What's Up With Xbox Media Center

December 30, 2004

Slowed Development

Development has slowed over the holidays. CVS commits have been thin and not too exciting. We hope the Xbox Media Center team takes some well deserved time of rest. Here's to great new features in the coming year. Keep it up guys.

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Media Center Extender Remote Support

Key definitions have been added to allow more buttons on the Media Center Extender remote work with Xbmc. I like this remote, it looks nice, but its not a universal remote. This doesn't surprise me coming from Microsoft though, since when does their stuff work with anything other then what they make.
added button definition and keymap names for the Media Center Extender remote
keymap.xml support added: page+/page-, volume+/volume-

the following keys have the same IR code as the dvdkit remote
dvdkit(select) = extender(ok) = extender(enter)
dvdkit(display) = extender(xbox)
dvdkit(title) = extender(guide)

I personally suggest the One For All 6131. It does everything great. Its one of the nicest looking and laid out universal remotes I have ever owned. It doesn't have any wierd LCD's or touch screens, but honestly, I see no advantage in having those features. They make the remote cumbersome and complicated to use while trying to make it easier to use. This remote is $17 at Best Buy, it controls everything I own, including my Tivo. I even bought one for the bedroom Xbox to keep upstairs and downstairs consistent. I got that one for $0.01 on eBay. So check there too ;)

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December 25, 2004

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. Here's to hoping that new Xbox you may have just gotten gets modded before the new year! ;)

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December 20, 2004

IMDb Changes Site, Xbmc Follows Suit

IMDb.com changed some things in their site that have broken Xbmc's main functions. Changes have been made to keep Xbmc in line and to keep the IMDb functionality working. No worries ;)
- 20-12-2004 fixed: IMDb changed their site + urls today. XBMC updated to suit.

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December 16, 2004

Tv Guide

A little birdie told me that a new Tv Guide section is being developed for Xbmc. Users of Xbmp have been complaining forever that this wasn't in Xbmc. Now we just have to sit back and wait.

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December 13, 2004

Is It Time for a My Tv Section in Xbmc?

As I sit in front of my computer, just finishing some re-organization of folders and shares to Xbmc, I wonder to myself: Is it time for a 'My Tv' section in Xbmc?

You may be thinking to yourself "But there is already a 'My Videos' section in Xbmc. Why do we need to add this?" For this I say one word, Broadcatching. This is something that I have been doing for quite a while now, and the buzz is spreading as I type this. Podcasts were the first format to really gain from broadcatching and has turned in to quite a new medium. What others have been doing is applying the same idea to television.

The idea is to use Azureus and an RSS plugin to automatically download Tv episodes via BitTorrent. All it takes is to grab a feed from your favorite torrent tracker site, add some search phrases, and sit back and wait. Azureus will then check the feeds every 30 - 60 minutes and if it finds a specified show, it will begin to download. Once its done, it will move it to a specified folder for completed items and voila! You have an instant seasons pass to your favorite shows.

Seeing that all of this becomes automated, users will begin to amass a large sum of content specific to television. While most media centers (Microsoft Media Center, MythTv) have a Tv section, this is due to the fact that they are actually recording and playing live tv. Xbmc does not do this. This may be a reason to NOT have a "My Tv" section. But by using broadcatching, we keep everything automated and digital. Just because we are not recording content from a TV tuner doesn't mean that we can't have a Tv section. This will be the NEW way to get television content. Setup Azureus, set your shows to download, and grab them from the "My Tv" section of Xbmc.

I envision the "My Tv" section to share the settings of "My Videos" as well as the same type of setup in the xboxmediacenter.xml file using bookmarks. But this way we can seperate our movies from our Tv shows. We could have television oriented features in this section. And finally bring a "My Tv" to Xbmc by showing the world that we don't need a tuner to get our content, we have our technology do it for us.

I am not going to go into large detail on how to set everything up since Phillip over at Engadget wrote a wonderful tutorial on it. Get over there and check it out.

If this is something you want, please note it in the comments as well as asking your friendly neighborhood Xbmc developers for this feature.

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New Shutdown Menu

shutdownChokemaniac has taken advantage of the new abilities in Xbmc to create a new shutdown menu for Xbmc. It looks great and give Xbmc another step closer to that really complete feeling.

Its availabe in the current CVS, but if you're not the compilin' type, a new Xbins build should be out soon for you official types.

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December 11, 2004

Xbmc Screensaver Competition

The guys at Xbmc have started a contest to encourage development of screensavers for Xbmc using the new breakout engine that was just added. As noted here, you can now make your own screensaver and add it to Xbmc. Prior to this development, all screensavers were packed inside of the XBE and unavailable to users. Neoya Inc. has generously donated 5 X2VGA+ adapters for the competition. The contest starts now and runs for three months. So what are you waiting for, lets see some really creative stuff. Flickr screensaver anyone? :)

Full details and rules can be found here.

