me". Note! Only one feature per RFE Request and Forum Thread is allowed (for easier manageability).

6 When will this and that feature or function be supported by XBMC?

XBMC development is driven by the tasks that are important to the individual developers, none of whom are paid for what they do on the project. If there is a feature that is important to you, the best way to get it implemented is to undertake the task yourself, otherwise you have no rights to demand new things to be implemented and get no guarantees that some specific thing will be prioritized before something else. You may however suggest/request for things and if you ask nicely. Please respect that your request only counts as a suggestion, there' s no guarantee that it will implemented soon or ever. Known that almost all users think their own ideas is the most important, and a very common selfish comments are: "if you only add these features then XBMC will be perfect for me" and "I think you should prioritize my idea over anything else". If you make a good argument and present it in a smart way then developer might then like your idea and implement the thing you asked for.

Meanwhile, we recommend that you read this article on How To Ask Questions The Smart Way. Arrogant and 'pushy' people will most likely just be ignored (or even banned if they step over the line which we consider to be acceptable).

If you are thinking of contributing code to the project, please see "Appendix D: Development Notes".

7 Can I update the audio/video codecs in XBMC myself?

No. XBMC relies on a built-in open source codec suit called FFmpeg. XBMC codecs get updated on a regular basis by the developers of Team-XBMC when FFmpeg programmers add support for newer or updated codecs and file containers. Please see Codec and Format requests for more information.

8 Where can I request/suggest a new codec-decoder or file-format to be implemented into XBMC?

The answer (and explanation) to this question is so long that we had to put it in separate page, see; Codec and Format requests.

9 When will this and that codec-decoder or file-format be added and supported by XBMC?

The answer (and explanation) to this question is so long that we had to put it in separate page, see; Codec and Format requests.

10 Is XBMC, The XBMC Project, or Team-XBMC affiliated with Microsoft in any way?

No, XBMC, The XBMC Project and its members are not in any way affiliated with Microsoft in any way. XBMC is only a software program that is made by Team-XBMC (ie, the members of the The XBMC Project) as a free third-party product that any person can install and run on the Xbox™ game-console hardware (which is manufactured and sold by Microsoft Corporation).

XBMC, The XBMC Project (and its members, Team-XBMC) and the services (including developer tools, resources, download areas, files, source code, product information, documentations and communication forums, collectively called "Services") provided by us has nothing to do with Microsoft by any association or affiliation what so ever.

XBMC is not approved by Microsoft to run on the Xbox, in fact installing/running XBMC on your Xbox may very well void your warranty! Microsoft does however have similar products to XBMC for the Xbox called "Media Center Extender for Xbox" (a.k.a. "Xbox Media Center Extender Kit") and "Xbox Music Mixer", which are both very limited feature/function-wise in our own humble opinion.

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