For those of you interested in using XBMC purely as an appliance, which is to say, for those of you who don’t want to deal with a full operating system like Windows or OSX, and would rather boot directly into a super fast, super efficient version of XBMC, we are happy to congratulate our friends over at OpenELEC for releasing version 2.0.
OpenELEC 2.0 is a speedy Linux-based version of XBMC 11.0 Eden designed to be installed on most Intel and AMD 32-bit and 64-bit hardware with support for Intel, NVIDIA ION, and AMD Fusion-based systems. OpenELEC supports most wireless and wired network cards along with extensive support for legacy and bleeding edge GPUs.
Because OpenELEC is hyper-efficient without an underlying base like Ubuntu, all system configurations are performed from within the XBMC interface.
In addition to advancing to XBMC 11 Eden, version 2.0 includes PVR support within the XBMC GUI and includes DVB firmware and drivers, TVHeadend, VDR, Njoy N7, MythTV, Mediaportal, HDHomerun and VU+ support in the OS.
VDPAU support has been available in OpenELEC since v1.0 for users of NVIDIA GPUs, but now OpenELEC 2.0 is the first stable distribution of XBMC to include XVBA support designed to replace VAAPI and improve stability and performance on AMD devices. The advantages of XVBA support are enormous. Now modern AMD systems are capable of performing GPU decoding of h.264 and VC-1 content directly, greatly reducing CPU usage and enabling the use of lightweight and inexpensive AMD CPUs.
OpenELEC 2.0 also now comes with CEC Adapter support built in, as well as Airtunes and Airplay support.
To learn more and download your own copy, you can visit the OpenELEC website and read the full announcement here.