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XBMC Premium

Table of Guides (with quicklinks):

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Enabling WMC Live TV within XBMC

XBMC has added an open PVR framework that can be used with multiple backends like MythTV, NextPVR, MediaPortal, and ArgusTV. Until some talented folks got together on the XBMC forums, WMC did not exist as “backend” server. WMC would only represent a backend if you had WMC extenders (like the X360 or Echo). The other PVR applications listed have a server application that can be ran and fed to multiple clients. The benefit of the server-client model over the extender model is that you have complete control over your clients. You can use anything from a raspberry-pi to an Intel Xeon cpu with dual Titan GPUs. WMC extenders traditionally worked quite well if you intended to extend music and DVR, but if you had a large blu-ray collection the majority of them would not be playable on your extenders without first being compressed.

Along came ServerWMC, which is a great app primarily developed by krustyreturns (and a couple others) to allow you to use your WMC HTPC as a backend XBMC PVR server. To begin, this does not work for copy-once material. For Comcast, Verizon Fios, Charter, and some other cable providers the majority of your cable subscription will be copy-free. HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Encore will NOT be copy-free (on any provider) so if those channels are of importance then this is not the method you want to use. Though your typical HD cable channels like USAHD, ESPNHD, ComedyCentralHD, etc will work just fine on Comcast, Fios, and Charter (maybe others as well)

Before you begin, I would recommend following this guide for adding channel logos to WMC since ServerWMC will not only pass along your guide information from WMC, but these channel logos as well

Also, I like having only the channels I subscribe to show up, so go to WMC -> Settings -> TV -> Guide -> Edit Channels

 

When your WMC guide is all setup, go to the ServerWMC downloads page and download the latest “Install_ServerWMC-11##.zip”

 

Once you’ve downloaded the zip file, you’ll see the only contents are a folder containing a single msi installer package named “Installer_ServerWMC.msi”

 

Run this installer as administrator (must be on the same HTPC as you plan to use as your WMC TV server)

 

Afterwards, open ServerWMC from the start menu (in the screenshots below, I’ll take you through all the pertinent settings options)

On first run only, windows will ask you to make a firewall exception for ServerWMC. Go ahead and allow this

The first page that opens is just a status page. All you should be looking for here is “WMC database: Opened”

On the next tab “General” I have all of the following options checked (note: as I run this on my 24/7 server, the suspend/sleep options do not matter to me. If that is of interest to you, there are power saving options you need to adjust in your XBMC clients to enable waking the backend server)

In the next tab “Folders” you will need to enter the UNC path of your WMC Recorded TV folder. If it is not shared, you will need to go through Windows Explorer to the drive that contains your “Recorded TV” folder. Right click the folder and choose “Share With” then pick your preference. You can share with your homegroup, or you can “choose specific people” then type “Everyone” and click add. I have my shares open to my network without passwords to allow easier sharing between my different devices (windows, linux, osx, android, etc) but if you choose homegroup sharing you will need to enter the username and password of the ServerWMC machine for any non-windows devices running XBMC on your network.

The “Display Options,” “Live TV,” and “Recordings” tabs I leave at default

On the Channels tab, I uncheck the “Hide encrypted channels” box because I use WMC with Comcast HD cable and all of my channels are encrypted. If using a cablecard tuner, all of the channels are encrypted (though still viewable as explained above unless they are marked copy-once)

On the Record tab, I actually use “WMC padding” though the application gives you great customization options for padding your default record options

Now we get to configuring XBMC. Note on the ServerWMC downloads page there were manual client install options, well you can ignore those as they are not necessary. Up to date clients should already have been downloaded with the latest versions of XBMC (Frodo or Gotham). What you need to do is navigate from within XBMC to System->Add-Ons->Disabled Add-Ons

Find the ServerWMC add-on (should be at the bottom of the list)

Before choosing enable, first choose “Configure”

Now add the IP address of your ServerWMC machine (if the same machine as ServerWMC you can leave this at the default 127.0.0.1)

Now choose enable

Now either using the back key on your remote, backspace, or esc “back” your way out of the add-ons area to the main “settings” menu and scroll down to the section labeled “Live TV”

In the General tab of Live TV settings, I enable all three options (synchronize channel groups with backend, always use backend channel order, use backend channel numbers)

I leave the other settings at default. Now click “enable” on the general tab to enable Live TV. If everything is successful you should see an EPG loading popup in the top-right of your screen like this

Now back your way out to the main menu and notice a “Live TV” area is present (and it should show your next scheduled recording if it found your backend).

Notice your submenu options – channels, EPG, recordings, and timer. If you select “Live TV” from the main menu instead of a submenu option, you will be taken to the TV Channels section which looks like this

Note that when you select a channel, playback will begin in the minimized window. If you want to channel surf, this is probably the best area for that since you can see both the guide and what you have currently playing. Also, if you are planning on channel surfing you should download and install the most recent build from this website over your existing installation. These builds include changes from a MediaPortal dev named Margro that have not yet been added to the official XBMC release, but they greatly improve channel change times (down to around 4 seconds or less with Gotham) for most backends.

