Adding XBMC, Boxee, and Hulu to your Windows Media Center

by Damian on February 25, 2010 · 26 comments

in Guides

I was doing my usual morning read of some blogs I follow when I came across a post over at Multimedia-PCs that I thought was interesting. I do a lot of switching back and forth between Windows 7 Media Center, XBMC, and Boxee which can be a PITA since I can’t do this easily using use a remote. Well, a company called Teknowebworks LLC has come up with an easy way to do this all from W7MC. Simply install the XBMC, Boxee, or Hulu Media Center Integration app, and the next time you open up W7MC you will have a menu item for each application waiting for you. When you click on  the application you want to access, W7MC will automatically close and the other application will open up full screen. When you are done with the other application and close out, W7MC will restart in full screen. I know it has been possible to add entry points to other applications in W7MC already, but this is by far the easiest method I have found. The only downside is that you may never have a reason to leave your couch again!!!

Of course, a prerequisite is that you already have XBMC, Boxee, and Hulu installed on your PC prior to installing the Windows 7 Media Center Integration application.

UPDATE – FOR ANYONE LOOKING TO LAUNCH ZINC FROM WMC, YOU CAN GET THE PROGRAM LAUNCHER HERE (THANKS JJ FOR THE TIP)





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 26 comments }

Steve February 26, 2010 at 11:54 am

This is excellent info! Thanks for this Damian.

Hector March 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I inspired all of these creations =)

Ray March 3, 2010 at 6:29 am

It would be nice to see one for Zinc TV as well! :)

Licantrop0 March 6, 2010 at 10:25 am

Will it works with extenders? (like Xbox 360)

Damian March 6, 2010 at 10:30 am

Unfortunately not, only HTPCs

Damian March 6, 2010 at 10:30 am

@ Ray – I am sure there is a way to add the entry point for Zinc, I will see if I can get it done, report back

Licantrop0 March 6, 2010 at 10:35 am

Thanks for the info. If only I can find a way to port XBMC to my original Xbox360 :(

Mike March 6, 2010 at 10:46 am

I have Boxee for awhile and really enjoy it. I have played briefly for xbmc on my hacked apple tv and couldn’t find a great use for it. Does anyone really like it and why???

Damian March 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Yeah, I think you can only port over XBMC on the original Xbox

Damian March 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

@ Mike,

The appeal about XBMC is the ease in which you can set things up, the WOW factor with the various skins, and the SVN repo. At least these are things I like

chuby April 7, 2010 at 12:11 am

it’s easy to do it with zinc, I made a pack that puts zinc on WMC for W7, however I never released it to the public, I don’t know how many people use zinc, and actually since the last release of zinc it is so slow, that I can hardly see the need for it, however if some people ask I’ll upload it somewhere.

RS.

JJ April 17, 2010 at 7:14 pm

chuby, I would like to have Zinc integrated if you have an .msi that does the job!

Michael April 21, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I am in the process of setting up an HTPC. I am curious to know why you would need to use xbmc, boxee and 7mc. Isn’t this overkill, like using 7mc and mediaportal? Wouldn’t one be enough?

Damian April 22, 2010 at 5:08 am

@ Michael,

Just personal preference. For instance, Boxee has a solid collection of online content (including Hulu). I prefer to use WMC as my main UI but can use the Boxee launcher if I wan to access online content on Boxee

Aaron April 23, 2010 at 7:33 am

I too would like to have Zinc integrated, though I do agree that it seems to have gotten slower hear lately. It seems to have the greatest WAF of anything I have tried.

