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XBMC launches on new Apple TV, iPhone and iPad with 1080p video decoding

XMBC running on the new Apple TV
Hold tight new Apple TV fans, this news may rock your ever-loving world: XBMC, the open-source media center software that spawned offshoots like Plex and Boxee, has just launched on the jailbroken second generation Apple TV bringing 1080p video playback with it. Sure, we've had aTV Flash (black) to play with, but until now, the full potential of your little $99 media puck has been difficult to realize.

What's exciting about XBMC on the new Apple TV, is that it comes packing full hardware video decoding using Apple's 'VideoToolBox' private video acceleration API. This has given XBMC access to the built-in hardware video acceleration of Apple's A4 SOC, making non-Apple approved HD video playback a reality. Yes, that's right, all manner of 1080p video can now be streamed to and played on the tiny $99 box.

It's not just video playback XBMC brings to the Apple TV either. Apps you know and love from XBMC on your desktop, Xbox, or first generation Apple TV are there to play with, and this is just the beginning. Of course once XBMC landed on Apple TV, there wasn't much stopping the developers loading it up for other iOS devices. Courtesy of Cydia, XBMC is also available for any jailbroken iPad or iPhone, ready to stream media to your portable screen. Admittedly the iPhone and iPad version needs a little work in the skinning department, but that's next on the list. For now it works, and works well.

Don't take our word for it -- jailbreak your pocket media streamer and install XBMC on it right now. But, if you'd like to take a further look before you make the plunge, head on over to our sister sites: Engadget, where Ben Drawbaugh puts XBMC on the Apple TV through its paces; and TUAW, where Megan Lavey talks XBMC development and possible entry into the iOS App Store. Move over Boxee, Apple's $99 streaming media center never looked so good.

Tags: Apple TV, AppleTv, apps, iOS, iPad, iPhone, jailbreak, media, video, XMBC