Drawing on a Linux Desktop with an Android Tablet and a “User Friendly” XBMC for Android! – XDA Developer TV

Android gaining X11 support is one of the stories from this weekend on XDA-Developers. You can also make your voice heard and vote on the next XDA cases. However, other big stories occurred this weekend. XDA News Specialist Jordan covers some of the highlights, including the first “user-friendly” version of XBMC for Android.

In learning news, Jordan talks about free Android tutorials. Also, be sure to check out Jordan on last Friday’s XDA Developer TV video. Finally, check out our article showcasing our highlights from this year’s International CES.  Pull up a chair and check out this video.

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First “User-Friendly” Build of XBMC for Android Emerges

By now, we’re all familiar with XBMC. The megascale, multiplatform media player has become nearly ubiquitous in HTPC circles, far outgrowing its original home on its vestigial namesake, the original Microsoft Xbox. In fact, we’ve featured quite a few stories that talk about how to integrate XBMC Controller into your HTPC workflow, as well as the release and update of XBMC for Android, a third-party port feared specifically for everyone’s favorite mobile OS.

Just a few hours ago, a heavily updated and stable build was released. As with the previously featured nightly builds, these are brought to us courtesy of the rest of the XBMCANDROID Team by XDA Senior Member kemonine96.

So what sets this build apart from the previously covered nightlies? Quite a bit, actually. The first difference that users will notice is that the current stable build is much more user-friendly than previous offerings.  However, the user interface isn’t all that was changed. Since the primary use of XBMC for many users is to watch various types of streaming web content, several add-ons were bundled with the app. Furthermore, users with dedicated setups can now use XBMC as their exclusive launcher.

While bundled plugins and an improved UI are important, perhaps the biggest new feature is the addition of external player support. Given that the app itself currently lacks hardware accelerated video playback, support for external players was vital in order to ensure that users could play back high bitrate content without dropped frames or other forms of heartache. In the words of kemonine96 himself:

This release is basically the first end user friendly version of XBMC for Android that should work great on pretty much any Android powered device. Since XBMC still doesn’t support hardware accelerated video decoding on most devices, support for an external video player is included in this release, that way you’ll still be able to enjoy a flawless XBMC experience since the external video player itself does support hardware accelerated video decoding.

You’ll also find that a bunch of customizations have been made in order to make the whole XBMC experience more enjoyable for the end user, including shortcuts, the ability to use XBMC as a Launcher (and launch Android Apps & Settings from within XBMC), along with many of the most popular XBMC addons bundled directly into the release.

One important distinction with this new release that the developers are trying to make is that XBMC is not simply a “media player,” but rather a “media platform.”

Hopefully this will change the public perception of XBMC just being a media player, and most people will realize that it’s much more: a media platform that interfaces with online streaming video content, bringing online streaming technology directly to your favourite devices in an easy to navigate system with endless possibilities.

Those wishing to learn more can have their information fill in the application thread. Here, you can find more information on the supported third-party players, as well as bundled plugins and release notes.

XBMC for Android Beta 3 APK Released

Android received some pretty exciting media player news when it was announced that XBMC had made it to the platform. Initially, there were quite a few issues with the nightlies coming out. However, it has been a few months, and the developers have made some great strides.

There are still some issues to work out, but Beta 3 has been released, and it brings a lot to the table. XDA Senior Member kemonine96 updated the XBMC thread to reflect the changes, and there have been a lot of them.

Working Add-Ons

  • 1Channel — Developer PM’d me and the choppyness is fixed in latest version (url in add-ons links below)
  • Anarcintosh’s Icefilms
  • BBC iPlayer 2
  • dpstream
  • Freecable
  • fs.ua
  • FTP Sources
  • Icefilms
  • Navi-X
  • PBS
  • Samba Sources
  • Shared Library: http://forum.xda-developers.com/show…5&postcount=57
  • TED Talks plugin works great.
  • The Trailers plugin
  • Tuxbox
  • TVCatchup
  • Tvlinks

Broken Add-Ons

  • Bluecop’s Amazon (crashes trying to unload librtmp.so — symbol not found)
  • Bluecop’s Hulu
  • MLBMC: Major League Baseball Media Center
  • myvideo.de
  • Trakt.tv stable. The version on github works on Windows, can anyone validate the version from git works on Android?
  • TuneInRadio
  • WebDav HTTPS

Additionally, there are a myriad of bug fixes, stability improvements, minor tweaks, and other general fixes. There are still many issues, but they’re being tackled as quickly as possible. The worst problems include laggy or non-functioning 720p and 1080p video, high battery drain, high resource usage, touch screen sensitivity issues, and screen flickering.