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December 10, 2004

Dvd Menu Campaign Update

Darkie posted an update on the status of the Dvd menu project/campaign
To give you a small idea on how far we are currently.
we can already play video / music files perfectly.
The core is already integrated into xbmc itself so you can control the dvdplayer the same way as mplayer (switching audio channels / subtitles). Note that the new dvdplayer is far from ready to be put into public cvs!

just a few things that are already working
- dvd with menu support is already working for most of the dvd's I have
- displaying subtitles and switching between them on the fly
- menu button overlay is working for some dvd's

But as I said, there is still a lot to be done.

So far its looking great! Looks like a solid feature to look out for in the v1.3 cycle.

The Dvd menu campaign was started to fulfill the number 1 requested feature for Xbmc. Since Xbmc is a free open source project, every developer on it is donating their time to work. While Xbmc plays Dvds perfectly fine, it does not play their menus. Dvd menu capability is no easy task and the devs asked for small donations to help motivate them. Of course, general donations are welcomed as well. If you find yourself using Xbmc frequently, consider dropping them a few bones to show your appreciation.

They are still taking donations for the project.
Official Thread

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December 09, 2004

Big December Day

December 8th was a busy day for the Xbmc CVS. Tons of new stuff has been added or changed for the better. Some highlights include:
  • Playlist windows will now play shuffled rather than get shuffled. This will be nice when looking at exactly what is on the list, if its a list of albums
  • 12 Hour clock display is finally available
  • Dummy time is shown in the OSD while calibrating
  • Added a "View Options" category under the settings window for My Programs
  • Skins are now locked at version 1.2, if your skin is not compliant or set to version 1.2, it will not load
  • Keyboard & Mouse fix

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December 08, 2004

Gametrailers Beta Script

After months of requesting, somoene has finally begun development on a Gametrailers.com script. Its still in beta and has parsing errors, but is available for download. Go grab it here, and if you find any errors, do your part and report them.

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December 07, 2004

Script Goodness

adamscybot has done Flash a nice favor and created a central site for his scripts. They are all available now here.

In honor of the new site, new scripts were released!

  • iFilm Browser 1.1 Fixes the problems caused by iFilm.com's site changes as well as adding a "Download and Play" option for those with slower bandwidth having issues with streaming.
  • Launch Browser This allows you to play music videos off of Yahoo's Launch.com site.
  • AQTBrowser (Flash Edition) Adds the "Download and Play" option
  • Machinima Browser *Coming Soon - Red vs Blue episodes!!!

Phew, we are really getting up there in the list of capable, worth while scripts. Getting Red vs Blue on Xbmc will be fantastic, and has been long requested. I think a new scripts window is going to be needed to keep up with all this fabulous content available on our Xboxs. Thanks Flash!

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December 05, 2004

Annoying Bug Work Around

I've experienced this bug for a while and it looks like others have too. tslayer gave a work around for it over on the X-S forums. The problem is that sometimes Xbmc takes up to a minute to boot up. The solution is simple:
Make sure you don't have a DVD/CD in the drive. There is a bug in latest releases that cause it to take about 30 seconds.


Thanks tslayer.

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iFilm Browser Down

Flash has confirmed that his iFilm Browser is currently down due to iFilm.com's site change.
hi. ifilm have canged their site now. i should be able to get the script fixed and i will post a new version as soon as its up and running. cheers.

This is what happens when you scrape a site to get its content, it goes with the territory. It will be back up soon. This is why every site needs to provide webservices :)

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Team XLink Announces WePlayHere.net

A bit off topic, but Team XLink announced a new community site based around the online gaming community they have built. It will allow users to create teams and join ladders for some of the most popular games online. Some include Halo 2, Ghost Recon 2, and Rainbow Six 3.

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December 03, 2004

MediaPortal 0.1

I didn't post about this when it was released, but I thought maybe it would be appropriate. MediaPortal 0.1 was released a few days ago by Frodo. Frodo is one of the co-founders of the Xbox Media Center project. The goal of MediaPortal is to provide an interface to your PC to give you a Home Theater PC (HTPC). The project is based on Xbmc, and from the screen shots is looking good. It will record Tv and do everything else Xbmc does. I'd love to get that Tv guide ported over to Xbmc some time soon. How bout it frodo?

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December 02, 2004

New Settings

On the heels of a new CVS build, new code has been added to CVS. It looks like the devs have reconfigured the settings menu and how thing will interact. Seems like Chokemaniac will have some work to do as well as all the other skin maintianers. The commit comments made me giggle.
Revision 1.340 - (view) (download) (annotate) - [select for diffs]
Thu Dec 2 10:08:33 2004 UTC (13 hours, 49 minutes ago) by jmarshallnz
Branch: MAIN
Changes since 1.339: +2 -0 lines
Diff to previous 1.339
02-12-2004: New settings system. !!! BREAKS EVERY SKIN KNOWN TO MAN !!!

