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XBMC discussion
#1
So, Sergio is really hot on XBMC, and wants us to get some tight integration with it going. So I figured I'd open some discussion here about how that might be done and what would be the best ways to do that integration.

Obviously there immediately comes up the same issue that always happens with the other products of that sort that have been approached or addressed so far, i.e. there's control of it from the outside, and there's control of CQC from within it.

According to Sergio it has a good protocol for control from the outside. And they do have a plugin type architecture, though I'm not sure how useful it will be for really getting CQC support within XBMC. I poked around in their documentation but I couldn't really make heads or tails out of what a plugin really can do or not do.

And of course there's the issue of do we just have some dedicated page within XMBC for automation, or is there some way to allow other plugins to access that functionality, which to me seems like something far more useful than having to always go to a single page and do everything.

And, if there is some page, how is it created and how is the connection to CQC made between the things on that page and CQC features. Can we poll in the background, or can two way info only be statically displayed upon a page refesh? All that kind of stuff.

Anybody got a point to the control protocol for outside control of it? That would be something to start looking at.
Dean Roddey
Explorans limites defectum
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#2
First start Dean would be to looka t the existing discussion on the threads here on XBMC.
http://www.charmedquark.com/vb_forum/sho...light=xbmc
http://www.charmedquark.com/vb_forum//showthread.php?t=898

This was something I asked for a couple of years ago was not seen as needed for CQC - ahead of the game again.

It uses a HTTP API and that can be found in the XBMC Wiki
http://xbmc.org/wiki/?title=Httpapi

Some of use already have some basic one way control using the music and video repositories.

The API will allow for the querying of the files in the playlists and in the different sources (video, music photos etc.) which removed the need for the CQC repository, but it will work equally well with a CQC repository.

The only issues I have had is with the use of the transport controls. I could not get the ones listed to work so I just used the commands from the web gui and they work flawlesly.

As for a plug in for XBMC, you would probably need to go down the python path as it is fully supported in XBMC.

Please count me in for any testing. I have two XBOX's running XBMC and one PC running a windows version of XBMC. My kids would also love to be able to select their movies from the touchscreen.

Mick
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#3
Has anything happened with this yet?

Very keen to help out with any beta testing of a driver

Mick
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#4
There hasn't been time to get back to it, and probably won't for a while. We are about to go into a phase of doing a lot of stuff in the infrastructure area, which are necessary for business reasons.
Dean Roddey
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#5
Dean - Just to keep the pressure on, get moving on the infrastructure stuff and then get on to driver and interface repair. The whole "about to move into" thing bothers me a bit...
Thanks,
Dave Bruner
Cool
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#6
Well, it's already begun. I wasn't trying to be too literal there. The most to the hierarchical storage was all part of that.
Dean Roddey
Explorans limites defectum
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#7
Just to come back to this. xbmc has depricated its HTTP API and now uses JSON-RPC interface

http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=JSON_RPC

Quote:JSON RPC is a HTTP-based interface for communicating with XBMC. It replaces the now-depreceated HTTP API, and offers a more secure and robust mechanism in the same format. It is based upon the JSON RPC 2.0 specification

I have just added a Zotac MAG into the system running xbmc (Darmha) and it is wonderful. Not sure why you would want to use VMC when you can use this setup.

As for a plug-in for CQC, that would be wonderful, but a driver first to control it and then a CQC plug-in next. If we could get a RIVA client on linux, then you could probably just launch a seperate application from within.

If you have a windows install and run xbmc for windows then just use something to switch between applicaitons. On another box I use event ghost and from teh remote I just switch between CQC and xbmc (alt+tab keystroke). As long as nothing else is running its seamless. In that setup I use the USB-uirt with event ghost.

Mick
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#8
I too agree that xbmc should be looked at closely.
It is, imo, the best media player
plays everything, huge stable contribution base, always 'just works' and is by far the best ui out there.

Having CQC Control xbmc would be a dream. CQC's features with xbmc's UI.
Especially the Aeon theme http://xbmc.org/skins/aeon/

As for how to control:
right now I use the android remote, and it is exactly how I would hope a cqc interface would act.

http://xbmc.org/freezy3k/2010/07/13/offi...r-android/


However, it might be better to wait until the 'unified pvr frontend' is released. It is slated for release 11 'Eden' I believe. (2 months time)
knowing xbmc their live tv ui will be amazing.
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#9
I am looking into using XBMC(Dharma) in my HTPC setup (along with Sage, Boxee, MCE).

I have poked around on the control interface. The HTTP seems usable but they say it is deprecated. It is also the same interface used by Boxee since it is a fork of XBMC. So an HTTP driver would probably support both if done properly. A control interface driver would be easy, a repo driver requires intervention by Dean, since CML doesn't support that functionality. The HTTP also allows thumbnail URLS to be published so coverart could be accessed via a Web Image Widget.

