5 Reasons To Install XBMC On Your Android, Right Now

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xbmc androidIt’s here. You can download a stable version of XBMC for Android right now. This isn’t a lightweight version of XBMC made specifically for tablets – it’s the full version of XBMC. So you can add your music and video collections and browse the Internet.

The XBMC Android interface, designed for a TV, probably won’t work well on your tiny smartphone screen – but it’s just about perfect for a tablet. For the unfamiliar, XBMC media center apps sorts your media for you and makes it simple to browse everything from your couch. Movies, TV shows and music are all given artwork and metadata – meaning your media looks almost as good while you’re browsing it as it does when you’re watching it.

But XBMC does more than play your media; it can play media from a variety of web sources, thanks to a seemingly endless supply of extensions. TV shows from Hulu and sites like it, as well as live news from around the world.

XBMC might not work on every Android device; check this list if you’re unsure. Also note that the XBMC Android app is not on Google Play, so to use it you’re going to need the ability to install APK files on your phone. On some devices this means rooting; on mine (ASUS Transformer) it does not.

Watch TV Shows Without A Subscription

Love TV? Check out Free Cable, which scrapes content from the websites of all the major networks plus a wide variety of cable channels, including Comedy Central, The History Channel, PBS, Adult Swim and A&E. This is content you can easily watch for free on your computer, but which occasionally doesn’t work on Android tablets for technical (no Adobe flash) or legal (someone decided you shouldn’t) reasons.

xbmc android

I used this to watch the most recent version of The Daily Show on my tablet, and it worked beautifully. If you have trouble, use the settings to turn down the max bitrate and all should be well.

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xbmc android install

Find Free Cable in the Bluecop repo for XBMC.

Oh, and this might be USA-only, but browse the XBMC repos and you’ll find plugins for your area. There’s iPlayer for the UK, for example. Explore and you’ll probably find something, or just keep reading.

Watch Live News From All Over Earth

Do you want to quickly switch between a variety of live news stations? The XBMC Android version gives you access to a variety of live news streams; all you need to do is find the appropriate plugin for the job.

xbmc android install

Learn more here – how to watch the news online using XBMC.

NaviX, 1Channel & Every Video You Could Want

Do you want access to even more media? Be sure to try out NaviX, the ultimate media source of XBMC. This massive repository of user-submitted media links includes live streams, TV shows and more then a few movies that you can access with your XBMC Android app.

xbmc android install

If that doesn’t work out for you, check out 1Channel for XBMC. It’s questionable from a legal standpoint, but with it you can watch any show or movie you want instantly.

Beautiful Organization For TV Shows and Music

Do you already have an extensive media collection? Assuming there’s room on your Android device, you can browse it all from the XBMC Android app – and it will look gorgeous when you do.

xbmc android instructions

If you’d rather not store your media on your device you can always add network shares. It won’t work when you’re away from your home network, but if all you want is to watch your videos on your tablet it’s a great idea.

Read more about adding media sources to XBMC.

Coming Soon (Hopefully): Hulu!

There’s a Hulu Plus app for Android, but those who want to watch Hulu’s free content on their Android devices are out of luck. Until now.

A readily available Hulu extension for XBMC brings Hulu’s free content to Android with or without a Hulu Plus account.

xbmc android

Browse your favorite shows, see your subscriptions and watch as much TV as you want. Read more about Hulu for XBMC here. This one’s not working on Android right now, but hopefully it will eventually. Find Hulu in the Bluecop repo for XBMC.

So Much More…

Of course, there’s so much more here to explore. YouTube, Reddit, Miro’s directory and TED can all be found in XBMC’s default extension repo, so be sure to explore that as soon as you install XBMC. Also be sure to check out these articles for even more tweaks:

Again: you can download XBMC for Android right now at XBMC.org as an APK file.

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Comments (40)
  • Ryan Stewart

    The problem with xbmc on android is there is no hardware decoding for most boxes meaning HD video won’t play without studdering. It is very unstable and prone to crashing at the minute but it’s still in development and improving with every release. The commenter who said it’s limited to tegra chips is wrong, development is actually on an amlogic chip.

    Other than that you can get a build that uses an external player such as mxplayer to play videos if all else fails.

    Good article by the way! however I can remember xbmc being able to browse the web lol!

  • Doug Prag

    able to dl on my mid 729b w/ics but it crashes after the initial set up. not sure if it is a space thing as it takes up nearly a gig or if it is just a compatibility issue. the mid has a lot of apps that just don’t work on it. I’ll keep trying

    • Doug Prag

      anyone know if this program works for the hp touchpad? I can try that instead.

    • Albert Harris

      Doug …… have been playing with the unofficial XBMC build from the XBMCANDROID / XDA Developers teams this morning and seems alot more stable on my HP TouchPad than the official builds. For some reason they continually would lock up or never play anything. Plus this comes with alot of the more popular repos and video addons preinstalled. The Touchscreen UI is alot more tablet user friendly as well. You can read about it and get it here:
      I’m using the Neon Device version and it’s working great so far.

  • prasanth vikkath

    XBMC oh my favorite Software….. I have started using it in my android

  • Duane Arsenault

    I’ll have to check this out tonight…I’m in Canada but interested to see what’s out there. Is the content ip specific? If I use a US server can I watch US content?

    • Justin Pot

      The content in the (legal) plugins pulls from sites that may or may not be region locked. Hulu, for example, is locked down, so you can’t use it. So your mileage may vary, but if you can’t access a site using your browser you also can’t access it using XBMC.

      To make things fair, I won’t be able to watch Hockey Night In Canada online this weekend and you will. Jerk.

  • Daniel Affourtit

    Will this work on Google TV devices?

    • Justin Pot

      I don’t know enough about Google TV to say, but my suspicion is that if this were possible you’d need to jailbreak the device to even try.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.