media center


Filmon: Free IPTV service

filmonIPTV is in a great momentum. In Spain we saw the rise of a lot of platforms: Yomvi, MovistarTV, OrangeTV, Nubeox… mainly paid platforms, but I am only interested in channels in English and Filmon is a great (and legal) option to watch some of them for free.

Filmon offers more than 600 live channels. There are lots of crap, but others are quite interesting:

  • UK TV channels: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC News, ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4…
  • News channels: Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, Euronews, France24, Russia Today…

Filmon is free for SD resolution, if you want to watch it in HD and access to program recording you must pay a 15€/month fee.

You can can watch Filmon directly from their web page http://filmon.tv, or from their Android and iOS apps.

There is also an unofficial Kodi plugin (previously called XBMC) at SuperRepo.


Chess for Blusens WebTV 2

I released a chess app for the Blusens Web:TV device. This chess app is based on my chess engine Carballo and on the GWT interface by Lukas Laag (http://www.vectomatic.org). I changed some parts of the Lukas interface to make it work on this device:

  • Control by keyboard
  • Adapted for remote keys
  • Many speed optimizations on the chess engine loading
  • Removed FEN and movable panels (no mouse on the app)

The app is controlled with the remote keys (UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT and OK). With the MODE key you can change the mode (white vs computer, black vs computer…) and with the BLUE circle the thinking time. FORWARD and BACKWARD keys undo/redo moves and with STOP you can start a new game.

You can also test this interface on the web browser:

All the modified code is on the Carballo Sourceforge SVN, under the folder webtv.

To install the app uncompress the webtvchess.tgz file on the applications/ folder of an USB stick and plug the stick to the WebTV.

Blusens apps developers forum link: http://developers.blusens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=338


MythTV vs XBMC vs Blusens WebTV

I used for many years MythTV and XBMC, and as now I own a Blusens WebTV, I will do a feature comparation between this three media centers. I will rate some features from one star (*) to five stars (*****) based on my personal opinion.

MythTV XMBC Blusens WebTV
Movie library w/covers and info no yes no (but there is an app to build an HTML interface to your movie library)
Music library w/ covers, artists, genres… no yes no
TV tuner yes no yes (there is a cheaper LITE version without tuner)
PVR & time-shift yes no yes (no on LITE version)
TV and radio streaming  to other computers yes no yes (but TS streams, needs a low of BW, probably will not work over your WiFi)
Transcoding (converting between audio/video formats) yes (on records and streams!) no no
Web interface **** **** ****
Interface design **** (skinnable) ***** (skinnable and has great themes like Aeon, MediaStream…) *** (not skinnable)
Installable apps QT plugins (no app store, needs manual install) Python HTML & Javascript, Webkit powered
Killer apps Emulators (MythGame) Netflix (not on Spain), Emulators (with some work on the Launcher plugin), IMDB queries… Online Films and Serials from cinetube.es, peliculasyonkis.com…
Web browsing ** no **** (Webkit , no Adobe Flash, identified like an iPad)
Ease of setup * *** (if installing on a PC, if you buy a Boxee will be *****) *****
Ease of use **** **** ****
Android remote app *** ***** (shows movie & music library on the mobile) ***
Price of packaged solution No packaged solution 200€ (Boxee) 150€
Web http://mythtv.org http://xbmc.org, http://boxee.tv http://blusens.com

Now I’m using the Blusens WebTV because it’s a silent and small device (much more than my old PC running MythTV/XBMC). I solved the emulators part (that I had working on XBMC) with some Wii homebrew…


Media center and home cinema with XBMC 2

I played many years with MythTV and XMBC, and now on our new home and after buying a TV, I finally decided to switch to XBMC. I will explain all my choices for those of you who want to build your own media center:

HARDWARE

  1. Plasma TV 42″ Full HD Panasonic TX42S20: about 630 eur (but I got it by only 460 eur!). Plasma TV’s are now quite cheap and they offer a great image quality (much, much better than any LCD, believe me).
  2. Logitech X-540 5.1 speakers: 94 eur, very affordable. They are an old model but what I like of this is that they are wall mountable. They have only one sound input, so I connected them to the computer and the TV audio output with the Line Input of the computer (with a RCA to mini-jack cable, 2 eur). I also needed to make some extension cables with RCA connectors to reach the speakers positions. Theoretically this speakers haven’t enough watts for the room,  but I culdn’t  spend more money and the sound is good enough for me.
  3. My OLD computer, an Athlon 2 GHz with an ATI Radeon 9550 (with DVI output) and a SB Live 5.1. I needed also a HDMI cable (10 eur) and a DVI to HDMI converter (15 eur).  Curiously this “slow” computer is able to play video to a FullHD 1920×1050 output. I’m planning to get a Home-PC case, at the moment the PC is in a corner of the room.
  4. An Iomega external USB Hard Disk of 1 TB: 95 eur. My old computer hadn’t enough disk space for music & movies. I could have bought a Multimedia Disk, but XBMC is much more pretty and you can also configure it for gaming.
  5. A T-Visto wireless keyboard with touchpad: 30 eur. I could had a a remote TV-like but finally I preferred a complete keyboard.

