What's Up With Xbox Media Center

November 30, 2004

Pr0n + Xbmc

This request cracked me up on the official Xbmc forums. And I'll tell you right now I wouldn't be surprised to see a major porn site see the impact that Xbmc is having and exploit it. It wouldn't be the first time I saw the porn industry grasp onto new technology for their own good. While all the major content distributors were trying to figure out what to do on the web, porn was already established and working on streaming video. They where there first. Reality Tv? You guessed it. Online live video chat? Yep. Realtime multi angle dvds? Yes again.

The pornography industry has always been tech friendly, using any means they could to distribute and reach audiences. They have pushed the envelope and not wavered in their tech stride. Forget about the content for a moment and consider their industry, look at their growth over the last ten years. Its HUGE. And this has everything to do with the technologies they employ. For god sakes, almost every major porn publisher has their entire libraries available to stream and most recent movies in divx format! Hello movie industry? Are you listening?

Consider that a major website contracts a python scripter to make them a secure way for its subscribers to access the site's content via Xbmc. Be it photo spreads or videos. Xbmc can play what they need it to. Punch in your $39.99 a month password and get all that content on your tv in your living room. They would have a perfect way for its users to access their content from the entertainment center. And don't even think about them getting in with other major manufactures' media devices like Microsoft's Media Center or whatever else there is out there. This is free, and they can do whatever they want. And in the end, it would push Xbmc as a platform. :) mmmmm ... me likey.

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November 27, 2004

Flurry of Updates

Well the holiday is over and its back to business for the Xbmc crew. The CVS changelog shows quite a few updates in addition to the previously mentioned items. Polish language support is now included as well as some tweaks to the Kai interface. The chat tab will flash brielfly when a buddy has sent a message. Thats great as far as user experience goes. Then there was this little diddy added:
Revision 1.323 - (view) (download) (annotate) - [select for diffs]
Sat Nov 27 04:54:55 2004 UTC (19 hours ago) by runtime
Branch: MAIN
Changes since 1.322: +1 -0 lines
Diff to previous 1.322
Added: Conditional button support. A lightweight, loosely coupled button that fades in (and is enabled) after a condition has been met, and fades out (and is disabled) when the condition no longer holds true, Useful when for controls that should only appear in certain circumstances.

This sounds like a great start to some real improvements to the overall user experience of Xbmc. Until now, everything has been a bit flat and spoon fed to the user. Now the Xbmc interface is getting smarter and will allow developers to really improve on the human interaction aspect of Xbmc.

Looking good guys.

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Flickr on Xbmc

I've been using Flickr for a while now, and I find it to be THE best photo service available. There are so many ways to share your photos and to add your photos. Cameraphone, email, uploaders, iPhoto plugin, you name it, they got it. One of the reasons is because their API is so open. Their API is available almost every which way you want. Which leads me to my suggestion.

How about a Flickr script for Xbmc?

Not only would it be not to hard to implement, but it would be an amazing addtion to Xbmc. I'd love to see it have the ability to input a username. You could just punch in a name and bring up your buddy's photos, while keeping a default username on launch, Yours!

So if any python hacker is looking for a new script that would add a lot to Xbmc, here's your chance!

I ended up making this myself. Check it out at my main site: [flickr for xbmc]

Flickr API
Python Flickr Lib
Xbmc Forums Thread

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Even More Kai Updates

The holiday brought quite a few improvements to the Kai frontend within Xbmc. The Kai interface has recieved tabs as well as trigger input functionality, most likely allowing you to tab between the different views provided by the Kai interface.

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November 24, 2004

Site Feed Updated Part 2

Ok guys, I finally got FeedBurner to default to RSS 2.0. YAYYYYY. Now you can REALLY grab the feed and put it into Xbmc.

Just open up your home.xml file in your pal folder of your skin. Edit the rss news stanza of the xml to change the feed. Here's a tutorial on it if you need help. Thanks to Chokemaniac.

Site feed--> http://feeds.feedburner.com/xbmc

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November 23, 2004

New Screensaver API

A new screensaver interface and API has been commited to CVS. It will allow users to drop .xbs (Xbox screensaver) files into a new folder designated for screen savers. Currently, screensavers are embedded into the Xbmc xbe file and aren't available to users. So we are stuck with what is compiled INTO the .xbe. Now, it will work like visualizations, allowing users to add and remove screensavers specifically made for Xbmc at will. This should do a good job in creating a nice screensaver scene for Xbmc.

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Site Feed Converted

The site feed has been made auto compatible with all news readers. Using feedburner, the feed will now dynamically change to suit your newsreader's formats. So if you couldn't support ATOM before and needed RSS, try the new feed. Now you can keep up with all the news about Xbmc from your Xbmc home screen.

Here's a quick link to the feed to save time: http://feeds.feedburner.com/xbmc

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November 21, 2004

Xbmc Splash Screen

A splash screen has been implemented for Xbox media center. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing this will show up after Microsoft's boot up animation. While this sounds great as far as making Xbmc look more professional, it also sounds like something that will stall booting to Xbmc. I keep mine on 24/7, but this still sounds odd. Maybe someone can clear up exactly what the splash screen will do, and when it will be invoked.

