Xbox media centre and enclosures

I upgraded my Xbox media centre version about 2 weeks ago from 1.0 to a September CVS compiled version. Well before anything else, the speed is great and everything seems a lot tighter than before. But there's also a whole host of other things which can be easily missed if you dont look for them. Theres tons of screenshots which I did myself to show some features.

New submenu system

First obvious thing, there's a new submenu on the first screen. This can easily be over looked because it looks like restart rather than a menu. I have not looked into how to control this yet, but I will. In the menu there is a couple of Python scripts. Xbox trailers and Movie trailers do what they say on the menu, stream the latest clips to your xbox.

For example the above is what happens when you select movie trailers. It queries http://www.apple.com/trailers and lists them like most other things in xbmc. You can then select a trailer and it will give you options to progressive stream the low, medium or high quality version. Its that simple and its pretty much the same for xbox trailers but a different site.

So I've been thinking about this feature. First thing I really want to learn some Python so I can mess with the scripts and learn to point the scripts and site media I would love to watch on my tv. Also is there a way to do this without hardcoding the url into the script? So maybe you can type it in using the onscreen keyboard or even using the onscreen keyboard type in a url and it returns all the links and media links? So pointing it at something like the bbc world service site would you give you loads of links to pictures and a couple to the real audio stream. This really could do away with stream pack if it worked well.

And talking of streampack, I have been pretty impressed with the ability to watch live tv from all around the world and watch webcams etc. But Streampack is ignoying because its all messy and very flat in structure (even though you could change it yourself). And sometimes I just want http://www.shoutcast.com type listings. Well I got it now using the KML browser?



Very cool you have to admit…? But I want more! This got me thinking, with the whole hype around audio enclosures. Why doesnt someone write a RSS reader with enclosure support? So everyday I could read the news or blog headlines briefly and opt to download the audio or even video? This also reminds me, xbmc can rip audio streams to the hard drive but it doesnt have the extra logic of streamripper. Come on you know the xbox would be ideal for ripping music legally from shoutcast and the like. I guess the only thing to add before this would be the ability to rip to a smb or xbms connection as the usual 8gig xbox drive would be filled up with tunes before you knew it. And that would also go if the ability to rip video existed for xbmc. Imagine that? The way I see it, xbmc caches loads of streams anyway, theres no reason why it cant just build a complete file and offer it the filesystem as a complete file. is there?

Anyway theres more bits and pieces in the newer version, I've added some screen shots instead of talking about each little feature.



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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.