It’s that Ask HTG time of week again; this week we’re helping readers install XBMC add-ons, shrinking video for their mobile devices, and automatically changing default printers for their new location.

How Do I Install XBMC Add-Ons?

Dear How-To Geek,

I’m a recent XBMC adopter and I have all sorts of questions but the most pressing one is this: How do I install add-ons besides the default ones? I see a bunch of cool add-ons when I look in the listing in the add-on menu but I see more cool ones when I search the web that aren’t there. What gives?


Add-On Craving

Dear Add-On Craving,

It sounds like you’ve got the routine down for installing add-ons from the official XBMC repository, what you need to do is learn how to install new repositories. Ever since the shift from XBMC 9.0 to XBMC 10.0—which occurred about a year ago—add-ons are now repository-only. You need to install them either via the official repository or by a 3rd party repository. Check out our guide to installing XBMC add-ons and pay special attention to the “Installing Add-Ons From Unofficials Repositories” section. While you’re at it, hit up the XBMC user forums for tons of leads on new and interesting add-ons!

How Can I Shrink My Videos For My Phone?

Dear How-To Geek,

I have a bunch of videos on my computer but they’re all 720P or higher quality. I’d like to put these videos on my phone to watch on the commuter train every day, but it seems really excessive to put an HD video on small phone screen. For that matter, I’m not even sure if my smartphone would choke on the HD content. What can I do? Surely there has to be a simple way to “downscale” the video or something!


Video Commuter

Dear Video Commuter,

There are a variety of ways you can convert your videos to a smaller resolution. We’re fans of the open-source media app VLC. You’ll need to know the specs of your phone (i.e. the max resolution). Armed with that, you can follow along with our VLC tutorial and scale your videos to a much more manageable size.

How Can I Change Printers When I Move My Computer?

Dear How-To Geek,

Both my actual office and my home office are pretty much totally Wi-Fi based, including printing. It’s a huge pain to toggle settings based on location. Is there anyway to have my computer just figure this crap out on its own? It’s 2012!

Oh, I guess you need to know about my actual computer, eh? I’m running Windows 7 Professional on a fair mundane Dell laptop.


Check Twice, Print Once

Dear Check Twice,

You’re in luck; editions of Windows 7 above Windows 7 Home support switching of the default printer based on the Wi-Fi node the computer is connected to. You can set a default printer for every Wi-Fi printing environment you’re in (home, office, computer lab at school, etc.) Hit up this guide to learn how you can link the printer to the Wi-Fi network.

Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email at and we’ll do our best to help!

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Jason Fitzpatrick is the Senior Smart Home Editor at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience in publishing and has authored thousands of articles at How-To Geek, Review Geek, LifeSavvy, and Lifehacker. Jason served as Lifehacker's Weekend Editor before he joined How-To Geek.
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