Team XBMC announced that revision 13 of the very popular media-player software XBMC will be developed under codename Gotham. XBMC Gotham will receive improved upnp possibilities and the Android version will get native audio controls.
With XBMC 12 – Frodo released, we are now returning to our monthly development cycle, where the first portion of the month is dedicated to feature additions and the second portion is devoted to bug fixes for those and other features. This means, at the end of every month, developers, bug-reporters, and those willing to deal with potentially highly unstable builds can try a snapshot from the current development cycle, and the organization, in turn, will have a more stable and predictable development process. For those of you who would prefer a stable version of XBMC, we will always recommend the most recent stable release (XBMC 12.0), but for the brave, you are welcome to try the end of the month build. To give an idea of just how unstable/alpha these builds can be, there will almost certainly be months in which some platforms won’t actually have usable builds. As always, we recommend you backup your userdata folder before upgrading.
With that said, let’s review some of the more notable changes from the February Changelog.
Play Using… As many of you know, one of the bigger pushes for the XBMC project over the past year has been a dramatic improvement in UPnP support. In continuing that trend, developer elupus has implemented a new UPnP Play Using… feature, which allows the current XBMC machine you are interacting with to push video or audio to any UPnP compatible device that supports the file-type.
For those familiar with AirPlay for video and audio, this is quite similar, except now you don’t need to be using an iOS device to push your content. You just need to check the box to turn on your UPnP server in XBMC under System->Services->UPnP and you can send your media anywhere that supports it.
Once UPnP is enabled, simply highlight some piece of media, open the context menu, and select “Play using.” A list of your UPnP compatible devices will pop up, including any other instances of XBMC that you’ve allowed to be controlled by UPnP (also a setting in System->Services).
At the moment, Play Using cannot be used mid-playback, though that is slated to be introduced. Also, as you can see in the above image, the controls on the device that is serving up the media are limited in the default skin Confluence, but are the full playback controls in the mobile skin Touched. Playback itself is already nearly flawless. Also, at present Play Using only works for local media and does not yet support video and audio streaming addons.
Android Improvements This first cycle includes a slew of Android improvements. For starters, XBMC now controls native Android audio, so users don’t have to close XBMC, turn the volume up, re-open XBMC, and finally listen to whatever they were listening to. Instead, the audio is controlled like any other Android app (thanks to mcrosson). Second, XBMC for Android is no longer stuck facing one direction. If you flip your Android device 180 degrees, XBMC will flip with it (thanks to montellese).
iOS Improvements The local iOS keyboard is already the default keyboard for XBMC, but now it has even more utility. It can accept any text from any iOS language, and it also supports the iOS clipboard copy and paste feature (thanks to ulion).
Other Improvements Dev Montellese continues his breakneck work of improving the XBMC library. With this cycle, he has added tags for tv shows and musicvideos, and he has also made it possible for those individuals who like to pick and choose each piece of media art individually to add alternative artwork (landscape, banner, etc.) without needing to use an addon like the automated Artwork Downloader. To use this feature, click “Choose art” on a piece of media’s info screen, and then select “Add art” at the bottom.