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December 01, 2004

New CVS Compile!

Glory Days! A new CVS compile has been released by you know who. This is another feature rich release. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Brand new screensaver engine
  • Kai hosting
  • Kai text chat
  • Tabbed views for Kai
  • Startup splash screen
  • Inline text editor
  • Movie runtime to IMDB info for videos (finally :)
  • Language localizations updated
  • Numerous Kai bug fixes
  • Numerous Xbmc bug fixes

The full changelog since the last CVS compile (11-15-2004) is here:
30-11-2004 fixed: [ 970904 ] Screensaver stays on with WebServer/un-pause
30-11-2004 fixed: imdb info/thumbs not saved
29-11-2004 added: Kai protocol level debugging + Specify Kai engine host IP in Settings.
29-11-2004 fixed: [ 1072703 ] Joliet filenames corrupted
28-11-2004 fixed: weird bug whereby Kai friends list wasn't sorted correctly.
28-11-2004 fixed: serialize Kai game titleid resolution and player count requests.
28-11-2004 added: Movie runtime to IMDB info screen + combined Rating+Votes item
28-11-2004 added: get current Kai player count for each game in the games view.
28-11-2004 added: ability to force specific Kai arena - game title id mappings.
28-11-2004 fixed: possible lockup switching from gui to fullscreen video while video playing
28-11-2004 fixed: bug in kaiclient preventing voice chat from working.
27-11-2004 added: Show contact/friend avatar on Kai Toast popup.
27-11-2004 updated: Polish language file (Thnx to napek)
27-11-2004 added: flash Kai chat tab briefly when another player sends message while tab not currently selected.
27-11-2004 fixed: some memory leaks in the database code.
27-11-2004 added: GUIConditionalButton
27-11-2004 added: albuminfo, songs from allmusic.com are saved to database
26-11-2004 added: Use left and right trigger to change between Kai views.
26-11-2004 added: XLink Kai tabbed view.
25-11-2004 added: XLink Kai network reachable checking.
25-11-2004 changed: Fade in from dimmed and black screensaver
25-11-2004 fixed: Screen only partially filled on HDTV
24-11-2004 fixed: last folder not remembered on 'back' (sf bug #1071390)
24-11-2004 updated: Hungarian language file (Thnx to Tracy18)
24-11-2004 updated: Italian language file (Thnx to kotix)
24-11-2004 fixed: my programs, scanning doesn't free its memory
23-11-2004 fixed: kai pop-up killing speex audio while visible.
23-11-2004 added: modeless dialog rendering, kai pop-up less intrusive.
23-11-2004 added: inline text editor control (for Kai text chat and all who want it).
21-11-2004 added: Startup splash
21-11-2004 added: Kai text chat (alpha - needs a little visual tidy up, to be improved with 'in-line' edit control).
21-11-2004 added: GUIConsoleControl, for future use with Kai text-chat (and any other dialog that wants it!).
20-11-2004 fixed: [ 1068230 ] LCD Setting reverts to SmartXX (on restart).
20-11-2004 fixed: allow empty password in Kai hosted private arenas.
19-11-2004 changed: Embedded XBE icon now gets generated as program.tbn alongside program.xbe
19-11-2004 fixed: [ 1066151 ] My Programs: Icon and title not updated when switching DVD`s
19-11-2004 fixed: [ 1066281 ] Bookmarks on panel (right side) does not use Depth parameter
18-11-2004 fixed: handes high-volume of Kai app_specific requests.
18-11-2004 fixed: Various crashes when subtitle font was set to TTF
18-11-2004 added: Comprehensive Kai hosting options.
18-11-2004 fixed: Less aggressive Kai player profile requesting.
17-11-2004 fixed: Buttonscroller, icon is not shown when last control is not the scroller
17-11-2004 fixed: Kai hosting within private arenas (with sophisticated hosting options to follow soon)
16-11-2004 fixed: Accurate Kai reporting of XBOX Live Communicator / Headset status.
16-11-2004 fixed: Improved performance sorting Kai views (Friends, Games and Arenas).
15-11-2004 added: New screensaver interface/API with Template and sample (Pyro) screensaver
15-11-2004 updated: German (Austrian) language file (Thnx to CEOMR)
15-11-2004 updated: Portuguese (Brazil) language file (Thnx to wellingtontu)
15-11-2004 fixed: Crash in dialogs if some dialog skin files weren't present.
15-11-2004 fixed: Less intrusive warning on Kai disconnection and better reconnection facilities.

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