Last year around this time the XBMC team dropped the 9.11 Camelot release. Camelot blew us all away with a radically improved user interface and skins that made your media centre look like a million bucks—quite literally, none of the visitors at my house ever believed I got it for free.
Over the course of 2010 we saw various incarnations of the Dharma build as it crept through beta and into the release-candidate phase. As of today, XBMC 10.0 Dharma is available for public release and it's quite an impressive upgrade. At first glance you might have trouble telling it apart from 9.11 Camelot. The awesome styling that was introduced in the last release is still there and looking better than ever with a few minor tweaks. The real magic in this release cycle is under the hood.
Let's be honest. I love XBMC, there's a good chance that you love XBMC too—it XBMC articles always garner a lot of attention around here. We don't have to pretend that, historically, adding onto XBMC and customising the XBMC experience was a walk in the park. You had to either comb the XBMC.org forums reading post after post or hope that we'd do the combing for you and write up a nice guide. Add-ons were almost entirely hit or miss and what worked one build cycle might not work the next—or even between machines. This release cycle removes the duct tape holding the add-on support and replaces it with a sleek and streamlined repository-based add-on system.
Sounds too good to be true? Check out the video below. I was able to install add-ons easily, right out of the box, with a fresh install. Instead of mucking about in configuration files with a bunch of hand editing, watch how I easily download a new skin, add in some media scrapers, and even add in a video plugin within a matter of minutes (no configuration or hand editing needed at any point).
If you're brand new to XBMC you might be thinking "Oh, well that looked easy enough!" but if you're an XBMC veteran you're likely still in shock. I didn't have to FTP into my XBMC install, hand edit any configuration files, or sacrifice any livestock to make it happen. Adding in media scrapers, music and video add-ons, subtitle tools, new skins, and additional web-interfaces for remote control of your media centre, has never ever been this easy.
In addition to the awesome add-on support (and we can't stress enough what a great step forward that new add-on framework and repository is for the XBMC project) you'll find even more improvements in the Dharma build including:
- Support for new media codecs including WebM/VP8.
- Improved hardware acceleration for a wide number of hardware configurations including support for DXVA2 in Windows Vista/7 and CrystalHD acceleration on all platforms—Linux and OS X users will see the biggest improvements with CrystalHD.
- Support for unencrypted Blu-ray playback.
- Integrated updating including support for update notifications or automatic updating.
For a detailed overview of all the improvements in XBMC 10.0 Dharma check out the full build milestone document here.
Excited about the new release and want to get to whipping your media collection into shape and customising your XBMC experience? Read up on how to get things just so with our handy guides:
- How to Sync Your XBMC Media Centres
- The Ultimate Start To Finish Guide To Your XBMC Media Centre
- Turn Your XBMC Media Centre Into A Video Game Console
- How To Whip Your Movie And TV Show Art Into Shape For XBMC And Boxee
- Enhance Your XBMC Experience With Remote Controls For Any Device
Visit the link below to read more or jump right to the download page to grab a copy for your OS of choice.
XBMC 10.0 Dharma [XBMC]