Ouya with XBMC sitting in a tree…

Ouya at home

Simon kindly lent me his brand new Ouya a while ago but I’ve only just gotten around to playing with it as I want to replace my ageing Lenovo Thinkcentre with a new XBMC box.

I wanted originally was interested in the Boxee box but frankly that gone down a path I certainly don’t want to be dragged. Now XBMC works nicely on Android, I’ve been looking at android boxes which seems to be made for XBMC. Most of the boxes are tiny and have all the right ports including HDMI, digital optical out, etc.

So how does it work on the Ouya? Well after a little setting manual up (I would install a SSH server but its not mine to mess with) its good, very fast specially compared to the Raspberry Pi. The User interface is nippy and playing back 1080p seems effortless.

The biggest problem I’m having is getting Dolby Digital or DTS out of the console. I did some research and its a problem quite a few people are having issues with. Audio passthrough can be enabled so the AC3 signal should be able to get to the Onkyo 7.1 surround amp but no matter what I do. And as with everything else, others are struggling too.

If I could solve the problem of Digital passthrough output, I would certainly consider getting a Ouya to replace my home cinema setup. I would love to attempt to get the Wii remote hooked up to the Ouya as the controller is a little too big for a home cinema controller. Although to be fair I’m using the Android Yatse controller app on 3 out of 4 of my Android devices including my mothers old HTC android phone, which is now my permanent desktop XBMC remote.

I’ll persist with the audio output and check it can play back all the old formats like Divx 3.2 and Mpeg1 and 2 stuff. Also need to check how the suspend works…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.