XBMC 13.0 Gotham

Open source media playing freeware, now known as Kodi

  • Category:

    Players

  • Version:

    13.0 Gotham

  • Works under:

    Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP

  • Also available for:

    Mac

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free (GPL)
  • Vote:
    7.2 (312)
XBMC 13.0 Gotham
XBMC 2014

XBMC was initially created as the Xbox Media Center from Microsoft, but it is now known as Kodi, an open-source and entirely free media player that supports various media formats. The software refers to itself as a High-Definition Hub, and it includes a number of excellent features.

The great thing about this software is that it's entirely open-source, which means it can be modified by anyone and used as a basis for other digital products. For example, many users of this software came together to use it as a base for Plex, another media center with expanded functionality. Of course, Kodi itself is still a solid option since it has a huge following of users, simple utility, and a sleek interface.

There isn't much that Kodi can't do in the realm of entertainment and media. You can use the software to listen to music, view photo albums, stream live TV, and watch the latest movies. The aesthetic of the Kodi software is obviously based on the intuitive and minimalistic experience of using an Apple TV. You could easily make this app your new default media player, and it works well as an all-in-one hub for media of all sorts. The software is designed to feel like it belongs in an entertainment center and not necessarily a PC, so it supports a wide selection of keyboard shortcuts and compatible remote controls.

Like many other benchmark media playback apps, Kodi uses an interface that can be customized with various skins. The default skin is fine for new users, but those who have the desire to instantly customize the software can do so with skins found online. It's relatively easy to change the skins, so you can find several you enjoy and cycle through them. Many of them are alluring enough that you won't be able to decide on just one.

If you want to use Kodi as a standalone media player, it can guide you through the setup process with the included instructions. It can also show you how to use a network to stream video content. Thanks to the software's compatibility with almost all streaming protocols, it can source media content directly from the web or from other local sources. It has the ability to play video files no matter where they are located. It can play files locked inside archival files, videos saved on your system, and content from physical disks via a disk reader.

Any media files saved to your system will be automatically imported into your Kodi library when the software is initially launched. It will organize your content and expand it with fan art, in-depth descriptions, and cover art. You can take advantage of the multiple slideshow and playlist functions, and the audio visualization tools provide greater entertainment potential.

Pros

  • Beautiful Aesthetic
  • Fast Navigating
  • Full Media Suite
  • Streaming Video
  • Multiple Skins

Cons

  • Customization Isn't Easy
  • Navigational Learning Curve

An extremely capable open-source media hub favored by multimedia enthusiasts for its ability to play anything and stream thousands of video channels.

XBMC is a popular multimedia software application that has just reached version thirteen, adding and refining dozens of new features through the support and input of a large user community. At its core, the application locates and plays video, music, and pictures from a user's computer, but the program has the potential to extend far further. Plugins extend playback capabilities and enable users to customize every facet of the program. Streaming capabilities provide countless video streams from the length and breadth of the internet, meaning viewers can sit back and listen to a favorite radio station or catch up on a TV show. There are even downloadable DVR addons to record those shows. Weather channels, song lyric applications, the list of tools focused upon entertainment are comprehensive. Despite the large list of channels and entertainment applications built into XBMC, with many more available to download, the program is stable, easy to use, and built as a streamlined operating experience centered on intuitive operation.

The large icons that front the user interface are graphically attractive and colorful. Better than this, there's the option to download and install replacement skins, alternate interface designs that replace the default version with fun themes and dynamic transitions. The program then becomes an exciting entertainment center fit for use on a home computer or as part of an HTPC, a user-built Home Theater Personal Computer capable of being plugged in to a regular flat-screen HDTV in the living room. In fact, many pieces of hardware are now on the market with this express intent, set up and preinstalled with XMBC to bring new life to a boring living room multimedia setup.

Free to download and use, supported by a knowledgeable community, XBMC continues to develop apace, with the latest version bringing improvements to network streaming, adding new features specifically for HTPC users, support for more video and audio formats, and much more. Navigation by computer mouse or television remote are equally intuitive and fun, while customization flexibility will please the tinkerers among the huge user base.

Pros

  • Free
  • Stable and powerful multimedia player
  • Easy access to thousands of multimedia streams
  • Navigation is intuitive
  • Options to Download dynamic new skins
  • Plugins and addons that extend performance

Cons

  • Needs a powerful computer to access all features
  • Some computer experience required when adding new streams
  • Documentation could be better.
  • Resource hungry

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