Revision 1.310 - (view) (download) (annotate) - [select for diffs]
Sun Nov 21 19:28:23 2004 UTC (8 hours, 40 minutes ago) by charlydoes
Branch: MAIN
Changes since 1.309: +1 -0 lines
Diff to previous 1.309
added: Startup splash
uses media\\splash.png, if it's not there it won't show a splash

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Kai Text Chat Support

Text chat support development for Kai has started. It looks like the devs has some bigger plans for this later, but for now it will use an external keyboard or the virtual keyboard available in Xbox media center.

Revision 1.309 - (view) (download) (annotate) - [select for diffs]
Sun Nov 21 18:13:59 2004 UTC (9 hours, 55 minutes ago) by runtime
Branch: MAIN
Changes since 1.308: +1 -0 lines
Diff to previous 1.308
Added: rudimentary Kai text chat feature (supporting physical and virtual keyboard device). to be improved later with an 'in-line' text editor control and a general tidying up.

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iFilm Browser

Behold... the iFilm Browser Script!

A new script has been released that allows you to browse the enormously content heavy iFilm.com. The script is done extremely well, and looks marvelous. This is easily one of the best scripts to come along in a long time. It works great, and iFilm is a perfect addition to Xbox media center.

Now, next time you hear about some new hilarious video making the rounds on the Internet, boot up the Xbox and watch it!

TIP: Check the README file if you feel like you are lacking "certain" content.

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November 20, 2004

Xradar Python Script

Alexpoet "finally got a working script " , to use his own words, for Xradar.
The script contained in this file is designed to supplement the weather information available on your XBox by providing an animated Doppler Radar display for the last hour. This script draws information from the Weather Channel's website and currently only works for U.S. zip codes.

It looks great, and would be great if he could get it integrated into the actual Xbox media center weather section. This is something that MythTV has that I've always been jealous about.

Get the script here.

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Sirius Satellite on Xbmc?

Now that Sirius satellite radio is available online via streams. The idea accessing these streams has come up on the Xbox-Scene forums. Its very initial, but it sounds like something that could really be accomplished. By accessing the protocol and authenticating with the system, subscribers would be able to acces Sirius. This would be awesome. Imagine, as a Sirius subscriber, you could access your service through your car radio, then go to work and listen via your computer, and at home with your entertainment center using Xbox media center. The best part is that this pretty much covers all your listening areas while keeping your hardware costs down. If you already have and Xbox media center set up, the only hardware you would purchase is your car reciever. And if you're already a subscriber, then you're ready to go.

As of yet I don't think XM is available online, this is a great opportunity for Sirius to gain subscribers. I know I'd be pretty interested in it if I could access it via Xbmc. And the decision between XM would be a pretty easy one.

If anyone has an account or can do any work on this, join the discussion here. This is a great opportunity and sounds pretty exciting.

UPDATE: Seeing that XM has announced support for its service to Macs, its safe to say that they offer their radio online. In fact, they offer it as a service to non subscribers for $7.99. But if you're already a subscriber, its an extra $3.99. Thats kinda shady seeing that they need all the subscribers they can get. Just make your stuff available everywhere as part of one subscription.

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November 18, 2004

More Kai Developments

Kai developments continue on Xbmc. More hosting features have been added according to the change log.
Revision 1.301 - (view) (download) (annotate) - [select for diffs]
Thu Nov 18 00:12:34 2004 UTC (25 hours, 44 minutes ago) by runtime
Branch: MAIN
Changes since 1.300: +2 -0 lines
Diff to previous 1.300
Comprehensive Kai hosting

Kai development of the windows application has slowed practically to a standstill while the guys take a break. All effort is being put into the *nix versions right now and the Xbmc frontend.

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Xlink Kai Support

Xbmc development is concentrated on Xlink Kai support right now. Its coming along wonderfully. Newest builds allow you to see your buddies and voice chat with them via a speex port thanks to Team Avalaunch. Browsing arenas has also greatly improved. The Kai support has pretty much been totally revamped and is still being hacked on as I type this.

Two new features have me giddy though. Kai Toast and auto launching of games. Toast enables notifications within Xbmc, even while watching a movie. Let's say you are enjoying a movie and your buddy logs on to Kai, a window will pop up in the corner notifying you that he has logged on. He can also invite you to a game. Experience wise, this is a huge step for not only Xbmc but Kai. Xbmc also launches the game off of your hard drive once you hit play inside its arena. This is another huge step since everything is more automated. These new features are super solid and really make it feel like a total package service. Kai has gotten a ton of new users and is growing everyday. While there might be more players on XBC, the service is totally inferior. If you're still using XBC, drop it and come over to the future.

Xlink Kai

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November 17, 2004


Ahhh... Xbox Media Center. How do I love thee. You have given me hours of enjoyment, hours of hacking, and most importantly hours of entertainment. From the days of Xbox Media Player, to the complete rewrite that has given us one of the most useful applications across any platform, Xbox Media Center. From the days of simply playing videos, to the Kai updates currently taking place, the XBMC team has done an amazing job keeping the features coming at a steady rate, while at the same time making sure the bugs are bashed.They've done an amazing job maintaining the project and the future is bright.

I'll be keeping track of all the news, feature additions, bug fixes, and rumors about the wonderful open source project Xbox Media Center. So subscribe to the feed and get all your xbmc news in one place without slow loading pages.

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