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Author Topic: MeediOS: A promising HTPC frontend.  (Read 5668 times)
superboyac
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« on: September 22, 2010, 05:38:15 PM »

I've been secretly planning to upgrade my living room setup for a while now.  I plan to do a makeover in 2011.  One of the things I need is a good frontend for using my TV connected to my computer: this is called HTPC (Home Theater PC) for those who don't know.  Now, as usual, there's a whole lot of confusing talk going on about this kind of thing, but I'll try to keep it simple.  Obviously, I don't really need any special software to use my computer with a TV.  I can just plug it in and use my TV as a big monitor and everything functions the way we're used to.  The ONLY things I need that is HTPC-specific are font-size and navigation issues.

Basically, on a TV, the font needs to be pretty big to be able to read from afar.  So all those HTPC jargon you hear about is pretty much BS.  You can use any OS and any software you want, you just want the text to be bigger than you would need if it wasn't a TV.  That's it.  There really is no other issue.  And navigation.  Depending on what you use to navigate (remote, mouse, airmouse, etc.) then navigation may be an issue also.  Right now, I use a logitech airmouse, which is great because I don't have any htpc-specific software currently and I just use the computer like normal.  yes, it's hard to read things, but I'll fix that next year.  My ideal solution is going to be a nintendo wii remote on a Windows 7 setup.  Why?  because it can do everything a regular airmouse can do PLUS it has those navigation keys on top (up down left right).  Those navigation keys will be important to using HTPC type of software.  Just think about your DVD player: the heart of the remote is the navigation pad.  So the wii remote is perfect...it has a navigation pad AND normal mouse function.  There's nothing more you need.

I know J.River Media Center is an excellent solution for this.  You put it on theater view, and that's it.  It's pretty perfect.  However, in my case, I use many different software for music, video, images.  I want to keep using those softwares because they're my favorite, but I want just a frontend to navigate more easily and legibly.  That's where MeediOS may come in.  I just discovered it so I'm not sure if all the media must be played inside of it, or if it can be used as a launcher like I'm describing.  if it can be used like a launcher, that would be awesome.

So that's what this thread is for.  Let's talk about MeediOS, HTPC's, and all that stuff.
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Josh
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 06:10:55 PM »

I am also looking for a front end for a media center PC I have. WMC would be great but it gives the option at the end of playback to DELETE the file with no way to disable it. Why this would be added after playback by default is beyond me, but anyways. I am looking for a front-end which supports hulu.
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superboyac
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2010, 07:37:33 PM »

I am also looking for a front end for a media center PC I have. WMC would be great but it gives the option at the end of playback to DELETE the file with no way to disable it. Why this would be added after playback by default is beyond me, but anyways. I am looking for a front-end which supports hulu.
What?!  Excuse my language, but why in the F-CK would anyone want to delete a video after playing as  DEFAULT, undisableable option???  What could possibly be the reasoning for that kind of dangerous, destructive behavior??
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Josh
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2010, 07:40:21 PM »

I have no idea. People have been complaining about that since WXP MCE 2005. There is no way to disable it and the permissions settings displayed on many google search results have hit or miss results. In fact, those permissions can screw up many systems and configurations.
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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2010, 07:57:03 PM »

I have no idea. People have been complaining about that since WXP MCE 2005. There is no way to disable it and the permissions settings displayed on many google search results have hit or miss results. In fact, those permissions can screw up many systems and configurations.
Man, drop that MCE stuff.  Just use regular Windows.  My goodness.  I have to assume its some stupid way of dealing with copyright issues or something along those lines.  For this reason alone, I will never ever consider MCE for anything.
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superboyac
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 02:45:24 PM »

Wow!  MeediOS is really really great!  I just tried it out, and my initial feeling is that this will be the solution for me.  Visually, it's stunning.  It's very flexible, all sorts of plugins can be added.  Even the default plugins that come with it are just fine.  They take care of audio, video, tv shows, movies, anything!  My favorite part is that it seems to be able to use any of your preferred media players to actually launch the files.  So it really is just a frontend.  i think.  I'm not completely sure of that right now.

My gut feeling is that if I make an HTPC using Windows & plus this MeediOS, it will probably be the most kick-ass thing out there.  I'll have a projector as my new TV, so it will be displayed HUGE on the wall.  And this Meedios interface is just beautiful.  It basically looks like something Apple would do, but I still get to configure it pretty intensely behind the scenes.  Wow.  i highly recommend all you guys to play with it.  If anyone is interested, I'll post in detail later how I have set mine up to work in a very beautiful and practical manner.  Probably not until 2011, however.
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lanux128
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2010, 09:34:47 AM »

another viable option is XBMC as highlighted by this lifehacker article.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2010, 11:37:10 AM »

another viable option is XBMC as highlighted by this lifehacker article.

Interesting, that actually is a bootable (Linux based) OS. But the MeediOS (despite ending in OS) is just a media handling GUI that runs on a Windows box.

Or am I missing something?
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superboyac
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2010, 12:05:39 PM »

another viable option is XBMC as highlighted by this lifehacker article.

Interesting, that actually is a bootable (Linux based) OS. But the MeediOS (despite ending in OS) is just a media handling GUI that runs on a Windows box.

