Android FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions for Android.


1 General FAQ

See also: XBMC all platforms FAQ for FAQs that apply to all versions of XBMC.

1.1 Will this really do 1080 and all that stuff the desktop can do?

  • Yes! This is a full port of XBMC! It is not a thin client or lite version!
Note: Hardware video decoding support requires a nightly build.
  • The initial aim for the Android port is to get XBMC working on inexpensive Android set-top-boxes. Phones and tablets will be supported as well for those who want XBMC on-the-go.

1.2 Installing/getting XBMC for Android


1.3 Is XBMC for Android different from normal XBMC?

  • The current version of XBMC for Android is based on XBMC v12.3 Frodo, and is based on the same code as XBMC for all the other supported platforms.

1.4 How do I find out what version of XBMC am I running?

  • XBMC main menu > System > Lower submenu > System info. Note the version and/or build date.

1.5 Video and audio formats XBMC for Android can playback

  • XBMC for Android supports all the same formats that other platforms do (such as desktop OS).
  • Due to the weak processing power of most ARM processors, for smooth playback most Android hardware will require proper hardware decoding. (See #Requirements below)

1.6 Accessing media

  • You can connect to media that's being shared from a computer, HTPC, or NAS device on your local network.
  • You can access media on the internal memory, SD cards or from USB ports (hard drives, USB stick drives, directly or via hubs, etc).

1.7 Add-ons and skins

  • XBMC for Android is a full version of XBMC and will be able to use all non-platform specific add-ons and skins. More feature rich (CPU demanding) skins like AEON Nox might not run smoothly on lower powered systems, so keep to "lighter" skins for those boxes.
  • If you are using a touch screen device and the build you are using did not include it, you can manually instal Add-on:Touched for better touch screen support.

1.8 Remote controls

  • Some Android set-top-boxes come with a remote and an IR port which XBMC can use.
  • Any Keyboard such as wired, wireless, bluetooth (if supported in your Android ROM). This includes "keymotes" such as a Rii, Boxee remote, most "air mouse" keyboard remotes, and others that appear as a normal USB keyboard to the system.
  • Web interfaces, including add-on interfaces.
  • XBMC smartphone and tablet remote apps.
  • Other IR remotes can be used with IR receivers such as the Flirc.
  • Some Android devices support CEC

1.9 Requirements

Attention.png NOTICE:
It is highly recommended for users to not make any purchases in anticipation of running XBMC on Android without researching the device you want to buy. If you do buy, make sure multiple people can verify that it works! If in doubt, don't buy that box!
  • Due to the nature of Android hardware it is hard to give exact requirements. The basic set of requirements include:
    • NEON compatible ARM processor (for example: Nvidia Tegra 1/2 probably will never be supported, while Tegra 3 and later will be fully supported.)
    • Android 4.0 or later is supported, but Android 4.4 and later is recommended.
    • Hardware decoding support in XBMC is likely a must for HD video playback (720p+). Don't expect this to work on any device until someone has specifically tested it and can confirm hardware decoding support for that device. For more details on hardware video decoding support, see Android hardware.
  • The main aim for the Android port is to initially target media-players/set-top-boxes/sticks that connect to a large screen television and uses a standard remote control as interface device, (that is the same market at HTPC). However expect tablet/phone/touch/mobile/etc support to eventually improve with time.

1.10 Google TV

  • You can install XBMC on Google TV devices that have the Android 4.2 update.

1.11 Launching Android apps from within XBMC

  • XBMC can launch other Android apps by going to "Programs" (on the home screen) and selecting the app you want to run.

1.12 Automatically start XBMC

  • You can automatically start XBMC when your Android device boots up using an application such as Startup Manager (free)

1.13 Why can other players work with HD video but not XBMC?

  • HD video (720 and 1080 resolution files) requires what's known as hardware video decoding, using special chips that handle video playback, in order to run smoothly on most ARM/Android systems. Some Android systems have powerful enough CPUs that they can playback some HD video without hardware decoding, but most will require it.
  • XBMC nightly builds and the upcoming v13 "Gotham" now has hardware video decoding support that should work with most Android devices and the most common video codecs. See Android hardware for more details.

