XBMC main menu with Confluence skin

XBMC Media Center (formerly Xbox Media Center called ) is a available under the terms of the GPL free media center software. It serves to show videos, pictures and music from DVD, hard drive and server as well as playback of audio and video data streams from the Internet.

  • 4.1 Plex
  • Boxee 4.2
  • 4.3 XBMC4Xbox
  • OpenELEC 4.4
  • GeeXboX 4.5
  • 4.6 Raspbmc / Rasplex / XBian


The project itself is understood as a classic Media Center, which is usually operated in the living room on a regular TV and controlled with a remote.

Mainly about XBMC takes the task of cataloging the present with the user media files, organize, visually appealing format and output or play. In contrast to a pure media player XBMC uses additional content from the Internet to give users an added value to the classical pure play functionality: The program can, among other film posters, cast lists, subtitles or trailer to retrieve. This is based on the extensibility of XBMC via downloadable plugins that are provided by third party providers. Thus, inter alia, Internet video portals such as YouTube, Hulu or Veoh, as well as the media libraries of ARD and ZDF will XBMC be available.

Is operated by the software using the mouse ( computer) keyboard, joypad, remote control, web interface, or by a Wiimote WLAN-/Bluetooth-Handy. The surface is completely changed by skins.

Hardware Requirements

XBMC was to the effect designed to conserve existing resources. The program runs on relatively weak (eg, Intel Atom, Raspberry Pi) or older hardware. For the presentation of the user interface yet a 3D-capable graphics card is required.

Currently relevant technologies are promptly taken up by the project and integrated into the software. So XBMC was very early to be able to support video acceleration via appropriate graphics cards (see VDPAU DXVA ) and thus to allow playback of HD video on weaker systems.

Playback capabilities

XBMC supports a variety of audio, video and image formats:

Library function

XBMC offers the opportunity to organize this content in a library with the user. By retrieving additional metadata from the Internet XBMC allows the categorization of content, such as music by Genre, Movies by actors or the assignment of individual episodes of a TV series to a particular season.

The available metadata allow the user to view, for example, all existing on the hard drive science-fiction films of the 1970s and then to decide on the basis of the displayed cover or movie poster, what movie they want to watch. The Browse the library proves to be a central concept of use of the software.


2002 began two programmers independently with the development of a media playing program for the Microsoft Xbox. An occurring under the pseudonyms " d7o3g4q " and "duo " developers wrote software, which he called " Xbox Media Player ". Another developer under the pseudonym " runtime" called his software initially " XBPLAYER ". Later they changed the source code from each other until both programs were fully merged into the Beta 5 version of Xbox Media Player.

With version 5 beta starting the video codec library FFmpeg was used as the basis for the decoding of movie and music files. With the Beta 6 version support was added for the popular MPEG codec Xvid. Until that time, the two developers had the software developed privately for two and only promised to publish the source code of their software only with the version 1.0 also. However, because of the use of standing under the terms of the GNU GPL FFmpeg and Xvid libraries they released after a few complaints the source of the beta 6 of the Xbox Media Player, on 15 October 2002.

In November 2002 came another programmer added by nickname "Frodo ". Until then he had a special program called " YAMP - Yet Another Media Player " developed, which was then combined with the Xbox media player project. The first release of further combined Xbox Media Player was soon afterwards on 14 December 2002 with the version 2.0 (version number 1.0 was skipped). Version 2.0 of the Xbox Media Player was a revised version with a new core based on MPlayer ( but which in turn also uses the codec collections FFmpeg and Xvid).

On 28 December 2002 finally version 2.1 was released, which offered in addition to numerous bug fixes AC3 5.1 sound (Dolby Digital), volume normalization and additional effects filters as innovations. Two weeks later, on 12 January 2003, the final version 2.2 of this development branch, which has a Dashboardmodus to start another Xbox programs, separate interface translation files, streams of Windows shares, playback of ISO9660 - CDs, and support for Windows Media Video ( WMV ) using Windows DLLs bot.

According to this version the project in Xbox Media Center was renamed because it was in a unique dashboard with a full graphical user interface into a complete media center and thus grown to be a substitute for the preinstalled Xbox Dashboard.

The name " XBox Media Center " kept the project at some time, as it was already available for various other platforms. Today ( as of 2011), The project is called " XBMC Media Center". The support for the XBox platform will no longer continue due to the limitations of the system in the tooths since May 27, 2010 by the lead developer team.

From the developers of the end of January 2011 was presented a version for Apple 's iOS, which are provided for AppleTV2, iPad and iPhone4.

Since 2012, XBMC is available for the Raspberry Pi mini- computer. It can thus act as a media center for a TV or PC monitor via the HDMI port, or composite and 3.5 mm jack plug (for higher demands on the sound output via USB sound card).


On XBMC -based projects


Mid-2008 decided some developers, the Xbox Media Center specially develop for Mac OS and Apple iOS. The resulting therefrom development branch is called Plex and is based on the Linux version of XBMC. Since 2011, Plex runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS and Android operating systems.


Likewise, since mid-2008, based on the XBMC project " Boxee ", which puts an emphasis on the integration of social networks exist. Boxee was available for Mac OS, Linux, Windows, and Apple TV until early 2012, software for desktop computers has been set, however, as the company looks to the future set-top boxes like Boxee Box and Iomega TV with Boxee.


After the termination of further support for the Xbox platform, the project XBMC4Xbox was launched. As far as possible, one tries to leave here incorporated improvements from the original project.


OpenELEC (Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center ) is a free operating system that brings the preconfigured media center software XBMC and third-party plug-ins and retro video game console emulators and PVR extensions. OpenELEC is an extremely small and fast -booting Linux operating system - primarily designed to boot from flash memory devices such as Compact Flash or SSD hard drives.


GeeXboX sat earlier for the user interface on a self-development called " Enna ". With the development of GeeXboX 2.0, this approach was, however, dropped; Instead, XBMC has been integrated as a user interface.

Raspbmc / Rasplex / XBian

Raspbmc, RasPlex and XBian are run on Debian -based Linux distributions, the XBMC on the Raspberry Pi.


The XBMC source code is open in front under the GNU General Public License so it is free software.