Sunday, June 10, 2012

project: HTPC nerdbox - COMPLETE!

After starting this project some 4 months ago, i'm happy to say that my media centre is finally complete!
like most things i'm interested in, i didnt devote 100% of my time to it but i've managed to iron out most of the bugs and have it working the way i want to.

very educational and funnily enough it won alot of my friends over so im helping them build htpc's of their very own !

heres a video of mine, yes it takes about 1minute to start up but i can live with it since i only reboot it once a fortnight. 

You'll see that i cant record for shit and opening browsers takes a little time but theres nothing i can do about that on this version of xbmc :( it works alot better on the official xbmc release. small sacrifice to play 10bit vids tho!

Plex has some trouble picking up my anime and some tv shows so hopefully they'll add more scrapers in the future. streaming is good and i definitely recommend a wireless n+ network if you have intentions of multiple streams of high quality.

Finally the specs of my setup are below:

Antec Fusion remote Black case
Intel i3-2120 3.3ghz cpu
Asus P8z68-MPro Motherboard
GSkill Ripjaws X 4gb ram
WD Caviar Green WD20EARX 2TB HDD
WD Caviar Green 3TB HDD
Antec Neo Eco 520W PSU

Logitech Harmony remote
Wireless N+ router

Plex $5.00ea (for android + iOS)
XBMC Constellation $5.00ea (for android + iOS)

*dusts hands* and that's that kids!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

project: HTPC nerdbox - advanced launcher

want a cheap and easy way to add a web browser to your xbmc? have no fear, advanced launcher is here! this neat addon allows you to integrate emulator and various applications into your XBMC application. What it does is launch the program you want and minimises XBMC. once your done close your application and xbmc will maximise. pretty nifty ... when it works (damn you mano!!) haha

For some of us we get an issue where the xbmc doesnt maximise after using your app! to solve this issue, you create your own scripted exe. this is done with an application called autoit.

First up, install the app and run the "SciTE script editor" from here i used the following code for launching google chrome.

Run ( "c:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" )
ProcessWait ( "chrome.exe" )
ProcessWaitClose ( "chrome.exe" )
WinSetState ( "XBMC", "", @SW_MAXIMIZE )

save that, then right-click on the file and select "compile script" this will then create and EXE file that you will now use with advanced launcher. in XBMC open up advanced launcher and point it to your compiled EXE file and doneskies! now you can launch your application, use it and when you close the app XBMC will most definitely maximise back to its position.

project: HTPC nerdbox - favourites/music videos

after giving up on yahoo music video scraper, i've decided to just link to my music video folder and play videos from there without any metadata or fancy stuff. best way to do this was to add my music videos folder as a source (without a category) then mark the folder as a favourite.

for Aeon MQ users, you then add the favourite into your main menus. note that the favourites script is required. you can grab this from here:

now a common bug when adding a favourite folder to your main menu is that when you enter the menu theres no content available.

thankfully "LakersFan" on the xbmc forum has found a fix, all you need to do is navigate to favourites.xml (found under c:\users\"your username"\appdata\roaming\xbmc\) and remove the quotation marks for the path name.

all i need to do now is sort out an issue im having with advanced launcher and this project is finished!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

project: HTPC nerdbox - radio

HTPC project is almost over, the only outstanding things left on my list is radio and music videos. It looks like music videos may be a lost cause so I might just resort in creating a playlist menu instead as the yahoo music videos is absolute shit for scraping!

Moving onto radio, theres a few addons out there in xbmc land that can stream radio such as pandora and grooveshark. while these are good for streaming non-stop music i much prefer live radio stations like mix106.5 (who can resist the lovegod). So, i've installed the "Radio" xbmc addon, this has access to 4000 live radio stations around the world.

Unfortunately, it didnt pick up many aussie stations apart from aussie arabic stations and mix106.5 & triple J. but thats all good as i've got, hotjamz and defjay stations! theres search, genre, location, city and several other options to filter stations. One thing I noticed is that it does take roughly 20seconds before streams begin but theres no lag or buffering (go ADSL2!).

Think I'll trial it for a while until i find something that caters more for aussie stations. only left to do now is go to skin settings in aeon MQ and add radio as a new menu with sexy background!