media center

XBMC Architecture Summary

In July we have sponsored a paper to describe the XMBC Architecture. We needed it to use in a grant proposal so why not paying the XBMC Community to have it?

During the time we were writing the proposal and working on the paper, we noticed that many other people were looking for something similar. Of course all information you will find in this paper is available somewhere on the XBMC wiki, support pages, foruns and trac... What we intended to have was one summary document that can serve as a base for new developers and companies when researching or planning to get involved in the project.

Hope it could be useful to you, or anyone you know that might be interested.


XBMC Summary Architecture
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TFF presents updated FLOSS Media Center Study at OVC

Since the first publication in September 2008 and the last 2 revisions, our study on FLOSS Media Centers State of the Art was downloaded over 35,000 times.

It is now time for a third revision, and we found no better place to present it than the Open Video Conference in New York City from 19-20 June.


With 60 different features under comparison in the 10 most prominent media centers in the free/open source community, we consider all the aspects that matter to you - the end user - to pick your preferred system. Whether it runs on a HTPC or in a set-top box, you have all the parameters to ensure the right choice spending little or nothing. Oh, did I mention this work is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license?

So stay tuned, we see you at the OVC.

20.000 downloads in 120 days

We launched the first version of our FLOSS Media Center Comparison Chart last year, on September 18. Four months later, we are pleased to announce that we just passed 20.000 downloads.


This is an impressive number for a niche used to see fragmented, disconnected initiatives here and there. Some flourishing, some dead. Free/Open Source Media Centers suffered for a long time from the lack of dedicated (and compatible) hardware to run on, and we are glad to see that 2008 brought us new players (like Boxee) and new products (like Neuros LINK), aiming to increase awareness and use of such home entertainment applications.

We bet 2009 will bring FLOSS Media Centers to a next level. From Home-Theater PC's to set-top boxes, we hope they reach the consumer mass-market pretty soon, and help users to discover new media, enjoy high quality content and connect even more using the internet.

So, thank you for your interest in our work. Thank you specially for those who are constantly telling us about the new features within your community. We'll be compiling the next paper update pretty soon, and we'll let you know through this blog. Subscribe to the RSS feed.

Tiscali TV Shutdown: a strong opportunity for Open Source Set-Top Boxes

The recent decision taken by Tiscali Italy to shutdown their IP-TV service, and the few subscribers acquired during the period in which the company promoted its Internet+IP-TV package is an important signal to the Free Software community.

It's a sign that the already fragmented market for Set-Top Boxes leaves no room for closed solutions (the so-called "walled gardens"). There are many solutions available today for those who want to bring to the living room a system to manage their multimedia content. The problem is, however, that all these solutions are closed in some way or have major limitations, because of the difficulties in development and production processes.

Perhaps it is time now that the big players in the market start thinking why not building a large "Open Garden" for entertainment. An open standard for interoperability, development and distribution of multimedia applications. A system that can run on "old" Tiscali boxes, TiVo boxes or any other box which can be purchased on the web (like the Neuros LINK, for example). A new approach to entertainment that could give Set-Top Boxes the same flexibility the PC has, to stimulate creation of new multimedia applications (like p2p tv services, voip, email, web, social networking...), but without compromising the nature, usability and comfort of being able to enjoy media from our couch.

We're working on a project proposal for the drafting of such standards and the development of a back-end and middleware layers that will offer a stable and interoperable platform for Set-Top Boxes. As Facebook and Apple have managed to create their basic platforms for the distribution of applications for Social Networking and on mobile devices (iPhone, iPod touch), the idea is to create a new channel of distribution (an open channel this time) where producers and consumers can interact without intermediates, creating and consuming media (either free or paying for it).

If you want to know more, please visit the project page or participate using Facebook.

IP-TV2.0: Missed? Download the Conference!

All Videos and Presentations of speakers in the IPTV2.0 conference, held last wednesday in the "La Sapienza" Rome's University are now available for view and download:

You can also download the full PDF file for revision 1.2 of our FLOSS Media Center State of the Art paper (in italian, english or portuguese).

The UI Remix Video presented is available at:

And, finally, you can subscribe to our RSS feeds to be notified when the next revisions in the Media Center study are published:

Media Center Report: revision 1.2

It's time for a new revision on our report on Media Centers in the FLOSS community. Among the changes, surely the Apple TV version of Boxee and XBMC is the big one!

With our upcoming event next week about IP-TV's and Media Centers we thought it would be a good occasion to publish the 1.2 revision online and distribute printed copies to event attendees.

We'll have live demos for Boxee and XBMC using the Apple TV, and also: Elisa, MediaPortal and Neuros OSD. Don't miss!

See you soon... 

CNN "tech guru" Chris Pirillo reviews our FLOSS Media Center Study

My email to Chris Pirillo informing about the paper release was read, and here is what Chris has to say about it.

Chris, the 1.1 revision is out, downloads are here.

RSS Feed for Updates on FLOSS Media Center Comparison Chart

Here it is ... Subscribe this feed to get the latest updates...


Media Center Comparison Chart: revision 1.1

We have just published a new revision for the FLOSS Media Center paper (v.1.1), based on the feedback we received in these first days. What's new?

  • Fixed table inconsistency for audio/video player for XBMC, Boxee and Plex+CenterStage;
  • Got feedback that Plex+CenterStage are not working on EPG/PVR, just waiting until XBMC releases their work which is currently under development;
  • Added availabilty of XBMC LiveCD (which runs also as a LiveUSB);
  • MythTV can also listen to web radio though the unofficial plugin Mythstream;
  • Fixed MMS video player/handling
We will also evaluate if and when to remove or split CenterStage from Plex. It all depends on the success of their collaboration. If they merge (new name?) we'll update the chart accordingly, but if CenterStage becomes a skin for Plex then we will remove it and leave Plex. Please leave your comments about this issue, we'll be watching...

FLOSS Media Center Comparison Chart Published

Thank you everyone for helping in this work.

We released a first version (1.0) of the FLOSS Media Centers State of the Art paper yesterday, and we'll be posting new updates and revisions in this blog.

In less than 24 hours the paper had more than 1,000 downloads. We got a lot of positive feedback from the community and we will be releasing a 1.1 revision later next week to fix some table inconsistencies.

Stay tuned, and bookmark this blog to always get the latest updates.

We'll be adding the RSS feature pretty soon in this blog, sorry for the inconvenience.