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do I need XBMC?
hello All,

I am planning to build a media center on a Linux box.

What I would like to do is:
  • play local video files
  • stream video from the net or local servers
  • watch TV
  • record from TV

As far as I know it should be possible to do this with a simple Ubuntu box with Xine and some very well known players.

So, should I bother about XBMC, MythTV, and such?
What would I miss if I did not?

thanks for your comments,
ubuntu + xbmc in front end for mythtv backend (for tv)
should be good
Passion-XBMC Repository Download your SVN skins and addons
TvTunes Addon Download Play your theme while browsing library
TVshow Next Aired display next aired infos from
Logo Downloader Script download Logo/clearart/show thumbs/poster/banner
Bande-Annonce Allociné plugin watch trailers in french and vo
SportLive Script Live score match info in XBMC (not compatible dharma)
or tvheadend for backend
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Gnome Wrote:do I need XBMC?

Yes. Yes, you do.

IMO, it's by far the most versatile, customizable, user friendly, complete and compatible media solution out there. And it's free.

I'm "only" using it on an old Xbox, so I can't really answer all your points (I leave that one for PC users), but I know that I will never part with my XBMC-box until one of us dies..

XBMC is easy, looks awesome (with the right skin and setup), handles extremely well and it can still impress the hell out of people that come over Wink Granted, in my case, these are mainly people that only use their computers for sending e-mails and downloading cake recipes, but still it's nice to showboat with such a great and smooth app. For me, it's really an all-in-one powerhouse, even on that ancient black piece of gaming history!

You don't NEED it. There are lots of apps to do the things you want individually.

However for me a large part of the experience is the Library interface. Flicking through my movies via posters with fanart backdrops. It's more immersive and more intuitive from the couch with a remote.

Plus my wife can do it..... Wink
Well XBMC itself is not able to play or record from TV. But a full blown media center like Mythtv can be integrated as a backend to XBMC (this might need some work).

I' recommend to use XBMC as a player/frontend for TV-mediacenter software like Mythtv because the library browsing looks so very sexy and it is full of online-viewing features (via plugins).

Alternatively mythtv would work by itself for your purpose, if you don't want to install more than one program for the same function.

If you are using windows you could also look at mediaportal which has integrated tv viewing/recording support.
If you're just looking to simply get the job done and play media, there are a lot of other ways to do it.

If you want the best way to browse your media, you've come to the right place.
I was going to ask a similar question, so putting it here is more appropriate.

I intend to use my current computer, which is used for gaming and typical computer stuff as a htpc, so is XBMC even a good fit considering I'll be using a m+kb in Windows 7 for most activities? Other than some powerful features for a dedicated media machine is there a reason for me to use it on a non-media dedicated machine? Does it have better media playing compatibility with HDTVs out of the box vs mpc? I honestly don't mind navigating windows to launch movies if it has no advantage over mpc.

...but once they see it, they usually WANT it.

I can really only give you some idea of my setup - it's a dedicated MythTV backend (for recording live tv), plus my mixed use HTPC hooked up to my bigscreen. Probably used for ~75% HTPC duty, and 25% "other" (email, games, web surfing).

I start and stop XBMC as needed - what it gives me is a beautiful interface that is operable from the remote when I just want to sit back and relax and watch some movies / tv. Every one of my friends who has seen it so far wants one, because it looks so great. Beyond that, it has the ability to easily organize your movies, and quickly tack on extras like movie info and synopsis. All of my DVDs are ripped and put into the library, which I can access from my couch whenever I want.

In my case, my desire for a MythTV backend was what really meant I needed a frontend. MythTV handles the TV scheduling and recording, and XBMC lets me access it. Without MythTV (or something similar), you really just have a hi-tech VCR.

Plus, one of my favorite things about XBMC was that the setup was relatively straightforward. It's certainly not easy, but compared to some other media centers (and I had tried many), it was almost immediately possible to get basic functionality running, and then pretty quick to get things customized as I wanted.

But best of all, you don't have anything to lose by trying it out, because the great folks here are fine with giving it away. If you really don't care about the eye candy and organization, you may be just fine with a file manager and your mouse. If not, give it a spin and see if you like it. I've tried most of the media centers (for both linux and windows), and XBMC is where I've stopped.
+1 to pablofred for putting it eloquently, although I would quibble that a full MythTV setup is "only" a VCR: the MythTV front-end is more capable than just VCR functionality.

Where I completely agree is that XBMC just rocks majorly as a complete media front-end, putting MythTV front-end to shame. And that's both at a desktop and at the "10-foot" experience.
I gotta agree with everyone else on this.

You -CAN- do this with other software, but why? Laugh Install it & give it a roll, I think you'll be extremely impressed.

XBMC is beautiful & once set up exceptionally easy to navigate with the remote.

For TV, depending on your location/tuner type, there are many options. I use MythTV & an HD-Homerun for ATSC broadcasts, but I still end up going back to the native myth frontend client more often then not :-(.... Though the Myth integration in XBMC keeps growing by leaps & bounds, for ME, it's 'not there yet' (though many are using it & loving it). I'm extremely excited about the PVR branch & myth:// library integration for TV that seem to be on the near-ish horizon.

I've been using XBMC since it was XBMP, and it's amazing to me how it never fails to get better with every release!
I've always though that if someone doesn't see the merit in software such as this, that it isn't for them.
I've used XBMC in the past when my roommate put it on his xbox and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. I've even installed it on my computer to run through it.

I'm very impressed with it, but I suppose I can only justify using it if the computer I placed it on were only a dedicated htpc machine, if I wanted more convenience with a remote over a m+kb, or there was a way to externally launch other programs on the computer through the same interface. However, as this will be ~50% or more used for things that aren't movie/tv related I'll have to put this aside until I build myself a separate box dedicated to media playback or there is an interface that allows launching external programs like firefox & games.

Nonetheless, thanks for your input everyone.
@crackers - I get what you're saying, but the distinction I draw between VCR and PVR/DVR is that with a P/DVR you don't just schedule a recording for a time, you use a guide to pick a show and set it to repeat (generally), which simplifies life.

@rupert - have you got MythWeb setup and running? If not, check it out. It lets me easily do all the things that XBMC still is a bit lacking in (at least the non-PVR branch) like setting up recordings and managing them. Plus, with a little effort, it will let you schedule stuff outside your home network (on my phone!!). No need for me to ever hit the mythfrontend app, which I like because it is a bit difficult/slow to run it remotely.
pablofred Wrote:@crackers - I get what you're saying, but the distinction I draw between VCR and PVR/DVR is that with a P/DVR you don't just schedule a recording for a time, you use a guide to pick a show and set it to repeat (generally), which simplifies life.

My bad - I mis-parsed what you'd written. I actually completely agree with your VCR analogy (I had thought you were referring to the MythTV front-end, not XBMC minus the recording functionality.)

do I need XBMC?00