Survey Results and Status

04.23.08 37 Comments

We’ve gotten over 1200 responses on the survey, and I wanted to start by just thanking everyone for taking the time to complete it (and cullman for suggesting the idea and writing the survey)! We learned a lot, and will use this information as we move towards 1.0, in terms of features and bug-fixes.

First of all, let’s look at the demographics. Here are the top five countries; I’m amazed at how many people are in Sweden (unless Pike was busy clicking).

The next countries were Canada (62 results), Germany (49), Spain (45), Norway (41), France (31), Denmark (30), and Finland (27). The long tail drops off, and we had one respondent each from Slovenia, Thailand, Taiwan, Qatar, and Jamaica (and others).
Moving on to looking at the results:
  • What kind of Mac do you plan to use as your primary OSXBMC machine? 64% of you have a Mac Mini, 11% have Macbook, 11% have Macbook Pro, 7% have iMac, 3% have Mac Pro. That’s in line with what we were expecting, although I think I was surprised that over a fifth of you are using laptops.
  • How much RAM does your Mac have? Most people here (66%) have 2GB or more, which means lot of room for a decode buffer. (Even those with only 1GB will be able to store quite a few decompressed frames).
  • Do you have multiple displays connected to your computer? We were surprised to learn that 25% of you do connect multiple displays. This means that we need to make sure that secondary/multiple screen support is solid.
  • What kind of display do you plan to use as your primary OSXBMC display? A full 75% of you will be connecting to some sort of TV (48% to an LCD). 8% use a projector, 8% use built-in display, and only 8 of you use a CRT monitor.
  • What kind of audio set up do you plan on using OSXBMC with? The majority (58%) of you make a digital connection to a receiver. Another 20% use analog connection to TV speakers or receiver. The rest use built-in speakers (6%), or external computer speakers (8%).
  • Keyboard you plan to use? 55% Bluetooth or other wireless, 22% none, 16% built-in.
  • Mouse you plan to use? 57% Bluetooth or other wireless, 24% none, 18% wired or built-in.
  • Network connection you plan to use with OSXBMC? 54% use wired connections, 17% use 802.11N, 28% use 802.11a/b/g. To those in the last category, if your wife doesn’t mind you snaking a cable through the kid’s crib, around the microwave, and under the carpet, going to a wired connection will likely really improve performance, especially with HD content.
  • Type of remote control you plan to use with OSXBMC? A full 61% of you plan to use the Apple Remote and should be very happy with the next release. 21% of you use a Universal Remote, and will be very happy with the next release (we’re going to have downloadable Harmony maps and other goodies). 3% of you use XBox 360 wireless controller, and will also be happy. Those are the officially supported options, and it looks like 85% of our users will be thrilled, and the rest will hopefully be willing to either move to one of these options, or use Remote Buddy or other third party software.
  • What kind of remote access software do you plan on using with OSXBMC? I had a bet going with cullman about this one (I believe my exact words were “There are going to be three fuckers out there using Remote Desktop, and you’re one of them.”). Turns out cullman was right, as usual. While the majority (52%) are not planning on using any remote access software, a full 48% of you use remote access software. If you wouldn’t mind satisfying my curiosity, why? The only scenario that makes sense to me is if you’re a laptop junkie and always have a laptop with you, even when you sit down to watch a movie. Otherwise, with the great remote support coming in the next version, I’m curious to know how many of you will still be using remote access software, and for what reasons.
  • Did you or do you use the original XBOX version of XBMC? This was a pleasant surprise to me, a full 38% of you have never used the original XBox version.

As you can see from the report, we’re making good progress on 0.5, and expect to be able to make a release within the next week or two.

Last, but not least, if you’re bored, head over to MacUpdate and review XBMC!

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  • Most of the HD content I watch is 6 GB 1080p h.264 rips of Blu-Ray or HD DVD discs. These are extremely popular on usenet and on private torrents, I would say they are a benchmark. I have an e6300 CPU overclocked from 1.86 up to 2.8Ghz. I am on XP but maybe I will have to put osx86 on the box to find out for sure. My experience is vlc and mplayer using ffdshow simply cannot play the h.264 mkv files without drastic stuttering and loss of audio sync. Nor can they play the 16GB 1080i .ts files. So I am skeptical that a 1.8 or 2.0 Ghz laptop CPU in an Apple mac (mini/ iMac/ laptop, all use the same CPUs) can handle the 1080p that in my experience is a standard. But if you insist I will install osx86 on this hardware and run a test. My other concern is the prejudice in the open source community against coreAVC. Why do they demonize and fight this codec, is it evil because it costs $8? Are they just jealous because it is 2x as fast as any open source codec, but oh yeah, any day now ffdshow will magically double in performance and any day now there will be a 3Ghz mac mini, I am tired of the lies and rationalizations. Anyway, the linux port of mplayer made some accomodation for compiling in a way to integrate an outboard coreAVC codec. It would also allow older macs to play 1080p. I strongly hope this can be integrated into osxbmc.

  • @BigJim: Thanks for your thoughtful comments. In my experience, my Mini 2.0GHz can play the 1080p x264 rips very well. During a movie I might see a few glitches in fast action scenes, but it’s overall nearly perfect.

    The difference between XBMC and VLC right now is that XBMC has a patch applied to ffmpeg (the infamous “CABAC” patch) which gives *much* improved results on a multicore system. I think certain versions of ffdshow have the patch as well, but I’m not sure. Two well-used cores at 2.0GHz beat one overclocked to 2.8GHz.

    I think the negative attitude against CoreAVC stems from its “skirting the spec” stance to achieve higher performance. I personally don’t see an issue with it as I’d rather see a 1080p movie play without dropping frames *as long as* the skirting doesn’t produce annoying visual artifacts. In fact, one of my long term goals for OSXBMC is to allow loading Windows DLLs, which may give us a fairly easy way to be able to plug-in CoreAVC.

  • @elan I suspect there will be a couple different angles for plugging in coreAVC. FWIW I have a dual-core e6300 desktop CPU, and even at 2.8Ghz overclock, smplayer or vlc using ffdshow choke badly. Linux mplayer can be re-compiled to allow coreAVC plugin, but I’m on XP and am left at sea. The trick setup on XP is Media Player Classic, CoreAVC, and AC3filter. But lets get back to the mac. One more thing to emphasize, its not just mac mini that can make a great HTPC, its most mac laptops too! They’re pretty much the same hardware. And again, thank you for osxbmc.

  • XMBC OSX is working perfectly for me except for one thing. Maybe I am just missing something in the faqs. I need to know how to make the output display on my HDTV. I got the interface on the HDTV no problem but the rest either I am missing something or this feature is not yet available with XBMC OSX.


  • I forgot to mention my machine in case its relevant. Its one of the original MacPro with 2 dual core 5150 xeons 2.66ghz.

  • @BigJim: Like I said, I like the idea, but I don’t consider it very high priority at the moment over fixing stability issues. Also, I personally haven’t had problems playing 1080p content, and most of the people who do have ended up having other issues, like trying to stream it over 802.11b or something.

    The DLL loading is definitely attractive though as a means of adding support for closed formats as well.

    @Lyra: Not sure what you mean. If you have it on a secondary display, scroll through the display modes in Settings -> Appearance -> Screen until you see a “full screen” mode for your secondary display.

  • @elan:

    I have those settings but somehow part of display 2 is showing on the extreme edges of display 1. Some other stuff isnt exactly correct as well. I have to use VLC or use the unofficial hack for front row to use display 2 correctly.

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