If you want a currently playing channel to display fullscreen, then select (enter or OK on your remote) the same channel that is currently playing from the channels list

Also take note of the sidebar in the menu (if you are unfamiliar with XBMC). Press the left arrow on your keyboard or remote to open the sidebar and you’ll see easy shortcuts to your recordings, channels list, and EPG

Choose recordings and see all of your WMC recordings ready to playback (I don’t have them grouped by folders for this screenshot)

Finally let’s take a look at the EPG

Your WMC remote should be completely recognized and functional out of the box in XBMC. The record button will work to schedule a recording in the XBMC EPG, but in the case that you are mapping your own keys the WMC shortuct “Ctrl+R” will give you good overall compatibility if you ever switch out of XBMC. Also, if you move ahead in the program guide and press enter (OK) you will be prompted with a dialog where you can easily schedule your recording.

One thing I would call a “quirk” about the XBMC EPG (though it is made intentionally) is that pressing a current-in progress section of the guide opens a pop-up window just as a future programming area of the guide would. I think this is unnecessary, but none-the-less it is there. It will ask if you want to “switch,” “record,” or “ok.” Ok is imaginative, but switch and record should be explanatory. Overall, I prefer to schedule recordings from the guide but channel surf from the “TV-Channels” view

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Installing, Enabling and Accessing Add-Ons in XBMC

I was assisted on this guide by user cburbs who offered to supplement some of the earlier guides in this section with more examples of how to easily add “Add-Ons” to your XBMC install.

First navigate to “Add Ons” from the main menu

Then you will see the “Add-Ons” screen with the following four options

This is a brief description of each of the options

Enabled add-ons are exactly what it sounds like….. add-ons that are currently enabled.

Get add-ons will allow you to install add-ons from from the repositories that are standard from the build as well as  3rd party repositories that are out there (more on this below).

Install from Zip file allows the installation of an add-on from a zip file from a 3rd party repository (more on this below).

Search  allows the user to search for an add-on my type, etc.

Select “Get Add Ons”

Then let’s select XBMC.org Add-ons

Then a list of items will show up similar to the following

I am going to select the Music Add-Ons as a reference point

Within this category we have a few items to choose from and I will choose Grooveshark XBMC. In the following window you can read the description, check the change log, install it, and then once it’s installed, enable or disable it and further configure it

I chose to install Grooveshark which will then bring you back a window to the add-ons window where you will see the download percentage and then Enabled once it has finished. The add-on will then appear in its appropriate section so for this example I can find it in Music Add-ons

Now if I go to Music from the main screen and select Music Add-Ons I have Grooveshark XBMC available

Now that you have seen an example of an add on let me show you a few great resources and websites to use to find literally hundreds of different add ons that you may want to try

The first is the XBMC add on list located here

The add ons are categorized by type and even XBMC build compatibility. Take a look here and see which ones look interesting or useful for your HTPC

The next area is here located at the XBMC forums. Again, this is broken down into categories for you to search

Finally you can download and install any of the unofficial xbmc repositories located here

Let’s choose to download and install “bluecop’s repo” as an example (direct link is here). Remember where you save this file as you will need it in a moment.

Navigate to Add-Ons from the Main Menu

Then you will see the following screen click on Install From Zip File

Navigate to the ZIP file you saved (repository.bluecop.xbmc-plugins.zip) and highlight it and click OK

XBMC will notify you when the add-on is installed and enabled.  As you can see it says “Bluecop Add-On Repository Add-On Enabled”.

Let’s click on Get Add- Ons  and you should see “BlueCop Add-On Repository”  listed

Also if you highlight this repository and right click on it you will see following options

If you click on Add-On Information you will then see the following. Here you  have the option of uninstalling the repo or disabling it if needed. Each repo will have certain options available.

If we back out of this page and select Bluecop Add-On and Video Add-Ons you will then see the list of Add-ons available from this repo. Add as many or as few of these add ons as you like

Now you know how to add add-ons, where to find hundreds of them and how to enable them in xbmc.

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Adding HULU, ESPN, Amazon Prime, and Yahoo Music Videos

In this guide I will show you how to quickly and easily add HULU, ESPN, Amazon Prime, Yahoo Music Videos, etc to XBMC.

First download and unzip the Bluecop add on repo located here. Remember where you unzipped and stored this file.

Now go to the Add-Ons directory as I have shown you how to do many times before.

Select to add the Bluecop repo

Now install Hulu, Amazon Prime, ESPN and any other choices you might be interested in

That’s it! You now can use these great plug-ins on your HTPC!

