Media Center Programs

Oct 05 2012

News - MythTV Updated to Version 0.26


MythTV has received an update, bringing the venerable FOSS media center program up to version 026. This latest version comes only six month after the release of version 0.25. Given that I am fairly certain the dinosaurs came and went in time between versions 0.24 and 0.25, version 0.26 had a relatively short development cycle, which might be part of the reason the MythTV team is describing this as a modest release. Along with the usual raft of bug fixes and performance improvements, there are a number of notable new features including support for HTTP Live Streaming playback and recording and the addition of recording rule templates for folks interested in customizing their rules for scheduled recordings. One major change in version 0.26 is the conversion of internal times to UTC. This is a change that has major impact on the MythTV database and it might be worthwhile checking out the release notes for details about the potential pitfalls and for more details about the value of performing a manual backup of the database before upgrading.

Notable changes include:

  • HTTP Live Streaming playback and recording
  • Conversion of internal times to UTC allowing smoother transitions around daylight savings changes
  • Several performance improvements to the UI
  • A greater number of translations (nine) are 100% complete for this release with a few more very near to completion. This number should grow by the time of the 0.26.1 point release.
  • The usual bug fixes and incremental improvements


Sep 25 2012

News - GeeXboX Hits 3.0, Goes to (XBMC) 11

GeeXboX 3

The GeeXboX team seem to have to carved out an annual release cycle for themselves. For those not familiar with GeeXboX, GeeXboX is an HTPC-centric Linux distro aimed at PCs and ARM SoCs. The stated purpose is to provide a Media Center application that can play any kind of content from any location, and with the release of GeeXboX 3.0, the GeeXboX team has not only brought XBMC 11 to the party, but they have even gotten the jump on XBMC 12 by adding the PVR branch early. With growing support for SoCs including the Pandaboard and the Cubox, along with preliminary support for the popular new Raspberry Pi, GeeXboX 3.0 has joined the growing list of HTPC frontends vying to replace WMC. 

A shiny new GeeXboX release has arrived! GeeXboX 3.0 is a major upgrade that integrates XBMC 11 “Eden” and adds the long-requested PVR functionality. This means you can finally use GeeXboX to watch and record live TV too! In addition to our usual x86 ISOs, this release is also available for several embedded platforms, with working full HD video and graphics acceleration for most of them.

GeeXboX Blog

Aug 31 2012

News - Plex Updates Media Server, Introduces PlexPass and Plex Web Client

Plex Web Client

The good folks over at Plex have updated the Plex Media Server to version Included are the usual collection of bug fixes, most targeting specific hardware or file format issues, including a fix to reduce memory and threads usage that will be welcome for Plex users running their server on a low-powered machine. However, updating Plex Media Server seems to have been a means to an end this time around as the new media server sets up two big announcements from the Plex team.

This is the first part, in which we release a new version of the Plex Media Server, fixing a number of issues, and adding a few tasty nuggets.

Plex Blog

First up is the introduction of PlexPass. PlexPass is a new, optional subscription service that will cost $3.99 a month. PlexPass members will get early access to new features and access to private forums for discussing the new features being tested and provide feedback. The announcement of PlexPass comes with the announcement that the Plex team is planning on offering premium features for Plex in the future. There's no word on what these premium features will be or how much they will cost, but PlexPass members will have free access to these forthcoming premium features while in beta and will receive a discount on the final versions.

Dec 03 2011

News - Plex Media Center, Plex Media Server, and Plex for iOS Updated

It's been about a month since the Plex team went on an update binge and they have decided that they are ready to return to the table for another round of updates. These updates are decidedly more low-key than last month's smorgasbord, but there are a lot of bug fixes on the table and even a few new features.

Plex Media Server has been updated to version

 Since it has moved to shipping separately, the Plex Media Server is now a much better standalone application, with support for autoupdate and starting at login.

Plex Blog

Meanwhile, Plex Media Center has been updated to version 9.5.2 and comes with even more new features, including at least one feature that the Plex team obviously expects to be quite popular.

That’s right, our good friend Ryan took a break from saving people’s lives to add refresh rate switching. On TVs that support it, this means perfect 24p playback with nary a shudder, judder, or stutter. I have an old Sony TV set and it works great, taking under a second to switch rates.

Plex Blog

Plex for iOS has also been updated, coming to version 2.1 with full support for the myPlex features launched during last month's flurry of releases.