As before, there are two builds to choose from: NEON and Non-NEON builds. Non-NEON build are for Tegra 2 devices and other chipsets lacking support for the ARM NEON instruction set only, while the NEON builds have a much long compatibility list. There is extensive work being done on both variants. If you’ve been using an older version of XBMC, this is an excellent opportunity to update it and run a better version.

For the full details, check out the original thread.

XBMC for Android Nightlies Available for Your Mobile-Viewing Pleasure

For those unfamiliar with XBMC, it has become the defacto standard for Home Theater PC’s (HTPC). Given Android’s Linux roots, the desire has always been there to utilize an Android device as a HTPC, so the recent news from the XBMC developer team took the Android world by storm. Much rejoicing and excitement met the announcement, and XDA Senior Member kemonine96 was no exception. Once the XBMC team opened up their source for all, he jumped in and began working on building XBMC for Android nightlies as the XBMC team pushes their changes. He has this to say about his nightly builds:

What Is Special About These Builds?
I have re-built the CrystaX NDK that is required for XBMC from sources and made some compiler flag changes in order to improve NEON device support and to support the Tegra2 or other non-NEON devices. These are unsupported changes, particularly the Tegra2 and any other device without NEON. The official XBMC stance is NO device lacking NEON will receive support.

As can be seen, he has done some amazing work to get many non-NEON devices supported when XBMC has said they will not. Of course these nightlies do not come without their own set of known issues, among them:

Common Problems

  1. My screen starts flickering / freaking out: Kill the app, clear the app cache, restart devices, try again. Continue until the problem goes away.
  2. I cannot play SD / 720p / 1080p content without stutters / dropped frames / audio sync issues / etc: Tough luck. Right now hardware decode support isn’t complete, if your CPU can’t process the video in software, you’re stuck for the time being. The XBMC devs are working on hardware decode support and it will be done in due time. Do not ask for a deadline, there isn’t one right now.
  3. Battery life: Expect a pretty bad battery drain. This has been confirmed by a few others as well as the devices I tested. Given the project is targeting set-top boxes and similar equipment I would not expect this to be addressed until other, larger items are taken care of. Please do not complain to the official team about this item, complain here.
  4. Resource utilization is high: This is known. Not going to change for awhile, do not complain to the official team, complain here.
  5. Audio does not work: The XBMC audio levels and Android audio levels are not the same, you will need to adjust the volume in Android up to a higher level before launching XBMC most likely.
  6. DVD Navigation may or may not work properly: This is known and being worked on by the main XBMC team.
  7. Time Zone Changes: Time zone change isn’t working yet
  8. Distorted Audio: There are reports of audio distortion on a number of devices. From the reports it sounds like the 2012-08-02 build was working. It looks like some Audio Engine changes were rebased out of the primary branch into a separate branch. I will be looking into this further.
  9. /data is inaccessible: This partition is not accessible from XBMC.
  10. Tegra3 / Odroid-X / Other Quad Cores Under Utilized: Devices with more than 2 cores will only see CPU usage on 2 cores and the rest will show NaN or 0%. This is known.

For more information on the builds, and to try your hand at seeing what all of the excitement is about, visit the thread here.

Jelly Bean on G1, XBMC for Android, Raspberry Pi ICS! – XDA Developer TV

Our friend Jordan loves rehashing the news so much that he did it twice for us today. After some technical annoyances and a snazzy haircut, Jordan finally gets a video to complete successfully. Today, Jordan gives a quick update of the awesome news that appeared on the XDA Portal like how CyanogenMod 10 was unofficially ported to the HTC G1.

Jordan mentions the HTC source petition and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 rooting guide articles. Finally, Jordan mentions the Raspberry Pi’s upcoming update to Ice Cream Sandwich and XBMC ported to Android. What are you waiting for? Hit play!

 

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XBMC Ported to Android, Nightlies Released

The last release of a popular, open source media application ported to Android was a pretty big deal, so it wasn’t hard to guess that the next one would be too. For those who don’t know, XBMC is an open source, multi-platform media player. With a strong and loyal following, the media player could be a smash hit on Android once a stable version is released.

Of course, this is quite a long way off. For now, XDA Forum Member kemonine96 is releasing nightlies of XBMC. Given the loyal following of the media player, this is still pretty exciting news. The nightlies have been broken up into two different builds—one with support for ARM NEON and one for devices without those extensions. Make sure to download the appropriate builds for your device.

As they are nightlies, that means there are some issues. One of the biggest is a black screen issue where the application starts but doesn’t show up on screen. Thankfully, the issue has been narrowed down to only a few devices. Additionally, the APK huge, but that’s because XBMC packs a lot of awesome. Many users are reporting that it works pretty well, while some others are still reporting issues. These are nightlies builds, so one should expect nothing less at this stage in development. On a positive note, there are a number of add-ons available for the builds, and it’s always good to see add-on support so early in development.

