5 Amazing Add-Ons for the XBMC Media Center

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xbmc media centerMake XBMC even better by adding these amazing add-ons. Whether you’re into TV, sports or gaming, these plugins will help you get the most out of your television.

Last time, I lamented the end of Boxee on the desktop, but I got over it quickly when I started using XBMC. It’s the software Boxee is based on, and it’s fun to use. Sure, where Boxee is clean and organized, XBMC can be chaotic and hackerish, but that’s part of the fun. But the real fun comes when you discover the various plugins you can add to this system. I’ve been digging in the past couple of weeks, and was surprised to find very few of these great plugins are written up anywhere.

So here they are – the best plugins for the XBMC media center I’ve found so far. Try them out, and point out anything better in the comments below.

Adding Repos

Before we get to the fun part, a brief explanation of repositories. Installing these is important if you want to get updates for your plugins, but happily it is very easy to do. All you need to do is download a ZIP file, then point XBMC towards it. You can do this in the settings: just head to the “Add-Ons” section, then select “Add from ZIP file.”

Once you’ve added the repository you’ll be able to install the software from it, though I’ve sometimes needed to restart XBMC to see the new plugins. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

NaviX

If you want to browse, watch and download videos from across the Internet, this is where you should start. NaviX is a collection of user-generated playlists. You can find pretty much anything here.

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Download NaviX and you’ll find it under “Programs“.

Free Cable

Do you want to watch content from TV networks around the US? This is the plugin you’re looking for. Featuring streams from NBC, FX, CBS, SyFy, USA Network and more, this plugin gives access to lots of American television content.

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You’ll need to install the Bluecop Repository to install this add on. Once you do, you’ll find “Free Cable” in the video section of the add-on menu.

PsuedoTV

Imagine TV stations with only shows you like and no commercials. That’s the fun of PsuedoTV, a plugin that brings the mindlessness of channel surfing to your personal media collection.

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The best criticism of media center software is how active it is. You, yourself, need to pick what you want to watch, as opposed to TV where you can mindlessly channel surf. If you just want to relax and just watch whatever for a while this is the plugin for you. It makes up TV channels based on the shows and movies in your collection, and you’ll never know what you’ll stumble upon.

You’ll find this add-on under “Programs” in the add-on menu, and there’s no need to add a repository.

Rom Launcher

Have a ROM collection? You’ll want this plugin, which lets you browse all of your ROMs from within XBMC. It even collects cover art and game descriptions:

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You don’t need to do much to get this working. Just tell the plugin where your emulators and ROMs are and it will figure out the rest. This works great, and is a great deal simpler than the Boxee method I outlined last year.

You’ll find this extension under “Programs” in your add-on menu, and there’s no repository you need to add.

Sports Devil

It’s no secret – you can easily watch sports not broadcast in your country online if you know where to look. Sports Devil makes this even easier, allowing you to browse several online streaming sites with your TV remote.

xbmc media center

Not every stream will work, but if you read through the directions you’ll find that most of them do.

You’ll need to add the Max Mustermann repository to get this working. Once you do, you’ll find this extension under “Videos.”

Other Favorites of Mine

I’ve found a few other great plugins, including Reddit, Al Jazeera, The Guide and YouTube. These can all be found under “Video” and work great.

I’m wondering, though – can you guys point out any other awesome XBMC media center plugins? I’d love to hear about them, because I’m relatively new to XBMC. Fill me in using the comments below.

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