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An impressive feature of XBMC is its ability to display custom thumbnails (also known as an "icon") on most items displayed. You can assign thumbnails to folders, programs, music, videos, bookmarks, and of course pictures. You can choose to let XBMC automaticly download thumbnails for music-albums and video/movies from the internet or you can create your very own custom thumbnails, (or you can download custom thumbnails that others have created).


1 Custom Thumbnails

You can easily create your very own user-defined thumbnails on your computer with image tools like Adobe PhotoShop or Paint Shop Pro (or even Paint in Windows). You can alternativly downloaded thumbnails that others have created from the internet (from places like and many XBMC fan forums). Then you simply have to rename those thumbnails and transfer/copy them to the right location and XBMC will display them. Use JPG or PNG (with transparancy) image-format, and size of the picture to anything from 128x128 to 256x256 in pixel size, (the larger the image is the better it will look on a good display but at the same time large thumbnails loads slower). On a non-HDTV displays a image that is approx 100x140 is recomended for video/movies thumbnails (which is the size that is most common on IMDb), and approx 75x75 for music-albums (which is the default size on For 720p/1080i HDTV displays a size of approx 182x256 for video/movies thumbnails, and approx 200x200 for music-albums (such music-albums can be found on

2 Thumbnailing Individual Items in a Single Directory

Name the icon file the same as the file you would like it to display for with a .tbn extension ie: Transformers.avi, Transformers.tbn. This is particularly useful for using custom thumbnails for movies.



3 Folder Thumbnails

If you store each of your movies and music-albums in a separate subfolder to keep things organized, you can also make the movie folder have a custom thumbnail image. To do this you eiter need to save your JPG/PNG thumbnail as folder.jpg and place it in your movie/album folder, or you can save it was <foldername>.tbn and place it inside the same folder and you folder is located, (remember, XBMC first checks for <foldername>.tbn before checking for folder.jpg). Note that it MUST be named .jpg, even if it is a .png format image.





Now your album/artist folder will have a lovely custom thumbnail-image.

4 Program Thumbnails

In order to display the image displayed for a game, emulator or application, simply rename the desired image default.tbn and place it in the folder where the corresponding default.XBE is located.

5 Music Thumbnails

Music Thumbs are assigned as part of a multitier process. First, the Tag Reader runs and caches any embedded art using the folder path and the album name. If the album name is unavailable, its cached using the fully qualified name. (This assumes, of course, that you have tag reading enabled). You can also use "Get Thumb" to download the album thumbnail from (AMG) for a specific album/folder or do a scan of all your music files in all shars. Thumbs also get downloaded when you rip AudioCD's to your Xbox with XBMC (which is described in the Ripping CDs section). Recomended is that you store each of your music-albums or artists in a separate subfolder to keep things organized. You can also of cource make the folder have a custom thumbnail image.

Notes: Running a scan automatically enables 'tag reading' so everything can be cached. Once a scan is run, all your files and their associated thumbs are stored in the database. When you first enter a folder path, XBMC checks the database before all this occurs. If the items are found in the database, all of this is skipped because the information is already known.
Using Album Information will allow you to choose to use the cover art available to download from, press the "Get Thumb" button to bring up a choice of the local thumbs you have, the current thumb, and the thumb.

Then the code which assigns thumbs to files runs and assigns thumbs in the following order:

1) Cached Album Thumb
This is all the embedded album art read from by the tag reader and cached using the folder path and album name.
2) Cached filename.tbn
This includes an embedded thumb cached with the fully qualified name.
3) Remote filename.tbn
(which is then cached)
4) Cached folder.jpg
Based off the folder path
5) Remote folder.jpg
(which is then cached)
6) Remote foldername.tbn
(which is then cached)


In this example audiofilename.mp3 will use audiofilename.tbn as thumbnail:


The same goes for playlists, cue-sheets, SHOUTcast, and internet-stream files, eg:


6 Video Thumbnails


You can either use your own custom tumbnails or youu can let XBMC download video tumbnails from the internet via IMDb (Internet Movie Database). When getting thumbs from IMDb you can either selecting each file and pressing the black-button on the controller ("Info" on the DVD-Remote) or choosing "Movie Information" from the context menu. Or you you can select the share/folder that your videos are in and choose "Query Info for all Files" from the context menu, this will scan all movies in that share/folder and automaticly download movie-info and a tumbnail for each movie that is found on IMDb.

XBMC applies thumbs to video files in the following order:

1) Cached Thumb
Thumbs are cached to UserData\Thumbnails\Video using the CRC of the path of the file or folder.
2) User Thumb
For files, XBMC checks <filename>.tbn and uses that if it exists. The thumb is cached the first time it is read. For folders, XBMC first checks for <foldername>.tbn in the same directory as the folder lies, if no such file exsit it then checks for folder.jpg inside the folder. In either case the first found thumb of those is cached.
3) IMDb Thumbs
When you do a "Movie Information" lookup on a movie XBMC will download the thumbnail from [[IMDB|IMDb (Internet Movie Database)]. The "Get Thumb" option from the movie information screen can be then used to switch between the IMDb thumb and any user-defined thumb you may have.



For the above example moviename.avi will now use the thumbnail moviename.tbn

The same goes for playlists, and internet-stream files, eg:


7 Picture Thumbnails

XBMC applies thumbs to picture files in the following order:

1) Cached Thumb
Thumbs are cached to UserData\Thumbnails\Pictures using the CRC of the path of the file or folder.
2) Images
EXIF thumbnail in JPEG images are then read. If no EXIF thumbnail is available, XBMC will load the image in and generate a thumbnail from it. These are cached.
3) Folders
<folder>/folder.jpg is checked first. If that doesn't exist, XBMC will generate a thumbnail from up to 4 random images inside the folder.

8 Bookmark Thumbnails

You can change the thumbnail displayed for a bookmark by editing UserData\sources.xml. Simply modify your bookmark as shown: <xml> <bookmark>


</bookmark> </xml>

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