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How to Supercharge Your Media Center Streaming Experience with Navi-X

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Navi-X is a free media portal add-on for popular media center applications and mobile devices; read on as we show you how to supercharge your streaming media experience with one-stop access to thousands of content sources.

The web is saturated with content but it can be a real hassle to get that content from the source to the device you want to watch it on. You might be aware, for example, that several of your favorite shows are available in streaming video format, but who has the time to figure out exactly how to get those streams to appear on your XBMC or PS3? What about video and podcasts? There’s so much good content out there but who has time to dig through it all and copy it over to the appropriate devices?

This is where Navi-X steps in; Navi-X is a media portal application available for a wide variety of devices (such as the XBMC, Boxee, Apple TV, iPhone/iPhone, PS3, Android devices, and Nintendo Wii) that brings together streaming television, movies, photography sites, podcasts, and even live television.

For the purposes of this tutorial we’re going to highlight how to install and enjoy Navi-X on XBMC 11.0 Eden. If you wish to install Navi-X on other devices we’d recommend checking out the links on Navi-X’s Google Code page for your specific device.

Installing Navi-X for XBMC

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Since Navi-X is not in the official XBMC repository, the first thing we need to do is add-on the Navi-X repository to our XBMC installation. If you’d like to take an in-depth look at installing add-ons (both from the official repository and third-party ones) in XBMC, check out our full guide to XBMC add-ons here. We’ll quickly cover the relevant steps for adding on the Navi-X repository here.

First, you need to download the ZIP files that contains the Navi-X information. Visit the Navi-X downloads page and grab the newest XBMC version. As of this writing, it’s version 3.7.5. Now put that ZIP file somewhere accessible by your XBMC unit—this could be on a network share, on a flash drive, or you could FTP it right over to the XBMC unit.

Navigate to System –> Add-ons –> Install from zip file. Select the location of the ZIP file and then select the ZIP file, hit OK. A little box will pop up in the lower right hand corner that says “Navi-X enabled”

You’ll find the Navi-X media portal under Programs.

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You may wish to add a shortcut to save yourself the hassle of navigating through the sub-menus in the future. You can create a homescreen shortcut for Navi-X by navigating to System –> Settings –> Skin –> Add-on Shortcuts. There you can add Navi-X to the Program shortcuts.

Navigating and Enjoying Navi-X

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Navi-X is so packed with stuff it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We’d suggest a two-prong plan of attack. First, poke around in everything. Most entries have layer after layer to explore. Second, use the menu button frequently to mark things you’d like to check out later.

Do that end, start in Navi-Xtreme Medial Portal. From there you can use the search function, check out site scrapers, see user-moderated content lists, and check out the most-viewed content from the last day and week.

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While there is interesting content in most of the options here, Click on “Navi-X Networks” to get one of the more cleanly formatted sub-menus:

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Let’s check out some television shows, currently there are almost 40 TV networks and content sources represented in Navi-X:

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Were you thinking Food Network, because we were definitely thinking Food Network. Most of the content sub-menus are organized with entries like Full Episodes, Top Videos, etc. Let’s check out Full Episodes and then pick a show. Giada at Home? Why not:

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At this point we could either watch the content or hit the menu button to save a specific episode for later viewing (or back up and favorite the entry for the entire show).

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You can repeat this process of exploration and saving with any of the content you find on Navi-X and, if you use the menu button on the top level of the Navi-X browser, you can even set a specific playlist as your default list to jump you right to your favorite content.

There’s one last thing you’ll want to configure before you go crazy exploring and building playlists and setting favorites. Navigate back to the top level of the browser and hit the exit/ESC key to pull up the following menu:

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Click on “Sign in” and create a free account. Navi-X will backup your playlists and favorites as well as sync them between other devices. It’s a great way to make sure that you don’t lose your saved content and that it’s accessible whether you’re at another XBMC unit or messing around with Navi-X on your smartphone.

Now it’s time to start browsing content, building playlists, and enjoying media from the far flung reaches of the web. If you find something particularly awesome or interesting, make sure to share it with your fellow readers in the comments below.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/24/12

Comments (13)

  1. michel

    ….and, it’s completely ridiculous that they don’t support Windows Media Center. Tell me they’ll get more users on some Linux garbage.

  2. iRoNBiLL

    Well to be fair, we don’t have anybody offering to port Navi-X to Windows Media Center. If we did, it would be done already. If you know of somebody, let me know. Otherwise, I tried reaching out to developers on over 20 platforms and only got response on “major” systems and applications. If you find a dev, tell him to e-mail me at xironbillx@gmail.com and I will get with them to make it happen. :D

    And we only work on XBMC for Linux… so I’m confused as to what you meant there about Linux garbage… XBMC directed perhaps? :P

    iRoNBiLL

    Project Coordinator
    Team Navi-X

    P.S. Thanks for the article with plenty of screenshots Jason! The team thanks you. :D

  3. WomboTheTyrant

    Windows Media Center? Wow, you must love downloading your own codecs.

  4. Anon000

    When streaming movies from Navi-x it would be wise to use a VPN or Proxy while streaming. These services get busted all the time IMHO.

  5. Cambo

    People still use Windows Media Center???

    @michel
    Where in the article did it mention ANYTHING about a Linux requirement. It’s an ADD-ON for real media center software such as Boxee, XBMC, PS3, etc. Yes, you can run XBMC and Boxee on Windows. They both have packages available on their respective sites.

    There’s a reason open-source developers don’t do much with Windows Media Center. Ditch it and switch to a real media center.

  6. TheFu

    Jason, if this works – you completely rock! Remembering which network a show is streamed from is sooooo 1990s. TiVo freed us from that a decade ago.

    Time to ssh over to the xbmc box on the network and load that plugin.

    Both XBMC and 7MC are used here. MC is the recorder for TV show in a room where noise doesn’t matter, but XBMC is the playback device next to TVs; completely silent. 7MC demands too much CPU to run on light-weight, silent PCs, IME. Though it does run pretty well inside a virtual machine provided an ethernet tuner is used.

    The only downside has been some issues with network streaming due to client-flash version mismatches. ABC streams fine, but ABC-Family does not.

    Seems there’s a little blogspam. ;(

  7. WeaponX

    I tried navi-x about six months ago. It was buggy and clunky.

  8. Dan

    The allure of navi-x is very compelling and I must check this out…. Michel, good for you for using WMC! Cambo Wambo Mombo Rambo are just made because you can easily watch, stream, DVR and have all the pleasure of live ty without having to jump thru hoops. (of course you have to download a whole 1 codec bundle in order to watch anything you want) And of course there is a XBMC add-in for WMC that is quite handy…. GodSpeed Son.

  9. Mutz777

    I think you meant iPhone/iPad in your third paragraph and not iPhone/iPhone!

    Good tutorial though!

    MuTz777

  10. craigb

    when I tried to go sign in & create an account it just tells me “Sign in Failed” Is there another website where you actually go to create an account?

  11. Bob-El

    I guess this is one of those Windoze-only apps.

  12. Ijaz

    I’ve tried Navi-x on XBMC Eden on Windows 7 and although some content works most of it doesn’t. Is this just a problem on the Windows version of the program. I was really hoping I could use this to watch cable tv for free.

  13. Micah HVB

    The content works you just need to give some of it a few minutes to buffer. Not ideal but if you prefer the brainwashing of HypnoToad commercials don’t bother.
    I LOVE WEBTV!

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