In a blog post from XBMC yesterday, the release of version 13.0 Beta1 was announced, and is the result a year’s worth of development and testing, with the main new features being:

  • Hardware decoding support for Android - “XBMC should run on Android 4.0 and higher and is offered now in two separate builds, namely ARM and x86 which are the hardware architectures of the device.”
  • Interface performance improvements for Raspberry Pi and Android - “For example opening your libraries, browsing through them, loading of images and the starting of videos have all seen dramatic speed increases.”
  • Increased UPnP functionality – multiple Raspberry Pis and other UPnP devices on the same network, allowing the user to browse the remote libraries, and to play files to a remote device; “So you can browse the UPnP library on your tablet and send a video from that library straight to you main XBMC HTPC, similar to Apple’s Airplay and Google’s casting features.”

Another key feature is Stereoscopic 3D:

For you lovers of 3D out there, we are also pleased to say that we now support 3D movies encoded in the following formats: SBS, TAB, anaglyph, and interlaced (on supported platforms for passive TVs). Unfortunately, XBMC cannot yet support 3D blurays and cannot provide hardware acceleration for FullSBS/TAB movies (therefore limiting those videos to relatively high powered CPUs).

Whilst this XBMC Beta has expanded device compatibility, it has also dropped support for Windows XP: “For current XP users we can suggest installing OpenELEC or XBMCbuntu as a free way to use XBMC 13 as a pure media centre.”

Audio improvements, better touchscreen support and easier settings are just a few of the myriad other new features that V13 brings.

The beta can now be downloaded for Windows, OS X, Linux (including XBMCbuntu) and Android, with the OpenELEC Raspberry Pi release coming next week. Whilst XBMC don’t think any serious bugs remain, bear in mind that this is only a Beta release (and Beta 1, at that), so they advise using the software with caution.

For details of all features, and download links, check out the XBMC post.