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Building and Using a YouTube Library

In this guide I will explain and show you how to use a youtube library in XBMC. If you use youtube regularly this allows you to quickly and easily add your favorite clips to be played back right in XBMC without any advertisements or interruptions. I have found this to be a particularly powerful tool if you have children as youtube is chock full of kids videos and clips (more on this later).

Let’s get started. First create a youtube account if you don’t already have one at www.youtube.com

Now search for your favorite subject to add. I just happen to love “assassinhtpc”

Once you find what you want click on it. Now “Add To” and “Watch Later” (there are other options you can choose here as I will show you later but “Watch Later” is quick and easy to use)

As you build your “Watch Later” library you will see the items populate at the bottom of the screen

You can always come back to youtube and select the “Watch Later” menu to see or change your current videos

Now let’s open XBMC and go to the “Settings” and “Add Ons” menu

Go to “Get Add Ons” and choose “XBMC.org Add-ons”

Navigate to “Video Add-Ons”

Install the Youtube add-on if you have not already done so. Once installed click on “Configure”

Now enter your youtube account username and password. You also can make changes here such as the max size of video quality, safesearch settings, etc.

Once done exit out to the main screen of XBMC. Locate the “Add Ons” tab and select down. Now Choose “Videos”

This will bring up the main video add-on page where you can choose “Youtube”

The first time you choose this it may open the configuration screen for you to confirm or change and settings. Click done to advance. Now XBMC will build your youtube directory

Now let’s click “Watch Later” which should correspond with your “Watch Later” selections over at youtube.com

You can now easily see, navigate and select your videos from your “Watch Later” directory

When you select a video it brings up a submenu and pulls information from youtube

When you click “Playback” it plays just like a regular video in XBMC with similar control. No advertisements or distractions.

Awesome.

One thing I mentioned at the beginning of this guide is how great this is for kids media. Youtube has thousands of short videos, sing-a-longs, etc that are perfect for kids. This is my wife’s youtube directory that has all our kids’ favorite videos. Its very easy to keep them all organized and to play them on demand. It also keeps the screen clean from other videos, ads or distractions. Because youtube has such an abundant amount of free kids videos its very easy to create a collection of hundreds of videos and songs for your kids to watch.

Right clicking on a video also brings up a lot of other options that you can take advantage of with this great add-on for XBMC

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Adding Pandora to XBMC

This guide will show you how to add Pandora to XBMC. I highly suggest that all users pay the $36 ($3 per month) to upgrade to Pandora One. This helps keeps add-ons like this alive. Otherwise Pandora has and will eventually block access to  add-ons like this one. Also, Pandora One gives you better quality audio at 192 KBps.

First go to Pandora’s website and create an account if you haven’t already. Make sure to add a few artists that you like.

Next download the Pandora app from here. Remember where you saved it but do not unzip it.

If Pandora changes or blocks this add-on from working try to download the new version of this Add-On (if available) from this thread here

Now go to Settings –> Add Ons

Now click “Install from zip file” and navigate to where you have saved the add-on zip file you just downloaded

Pandora is now enabled

Now go to the Enabled Add-Ons and locate the Music folder

Select Pandora from inside the folder

Now let’s configure Pandora and add your account settings to personalize Pandora for you

Enter your username (e-mail) and password that you used at Pandora’s website when you created your account

Now go to the main screen. Find “Add-Ons” and click down. This will reveal the sub menu. Click “Music”

Select Pandora

XBMC will now load the Add-On’s script. This took a few minutes on 2 of my test HTPCs

Next Pandora will open

Click on one of your artists to begin playback

If you click the down arrow (which I have highlighted here in yellow for you)…..

The following screen will open while your music is playing. Congrats! You just added Pandora to your HTPC!

Now go get a Pandora One subscription as a token of thanks to Pandora for this great service!

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Sports Devil Plug-In for Live Sports

Sports Devil is a plug-in that allows you to stream live sports of almost every genre from around the world.  The live feeds are rarely in HD but they allow you watch almost any sporting event live.

To start download the Download Sports Devil from Max Mustermann Repository located here

Alternatively I will host it on my server as well located here

Extract the files to a location on your desktop and remember that location (you will need to navigate to it in XBMC).

Next open XBMC.  Go to your addon menu and click “Install from Zip File”

You will then navigate to where you saved your file and click on Repository.MaxMustermann.xbmc-1.0.1

After installing from Zip file Now click Get Add-Ons.

You will then click on MaxMustermann’s Add-ons

Then click on Video add-ons

Then click Sports Devil

And Install

Now its downloading:

When finished downloading, click Video downloads

Click Sportsdevil

Click Live Sports

If this stream doesn’t work you may try others, we have just found “VipBox” to work the best.  Some may work better at different times, and they may stream the same things

Choose which sport you want to watch but *Now Playing* will always be the live stream.