Total, about 900 eur without the computer.

SOFTWARE

For many years I used MythTV with a TV-tuner card on my computer, but I hadn’t a TV. There are only two features of MythTV not avaiable on XBMC: TV tuning and TV recording: having a TV I need no more the tuning, and I was not using the TV recording (there is nothing enough interesting on TV).

XBMC is a very cool media center available for Windows, Linux and Mac. I installed it over a Debian (because I’m a Linux Fan) but is easy to install on any OS. Is skinnable and has many plugins to add funcionality. Now I am using the default Confluence skin and the Launcher plugin for my games (Performous, Stepmania…) and Emulators (Mame, Mess…). This required some simple bash scripting to create all the launcher config.

Ok, this is a very funny hobby and I spent lots of hours choosing an configuring but the result is very good!


Directorio de radios y TVs en Internet

Buscando televisiones para ver mediante programas P2P, como Sopcast, también me he encontrado el World Wide Media Project (http://www.worldwidemediaproject.com/), que es un índice de las radios y televisiones que podemos escuchar y ver a través de internet. En este sitio se encuentran perfectamente categorizadas las radios y televisiones por país, idioma y estilo.

De este sitio web echan mano algunos mediacenters para obtener la lista de contenido que pueden mostrar. En el caso de mi favorito MythTV, hay un plugin adicional que permite ver estos canales, MythStream, pero que de momento debe ser compilado a mano, ya que no viene en el repositorio de paquetes de Debian Multimedia.

Para los que utilicéis Windows hay un plugin para el Media Center MediaPortal, que también permite ver los canales de este directorio.


MythTV 2

¿Que mejor para el salon de una casa que un cacharrito en el que puedas ver la tele, realizar grabaciones digitales, ver DVDs, fotos, hacer llamadas a través de Internet, ver noticias, consultar la predicción metereológica, y jugar?

¿Alguna vez os habéis imaginado con estar viendo puestro programa favorito en la tele y hacer pause, darle para adelante y hacia atrás…?

No, no se trata de un DVD, un grabador a disco duro (que ya los comienza a haber en el Carrefull :), y una playstation… es todo eso, es la televisión del futuro, y se llama MythTV.

MythTV es un programa para Linux con arquitectura cliente-servidor que está pensado para utilizar en una set top box (esto es, un ordenador conectado a la tele, que se maneja conunmando a distancia) y que permite:

– Ver la televisión haciendo pausa y dándole hacia adelante y hacia atrás
– Grabación a disco duro de programas de televisión
– Quitar los anuncios a tus grabaciones
– Edición básica de las grabaciones cortando/copiando escenas
– Ver DVDs y DivXs
– Ver tus fotos
– Jugar con emuladores de Mame/Mess (emulan máquinas recreativas, NES y Master System)
– Utilizar un videoteléfono de voz sobre IP
– Consultar fuentes de noticias RSS
– Consultar información metereológica en tu ubicación
– etc. etc. etc.

Realmente impresionante, y todo en un PC con un micro de 1 GHz, una tarjeta sintonizadora, conexión a red y una tarjeta de ví­deo con salida a televisión.

Inicialmente realicé numerosas pruebas con otro programa llamado VDR (http://www.cadsoft.de/vdr/), pero está más orientado a sintonizadoras de televisión digital, y yo tengo una Avermedia de las de toda la vida, con lo cual, aunque existe un módulo para poder ver televisión analógica, es bastante complejo de poner a funcionar (yo no fui capaz).

MythTV es bastante sencillo de compilar (aunque tarde mucho 🙂 y funciona muy bien. Tuve algunos problemas de rendimiento porque lo estoy probando en un micro de 800MHz y hubo que reducir la resolución de captura de la tarjeta sintonizadora para que no se pare cada poco.

El resto de información sobre MythTV lo podéis encontrar en su web, que no os voy a contar nada que no aparezca allí­: http://www.mythtv.org