JJ April 23, 2010 at 8:00 am

You can find a zinc launcher @ http://zinclauncher.codeplex.com It was created by a member at http://thegreenbutton.com

William Lawrence September 19, 2010 at 7:15 am

Damian,

So there is no need for me to BUY the Boxee (unit) just download the software (free?) onto my HP W7MC. Will my networked connected TV’s then SEE my W7MC and have that ability to switch to BOXEE?

jj September 19, 2010 at 7:21 am

@ William

boxee won’t work over the network. You still need some kind of client locally connected to your TV. If you have a newer TV that can do Yahoo Widgets, install the Zinc widget. http://zinc.tv

Pradeep October 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

I think this is awesome. One question. Once I launch the boxee app from WMC, how do I get back to my media center. I do not find a close or exit option. Also, when you say install hulu, is there something to actually install? I thought it just plays through the browser.

Damian October 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

When you exit out of Boxee it takes you right back to WMC. For Hulu you need the hulu app (which you can get from hulu.com)

Sam December 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Hi There,

I was looking for a solution just like this for Spotify and Itunes which i use for music outside of WMC, any chance of a version for those apps?

Cheers for a great plugin

Sam

john February 7, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Thats great. wish it worked.
i can launch the exe no problem, within 7mc it crashes. boxee integrator did the same.

Pradeep February 8, 2011 at 7:09 am

I have not really had any problems with it crashing or anything. Only thing that I run into is that everytime I launch hulu, I end up having to use the keyboard for the 1st click or selection and then it starts recognizing the commands from my remote. I wish that it recognized the commands from the remote right away. Other than that, it works just great.

Brian February 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Im using the XBMC integration plugin for windows 7 Media Center from http://xbmcwmc.teknowebworks.com/. It seems like almost everytime i exit out of XBMC when it was started from the MC menu i get a black screen and have to reboot because i can do absolutely nothing on my computer.

Pradeep June 3, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I have now been using this for a while, esp. the boxee integrator. While it works great when it works, there are several times when it does not work.
1. Many times when I launch boxee from WMC, instead of going to full screen mode, I keep seeing the taskbar (after boxee launches) and if this happens, then the boxee app will not recognize any of the commands form my remote. I will have to use a keyboard to make my selections from there or use my keyboard to exit out of boxee and re-enter it.
2. I have taught this to my Father in law to use, who usually forgets or misses on the steps needed to logout and exit out of boxee properly. So, the next time I start this activity using my harmony remote, WMC goes to recorded TV by default. When I try to exit out of recorded TV and try to enter boxee again, the commands from the remote will not work, as there are usually 2 instances of the boxee (or the CMD window in the background) running. Someone would have to then use the keyboard and manually exit out of both the boxee sessions and then go back into WMC and then launch boxee again. Doing this once in a while might be okay, but doing this every day totally loses the WAF and my wife is all but ready to throw the HTPC out of the rack. If anyone else has run into this problem or has found a solution to this, I will really appreciate your inputs.
I am almost being forced to add a Roku box here to my setup that I do not really want or have space or spare inputs for.

Gary R. April 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I used this application for a couple of weeks, and while I like the idea of a shortcut to XBMC inside of WMC, the program has enough glitches that I uninstalled it.

Mainly, when WMC opens automatically after closing XBMC, one has to click somewhere on WMC to make it the active window (apparently), as trying to navigate with a remote does nothing until you do that.

Second, it would be a nice option to just have it launch XBMC, instead of closing out the media center. MY HTPC is fine with both running, so I’d prefer to just close XBMC and have the media center still open, instead of restarting each time.

Also, (and this is more a fault of XBMC) there’s no easy way to close XBMC; for some reason the developers have buried the exit option so it requires navigating to the power button and choosing the ‘exit’, instead of a simple shortcut somewhere you can easily navigate with a remote. (my remote has a ‘close’ button that does the job, but many don’t).

Hopefully the XBMC folks will realize that some of us like to close out XBMC quickly and easily using a remote, and add an item, perhaps to the left of the weather tab, to just exit with one click. I found this forum searching for a registry hack to add XBMC to WMC, which should be possible, without the integration program. I was able to remove the sports selection from WMC by a registry hack, so should be able to add something like XBMC.

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