Or am I missing something?
I believe the bolded part is correct.  I haven't used it with actual media yet...I'll find out.  But that is my favorite part, that it runs on Windows and it's just a frontend for navigating your media.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2010, 12:16:10 PM »

Hm... I was hoping for something in a light weight Linux OS as an idea for my brother who's into cars, movies, and is thinking about a HTPC sort of rig. I'm toying with doing something for him centered around one of these PCRides next to the TV with a (huge ugly) headless storage server in a back room.
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superboyac
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2010, 12:32:33 PM »

with a (huge ugly) headless storage server in a back room.
I'm going to have to do that one day.  You'll see me ask about it here.  I'm going to eventually set up a server at home with several hard drives, RAID?, and whatever else it takes.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2010, 12:42:12 PM »

with a (huge ugly) headless storage server in a back room.
I'm going to have to do that one day.  You'll see me ask about it here.  I'm going to eventually set up a server at home with several hard drives, RAID?, and whatever else it takes.
Hardware RAID is manditory, and fairly cheap with one of the server referb companies that are popping up these days. I've delt with these guys several times in the past and their service is excellent. If what you want isn't listed on the website, call them - You'll get fast friendly service the likes of which haven't been seen since the 50s.
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MrCrispy
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2010, 01:26:55 PM »

Another good one to consider is MediaPortal (www.team-mediaportal.com).

XBMC is the granddaddy of them all. It started on the original Xbox (which is no longer supported) and was years ahead of its time. That code was then forked off into many other projects (such as media portal, Plex, Boxee) and some of those (such as MP, Plex) have rewritten large parts to suit their needs.

For someone setting up an HTPC today, the important question is - do you want DVR? Are you on Windows? If so the best best is MediaBrowser (which adds into WMC). If you don't need dvr, XBMC is far and away the best choice. A few reasons why -

- its the fastest UI.
- the best skins (everyone else copies xbmc skins). MediaPortal v2 and Meedios use WPF so their skins can do more (once its finished)
- the easiest setup - this is very critical. Just try and setup Meedios and you'll know. A novie can be up and running in 15min
- the most active community, and thus development
- everything you need (codecs etc) is builtin

Meedios is very flexible (almost too much) and you can have it behave just so, but its not for the average user or anyone who deosn't want to devote a lot of time tinkering with it.
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superboyac
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2010, 11:09:48 PM »

MrCrispy, thanks so much for the helpful comments.  I was under the impression that XBMC was a linux only thing, but it's not.  That puts it into the mix.  To answer your question: NO, I do NOT need DVR.  So that means I don't need to look at MediaBrowser right now.  Thanks for saying it so clearly, I'm looking for strong opinions like that when I come here.

I haven't played around with anything so far, so I don't quite know what my exact needs are right now.  It sounds like XBMC is going to be the one.  One thing I am adamant about: I will NOT be using Windows Media Player.  I will not use anything that I can't use my preferred players with (KMPlayer, Light Alloy).  And I need to be able to choose different players for different type of media.  KMPlayer for video.  Foobar for audio.  Zoomplayer for non-converted DVD images.  I am very particular about my media player software.  I don't want any kind of browsing interface locking me into a specific player.  I frown on that. Angry

OK, I'm going to check out XMBC.
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superboyac
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2010, 11:34:43 PM »

Holy crap!  I love XMBC!!  I just love it.  you know what...I think I'm going to let go of the whole external player thing.  That interface is just too slick.  If it's as popular and developed as you say it is, I'm sure I'll be able to tweak it just the way i like.  The only things I'm really picky about is being able to customize what happens on single-click, double-click...and what the mouse wheel is assigned to do.  Then I may get picky about certain OSD issues, and I may get picky about how I want controls to slide in and out when the pointer goes to the edges and stuff.  But XMBC is probably going to be the thing for me.  That is good stuff.  Man, I can't wait until I have a nice projector setup with that running.  i wonder how fast it can run on my old 2002 computer that I have hooked up right now?
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MrCrispy
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« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2010, 02:29:22 PM »

The media player used in XBMC is based off the same code ffmpeg (and thus ffdshow, Kmplayer etc) uses so the performance is pretty similar. As you found out, the builtin player has a great UI and all the features, there's really no need for an external player. There is also a project to use any DirectShow player in XBMC (dsplayer) if you really must use external codecs/players.

Are you using the Dharma build? Its still in beta but is stable and lots of new features compared to the released 9.11. Once you install Dharma (http://mirrors.xbmc.org/releases/win32/), go into the Addons section and get the Night skin. Its just amazing. And look at the plugins/skins on forum.xbmc.org, there is lots of good stuff there.

(sorry, I get excited when I talk about XBMC. I wasted a lot of time with other frontend's before I discovered it)
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ChalkTrauma
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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2010, 09:55:43 AM »

Just an FYI.. XBMC for XBOX is still alive and well over here: http://www.xbmc4xbox.org/  Thmbsup

Still love my modded XBOX...
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superboyac
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2010, 09:58:01 AM »

(sorry, I get excited when I talk about XBMC. I wasted a lot of time with other frontend's before I discovered it)
No need to apologize, this is very useful information.  You are saving me TONS of legwork by guiding me to XBMC.  That's what I come here for, to hear about your experiences with similar issues.
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