I’m an avid user of the popular media center software XBMC. In our house, an HTPC running XBMC is the center of our entertainment-driven universe. Only on rare occasions do we actually bother turning on the cable box anymore. Not only does XBMC offer superior support for library organization and playback options, but it has grown into an incredibly powerful piece of software fueled by user add-ons that expand upon what’s possible from the comfort of your couch.

The latest release of XBMC, version 11 (otherwise known as “Eden”) directly implements support for Apple’s AirPlay protocolXBMC, version 11 (otherwise known as “Eden”) directly implements support for Apple’s AirPlay protocol. With AirPlay, you’re able to stream video, pictures and music directly from any iOS device to XBMC.

While you should expect more XBMC posts in the future, this article specifically refers to configuring AirPlay with XBMC in Windows.

AirPlay requires Apple’s Bonjour service to work. It’s bundled with iTunes, but if you’re like me and don’t wanted the bloat of iTunes clogging up your pristine HTPC ecosystem, there’s another way to get Bonjour up and running.

So how do we go about doing that? Easy! Through the power of 7-Zip. If you use Windows and don’t use 7-Zip, make life easy on for yourself – go to http://www.7-zip.org to grab the latest version.

After doing so, download the latest installer for iTunes. Again, we’re not installing it, we’re just breaking the package open to grab the latest installer for Bonjour. To do so, right-click on the downloaded file, select “7-Zip”, and then “Extract to iTunesSetup\”

In these screenshots I’m using the 64-bit installer, hence the installer is labeled ‘iTunes64Setup’. The 32-bit version is just labeled ‘iTunesSetup’

Once you’ve extracted the installation folder, open it up and run the Bonjour MSI installer (Bonjour64.msi in this case; Bonjour.msi in 32-bit land).

Look at all the other crap iTunes bundles that we’re not installing!

Hit next until the install finishes, and you’re done.

Piece of cake!

Finally, we have to enable AirPlay in XBMC. Go to System/Settings -> Network -> Services and just enable the AirPlay option. Now, when you’re using an iOS device on the same network and XBMC is running, you’re see the AirPlay icon appear for the media you’re viewing. Tap it, select your XBMC instance, and prepare to have your face melted.

You may be asking yourself “Doesn’t Apple just package this installer on their site somewhere?” They do, kind of. The closest thing you can get is the Bonjour Printer Services installer, version 2.0.2 and dated June of 2010. With my method here, you’re ensuring that (a) you have the latest and greatest copy of Bonjour and (b) you can install a native service if you’re running a 64-bit version of Windows. Hope this helps!

Engage!