What is XBMC / Kodi Media Center?

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KODI and XBMC are the same and is the most popular alternative to Mircrosoft's Windows Media Center.  The software was originally produced as an independently developed media player application named Xbox Media Center (abbreviated as XBMC) for the first-generation Xbox game console.  This is now available under the name Kodi as a native application for Android, Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, iOS, and Microsoft Windows based operating systems.  It is also available as a standalone version referred to as Kodibuntu.

For more indepth information, please read what Wikipedia says, or visit Kodi's about page.

What is a Media Center?

It is exactly what it sounds like.  It is a one place (the centre) where you can store and/or play all your media;  TV, video, films, music, pictures and radio.  All accessible at the press of a button where all media is, ordered and sorted to make life easy.  Certain versions of Microsoft Windows come with their own Media Centre software, however, this is not as expandable as the open-source offerings.

There are several good open-source media centre's all offering similar features, some have built in tuner software and some have more add-ons than others.  Recommendations are as below...

  • MediaPortal - True all in one media centre offering full TV tuner options, including pausing of live TV and has many hundreds of possible plug-ins.
  • MythTV - A a collection of software that provides digital video recording functions, a computerized VCR, similar to a TiVo or a Replay.
  • Kodi - The most popular media centre, has everything with thousands of plugins, except it's own TV tuner software, but can use MediaPortal TV Server, MythTV and others.

Why use a Media Center?

The popularity of the media centre has grown over the years as more media has become available digitally.  We now have even have Smart TV's that not only allow you to watch the TV but also connect to the internet to play online media shut as catchup TV.

A media center can be setup easily and quickly and features can be limitless.  Being able to view your family photos and videos on your TV screen at the flick of a button, then play your favourite album, all without getting out of your chair.

Resources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodi_(software)
http://kodi.tv/