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21 January 2011, 15:06

XBMC media software ported to Apple TV, iPhone, iPad

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As reported by AppleInsider, the XBMC developers have ported their cross-platform media software for the latest Apple TV running iOS. They refer to this as their ARM-based release and it allows the installation of apps and playback of formats not currently supported by the second generation Apple TV device, often referred to as the Apple TV 2 or ATV2.

Although a previous port of XBMC, formerly Xbox Media Center, for the Intel x86-based Apple TV has been available for some time, with this new port the Apple TV 2 becomes a low cost but powerful platform for XBMC, capable of 1080p playback while the Apple TV software itself is limited to 720p. Playback quality at 1080p is reported to be quite good although some frames are dropped. Running XBMC on an Apple TV requires a jailbroken ATV2 running version 4.1 or 4.2.1 of Apple's iOS operating system – installation instructions are available on the XBMC web site. A video of the second generation Apple TV running XBMC is available on YouTube.

Like the iPhone and iPad, Apple's tiny second generation Apple TV is based on A4 processor.
The second generation Apple TV uses an A4 processor based on the ARM architecture and the XMBC port shows this to be surprisingly powerful. A new chip, which may be called A5 or A8, slated for the next generation of Apple devices is expected to deliver four times the graphics performance and therefore should easily be capable of 1080p without dropping frames.

While they were at it and since the architectures are similar to the Apple TV, the XBMC developers have also released their software for jailbroken iPad and iPhone devices. These versions can be downloaded from the Cydia app store and instructions are provided on the XMBC site.

Also available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, GPL-licensed XBMC source code and binaries can be downloaded from SourceForge. The latest stable release is version 10.0, code named "Dharma", from mid-December of last year.

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