28 November, 2013

XBMC Subtitles

I've had a request, after my previous XBMC post, to write about the subtitles in this HTPC application. So here goes.

One of the things that you can easily do in XBMC is to get a subtitle for any movie or TV series that you watch. Most of the time the process can literally be a single-click away.

XBMC is a very extensible platform, through the use of plugins, that you can add to it. One of such plugins is a subtitles plugin. It allows you to connect to one or more subtitle sites on the internet and can be configured to automatically fetch the first subtitle that seems suitable to the title you're currently watching. In some cases it may make mistakes and either download subtitles for the wrong episode or maybe subtitles which have a bit of delay. If that happens, you can simply initiate the download again and then it will allow you to select the subtitle file manually.

So let's see how this can be setup.

Open your XBMC and move to the right where you will find the System menu.

When you enter it there will be the Add-ons section.

Once you enter that, go to the Get Add-ons and there, under the XBMC.org Add-ons entry, you will find the Subtitles section. The only selection there will be the XBMC subtitles. Open that and you will have an option to download it.

Once it's downloaded you will need to set how it will behave. Enter the plugin again and choose the Configure button. First you will set up the languages that interest you.

Then you should decide which subtitle provider or providers you will use. This may depend on your language selection, since not all subtitle providers will offer subtitles in the language of your choice. For English subtitles I have good experience with OpenSubtitles.org. Be mindful that some subtitle providers require that you create an account. In that case, you will have to provide login credentials to the subtitle plugin so that it can retrieve the subtitles properly.

Finally you should go to the Advanced Options tab and check a few entries there. If nothing else, go all the way down the list and check the option which says Auto Download first "sync" subtitle. This will enable the one-click capabilities for you later in the playback window.

We configured the Add-on settings. Now we need to let XBMC know that it will be using this plugin for subtitles. In order to do that, we head back to the System menu and on top locate and enter the Appearance section. Here we move to the right, where there is a - Settings option under the Skin entry.

In the Settings screen we locate the Add-on Shortcuts section and then on the right look for the Video OSD entry. There we need to make sure that the XBMC Subtitles is selected.

After you're done, go back to your TV Shows or Movies section and open the title that you would like to watch. During playback all that you will need to do is to click on the subtitle button and the appropriate subtitle will be downloaded automatically.