After three release candidates, XBMC 12 is finally ready for prime time. The latest version of the media center software is available for download in a multitude of flavors, including Windows, OS X, and Linux. The Linux release is available as a standard application and as part of an XBMCbuntu distribution. There are also variants for Android, iOS, both Apple TV generations, and even the Raspberry Pi. The only thing missing is a BeOS port, but since the source code is available, you might just be able to roll your own.
Dubbed Frodo, this latest XBMC release adds important elements missing from previous iterations of the software: live TV and PVR support. Don't get too excited, though; this functionality requires separate PVR software running on either the host system or a separate machine. XBMC provides add-ons to interface with various PVR backends, and feature support looks a little spotty for some of them.
There's more to XBMC 12 than a PVR interface, of course. The software features an updated audio engine capable of playing high-quality DTS-MA and Dolby True-HD formats. H.264 video playback has been beefed up to support 10-bit "Hi10P" content, as well. 10-bit decoding isn't accelerated in hardware, so this feature won't work on systems based on ARM, Atom, and "some AMD" processors. The XBMC team recommends at least a Core 2 Duo.
I've been running XBMC on and off since the software got its start on the original Xbox console, and it's by far my favorite media center app. While the lack of fully integrated PVR support is a little disappointing, I'm more intrigued by XBMC's potential on inexpensive ARM-based devices like the Raspberry Pi. I need to build myself a cheap little ARM box to see how well XBMC really runs on the platform.
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