December 30, 2009 at 10:25 am
XBMC (formally called Xbox Media Centre) was originally developed for the Xbox but has since moved over to the Desktop. It is an open source media player with support for Windows, Linux and Mac. Whilst it works well on the PC, it’s even better used in a HTPC. It’s so good in fact that I still have two original Xboxes with XBMC connected to two TV’s in our household.
As an XBMC user for many years, I was very excited to hear that the development team has announced support for the Broadcom Crystal HD video accelerator across all three major platforms (Windows, Linux and OSX). This means hardware decoding of MPEG-2, H.264 and VC1 1080p video content will be coming to those netbooks with the Broadcom Crystal HD mini PCI-E (BCM970012) installed.
Whilst many have bought these mini PCI-E cards already, the software support is somewhat limited and includes WMP 12, Flash Player 10.1, ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre and CyberLink PowerDVD. The arrival of XBMC support is a major milestone as it’s one of the best media players around and should be able to play anything you throw at it.
The new code will be available in the next release of the project. The drivers can be downloaded from the Broadcom site. The Mini PCI-E Broadcom Crystal HD card can be bought from Logic Supply for $69, or you can always try your luck on eBay where you can find it for as cheap as $25.