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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Popular FREE HTPC Software Suites

Free Open Source Alternative for Microsoft Media Center and Apple's Front Row for HTPC use.

MediaPortal is an open-source media center software project, often considered an alternative to Windows Media Center. It provides a 10-foot user interface for performing typical PVR/TiVo functionality, including playing, pausing, and recording live TV; playing DVDs, videos, and music; viewing pictures; and other functions. Plugins allow it to perform additional tasks, such as watching online video, listening to music from online services such as, and launching other applications such as games. It interfaces with the hardware commonly found in HTPCs, such as TV tuners, infrared receivers, and LCD displays.

MediaPortal offers you the most powerful TV Engine and PVR (Personal Video Recorder) available today. 
You can do everything a TiVo can, and more, for free! It's Easy to Use, Everything else is just a media center

MediaPortal turns your HTPC into a very advanced media center, or Home Theater PC (HTPC)
  •     Listen to music and radio
  •     Play videos, movies and DVDs
  •     View pictures or create a slideshow
  •     Watch, schedule and record live TV - like a TiVo, but more, and for free!
  •     Stream media, radio and TV to any HTPC / PC connected to your network
  •     Use a remote to control your HTPC from your couch
  •     Check weather, news, or information on the web, even play games!
All in the comfort of your living room, on your big screen LCD or Plasma TV or projector.

That’s only the basic features!  By using the hundreds of plugins and skins available, you can do almost anything with your HTPC. MediaPortal Does So Much More


XBMC Media Center (formerly Xbox Media Center) is a free (GPL) and open source cross-platform digital media hub for digital media and HTPC (Home theater PC) software with a 10-foot user interface designed to be a media player for the living-room TV using only a remote control as the input device. Its graphical user interface (GUI) allows the user to easily browse and view videos, photos, podcasts, and music from a harddrive, optical disc, local network, and the internet using only a few buttons.The XBMC project is managed by the non-profit technology consortium XBMC Foundation.

It is a popular alternative to Microsoft's Windows Media Center and Apple's Front Row for HTPC use. Similar to competing software like MediaPortal and MythTV, it has a skinnable as well as user-configurable interface and plugin support. XBMC is available for Linux, OSX, and Windows.

Currently XBMC can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. Use your media as-is: XBMC can play CDs and DVDs directly from the disk or image file, almost all popular archive formats from your hard drive, and even files inside ZIP and RAR archives.

It will even scan all of your media and automatically create a personalized library complete with box covers, descriptions, and fanart. There are playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations. Once installed, your computer will become a fully functional multimedia jukebox.

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