Choose the sporting event that you would like to watch

This is live streaming from around the world

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The Constellation XBMC App

This guide will show you how to install and use one of the best HTPC apps I have ever seen: Constellation for XBMC. This app turns your iPad or iPhone into an incredible interface for your HTPC using XBMC. While it cannot play anything on the iPad or iPhone itself it does mimic the interface between your HTPC and the iPad extremely well. In short it turns your ipad into an incredibly attractive remote control for your HTPC that guests and spouses will think you spent thousands of dollars to achieve. To use this guide you need to have an ipad and wireless internet. That’s about it.

To begin let’s turn on your iPad and download the XBMC Constellation app from the app store. The app is free but includes ads in the free version. I HIGHLY recommend paying the $5 or so to get this app without the ads. But if you want to try it first to make sure that it works and you like it (which you will) then feel free to upgrade to the paid version later.

This is the app in the app store. I have already installed it and paid for it but this is where you need to go to install it on your iPad. Also make sure from time to time that you check for available updates on your iPad for this app.

While this is installing on your ipad let’s open XBMC on your HTPC and write down a few pieces of information that you will need as well as change a few settings for the network.

On settings hit the down button and select “System Info”

Now under the “Summary” screen you can find the 1 piece of vital information that you need. The IP Address. I have highlighted it here for you as well as obscured my address (yours will be all numbers). Write this down for later.

Now let’s go to Settings -> Network

These are the network settings that you need to make to enable your ipad to take over control of xbmc from your iPad

Those are all the settings that need to be changed. Now let’s go back to the iPad and open the Constellation app

This is the main screen that you will see. Its blank now but that will soon change

Click on the Wireless icon (in the upper most left of the screen) to configure your network settings. My IP is already loaded because I have already set mine up. Yours will likely be blank. Click where it says “My XBMC” to bring up the wireless manager

Now tap to add or select a host

The “Host” area is where we will tell the app our HTPC’s IP address

Type in the IP address that you wrote down from you HTPC. Again I have obscured part of mine — yours will be all numbers

Once you are finished typing your IP address minimize your keyboard. Click “Start Test” at the bottom

If you see the “OK 🙂 ” your ipad is able to communicate with your HTPC. Click “Back”

Note: If you had errors with connecting the Constellation App to your HTPC after these steps trying using port 9090 in both XBMC and the Constellation App. This port setting has been known to work when 80 or 8080 did not.

Your app may now start to download data from your HTPC as you can see with the blue status bar under the “Nothing is playing”. Click the wireless icon (top most left) to exit this menu

Your app may now start to autopopulate. The different possible screen are located in the left column. Here I have selected my movies folder by selecting the movie clapboard icon (highlighted in blue on the left column). Depending on the size of your library this may take some time to populate but should load automatically once it is finished the second time you use the app. Let’s scroll down a little bit more and look at this excellent app

When you select a movie, like Battle Los Angeles, this screen is displayed showing the movies information. If you were to push the play arrow (bottom left) the movie will start playing on your HTPC! You can also move the movies on the far right up and down to show a different movie. Click the X to the right of “Battle Los Angeles” to go back to the previous screen.

Let’s look at another example with “Cowboys and Aliens”

Click the TV icon on the left to bring up your TV shows

If you click on the “Disc” icon on the left you can view your music. This is JJ Grey’s Georgia Warhorse album.

Also note that during this guide my toddler came up and asked to watch “Madagascar” so I selected it and started playing it on the HTPC. That’s why ou see it listed at the top of the screen — this is where the media that is currently playing on your HTPC is displayed

Here is Madagascar. Easy to pull up and play from my iPad since it was requested by my toddler during this guide’s creation

The bottom most icon on the left colum is the remote control. When you click this icon the following screen is displayed and you can use the remote to fast forward, rewind, adjust the volume, pause, stop, etc. To exit out of the remote simply tap the screen below the remote control (near where you can see the movie posters at the bottom of the screen)

What a fantastic app! Definitely one of the coolest things I have seen on HTPC and if you don’t own an iPad yet you should think about getting one just for this app. Its that perfect.

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Using Commander to Control XBMC

This guide will show you another awesome way to have a tablet control XBMC. Like the Constellation App that I posted above this has a very slick interface and really helps to show off your HTPC.

So let’s get started. First go to Settings –> Network to enable your HTPC to be controlled by a network device. Make sure you have “Allow Control of XBMC via HTTP” enabled. Port 8080 is recommended so choose this as your Port. You can setup a username and password if you want although this isn’t needed. Finally, make sure that “Allow Programs on Other Systems to Control XBMC” is enabled.

Now go to Settings and Network to look at your IP address. Here I have highlighted where to look for this information. Write this down as you will need to use it soon.

Now go to the Apple App Store on the device that you want to use to control XBMC. Here you may see a few options. Select only “XBMC Commander”. Select and install this App.

The first time you open the App you will see this screen

Enter the information for the App. I chose an identifier, entered my I.P. address that I had written down earlier and also entered the port that I am using. Unless you created a user name and password in XBMC you can leave these areas blank.

