What's Up With Xbox Media Center

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.


  • I think this is absolutely necessary. Who records their own TV anymore? :-P It's all prerecorded in HTDV/Digital Satellite quality, edited to be commercial-free (with seamless, no-wait transitions), and ready for download at 350 MB per show. You can generally download an episode of the show in the time it would take you to record it if there's lots of peers to trade bits with. A 350 MB show takes half an hour at 200 KB/sec.

    I think a My TV section would be great... Not only would you be able to watch TV shows you've automatically downloaded, some other features to think about are TV guides and "scheduling." For example, XBMC grabs the tvtorrents RSS feed and lightly highlights the TV guide where shows are available via RSS. Pick the show in the guide with the remote, and your Xbox will talk to Azureus via another little plug-in that adds the show's title (or matching regular expression) to your Azureus RSS watch list. Next time that show is available via RSS, it shows up on your Xbox. Works almost like TiVo but without doing the recording. It would be a bit of a hack, but I could see it working...


    By Blogger Collin, at 11:59 PM  

  • I'd love to see this. Perhaps a more logical approach would be My Movies / My TV / My Videos, since the IMDB-thumbnails views don't work at all for any content that isn't really a movie. Perhaps 3 new items is a little overkill, but I'd love to at least see some distinction between 'movies' and 'other videos' for the imdb scanning/thumbnailing alone.

    By Blogger brent, at 12:49 AM  

  • Actually, maybe this could be implemented on a level below the 'My Videos' top-level-option. Maybe a concept of a bookmark 'template', something like:
        <name>Television Shows</name>

    Which would create 3 entries in My Videos, one which has the movie specific features we already have (IMDB etc), one which has tv specific features (TVTome anyone?), and one which has the base-set of video options.

    By Blogger brent, at 12:58 AM  

  • Yes, Videos obviously is left out to dry with this new idea. I know I have all my "funny videos" shared with all my content, but something would have to be done about those without adding a whole new area. Like you said, its over kill.

    I have an idea for a Content section too, something like Online Extras or soemthing to that effect. It would be a nicely laid out page that would have links to the Launch.com, iFilm, GameTrailers, and Apple scripts. While yes, these are plugin scripts and not actually part of Xbmc, theres no reason they can't have a permanent place in the application. Chokie has coded them directly into the submenu at the home page, so why not a whole new section for them. The page could be a nice Logo page, maybe we could slip My Videos in here too, for each users's videos on their network. Then the main page could have My Movies and My Tv, and feel a bit more like a media center. it would be at least be in line with others'. as well as be more descript for newbie users, like our girlfriends ;)

    By Blogger Jon, at 1:07 AM  

  • You've just described my set-up !! plus I have a TV card setup to record through Digiguide which filters into a PVR folder... best thing to do is setup Azureus to move completed files into a new folder which XBMC is pointed to otherwise you can crash the server by trying to start a temp file...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:33 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:20 AM  

  • Check out TVTAD (http://www.tvtad.com), a RSS feed reader for the #TvTorrents site. It automatically downloads newly released TV episodes, and sends them to your BT client.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:24 AM  

  • I actually just got that the other day and set it up. I love what they have done to make it very easy for normal people to use it. Having to use regular expressions is basically a kiss of death for a normal user.

    I've been having issues with TVTAD though, its acting funny, i'm hoping for an update soon.

    By Blogger Jon, at 9:14 AM  

  • I posted something similar to this in the XBMC Python Script forum and got no replies (little mad about that). But there is certainly a way this could be done with XBMC itself since there are many RSS readers out there for it, it owuld just have to d/l the file inside link tag. There is a python script for Bit Torrent for XBMC as well, so it is certainly feasible to get it done with in XBMC.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 AM  

  • I would LOVE to see a My TV section in XBMC. Torrenting on my Xbox would be SWEEEEEET.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:32 PM  

  • it actually exists now. Just set your folder to content type of TV and use the library. there is amazing new views now.

    By Blogger Jon Maddox, at 4:35 PM  

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