Media Center Programs

Feb 12 2011

News - XBMC And The iPad

Have an iPad and frustrated by its inability to play certain files? Well so was our friend Damian who loves all sorts of video filetypes, so he jailbroke his wife's iPad (now that's love, huh) and threw XBMC on it. From the initial results, looks to be pretty sweet, although the interface clearly wasn't designed for touch...yet.

This is the area I was most interested in. Until now I could only play H264 mp4 files natively. For my other files (mkv, avi) I was  required to use a transcoding app (such as Air Video). The downside to this is that this process is very CPU intensive and has never been a 100% reliable for me. Using XBMC not only adds support for formats the iPxx doesn’t natively support, but also allows for full hardware acceleration which means a much more friendly process for my Windows Home Server CPU. Less stress on a CPU can only be a good thing as it will lead to less heat and also give better energy efficiency.


Feb 04 2011

News - Vail is Windows Home Server 2011 – RC Available Now

Oh Microsoft, your naming schemes always do surprise us all, as the next version of Windows Home Server is called...wait for it....Windows Home Server 2011!! Marketing team, you earned your money there! Ok, all joking aside, the final release (sans Drive Extender) appears very near--will you be buying/upgrading? I'm holding off for a bit.

A new Move Folder Wizard which makes it easy for you to move data from one drive to another.  As you add Hard Drives to the Home Server, health alerts will notify you that a new Hard Drive is available. From here, you can automatically format and configure the new drive for additional storage and then easily use the Move Folder Wizard to move your data to the new drive as needed.


Feb 01 2011

News - Netflix Update from Boxee, Still no good news

Still nothing new to report on the Netflix front for existing Boxee users. I can't harp too much on this, I think Boxee is being as up front and honest as they can be but man I'm sure this is a disappointment for all those early adopters.

The Netflix app is up and running on Boxee (we watched the intro to Full Metal Jacket earlier today), but we have not yet satisfied Netflix’s security requirements. We anticipate availability soon.  It’s terrible to be so close to releasing and yet still be waiting on one thing to fall into place.

Boxee Blog

Jan 24 2011

News - VLC 1.1.6 released, includes fixes, faster WebM decoding

VLC is one of the best universal file format players available for your HTPC. It's not the prettiest in the world, but if you're having trouble playing back a certain file you download...errr....found, then VLC can probably play it no questions asked. Lots of good updates for everyone, even Mac users, who knew?

The VideoLAN team has today rolled out a fresh version of the VLC media player which brings multiple security updates in codecs and demuxers, faster VP8/WebM decoding, MIDI support on Mac OS X and more.


Jan 19 2011

News - How to Organize Your Music, Movies and ROMS With XBMC

XBMC is a fantastic HTPC application that is 100% free, and has some very impressive skins and features. No LiveTV functionality, but other than that it's pretty powerful. Not the easiest to setup however, so here's a guide from MaximumPC that tries to help.

XBMC (originally designed as the Xbox Media Center for hacked Xboxes, but now mostly for HTPCs) is the most compelling and full-featured media front end currently available (below). However, not everyone needs a media front end. If you’re a music-only sort of person, for instance, you might be better off using iTunes or Foobar. If the only media you need is streamed from Netflix, then you’re better off just sticking to the site.

Jan 16 2011

News - Windows 7 SP1 RTM build leaks ahead of official release

I know Michael will be super excited about this. I'm very curious to learn more about RemoteFX given the popularity of the usage of the Concurrent Remote Desktop Sessions in Windows7 and previous versions. I wonder just how capable this could be (maybe it could replace the need for extenders?)?

WinRumors expects Microsoft to issue Service Pack 1 on January 18 or 25...SP1 will include RemoteFX which provides rich 3-D graphical experience for remote users. The service pack also will include a series of incremental updates, previously released on Windows Update for both Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.


Jan 12 2011

News - ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5 Remote Apps

One thing we didn't talk about much when ArcSoft's TotalMedia Theatre 5 (TMT5) was introduced was the inclusion of smartphone control apps. At CES, I was able to take a look at the apps which run on both Android and iOS.

Jan 08 2011

News - Cyberlink PowerDVD 11 Sneak Peek

Update: Please see our PowerDVD 11 review

I sat down with Cyberlink yesterday where they demonstrated the forthcoming PowerDVD 11. The big items they have been working on are a new algorithm for 2D to 3D conversion, YouTube support and a mobile remote app control for Android and iOS devices.

I must admit that the 2D to 3D conversion of Blu-ray material is much more impressive than the current DVD-only conversion present in PowerDVD 10. Cyberlink explained that the algorithm has been improved for DVD playback as well.

Cyberlink showed a Samsung Android tablet running the remote control app. It was able to control selection and transport controls of PowerDVD 11 and it could even bring up the mouse cursor on the PC using a finger on the touchscreen to control. This is also supposed to work with the Windows Media Center PowerDVD 11 player as well though I didn't see that.

If you're hoping for any Windows Media Center integration improvements or automatic refresh rate switching similar to MPC-HC, sorry, but you'll probably see none of that.

We look forward to bringing you a more in-depth look at what has changed in a 2 or 3 months when the software should be released.

Dec 06 2010

News - XBMC Dharma RC2 Release Candidate Available

If you're a fan of free HTPC software, then pay attention as a new release candidate version of XBMC (Xbox Media Center) is out. If you've never heard of it, XBMC is basically a community developed frontend software for your home theater computer--think Media Center and SageTV without TV tuner support. Has some super slick skins for those interested.

Dharma XBMC

  • Shoutcast support has been redone. Listening to your favorite online radio stations with the shoutcast plugin is now a much nicer experience.
  • The add-ons moved out of the testing repository and into their permanent home. This means that everyone will need to upgrade in order to see future add-on updates. If you continue to use RC1 or previous, please don’t report a lack of updates.
  • Automatic updates for add-ons are now enabled by default. Of course, you can still disable them via the add-on manager if you prefer.



Nov 12 2010

News - SageTV v7 & MythTV 0.24 Released

Great news for HTPC software today as SageTV version 7.0 finally drops its beta tag and is released. And MythTV releases it's 0.24 version as well. If you're on the SageTV wagon, make sure you read our very own Andrew's Guide to Installing SageTV V7. Super detailed and should save you some headaches during install.

SageTV 7 brings a new User Interface, a Plugin Manager for easier installation of Plugins and much more.  Check out my overview of the new features and watch the intro video below to get a good feel of what SageTV can do 


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