The Ouya $99 video game console should begin shipping soon. It’s designed to be an inexpensive box for playing Android games in the living room — but it can also function as a cheap media center.

Ouya’s developers announced last year that the device would support the popular XBMC media center app, and now one of the members of the XBMC development team has posted a video showing how the software performs on the game console.

XBMC on Ouya

Developer Nathan Betzen got his hands on a pre-release sample of the Ouya. While the game controller isn’t the final design, under the hood this is pretty much the same Ouya that customers will get starting later this month.

It features an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. And that seems to be enough to offer a pretty decent XBMC experience.

In the demo video you can see the user interface running at about 54 frames per second, transitions between menus working seamlessly, and 1080p HD video playing perfectly. There’s a catch: at the moment H.264 video looks great, but some other video formats may not run as smoothly.

For instance, an HD video encoded as an MP4 suffered from dropped frames when XBMC had to rely on libstagefright. Developers may be able to work out the kinks… but an easy way around the problem is probably to stick to H.264 or other supported video codecs whenever possible.

If you didn’t manage to reserve an Ouya during the company’s Kickstarter campaign, you can still pre-order one from — it just won’t ship until June.

via reddit

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10 replies on “This is what XBMC looks like on the $99 Ouya game console (and it looks good)”

  1. I have found even the Beta versions of VLC on Android platform doing a very credible job for ALL formats of containers and codecs.

  2. Play movies from my SG S3 via MHL as my media player very similar to the OUYA hardware just can’t cut it but the galaxy powers on Play from NAS just works the other thing is junk.

  3. I don’t understand why people would get any ARM based device for a dedicated HTPC. You’re better off paying more for a more powerful x86 setup. If you encounter a video that doesn’t meet the requirements for the hardware decoder or some sort of interface bug with it then you can fall back software decoding since the CPU would be powerful enough. Less headache and you won’t have to buy a new ARM device every year or less hoping it’ll finally play all your videos.

    Anyway, this is a gaming console. What exclusive (non-Play store) are going to be available?

    1. If my Rockchip iMito mX2 can handle 720p, then the OUYA will simply crush it AND run the XBMC interface a lot more smoothly. I don’t foresee any problems.

      And the reason why this instead of a x86 setup? Cost, size, noise, ease of use. I have a killer gaming rig. It handles XBMC, sure, but it’s big, loud (despite being liquid cooled), and cost me a lot more than $99 to build (Hell, the video card alone cost more than that!) — The OUYA handles the same tasks for a lot less money.

      No, I won’t be doing “hardcore” gaming on this thing, but as an XBMC box, the OUYA has everything I’m looking for: Enough power under the hood to run the GUI and movies well, Bluetooth, USB, Ethernet, the ability to use external hard drives without a fuss, and XBMC being optimized for this specific hardware.

      As for gaming, there are a lot of good games being developed. Head over to YouTube and look them up. More and more are being posted every day.

  4. At the moment in XBMC, Tegra 3 hardware decoding for MPEG4 is been disabled (as you can tell from the video).

    This is a known issue and the XBMC dev is looking into it with some help from nVidia.

  5. *sigh* People are still confused about media formats.

    MP4 is a media container. It is based on the Quicktime MOV format and can contain lots of things, including MPEG-4 AVC a.k.a “h.264”. If you look closely at the screen while playing the Big Buck Bunny video, the video that XBMC had trouble with is MPEG-4 SP a.k.a DivX/XviD. For some reason the Ouya isn’t offloading the video decode to dedicated hardware, instead doing it in software (and only using 1-2 cores).

    1. I was going to post something similar. Only a newb would confuse container with codec.

  6. For me Plex will take care of any of this. Its nice to not have to worry about codecs

    1. But you do have to have a computer running to get use out of Plex. I love Plex. It runs like a charm on my Roku and my Android devices, but if I want to use my computer for something else (gaming, video encoding, etc.) it’s a problem for anyone in the house who wants to watch a movie via Plex, and for me.

      The reason to run XBMC versus Plex (or in conjunction with it, anyway) is to have a LOCAL hard drive that feeds the videos to the device without having to tie up CPU cycles on the PC.

      And maybe sometimes I just want to turn my PC off and not hear the fan noise while I watch a movie. I could move it to a different room, of course, but why do that when I could have all my movies and shows on a device that isn’t dependent on the PC at all?

      And besides, XBMC does a lot more than just playing your local files. It also does a great job with Navi-X and other online video sources. For cord-cutters, it’s an amazing source of content.

      1. I run a windows home server, so I am alwaready running a dedicated PC, it sits in a closet, so I don’t hear it, Those are valid points, but I dont mind running a PC for this kind of stuff. TO be honest I am going to use my OYUA for emulation and PLEX.

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