XBMC 13 “Gotham” Released

After month of development, alpha releases, beta releases, RC releases, XBMC 13 “Gotham” is finally out. This is the first official release that supports hardware video decoding for ARM and x86 based Android 4.0+ devices. Support is not available for 100% of devices, as for instance, AllWinner A1X/A20 and Amlogic SoCs do not support the standard Android StrageFright or MediaCodec APIs, but most others should. There’s one XBMC Android version for ARM, one for x86.

XBMC_13Android hardware video decoding is obviously not the only feature or improvement brought about by XBMC 13. Here are the key ones:

  • Raspberry Pi and Android speed improvements – Overall system performance improvements, but optimizations are said to be particularly noticeable when opening and browsing libraries, loading images and starting videos.
  • Stereoscopic 3D Rendering – SBS, TAB, anaglyph, and interlaced are supported. XBMC cannot yet support 3D blurays and cannot provide hardware acceleration for FullSBS/TAB movies.
  • Improved Touchscreen Support – You can now use gesture controls during video playback and navigation.
  • Improved UPnP capabilities – Instances of XBMC throughout the house can now “speak” with each other and with other UPnP devices.
  • Audio Engine Improvements – The Audio Engine has been reworked to be simpler, faster, and with better quality. Please note that some users nay have to reconfigure their audio settings due to the changes. XBMC now supports pulseaudio server in Linux
  • Settings Improvements
    1. Settings level: Beginner, Standard, and Expert.
    2. Each setting now includes a description
    3. Each setting page now includes a Reset to Default option. Reset to Default is independent between sections. For instance, resetting your audio settings won’t affect your video settings.
  • Better Subtitle Search – The user will need to select and download their preferred subtitle add-on before starting a movie and searching for subtitles. There are currently 19 to choose from.
  • An Extended Python and JSON-RPC API for developers

There are also various other changes that you can check in the Changelog. Windows XP support has been dropped due to changes in XBMC build, but your can still use OpenElec, or XBMCUbuntu.

If you want to upgrade or give it a try, you can find the binaries for Android-ARM, Android-x86, Raspberry Pi, Linux, Windows, OSX, Apple TV, iOS, and XBMCbuntu on XBMC Download page. I would also assume XBMC for Android will soon find it way on Google Play Store now that an official version is available (TBC). After upgrade from Frodo or Alpha/Beta versions, the developers recommend to force refresh XBMC.org repository.

For developers who want to check out the source code and/or contribute to XBMC 14 “Helix” can get all they need on XBMC’s github repository.

Thanks to Harley for the tip, who also mentioned a link to a guide to sideload XBMC and other apks to Amazon Fire TV.

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