The first screen is the “Remote” screen. This screen has the remote functions of XBMC. Also if you “finger swipe” on the screen your HDTV’s XBMC screen will move the appropriate direction. At the bottom of the screen let’s tap on “Movies”

This brings up the Movies screen and shows all of your movies that are available on XBMC. The default view is to sort them by year. This is easily changed to sort by title by tapping “Options” and then changing your preference on how to sort as I have illustrated below by sorting by name alphabetically.

If you click on a movie it will bring up the following screen showing you information about the movie

Let’s choose to play “Hurt Locker”. Click the “Play” and the movie will start to play on your HTPC

If you select “Remote” you have control of the options for playback – just like on XBMC.

Next tap on “TV Shows” at the bottom to bring up your TV Shows

Now click on “Music”

If you click on one artist it will open the available album choices for that artist

And clicking on one of those albums shows the details of that album including track listing

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Official XBMC Remote App

The official app for XBMC is one of the best options for controling your XBMC from an iDevice because it is free and the server portion of this app is already built into the XBMC interface.  Below are the instructions for installing and configuring the app.

Search for the “Official XBMC Remote” in the itunes app store.  Install the app on your idevice

Once installed select the ‘Add Host’ button on the bottom left (make sure XBMC is open and running on your HTPC)

You will see the screen below.  You will need to configure some settings in your XBMC for the XBMC app to recognize your system.

Alternatively you can select “Find XBMC” and if you have it open and the network options configured on your HTPC it will find it automatically. If not proceed to the next steps

Go to the XBMC program on your computer.   Scroll down to Settings->Network

Once in the Network Option scroll down to the ‘Webserver’ option.  Turn on the ‘Allow control of XBMC via HTTP’ option

Then scroll down to ‘Zeroconf’ option.  Turn on the ‘Announce these services to other systems via zeroconf’ option

After those settings are complete you are now ready to connect the app to the XBMC program.  Press the ‘Find XBMC’ button and the server information should auto-populate in the necessary fields.  Once auto-populated press “save”

Select the XBMC server you just added and you are ready to control your XBMC with your idevice.

When you are ready to use your remote you sort your media by type. Here is an example screenshot of my movie folder

Here is my TV Show folder

And here is a shot of the remote for use with this great app

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XBMC Remote for Android

This guide will show you how to install the XBMC remote app on an Android tablet. I used the Nexus 7 tablet for this guide but you can use whatever android device that you have.

First let’s open XBMC and leave it open during this guide. First go to “Settings” and hit down and then choose “System”. Navigate to “Network” and locate your IP address (highlighted below) and write this down as you will need it to setup your device.

Now from the main screen go into “Settings” and then “Network” and then locate the port and write this down as well. Mine is “80” and yours may be “8080” as these are typical default settings for XBMC. Also turn on the options to allow a device to control XBMC if you have not already done so.

Now grab your android device and search for the “Official XBMC Remote” and install this to your device

Once installed click “Allow Automatic Updating” if you want it to update automatically and then click “Open”

This is the screen that you will be greeted with for the first time. It will tell you no hosts have been detected. Click on “Settings”

Now click on “Host Wizard”

Now enter the information from XBMC about your IP address and port. Click “Next”

Click “Next”

Click “Finish”

XBMC on your HTPC will now tell you that an android device is connected

On your android device you should be able to now see your media collection. Let’s click on “Movies”

Your movie selection will open and the app will begin to import the artwork. This may take some time depending on the size of your library

Click on the three vertical dots in the bottom right corner and it will bring up a submenu where you can update your library, change the way your movies are viewed, etc

Let’s select a movie. Here I have selected “Star Wars”. From here you can play the movie, play the trailer, or scroll down to view more information about the movie

Select the back button on your android device and now let’s look at your TV shows

Select one to view the seasons and pick one

Now you can view the individual episodes. From here its as easy as picking an episode and hitting play to start playback

You can do the same thing for your music collection

The app also has a remote that you can use to control playback in XBMC

With this guide and your android device you now have a touchscreen remote control to view and control your entire media library.

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Yatse Remote For XBMC

Yatse is a full featured XBMC remote for Android tablets and smartphone which allows you to view your library and control your XBMC installation from these devices. Use the above guides to set XBMC to change settings to allow it to be controlled by a mobile device. I also show you above where to locate your IP address and name of your XBMC device.

First, let’s download and install Yatse to your device.

Make sure XBMC is running and your wireless device is connected to your wireless network. Open Yatse

Here you can see my XBMC installation on my i3 HTPC. Once yours has been identified click next.

Next Yatse will show you the host HTPC settings. My HTPC actually lists just “xbmc” so I had to delete everything else in the display name before it would connect.

This is the next screen you will see. I enabled “Display Banners in TV Shows listing”

This is the Yatse settings menu. I left everything here at default

Here are your XBMC HTPC(s) that are running. Choose the one that you want to control.