2 Performance tips

2.1 Performance: video buffering, stuttering, choppiness

  • Note: Remember that hardware video decoding, which will be required on most devices for smooth video playback, requires a nightly build.
  • Avoid using wireless. A lot of Android devices have weak wifi, even those that advertise as being wireless-n. It may be possible to use a USB-to-ethernet dongle on some devices, or even a USB wifi adapter that has a better wifi radio than what is built-in.
  • Switch to a different network protocol to see if that has any effect, i.e. SMB/CIFS, NFS, FTP, WebDAV, etc.
  • Try sharing the media on another device to rule out a device-specific (or network) issue.
  • Turn off thumbnails, XBMC -> Settings -> Video -> File and deselect 'generate thumbnails'.
  • H.264 videos encoded with Hi10P profile will not work on most Android hardware as there are no ARM processors powerful enough to software decode it, and no hardware decoders exist for it.
  • If RSS feed is enabled, disable it in settings. This can make the main menu a bit faster.
  • Running out of disk space storage, or want to try tweaking caching and other performance settings to achieve faster response times? See HOW-TO:Reduce XBMC disk space for help on modifying how XBMC handles images.

3 Troubleshooting

3.1 Getting more help with XBMC for Android


3.2 Userdata folder and logs


The userdata folder and debug log is located on external storage/sdcard at one of the following locations (depending on your device):

userdata folder
  • /Android/data/org.xbmc.xbmc/files/.xbmc/userdata/
  • /sdcard/Android/data/org.xbmc.xbmc/files/.xbmc/
  • /data/data/org.xbmc.xbmc/files/.xbmc/
debug log
  • /Android/data/org.xbmc.xbmc/cache/temp/xbmc.log
  • /sdcard/Android/data/org.xbmc.xbmc/cache/temp/xbmc.log
  • /data/data/org.xbmc.xbmc/cache/temp/xbmc.log
Crash log
  • Download the SendLog app from the Google Play store. It allows you to send your system log to an email address. Email it to yourself and show us where the error happened. (requires root)
  • Alternatively, you can use your computer. Plug your device, download and unzip the Android SDK and run ddms.bat in the tools folder. There you have it under LogCat.
  • The logfile is kept on a phone for a while, so you don't need to reproduce a crash in order to get the log.
  • Be sure to have hidden folders set to be shown in your file explorer.

3.3 How to hide the Android navigation bar

  • Since Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) the way the navigation bar works has been changed. On some Android devices that do not have physical buttons the navbar cannot be normally hidden, but only “dimmed”. Some Android set‐top boxes have this “no buttons” flag set and will not hide the navigation bar when using XBMC.
  • To remove the navbar:
    • You can use "HideBar" (Has a free version, and is open source if you wish to compile yourself)
    • The app "Full!Screen" is free and should also work.
    • A custom Android distribution can be installed to correctly handle the navbar. Replicant, CyanogenMod and some others offer an “extended desktop” mode which hides the navigation bar and, optionally, the status bar too.
  • Future Gotham feature: XBMC nightly builds for Android now support Android 4.4 (Kitkat)'s immersive mode, allowing for fullscreen automatically.

3.4 XBMC uses the battery too fast on portable devices

  • This is a known issue. The main effort right now for XBMC for Android is set-top-boxes, but expect power usage issues to improve in time.

3.5 Issues with audio volume

  • XBMC v12 "Frodo" had its own volume level in addition to the Android system volume level, so be sure to check that both are up if you are having issues hearing audio.
  • Future Gotham feature: XBMC nightly builds for Android now support XBMC controlling system volume.

3.6 Audio sync/delay issues

  • Is some or all of your audio out of sync with the video? Try these tips:
    • Some AMLogic Android devices will have issues sync issues if the device is not rooted.
    • Check for firmware updates for your specific Android device.
    • If you have a delay that is consistent regardless of the file, you can manually adjust the delay:
      1. Open any video that has audio playing.
      2. Bring up the on-screen-display and select the audio options.
      3. Select Audio offset and then adjust the audio until the delay is corrected.
      4. Back in the OSD audio settings, scroll down and select Set as default for all videos.
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