XBMC is a highly customizable and powerful media center application that can run on computers and a number of other devices. In fact, the project started its life as Xbox Media Center, thus the acronym. But my how XBMC has grown in recent years. Last night the developers announced that the app has been ported to run on devices with Apple’s A4 chip. That includes the Apple TV2, iPad, iPhone 4, and 4th generation iPod touch.
You’ll need to jailbreak your iOS device in order to install XBMC, since it’s not available from the App Store. But if you do that, you can effectively turn a $99 Apple TV into a powerful media center capable of 1080p HD video playback. This will let you stream videos from computers on your home network without relying on Apple’s AirPlay service, handle almost any video codec you can throw at it, use XBMC skins, and run add-ons.
The version for the iPad supports drag-and-drop loading of photos, videos, and music from your computer. The XBMC developers say you can also run the app on the iPhone 4 (and presumably the 4th generation iPod touch), but that it’s “frustrating to use.”