Thursday, April 12, 2012

project: HTPC nerdbox - logitech harmony

on the home stretch with the htpc project. one of the last few things i wanted to do was to control the htpc via the logitech harmony remote. reason for this is that i want to consolidate all my remotes into the 1 logitech remote.

i previously set the harmony up but found it was quite slow in response. to remedy this i've changed the imon settings to a WMC remote control. from there i set the harmony up in the logitech software as "home theatre PC > Microsoft > Windows Media Center".

now going back to the imon settings, you need to configure some of the buttons and keyboard shortcuts manually then map these in the logitech software ie. showing info and guide. once thats complete, you update the remote and whoala.. fast responding remote that works very well.

i just realised that updating the imon software was the reason why the vfd is working with xbmc. score!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

project: HTPC nerdbox - Apple + Android control

hopped onto the apple app store and installed a nifty app called XBMC Constellation. Its a great app that allows you to control (unfortunately not stream) your xbmc from the ipad/iphone.

Assassins HTPC blog has a great guide in how to set this up which unfortunately i cant show you! cause its a paid for guide lol.

in a nutshell you need to do the following:
get the ip address of your xbmc machine
turn on the following network features in xbmc
- allow control via http
- allow programs on this system to control xbmc
- allow programs on other systems to control xbmc

thats it on the xbmc side, all thats left to do now is find your xbmc machine on the constellation app (top left wireless icon on the screen). i had to manually type in the ip address and thats pretty much it. it will discover your machine and load your library up! from there you can control your xbmc machine, very nifty stuff! now to install it on the gf's iphone and purchase full version lol.

heres a good video tutorial

apple version done.
**Side note, the VFD seems to display files and shit after control via constellation! wierd!!**

now for android!
hop onto the android market and download "official xbmc remote" which is free woooo~!

some screenshots of what it looks like below

setting up is very similar to the apple version. i've already done the work on the xbmc machine side so all i need to do is add it in android. just put in your IP address, username and port.. it'll connect and off you go. Initial tests show some slowness compared to apple but it might just be a one off

tutorial here

very easy!

project: HTPC nerdbox - remote control setup

now to set up the remote control! i did alot of research regarding this because the word is that the Antec Fusion case comes with a POS remote control/software/VFD display. this had me worried as everything i've read so far indicates that it just doesn't work properly.

all i can say is that this is a crock of shit, getting the remote to work was piss easy! partly due to the fact that the guys @ soundgraph have added xbmc functionality in the latest version of imon lol.

so all i did was installed the latest version

launch the program and go to imon utilities -> application launcher
select XBMC and click apply
go to program commander and change it to xbmc. from there you can modify the buttons and commands for the remote.

thats pretty much it, it all works fine.

now, while i was fucking around with remotes i took the opportunity to get my harmony remote working. i found a great guide below:

so what i did was just download and installed the logitech software. set the device up as an Antec Fusion 430 HTPC. i made sure all my shortcuts and mappings were correct on imon then i manually configured the ir settings of the harmony using the antec-veris remote. I figured this was the best way to do it...

the harmony is now working on the htpc. i did find it a little slow and jumpy but it only concerns browsing left.. the button is quite sensitive on the veris remote so maybe i pressed it too long. will report back on this.. the things still charging up now but im happy it all worked well

that leaves the VFD on the case.. its honestly a piece of turd so i havent bothered with it yet. at the moment it just displays the weather/time/when xbmc is open and remote functions. i will try and get it to display more info when im bothered.

moving to the next item on the list! using the various apple/android apps to control xbmc!

project: HTPC nerdbox - final menu setup

In my previous post i talked about my anime and tv shows mixed together and how i wanted to retain the tv show menu features but have my anime separate. after much research i bit the bullet and removed the tv show menu. i replaced them with smart playlists, that way the tv shows and anime are separate but i've had to give up the features. oh well you cant have it all!

anyways! completed the final look of xbmc menus in htpc tonight it took some mucking around but im happy with it now.
I've yet to load up music videos and music onto the machine yet. its not priority so i'll look at it down the track

so here are the changes i did, please note im using the aeon mq3 skin

1) created smart playlists for anime/tv shows/ufc
2) under the skin settings menu i enabled the video playlist menus for anime/tv shows/ufc and attached each playlist accordingly. I then disabled the default TV show menu so the playlist menu would replace it.
3) within the video playlist menu settings i point the anime and ufc menu backdrop to folders on my c:\ that contain several related backdrop images.
4) i wanted to change the order of items in the main menu

To do this: i went to the includes.xml file in the skins folder
c:\Users\"your username"\appdata\roaming\XBMC\addons\"your skin"\720p\

please note that the name of includes.xml will vary with each skin
*** create a backup copy of this file incase you fuck up! ***

Now theres a section called "Home Dharma/Eden Menu". depending on what mode you run on xbmc, there is a list of default menus that you can modify. first thing i did was re-arrange the order as i wanted my media menus next to each other. its a simple case of cut-pasting the menus in the desired order

eg. i want to move the music menu. i'll cut the menu code

then paste it in a different position within the homemenu tag

and done!

5) for the TV show menu i wanted to retain the changing fanart backdrops in the default menu. rather than point to images that i wouldve had to find i figured it was better to point the mimic the same settings as the default tv show menu.

To do this: i went to the includes.xml file in the skins folder
In Aeon the function for the alternating fanart tvshow backdrops is called. "TvShowBackdrop"

so under the background / dimensions section is the list of different backgrounds for each of the menus in the aeon skin. I located the vplaylist3 section (this is what i've set as my tv shows menu) and modified it to use "TvShowBackdrop"

its a bit dodgy as i've removed all options to change this menu's bakground but it works a charm lol.

Finally, i saved the changes and restarted xbmc. DONESKIES!