MediaPortal Adopts New Default Skin, Prepping CableCARD Support and MP2 Autumn Build

MediaPortal 1.3.jpg

There was a time when I would bounce from one media center frontend application to the next, always seeking out the perfect blend of eye-candy, customizability and functionality. One application that continues to find its way to my test system is MediaPortal. The MediaPortal team has been fairly quiet the last several months, but they recently broke cover with a collection of updates. First up, there is a new default skin. MediaPortal 1.3 is still in beta, but one of the more significant features is a new skinning engine. MediaPortal has traditionally started out with a rather crusty XP-era WMC style skin. The new skin is more reminiscent of an Aeon-style skin for XBMC. In other words, it’s looking sharp. The team also gave an update on the long in gestation MediaPortal 2. MediaPortal 2 is still quite definitely alpha software, but the intrepid can look forward to the release of the MP2 Autumn Build in the near future.

Finally, because sometimes I enjoy burying the lead, the MediaPortal team has introduced support for CableCARD. The team is being quite up-front that there is no chance of MediaPortal receiving CableLabs certification, so MediaPortal will only be able to provide access to non-DRM channels and “Copy Freely” content, but it is certainly welcome news for Windows-based HTPC owners still pining for the loss of SageTV and looking for an alternative to WMC. The team is also being quite up-front that MediaPortal’s CableCARD support is a work in progress and they are looking for testers to help provide feedback for continued development.

Well howdy, folks! We here at MediaPortal have been getting quite a lot of feedback from everyone, and have found that 3 questions keep being asked:

  1. Why not a new default skin for MP? The old one is a bit outdated and you have some awesome skinners on the team.
  2. Why is getting your non DRM digital cable content into MediaPortal so hard? Specially if you live in the U.S. as Set-Top-Boxes make it even harder.
  3. What is the hype with MP2? Why is better? What is it going to look like?

MediaPortal Blog

  • Is the new default skin for
    Is the new default skin for the 1.2 version?

    • I haven’t tested it, but I

      I haven’t tested it, but I would assume not. My understanding is that the new skin was developed specifically to show off some of the new features of the skinning engine in 1.3. That being said, it would be worth keeping an eye out for updates to 1.2 that add the new skin or checking the MP skin directory for a listing as a seperate download. There are a number of skin developers who keep two active projects going, one for 1.2 and a more advanced version for 1.3 so there is the possibility that the MP team will do the same.