This is the main remote control for Yatse. The top row has the main screens/folders in XBMC for easy access (Home Screen, Movies, TV, Music, Pictures). There is volume, left, right, select, etc as well.

Now push the double circles on the top left corner. This will take you to another menu which shows you your various categories. You may have to refresh each category and give the information a few seconds to load but once it has loaded it should be instantaneous. Let’s open the “Movies” folder

You can scroll through your entire movie collection. Once you find the one you want to play select it which will bring up another menu.

The controls to play your movie are located at the bottom of this screen. Clicking the play arrow will start your movie on your HTPC. If you want to control it further use the main remote control in the Yatse program.

Now let’s look at how the TV Shows are laid out

Let’s select a season

Let’s select the first episode

Now you can read details about this episode and select it to play

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Using a WMC Remote to Launch and Control XBMC

One of the great things about Windows Media Center (WMC) is that WMC remote control and remote control codes (for programming universal remote controls) are readily available and as cheap as $10 for a WMC remote and Infrared (IR) Receiver. For XBMC there really is not such thing as a “XBMC” remote. Most WMC remotes can handle some XBMC controls but the biggest drawback is that they can’t launch XBMC from the desktop.

You can also use this guide to setup a universal control like Harmony One (or similar) as a WMC device and just change the “Green Button” to a button that launches XBMC instead of WMC.

Note: If you own a Harmony One (or similar Harmony advanced remote control) follow the steps in the WMC remote guides followed by the steps in this guide and your Harmony One will launch XBMC instead of WMC.

In this guide I will show you how I made a $15 WMC Rosewill RRC-126 remote control launch XBMC and control it seamlessly.

First let’s plug in the dongle into a USB port and let windows automatically install the remote control drivers. You won’t have to do anything as this is automatic

Chances are you may be using a remote control different than the exact model that I have chosen. If that’s the case you may want to check that your IR receiver is an “eHome” Infrared Receiver.

To do this right click on “My Computer” and select “Manage”. Go to the device manager and under the Human Interface Devices you should see the “Microsoft eHome” receiver listed. These devices and HTPCs work best with this type of receiver.

Next download and install XBMCLauncher here

Now aim your WMC remote at the IR receiver. Push the “Green Button” that used to be mapped to launch WMC. Now that you have completed this guide instead it will launch XBMC and from there your remote can completely and seamlessly control XBMC!

Note: Make sure you have XBMC to launch in a full screen using a full screen (and not a full screen window) or else you will not have true full screen after launching.

BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Using Flirc with XBMC

One of the disadvantages to XBMC is the lack of predefined remote control codes compared to what is available in other programs like Windows Media Center. For example unlike WMC there are no “XBMC” settings in the Harmony One (or other universal/programmable remote controls) settings that make setup and use easy. A great new product called “flirc” which turns literally any remote into a fully functioning XBMC remote.

This is how it works. You plug in the flirc IR dongle into your HTPC. You then download and install the flirc software from their website. When you open the software and configure the dongle and software it automatically saves the commands to the dongle. The end result is turns any remote into a XBMC remote. So let’s see how it works.

Plug in your adapter into your HTPC. The drivers won’t be found by Windows which will soon be remedied by installing the software from their website.

Next download and install the most recent Flirc software from their website here:

Windows will tell you a few times that the drivers aren’t supported. Click to install anyway.

After the software installs open it for the first time. The initial screen will be the basic setup screen. If you hit the “go” button on the screen then the software will walk you through mapping the “up”, “down”, “left”, “right”, “enter” and “back” buttons on your remote. If this is all you want to program then just do this step. But the whole reason to use this device is to make a XBMC remote. So let’s choose “Controller” and then “XBMC”.

This will open the xbmc remote control menu and show you all the possible XBMC remote options. What you choose to include and where you map them is completely up to you. For instance on your remote control you can select an device to control that you otherwise don’t use. Next select a Flirc command (I have chosen “mute” in the example below). The next step is as easy as hitting the button on your remote control that you want to associate with “mute” in XBMC. The actual mute button on your remote control is an obvious choice but if you wanted to change this to something else you could easily do so.

As you can see below there are a bunch of possible options to use for XBMC. Use as many — or a little — as you need for your HTPC.

One final thing you can try is to make a shortcut command to launch XBMC from your desktop. Right click on XBMC from your Start -> Programs menu and select “Properties”. Here you can view the shortcut menu.

You can create a shortcut key for whatever you want to launch XBMC. Here I have chosen “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “X”. Click apply and then OK when you are done. You may also have to change the way it lauches (normal window or maximized) depending on how you have XBMC setup on your system.

Now go back into XBMC and select the full keyboard. Choose “Ctrl” + “Alt” + “X” and then map this to the single button on your remote that you want to emulate these keystrokes. I chose the “*” (labeled as “Star”) on my Harmony One but you can choose whatever button your like that isn’t being used.