For more info, check out the XBMC Nightlies thread.

Pro Tip Number 1: Android XBMC Remote Control – XDA TV

In the first in a series of XDA Pro Tips, XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler shows us how to repurpose an Android device as a remote control for your TV with XBMC.  He demonstrates sending a YouTube video from the YouTube application on an Android phone to a TV.  He then talks about the hardware required to run this setup and what it takes to set up a full-fledged media center with Android integration.
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XBMC Remote App Modified For GTab

If you own a Viewsonic GTab and have Xbox Media Center, XDA forum member WickedStyx has modified the official Android XBMC remote app so that it scales properly on the GTab!

The XBMC remote app is a remote client for Android that lets you connect over WiFi or 3G so that you can control your XBMC from anywhere in the house.

In essence the mod turns your GTab into a huge 10″ remote control!

Features include the status bar which is displayed when using the remote control so that you can use the soft back, menu and home buttons and playback controls on ‘Now Playing’ view scales to screen width.

For more information and to download the apk, take a look at the modification thread.

Yatse Removed from Google Play Store

A remote controller for XBMC/Kodi – Yatse – has been removed from Google Play Store. As usual, Google did this without any prior notice. You can read about the developer’s reaction, feelings and the exact reason of removal in this Google+ post.

Remotely Control Kodi With Kore

Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) is a free and open-source player for multiple platforms. You can control it easily by using your smartphone thanks to Kore, a tool developed by XDA Forum Member Syncd. Get it now and change your phone into a remote device.

Shattered Screen? Turn Your Broken Device into a Complete Media Center!

A cracked screen usually means you’ll have to spend a hefty amount to make your device usable again. For older devices, it might actually be easier to buy a new one. If this situation sounds familiar, or if you simply have an old device with a shattered screen laying around, XDA Forum Member mailme45 has written a guide that may help you make that device useful once again.

The tutorial walks you through turning your phone into a fully fledged media center (running a fork of XBMC/Kodi). Assuming your device supports MHL, you’ll only need a few things to get started:

  1. A USB OTG cable along with a mouse so you can control the phone until it’s fully set up.
  2. An MHL adapter that allows you to display your phone’s screen on your TV or monitor.
  3. A way to control the device remotely once it’s ready. In this case, a Wi-Fi connection and Yatse, a free remote app for XBMC/Kodi.

This probably won’t cost you more than $10 to $40, depending on where you buy the accessories from. You could even do without the USB OTG cable if you’re rooted, in which case you’d be able to use ADB instead.

Alright, folks — you’ve seen the requirements, so if you have a device with a shattered screen laying around, a USB OTG cable and MHL adapter, make sure to head over to the Shattered Scren Media Center tutorial thread to give a new life to your phone, and turn it into a complete media center.

Device Review: Mad Catz M.O.J.O.

MoJoRecently, Google has been acquiring various companies to possibly expand the reach of the Android platform beyond just mobile devices and tablets. With the announcement of Android Wear, Google is creating a standard for wearables like smartwatches. And perhaps with less fanfare, Google is expanding into set-top gaming Android with their purchase of Green Throttle Games. However, don’t think that Google is blazing the trail in these areas! They are just widening the road. Smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Omate Truesmart were among the pioneers in that arena. Similarly, the OUYA and Nvidia Shield wielded their machetes to slice a path through the Android Gaming forest.

While the OUYA is an Android Gaming device mostly in spirit due to it having its own customized overlay and its own proprietary store, the Nvidia Shield was perhaps the device with the biggest impact in creating this market. But now, there is another device available for you to choose from: the Mad Catz M.O.J.O. It comes in at $199 and gives you access to the Google Play Store. Recently, it was announced that OUYA would make its “experience” available on other hardware, and the M.O.J.O. was announced to be one of the first supported devices.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on one to test it out, as was XDA Developer TV Producer Jordan. To see my thoughts on the device keep reading, and check out the video below to see Jordan’s take.

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JynxBox HD Network Media Streamer Unboxing the XDA Way – XDA Developer TV

Not a long, long time ago and not in a galaxy far away—in this galaxy, in fact—Android only ran on smartphones. That’s not the case anymore; it runs on tablets, Raspberry Pis, televisions, and more. Today XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler gets his hands on a Jynxbox Android HD Network Media Streamer. What does AdamOutler do when he gets a device? He tears it down to its basic elements; he does an Unboxing the XDA Way.

After tearing it down and giving a tour of the device’s components, AdamOuter demonstrates the device setup, entering recovery, and rooting the device. The device can be rooted easily, perhaps too easily, so Adam shows you, how you can apply security. Finally, he demonstrates how to set the JynxBox up for debugging and loading software to it.

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