Sunday, 12 May 2013

Watch TV and Movies on Smartphones and PC's Part 1

One of the coolest features of  a smartphone is it's ability to entertain you. Watching movies anywhere and anytime is possible by this all-in-one device. But what about watching live TV?

Years ago, one needs a smartphone phone with TV tuner built in to watch live channels. This made the smartphone looks not so smart because of the added bulk for the additional hardware and the built in antennae to receive TV channels. Another downside is it can only receive analogue signals, which means not stable signal reception that causes viewing interference, that's why built in receivers did not take off.

Then later, TV watching is made possible by free and paid for applications, which made the experience even better. Now TV signals and other video streaming services are in the palm of your hands.

Which Application?

There are many apps for this purpose but among the rest, this one impressed me the most, the XBMC media center, which is available for most operating systems, and either for devices like mobiles, PC's, Mac's including apple TV's. Apple product users need to jailbreak their devices to enjoy XBMC. Windows users can install it without doing anything with their devices, and android users need to prepare their device before downloading and needs to familiarize where the downloaded files are kept.

What XBMC can do?

XBMC can let you watch international TV stations which are streamed over the internet. There are also movie and sports channels that you can access. Some of the channels are region restricted which means, your location might be blocked to view these programs. There is also an add on called Mash up (watch out for part 2 of this post) for even more international channels. This is the most feature rich add on I've seen, my favourite and the one I use the most. It shows my favourite TV channel back home, ABS-CBN, and the latest release movies in 2013! This free feature loaded add on is even better than paid for streaming services.

Ready to watch? Here's the instructions. I used a windows 7 operating system for this example.

  • Windows Users

Go to choose your device operating system then download and install the file.

After download click start(1) to open up the program ( in my case it is already included in the start menu items(2), if it is not, see it at all programs) and navigate to video then click add on(3).  You won't see much items yet but you can get more add ons(4) by clicking the button. The choose from the list which one you would like to get. In this example, I've choosen Discovery Channel(5). Click and install it. 

Choose other channels you like to build a collection of add ons. Add on variety includes newschannel, sports, movies and TV's from all over the world though some add ons have flatform and regional restrictions. To start watching, just click the channel and the show you want to see.

Then choose from the list of what's ready to see.

Aljazeera add on is good to watch live news around the world.  And if you are in the UK,  iPlayer and ITV are also included.

The Free Movie add on is great for watching movies, some titles are just recently released. There are also a collection of past blockbuster films. 

To go back to the desktop after you finished watching or for other reasons, just press the windows logo on your keyboard, but it is recommended to shut down the program by pressing the off button next at the XBMC interface.


  • Android Users

Mobile fans with android phone can also enjoy XBMC. The program is not available at Play store so you need to navigate your browser to this address. I used a galaxy S3 for this example.

Before downloading, make sure your phone is set to accept download and installation from unknown sources. To check this, hit settings, security, and tick Unknown Sources, then carry on the download.

To access the downloaded file, go to my files (1), all files (2), then your default directory which can either be external or internal SD card. I've choosen extSDCard(3) because I've changed my default download directory. If you have not changed the default directory for downloads then most probably that the file is at the sdcard0. Then look under download(4) and click the file to install. If you can not install at this moment, most probably that your device doesn't accept unknown resources, get back from settings and do the instructions above.

Launch the program and do the steps like the Windows version. You can start adding add ons for your mobile device.  If you find the text of the addons to small to click on your mobile,  you can change the text into bigger icons by pressing the tab(1) then continue tapping view(2) until info 2(3) is choosen. Now you can comfortably click the add ons you want(4).

On Part Two, I will tell you the best add on for XBMC so far that lets me watch streaming world TV's, including a premium channel from Manila like the video below, and more latest movies! In fact, I think it's the only add on that I will ever needed to enjoy XBMC! 


See Part 2 How To Watch Philippine TV Channels Live...
See Part 3 How To Watch Movies and TV Channels from Android Mobiles..

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