That’s it! What a great device. Now you can create a fully functional XBMC remote from just about any remote in your home theater system!

Tip: I like to purchase a USB extension cable and attach it to the rear USB ports of my HTPC. I then attach the IR dongle to the other end and place it somewhere strategically hidden in my AV system/rack where it still can received IR signals from the remote control. I have even placed it underneath the HTPC case this way just behind the front edge of the HTPC case where it is almost impossible to notice. This keeps a clean look on the front of your case if this is important to you.

TIP: If you are having issues with this setup (repeated keys, lag, etc) use the code to add one of these devices to your universal/Harmony remote: Panasonic TC-P65VT30 or SAMSUNG LN46C650L1F (you don’t actually have to have either of these devices in your setup). Many have reported less lag and a better experience when using these devices with their Flirc device.

A special thanks to Flirc for providing this device to help create this review and guide.

BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

Jailbreak and Install XBMC on an Untethered AppleTV2

This guide will show you the steps required to jailbreak your untethered $99 Apple TV2 (ATV2) and install XBMC on it. By following this guide, it can help to increase the value of your HTPC by creating an extender on a second HDTV for some of a HTPC’s typical functionality. The jailbreak and installation of XBMC will unlock further capabilities of the ATV2 beyond its original functionality. Before we begin, let’s cover a few ground rules of the ATV2 and the jailbreak below. For technical specs and connectivity, please see the wiki here.

To be clear this guide is completely optional and only required if you want to use XBMC on a second HDTV. This is a very inexpensive option compared to building a completely new HTPC. For example this makes a great option if you have a bedroom HDTV, Gym/Workout HDTV, guest bedroom HDTV, etc.

A few caveats before we begin (special thanks for paid user jenielsen for helping me research this guide):

  1. Jail breaking your Apple TV2 is not illegal (see here). However, for obvious reasons, it will void your warranty. This means that you are not eligible for warranty once you begin this process should you break or brick your ATV2.
  2. While the Apple TV2 can be set to output video in either 1080i or 1080p, that resolution is limited to the user interface and the viewing of photographs. Video output of higher resolution will be down converted to 720p. This means that the ATV2 will play H.264 video, but will down convert it to 720p. For many users using this on a second HDTV this is perfectly acceptable.
  3. In order to jail break your untethered ATV2, you will need to download and install all of the following:
  • An untethered (new) ATV2
  • A micro USB cable
  • The latest version of iTunes (link)
  • Seas0nPass program (link)
  • Putty SSH client (link)

Jail breaking the ATV2 involves 5 main steps:

Step 1: Jail break the ATV2 using Seas0nPass

  • Make sure the latest version of iTunes is installed on your computer. Start-up iTunes temporarily and make sure all Apple devices are NOT disconnected from iTunes, including any WiFi iPhones, iPads, iTouchs or others. If they are connected, click Eject next to them.
  • Download and unzip Seas0nPass to your desktop
  • If you are using 64bit Windows, right-click on Seas0nPass.exe and click on Properties at the bottom. Once that opens, click on the compatibility tab. Click on the box for “Run this program in compatibility mode for: Windows XP (Service Pack 3)”, and at the bottom under Privilege Level, click the box next to “Run this program as administrator”, then click Apply and then click OK (shown below).
  • If you are using 32bit Windows, you can skip this step. If you are unsure, which version you are using, Click Start, right click My Computer and look about ½ way down the page under System Type.
  • Launch Seas0nPass
  • If a warning pops up about your Antivirus program, click OK
  • Click on Create IPSW. It will take some time as it downloads the file, unzips and processes it.
  • Once it is done, it will tell you to put it in DFU mode. Do this by plugging one end of the micro USB into the ATV2 and the other end into your computer. You do NOT need the ATV2 power cord at this time.
  • Once you have plugged in the USB to the ATV2, the LED on the front of the ATV2 will blink. Grab the ATV2 remote, point it at the ATV2 and simultaneously press and hold both the MENU and PLAY/PAUSE buttons for at least 7 seconds. Then let go of the buttons.
  • On your computer, it will recognize that you have placed the ATV2 into DFU mode and will begin processing the files.
  • On the computer, a popup will ask you if you want iTunes to restore your Firmware. Click Yes/OK.
  • It will start iTunes and restore the firmware to your ATV2. This will take some time to complete.
  • Once it is completed, click OK on the prompt that comes up, and disconnect the micro USB from the ATV2.
  • Take your ATV2 to your HD Television, or if you have HDMI input on your computer monitor, you can use that.
  • Plug in the ATV2 power cord to the ATV2 FIRST. Then take your HDMI cable from your HDTV or monitor and plug it into the ATV2. If you are using your monitor, you may need to switch Sources if you are using a secondary HDMI input other than your main computer.
  • Once you have plugged it in, it may take some time for the ATV2 boot up.
  • Once the ATV2 Language screen comes up, using your ATV2 remote, click English (or your appropriate language).
  • Next screen will be the WiFi setup screen. You can either enter your appropriate WiFi information, or instead the recommended approach is to connect your hardwire Ethernet to the back of the ATV2.
  • The next screen will ask you if you want to send data to Apple. The recommended approach is to click “No Thanks”. Disclaimer: I have not validated whether clicking OK will have negative effects to your jailbreaking, including possible bricking or banning, therefore I HIGHLY recommend clicking “No Thanks”