Jun 13 2011

News - Organize Your Media Files with Mediafile


I do not archive many television series, but those few that I have collected have been left in DVD rips because, frankly, I have been too lazy to separate the episodes and prep them for MediaBrowser or My Movies.  However this little tool might just be enough to convince me to take the plunge.  I also like the idea of taking our family videos and sorting them out properly for inclusion with XML metadata.  This initial release of Mediafile is being billed as a limited function free version, so it will be interesting to see how the developer builds out the planned premium features.

I am really happy to release first free edition of MediaFile. It's main goal is to help you organize your Movies and TV Series collections. Anyone with big library of recordings knows that archiving their beloved shows or movies is a time consuming task. Creating proper folder structure and renaming files can take days, weeks and in some cases even months. I only hope that MediaFile will speed up the whole process for some of its users.

Jun 01 2011

News - Sneak Peak at Windows 8

Finally some official information regarding the future version of Microsoft Windows, and boy can you say "radically different"? It feels like they're really trying to push the whole singular interface across devices...not sure how I feel about that yet.

The fundamental goal with the new operating system, which is being shown for the first time at D9, is to create something that is equally well at home on an 8-inch tablet as it is on a powerful desktop attached to a huge monitor.


Apr 18 2011

News - Digital Home Server Seeks to Simplify and Integrate Media, Applications and Home Automation

Digital Home Server


MissingRemote forum member, Soitjes, posted to let us know about a new application named Digital Home Server (DHS). The application has been conceived to unify media playback, applications, widgets and home automation tasks into an interface that is simple, designed for touch control and can run on any size screen.

DHS runs on Windows 7/Vista/XP and is completely free for non-commercial purposes. 

I'm happy to announce the new version of my "Digital Home Server", which is a free HTPC application which I wrote as part of my hobby.  It used to be a graphical interface for my 7" USB monitor, but now I completely rewrote the whole application. Website is

It should become a mix between Home Automation and Multimedia. Until now, a lot of focus has been on the multimedia part, but I'm getting more and more into home automation. I like to think that DHS has some unique features, notably that it's fully multi-monitor, and it can handle any size (from 7" up to whatever). Screens are specially designed for touchscreens.


Apr 16 2011

News - QVIVO Social Media Center Public Alpha

QVIVO home

Ian Dixon over at The Digital Lifestyle pointed out a new media center program today called QVIVO. Like Ian, it was not a program I had heard of before, but it does show some definite promise. At its most basic level it is a fairly straighforward media front-end, but the folks behind QVIVO seem to have some big integration plans. There are public alpha builds available for the PC and Mac with plans underway for an iPad and iPhone version and app plugins for major streaming devices and televisions. Plans also seem to be underway for a complementary media marketplace called the QStore that will allow for music and video purchases online, through the QVIVO frontend, and through Facebook. That last point of sale, might seem a bit odd for most media center programs, but will make perfect sense for QVIVO as it includes extensive integration with Facebook. 

I have to say looks really nice, you add watched folders and then it downloads the artwork and metadata. The principle behind QVIVO reminds me of Boxee but without the app model, once the iPad and iPhone apps become available I could see this being an interesting platform, I am not really into the social side of it but I know its going to be popular with some people.


Apr 04 2011

News - Windows Based Kinect Controls

United Kingdom based company has developed software for the Kinect to interact with the PC. They have developed add ins for Media Center that give you the same Kinect feel inside of Media Center. They have two different versions that come in Home and Business. Home is for everyday apps and business adds in office to the mix. The question now is do you get another Kinect or do you share with your jealous Xbox360? Pricing starts at about 30.88 for the Home Version. It is called "Win & I". Kinect Not Included!

WIN&I: Yes, Win and you. You are the controller. You are in charge. Control Windows 7 and your favorite apps with simple gestures.


Mar 12 2011

News - XBMC Bug-fix Release: 10.1 (Dharma)

An update for the current stable release (10.0 Dharma) has been released. It is recommended that users update to 10.1 as it fixes a number of bugs and improves stability.

The main focus of this release is to address a bug that could cause XBMC to freeze when updating a skin. We have held back skin updates from the main repository because of this, but now that it is fixed, they will begin rolling out in a few weeks.

This is intended as a bug-fix release only, no new features have been introduced. Notable fixes include:

  • If an in-use skin was updated in Windows, XBMC would freeze
  • Some RTMP streams in Windows did not play
  • Included add-ons have been updated
  • The correct referrer is now used for downloading add-ons, improving dependency statistics
  • Crashes during playback on ATI hardware in some circumstances have been fixed
  • Hardware decoding improvements for OSX
  • Various small fixes


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