XBMC-PVR update

01Aug11

We’d like to share some things with you that we’ve been working on to create the perfect PVR experience. People who are using the PVR development branch of XBMC might already have noticed some of these changes.

Automated builds

The first thing we’ve worked on were automated builds of Ubuntu packages and OpenELEC images containing our modified XBMC build. The result can be found here. We’ll write a guide on how to install it soon. After we’d cleaned up and tested our modifications, we’ve sent them back to the PVR branch of XBMC, so everyone can enjoy them.

Keymappings

We were also missing some keymappings in XBMC that we needed to activate the various PVR related windows directly from the remote. In order to do that, we needed to be able to control the focus of the UI. After that had been taken care of, adding the mapping was easy. If you like to add these mappings to PVR windows for your own remote, you can use the following in your LircMap.xml file:

  • activate EPG = XBMC.ActivateWindowAndFocus(MyPVR, 31,0, 10,0)
  • activate TV = XBMC.ActivateWindowAndFocus(MyPVR, 32,0, 11,0)
  • activate Radio = XBMC.ActivateWindowAndFocus(MyPVR, 33,0, 12,0)
  • activate Recordings = XBMC.ActivateWindowAndFocus(MyPVR, 34,0, 13,0)
  • activate Search = XBMC.ActivateWindowAndFocus(MyPVR, 35,0, 14,0)

Detailed channel information

Next, we’ve added more information to the PVR windows, that XBMC PVR users were requesting:

  • we’ve added a progress bar to each channel in the channel list
  • added the begin and end times and the progress bar to information window of the selected channel in the list
  • and added the next program that will be playing on the selected channel to the information window.

Progress bars weren’t supported in GUILists in XBMC, so we had to change the code a bit and add some properties to the list’s items, but after that, we could add the progress bars to the lists. You can find the result below:

TV channel list before progress bars

before the changes

TV channel list with progress bars

after the changes

You can now see directly whether it’s worth switching to a channel πŸ™‚

Channel EPG improvements

Users were also requesting some updates of the EPG dialog while viewing a TV channel, that shows the most important information a bit clearer and that’s easier to use.

Previous EPG dialog

EPG dialog before the changes

We changed the contents and layout of the dialogs a bit, made the size of the most important part of the dialog, the plot, a bit larger, removed the pagination and made the plot autoscroll.

Updated EPG dialog

EPG dialog after the changes

How to use this

All of these changes are already available in our OpenELEC builds. If you you are using Ubuntu, you can also use the packages that are available on the XBMC PVR PPA. Our own Ubuntu packages (and a guide on how to install and use them) will follow soon.

Be sure to check back here regularly for updates!

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12 Responses to “XBMC-PVR update”

  1. 1 wobu

    The cooperation beetween PVR Development of XBMC and a (possible) Hardware manufacturer,
    does it meen there are intentions to build up end user friendly HTPC / TV solutions? πŸ™‚

    • 2 Ph. Beckers

      Well, XBMC Live is very easy to install and user friendly to setup. Also the XBMC PVR is not too hard to setup, and use tvheadend as a backend and it takes less then 5 min to have it up and running. πŸ™‚ Through still I think it will have positive effects if the terms of cooperation are the right! I like the additions so far, just would love to see them in the EPG overview too.

      • 3 opdenkamp

        @wobu

        That’s our intention indeed (one of many :)).

        @Ph. Beckers

        As you might already know, I’ve been maintaining the PVR integration in XBMC for about a year now. The main difference is that I used to work on all this in my spare time, which I sometimes simply don’t have. Now, I’m also working on this “professionally”, though not full time (yet :)). That way we can guarantee that PVR will keep being maintained, even when I don’t have spare time.

        • 4 wobu

          @lars

          nice to hear.
          My congratulations for your new “part” time job :).
          I’m following the PVR development for almost a year, the development gap during june was really boring…^^

    • You’ve read our mind πŸ™‚

      • 6 wobu

        i thought about the same goal but
        – the currently PVR state (i.e missing timeshift functionality),
        – the stability,
        – the configuration of tv channels within XBMC without toching the backend (doesn’t tried it along time ago, back then i started following the PVR development it didn’t work…)
        – and the fact it is currently not in the main development branch of XBMC made me to the conclusion it will take a while to be so far.
        But if you need someday some testusers, i think i know a local TV and SAT technology shop who would support it, don’t ask to ask just ask me πŸ™‚
        Maybe i can also support you with my development skills, but im not really familiar with Linux and C++ (not yet), but for fixing little bugs it should be enough (did already fix one bug in PVR)

        • 7 opdenkamp

          – timeshift is on the long term planning, but not before all of the currently present code has been cleaned up and probably not before pvr is merged with mainline xbmc
          – stability should be a lot better now since pvr-testing2. if you still find an issue, report it on github or xbmc’s trac please!
          – depends on what backend you’re using. but it’s not given much attention yet. the other way around however, pushing configs from the backend to multiple clients, now works a lot better and supports channel groups etc. too now.
          – the pvr tree will be merged with mainline xbmc once it’s ready to be merged. the important thing that needs to be done is implementing a binary add-on interface and extracting the pvr add-ons from xbmc’s tree. pvr won’t be merged as a whole either, but rather in small batches, so everything can be reviewed properly before it ends up in mainline xbmc. this all takes a lot of time.

          if you like to test, grab the latest windows build from site and submit bug reports: http://xbmc.opdenkamp.eu/
          we’ll have windows builds on Pulse-Eight’s website soon too.

  2. 8 chessplayer

    Hello,

    wobu just notified me of this site via PN on XBMC forums. This is all very interesting to hear.

    However, there is one thing that seems to have been forgotten over the last few months, namely the integration with VDR. Especially, I am having trouble connecting to my dockstar VDR installation using the latest XBMC PVR client as a front end, which is sad (on the other hand, this might be due to the fact that gda of the yaVDR team (another great project in my opinon) has apparently lost interest in maintenance of the VDR repo for the dockstar, if I am not mistaken).

    For, while I do agree that the ease of installation of tvheadend is a big plus, the VDR live web interface is miles better than tvheadend’s (which, by the way, leads to the question why lonely coder needs to be lonely in the first place and doesn’t join forces with the yaVDR guys, e.g. …)

    Just my two cents worth, but before I leave off, I must not forget to say THANK YOU for all the work you have done. Apparently, it is now time to use my spare partition to try out OpenElec ..

    • 9 opdenkamp

      Hi Chessplayer,

      As you probably already know, the integrations with the various backends are done by using add-ons. I’m just maintaining the mainline PVR repo and the tvheadend add-on. The other add-ons have their own maintainers. If you’re having trouble with one of the add-ons, you should notify the add-on maintainer. For vdr, the maintainer is pipelka (github username).

      In this stage of development, I can only actively maintain and develop with 1 add-on, and I’ve chosen tvheadend to be that add-on. Once PVR is integrated in mainline XBMC, the other add-ons will get some more loving too. But until that happens, the add-ons can sometimes break until the add-on maintainer updated his add-on to reflect the latest changes in the PVR tree.

  3. Pardon my ignorance, but, does this build support mythtv?



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