First of all, we need a multi-media software that can play any media on almost any software. If we could only use some software on hackintosh, that would defeat the entire purpose of trying to build a hackintosh to use it as a media server. In essence, we need to find the most flexible software for this project.
- Plex (http://www.plexapp.com/): Plex is a nice looking software that has a lot of potential. However, as of now, you can not play your media on windows or linux machines. You could potentially use windows as media backup server but that’s about it. You can’t even play back media on linux machines. I tried looking for ports for windows and linux but those are way too unstable for our use. Despite all this, Plex does support play back on android, iPhone and iPod touch. No support for add-on. Plex won’t be an ideal choice.
- Boxee (http://www.boxee.tv/): Boxee is a hot contender for our project. It’s easy to use, simple, network capabilities and most of all cross platform. It does daily scan of your computer and sorts them out for you with any options. Other than being able to share your own files, you can access any public video and music online through the Boxee software. There is a lot of third party support as well (Flikr, Pandora, Vudo Movies, etc). You can also integrate your user info with facebook and tweeter.
- XMBC (http://xmbc.org/): This one has a lot of potential. A lot of customizations and options are available for you, however, it is not streamlined like Boxee. Navigation is pretty clunky (even with different skins) with several unnecessary functions that you can’t really disable. It appears that Boxee has surpassed XBMC while Boxee is built upon it.
- There are other several options available. However, these three candidates are the most usable out of all XMBC related projects.
Side note: All of these softwares are based on XMBC. I couldn’t find any that actually doesn’t come from XMBC. Also, None of these are able to play files with DRM. No way getting around that.