Originally, XBMC for Android only supported HW Acceleration for Neon devices, however, thanks to a group of Russian developers, external player support for XBMC is now available for both neon and non-neon devices such as the Tegra 2.
It is thanks to http://appletvblog.ru/ for making the build of XBMC that works with MX Player (free version). If you use the paid version, or other players, head to my original post to get the PlayerCoreFactory file or edit it yourself. Development is very active with the latest build on 19 Dec 2012. The builds are available here and remember to choose the appropriate version for your device – not sure if yours is a Neon or Non-Neon device? Check out this list.
Installation Instructions for XBMC – External Player
- Install the APK through a file manager. You may encounter an error message at the end saying Application not installed, ignore it. Check your App Drawer, XBMC was listed there for me.
- Start XBMC for the first time. If XBMC fails to start, it could be you installed the wrong type (NEON, NON-NEON). This is to generate the userdata folders.
- Install and run MX Player.
- Download and copy the PlayerCoreFactory.xml to the device (the default file is for the free version of MX Player).
- Return to the file manager and navigate to Android/data/org.xbmc.xbmc/files/.xbmc/userdata and copy PlayerCoreFactory.XML there. I used ES file explorer and I need to enable viewing of hidden files before I could navigate to the specified folder.
- Return to XBMC and try out video files, they should now open in MX Player.
What Worked? My Experience
This time around, I loaded it successfully to my LG Optimus 2X (a Tegra 2 Non-Neon device) and it was able to launch MX Player successfully for videos stored in the local SD card or internal storage. I tried to play network files over the Windows Network (SAMBA / SMB) but it was not able to launch the external player. Interestingly enough, it worked well for those video files over XBMC plugins such as Revision 3 which had 720p MP4 streaming from the internet and those worked well over MX Player so it looks like it could be an access rights issue across the internal Windows Network. For files that don’t work in the external player, you could select the internal player by selecting the file until the option menu shows up -> and select play back option using the internal player.
It seems that in order to get network files to play right – some additional tweaking is required. Install CIFS Manager to be able to use MXPlayer for files stored on a NAS or Windows computer and this is something I would be trying out soon.
Once in MX Player, for files that supported HW Acceleration, the experience was seamless. I activated the quit function menu in MX Player so that when pressing back, it would return to XBMC instead of showing the MX Player Interface. While there were some 1080p files that didn’t worked in MX Player, and had to fall back to S/W acceleration, that was more of an encoding and MX Player issue. For now, this work well to emulate a home theater interface on my Android device.