XBMC's JSON interface which replaces the HTTP seems to be poorly documented. I haven't figured out how it works yet and there seems to be a lot of features missing/undocumented (or maybe just significantly changed from the HTTP). I think the JSON can be accessed several ways, over HTTP or even just a raw socket, which would be better for events. Not sure if Boxee has the JSON or not.

Quote: XBMC JSON RPC can be accessed over a variety of transports and has been designed from the ground up to be flexible to allow control over new transports simply. Some of the transports have different limitations which will be enforced upon the interaction over that transport. As an example HTTP Transports allow response and downloading of files while the Raw TCP Transport allows response and announcements (events and information XBMC sends to its clients). Depending on the clients needs it will choose one (or many) of the transports.

XBMC does seem to have the nicest interface, I tried Aeon last night after reading your post (tricky to install on Dharma), but very nice. As far as playing anything, so far it doesn't seem to like my WMA music files. And, I have to say, compared to the others MC's XBMC is not the simplest to setup and work with compared to the others, very hacker-ish, IMHO. But I think they are working on that.

Do you use it to play bluray (disc, ISO)? According to the forums post I have read, it seems to have significant challenges with bluray, I havent' tried it yet, but will in the next couple of days.
Wuench
My Home Theater/Automation Website

[THREAD=5957]BlueGlass CQC Config[/THREAD]
[THREAD=10624]Wuench's CQC Drivers[/THREAD]
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#10
sorry, this is getting long.

Your experience seems different than mine.
As for setup, I found it to be the easiest by far.
Install, set sources, chose theme, done. All from inside the main interface.

Although I will admit that the library idea does seem to throw people off at first.

(
for anyone else about to try it:
you go to videos and set sources (ie. c:/videos - in windows)
you can set multiple sources to wherever.
once sources are set you scan sources (pulls in movie info, fan art, etc)

You can then decide to turn on library mode or not.
If not, you see videos in file mode - still looks nice, but if you have multiple sources, they don't all appear as one, well, video library.
If you turn on library mode then all sources become merged into the fancy looking movie library that you see on the website.
)


For changing themes this was also the easiest, imo.
For official themes:
settings -appearance - chose theme - xbmc will download and enable it for you if not installed already.
For unofficial themes:
download zip, go to settings, addons, install from zip. point to zip, done.


Netflix was fantastic in a windows setup.
enabled xbmcflix and was able to stream netflix movies.
I added xbmc as an 'official source' or whatever that is (forget) to my account and it pulled in all movies with no problems.
it opened a ie windows without bars and used silverlight to play.
that one I had to read the instruction though as I had to change a xml in the xbmc directory.


Now to blueray.
Blueray, imo, is a mess everywhere. xbmc is in the same boat as everyone else (sage, myth, mp)
It has native support for non drm'd but requires a user to remove the drm.
xbmc in windows can launch a myhometheatre to play bluerays when a blue ray disc is inserted. but this is never as nice as full 'native' support.
still ahead (my opinion) of sage and the rest though. however this requires windows, which, imo, is not the nicest way to go for a front end.


I've just got a new htpc with blueray drive and I'm going to test blueray in a linux environment.
I did install xbmc live on it to try out (based on minimal ubuntu) worked flawlessly. starts up very quick and gives a pretty good impression of a hardware solution.
However, I don't have a server right now so I couldn't test out live tv as i don't really know how to use a network gui and xbmc live doesn't come with a ubuntu gui.
I'm going to spend a couple of days now testing a ubuntu/myth/xbmc all in one box with a hdpvr and expressvu(same hardware as dish network)
I'll test out blueray dmr stripping on the fly in that box, and test mythtv as well.

I haven't decided yet if having netflix is important enough to have to boot up windows for it.
I have tested xbmc live tv (beta) using media portal as a backend. I really like it, and will probably try it again.

so essentially here is my testing roadmap:
ubuntu/myth/xbmc setup - test out blueray, test mythtv front end in xbmc
xbmc live setup - learn remote gui, install myth as backend on xbmc live setup
windows xbmc with media portal - learn how to replace windows shell with xbmc and see if this is acceptable start up times.
windows xbmc with sagetv - test out addon (if unified pvr is not finished yet)

as for Json:
I grabbed this from the road map. This is for the next release (2 months)

-Added JSON-RPC Debug Web Interface
-Add all features and functions of the old HTTP API to the new JSON-RPC and JSON API
-Improve JSON-RPC and JSON API further
-Remove old HTTP API completley from XBMC in favour of the JSON-RPC and JSON API
-Improve the features of the default web interface


So it does seem like this is a bit of a transition time for xbmc and maybe not the best time to start writing a driver.
the android remote is open source so there is a bunch of java there that if somebody is computer bilingual.
anyways, that's where it is for me, i'll keep you posted with how it works out for me.
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