So, what is OpenELEC?

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Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center (OpenELEC) is an open source embedded operating system developed specifically for the purpose of running complete and easy-to-use media center solutions on a wide variety of hardware.

Built around the great open source media player and organizer, XBMC, OpenELEC is optimized to deliver a smooth, intuitive, and efficient user experience. It is developed with the goal of making the task of setting up and maintaining a Home Theater PC (HTPC) easy and straightforward for all users, regardless of their technical skills. This makes OpenELEC the obvious choice for anyone looking to enhance their home media experience with a fully functional media center.

The OpenELEC project is open source, so anyone can download and use the operating system completely free of charge. This is a great enticement to get started with setting up a media center of your own, capable of providing many hours of digital entertainment for yourself and your friends and family to enjoy.

Media center features

Once installed and configured, OpenELEC incorporates XBMC to provide a wide variety of advanced features in a streamlined and straightforward interface. The following are the media types that can be indexed and/or browsed:

  • Movies
  • TV shows
  • Music
  • Pictures

The experience of browsing indexed media is enhanced by automatic inclusion of media information and relevant images available from online databases. This provides easy access to ratings, resumes, artwork, and trailers, because everything is incorporated directly in the interface.

Hardware requirements

Because OpenELEC is very versatile in hardware compatibility, you will most likely be able to turn “that old PC, which has just been lying around” into a fully functional media center, just by installing OpenELEC on it. This approach is great for a fun hobby project, giving you the opportunity to experiment with OpenELEC at no cost. Alternatively, you can get brand new PCs small enough to fit behind a TV, making them the obvious choice for HTPC use. With a very small footprint and compatibility with small atom- or fusion-based platforms, this is where OpenELEC shows its full potential as a lightweight embedded operating system.


So, what is OpenELEC? finds out what OpenELEC actually is, what you can do with it, and why it’s so great.

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