Xbmc 1.1 cold feature freeze is over

The feature freeze looks to be over for the xbox media centre team. Recently there seems to lots of changes around the core featues of plaing media.

First up, Apple QuickTime.com Browser is now Fixed using a version 4 python script. For those who are unsure of what this is, please check out the screen shot which should make some sense of my futher descrption. Using AQT Browser, it is possible to browse Apple's http://www.quicktime.com movie trailer site and stream the trailer straight to the xbox. Its simple and very effective for watching the latest trailes. In the future, I'm sure other sites like http://www.ifilm.com will also be treated to the same type of browsing method.

AQT browser in action

I made the choice along time ago to replace evoX which is the default mod dashboard with xbmc its self, and its doing a very good job. I only have to turn the xbox on and I know I can hit my browser to play music without turning on the TV. But there are things which need to be changed. The filemanager is one of those things. In xbmc 1.0 and betas, it was ok. But if you wanted to really copy something to HD quickly, you were always better off using another application as the button control in xbmc was awarked at best. Now things have improved, xbmc users will see the screenshot and know exactly what I mean.

the new filemanager in xbmc 1.1

The most exciting feature for me is the new and improved Xlink client which was always a poor relation to the full client on a pc. Now you can do so much more…

Amongst many new features, it has a voice chat function (using Team-Avalaunch's port of SPEEX). Players can use voice chat within XBMC to communicate directly or chat in “groups” with other players on XBOX's and PCs that also support XLink Kai.
Auto-Play from harddrive, Kai Toast notifications, My Avatar, network status dialogs, plus a number of bug-fixes.

XBMC now supports private arenas, creating arenas, avatars, invites and lots of other KaiUI features. XBMC is also your friend if you intend to use a Linux-router like the WRT54G to run your Kai Engine – you could get a really nice setup, with XBMC and kaid – so no computer would be needed


Kai Toast feature in action

Other things to mention on this sleepless night. Theres a super sweet skin from http://www.critikill.net which produced the orginal project mayhem skin. But honestly version 2 of the skin is slick. Theres a really nice skin and general shake up in the webfront end gui. Its now using CSS instead of insane Tables and Frames. I have not yet tried it on my PocketPC, but it should fair better than the old web front end, which has silly amounts of javascript to really trip up the pocketpc. Talking about using the phone as a remote control, it would be interesting to see if it works on my smartphone too? Generally, xbmc 1.1 is a good upgrade and worthy of the effort. Now if only I could turn the xbox on remotely, embrace the bittorrent and podcasting scene…
Lots of screenshots of new features.

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Author: Ianforrester

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