Whether you’ve chosen an Apple TV, Google TV or a HTPC and you’ve managed to get XBMC installed onto your device the next important step is getting your media connected to stream but also to install some plugins improving the overall functionality of the software. Sure XBMC works great as a stand alone application but the real genius comes when you install a handful of different plugins making it an average entertainment center to an outstanding one. You can stream music, movies, shows, sports and more with plugins and thanks to a wonderful easy addon installation called XBMC Fusion you’ll soon find yourself with enough live shows, feeds and more to cut your cable bill altogether.
Simply put, Fusion essentially just combines all of your possible addons into one central location. In years past you would have to manually upload ZIP files onto your jailbroken device or locally through the computer you were running XBMC on. Now, you add a internet connected source into your file manager and you’ll have access to an endless amount of repos and plugins suited to whatever you want. It doesn’t stop at just plugins though, there are program addons, music addons and more. In a few installs you can have live streams from major news networks, sports networks, kids channels and more.
The genius of it all? For one you have all of the major plugins in one location. There will always be a chance where a plugin you want isn’t on Fusion but they’re always willing to install ones that are functional. Perhaps the best part, the updating. XBMC has always had an auto update feature built into for it’s plugins but Fusion will as well. When a new update comes out it most (I say most as some, not many, will require manual updates) will auto update preventing any major problems moving forward.
Whether your using a PC (like an Acer Revo), Mac, Google TV (like the Pivos Dios XS) or Apple TV for your install of XBMC, the Fusion installation remains the same. There is a wonderful community online called XBMC HUB that gives a detailed step by step tutorial here.
After installation there are a few plugins you wont want to miss out on. First and foremost you’ll want to take a look at 1Channel (Bstrdsmkr’s Repository in Fusion) which offers up a wide bevy of Movies and TV Shows. It’s easily the most popular and reliable plugin currently available and allows you to watch just about anything you can think of.
Also on this list is Icefilms (anarchintosh addons). If you’ve been using XBMC for any period of extended time you’ve obviously heard of it and more then likely heard of it’s issues when MegaUpload went down. Since then it’s steadily been making a comeback and the latest version looks superb with a nice selection of HD content.
Next on the list is Project Free TV (Eldorado’s XBMC Addons), another option similar to both the plugins above.
Up next is Navi-X, about the only real popular program addon for XBMC. It provides an endless array of content but also the added ability to grant live video on demand as well as an assortment of international channels. Haven’t seen it myself but have heard there are available PPV streams on there as well.
Being the sports nut that I am about the only addon I’ve seen work half decent is SportsDevil (MaxMusterman Addons). Sports are the sole reason I don’t cut my cable and while this plugin definitely works some of the quality of the feeds you get are tough to watch (especially hockey). With that said there are a lot of quality feeds for sports around the world and it’s about the only plugin I’ve seen that will give a guy/gal their sports fix.
It may not sound like much to someone who doesn’t own one but once you’ve had the chance to check out XBMC you’ll quickly realize how awesome it is. Whether you use it for file management, a music player or a full blown entertainment center you’ll find yourself using it more and more over time once you get the hang of it. Add in the aforementioned plugins and you may find yourself turning off your cable and resorting to online streaming (the future) to cut cable altogether.