After this, it should bring up the ATV2 main screen. To validate that it is Jailbroken, you should see a temporary FC (FireCore) logo in the lower right corner. The next Step is to install XBMC by using Putty.

Actual shot of my Jailbroken ATV2 (note the red FireCore logo in the bottom right corner)

STEP 2: RECOMMENDED STEP – Use Putty to change your default SSH password on your ATV2.

More information found here.

  • Go back to your computer, and log into your router to determine the ATV2’s IP address so that you know where to connect to. If you are using WiFi, you can find this on the ATV2 by going to Settings > WiFi > tap on the blue arrow to the right-hand side of the WiFi network you are currently on (check mark next to it). Make a note of the IP address as you will need it.
  • Launch the Putty app (downloaded earlier to your desktop) to make a connection to the ATV2.
  • Under Host Name (or IP Address) enter your ATV2’s IP address that you found in your router or the ATV2 Settings menu (something like 192.168.1.XXX). Next to that, the Port must be 22 (leave alone if it already is populated as Port 22). Under that, make sure that Connection type is SSH. Leave all other settings alone and click Open.
  • Once it connects, it will open a separate terminal window. Login as: root, and alpine as the password.
  • It will confirm the login by prompting you with Apple-TV:~ root#
  • Then type: passwd
  • It will confirm that you are changing the password for root, and ask you to type the New password and then to Retype the new password.
    RECOMMENDED – Write the new password down as you will need it later.
  • After that is complete, it will prompt you again with Apple-TV:~ root#
  • Type exit to end your remote session with the ATV2. You have now changed the default password on your ATV2 to make it more secure.

Step 3: Use Putty to install NitoTV

Additional information for this step can be found here.

  • Launch Putty and use the same settings in the previous step
  • Login using: root, and your new password
  • Type the following into Terminal, and hit Enter:

echo “deb http://apt.awkwardtv.org ./” > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/awkwardtv.list

  • Hit enter
  • Type the following, and hit Enter:

apt-get update

  • Type the following, and hit Enter:

apt-get install com.nito.nitoTV

  • Your ATV2 will download and install the necessary files. This may take some time.
  • Once done, type the following and hit Enter:

Killall AppleTV

  • The ATV2 will now restart (may take some time) and you will have NitoTV installed.
    NOTE: The FC (FireCore) logo at the bottom will no longer be there, but rest assured, it is still jailbroken and NitoTV is installed.

This is my extender after NitoTV and XBMC has been installed. On yours you will only see NitoTV at this point (we will install XBMC in a minute)

Step 4: Block all future Apple TV Updates

  • Once NitoTV is installed, you need to block all future updates as they will break the jailbreak.
  • From the ATV2 main menu, go to NitoTV > Install Software > updateBeGone > Install

Step 5: Install XBMC

This can be installed through NitoTV, or through SSH (as I did it). More information found here.

  • Launch Putty and use the same settings as previously
  • Login using: root, and your new password
  • Issue each of these commands in your Terminal window in sequence.
    Type each of the following, and hit Enter after each:

apt-get install wget

wget -O- http://apt.awkwardtv.org/awkwardtv.pub | apt-key add –

echo “deb http://apt.awkwardtv.org/ stable main” > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/awkwardtv

echo “deb http://mirrors.xbmc.org/apt/atv2 ./” > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/xbmc.list

apt-get update

apt-get install org.xbmc.xbmc.atv2

reboot

  • You will now have XBMC Eden Beta 1 for ATV2! Set it up and change your settings as you would for your HTPC! Remember that this is obviously not as powerful or even as stable as your regular HTPC so make your settings to reflect this if you run into issues.
  • Now launch XBMC from the main AppleTV screen and enjoy your new extender in your bedroom, gym, office, etc!
  • To add files from your server or main HTPC make sure you have the files/folder shared on your network (I have also found that you need to share it with “everyone” to get the extender to be able to access it)
    //

  • Additional information for sharing files over your network for XBMC can be located here and here. I use SMB to point the extender to my network address for my server. This step can vary dramatically depending on your specific setup so using the resources I listed above to get your shared folders set up for your setup is important

And here is the finished product!

Bonus tip: You can also install and use Pandora on your jailbroken AppleTV2. This guide here has the easy instructions on how to do it.

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