7MC to MediaPortal - Warning - LONG POST!

mrrodge

Active Member
Hi all,

Does anyone have any experience of both 7MC and MediaPortal? I'm just looking for the Pros/Cons of each as I've been an avid 7MC user since it came out and before that VMC/MCE2005, but I've never used MP.

My spec isn't brilliant but it's not poor either, I have a TBS 6981 in a Core i3 2100T with 4GB ram and Nvidia GT430.

Features I'm sick of in 7MC:

  • DVB-S2 channels constantly needing hacks to get them working. The EPG is crap.
  • TVSource is temperamental, and costs money.
  • Mymovies is brilliant, but sometimes behaves erratically.
  • EPG support for Freesat is non-existant in 7MC. Configuring with GuideTool or TVSource is a lengthy process! Oh, and the EPG also takes an age to load when pressing the Guide button.
  • 7MC almost seems the 'forgotten project'. There's never any bugfixes or any other proactive behaviour from Microsoft.
  • Plugins often fail to load at startup.
  • Red button/text/subtitle support for DVB-S/S2 is poor at best.
  • Addons cost a bomb, and don't always work as advertised (TVSource for example is too resource heavy and is temperamental, let alone it costs a fortune for functionality that 7MC should be great at in the first place)

Features I need from a media center (Possibly MediaPortal?)

  • DVD Rip/Archiving functionality, looking great like MyMovies. (Would MP support all the formats I have in MyMovies? I have ISO, DVD Folders and BD-9 ISOs). The MP home page says it used IMDB, which probably isn't as good as the MyMovies database I pay for now. I also love the ability to view cast bio and filter movies casting certain actors etc.
  • Aesthetically pleasing interface (LOVE the scrolling album art in the background when music is playing in 7MC and the fluid transition animations, faded TV in the EPG/Home screen background etc)
  • Fast performance
  • Channel logos in the EPG
  • Straightforward EPG, accurate channel scanning, easy confirguration. Freesat EPG as standard, possibly through the dish but can cope with online download like 7MC
  • Possible automatic 'channel following' i.e. if a channel were to move transponder, I wouldn't know about it, it would just work. If the info is available on KingofSat, surely this is more than possible?
  • Wake from sleep/go back to sleep before/after recordings
  • Full music collection integration with something to look at whilst listening, such as picture slideshow, album art, artist info etc.
  • Timeshifting
  • Red Button support - this has always been 'iffy' for 7MC on DVB-S/S2. Since installing TVSource I have lost it altogether. Can this be done on MP?
  • Refresh rate switching for different media types including blu-ray
  • PDVD11 support for seamless Blu-ray playback
  • Faster, more reliable performance than 7MC.
  • Cheap! MyMovies, TVSource etc. all cost money!
  • Playback of my 7MC recorded TV
  • 7MC remote support, so all of this can be done without having to use the keyboard. Can MP be assigned to the green button, so that it loads instead of 7MC and can it be set to launch at boot?
  • My HTPC is in a static caravan (Expensive, but very compact!) and therefore only has an internet connection when I plug it into my phone. This means things such as EPG data, IMDB info, music details etc. would have to be downloaded/cached periodically. Can MP do this?
  • For music, 7MC automatically uses Auto Volume Leveling if it's set in WMP. Can MP do volume leveling?
  • Is the imdb/cover art downloaded high res?

I know it looks like I'm demanding a lot, but when the OH misses Conronation Street on a Friday the threat of weighing in the HTPC looms, so it has to be reliable! I'd like to set it up and leave it!

Also, if you could let me know which features need a third-party plugin that would be great.

Thanks for your patience and for reading.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Hi all,


My spec isn't brilliant but it's not poor either, I have a TBS 6981 in a Core i3 2100T with 4GB ram and Nvidia GT430.

Features I'm sick of in 7MC:

  • TVSource is temperamental, and costs money.
  • Plugins often fail to load at startup.
  • Red button/text/subtitle support for DVB-S/S2 is poor at best.
  • Addons cost a bomb, and don't always work as advertised (TVSource for example is too resource heavy and is temperamental, let alone it costs a fortune for functionality that 7MC should be great at in the first place)
Seriously, it just sounds like this is pretty much all cause by your EPG database getting to big. I've started seeing similar behaviour but its down to the EPG INITIAL load each day.

Upon entering the guide it will re-populate/index and this, like any other database, causing the disk to go to 100% utilisation.... this then means other programs "appear" to have stopped responding (whilst they in turn wait for paged memory/dll's to load etc) which then of course, take far longer than the O/S would allow, causing a "Not responding" message. I know this is happening in my case with TVSource (TVSource has stopped responding and will return you to Media Centre) upon a FIRST boot in any one day... but as I rarely reboot, its not really a problem.

I can easily see this giving the same impression for other 3rd party plugins.

You do know there is a fix for this? If you go to the BIG thread on Sky TV in MC you can find it there. Its a simple as setting up a database prunning command on a schedule.


Hi all,

  • DVB-S2 channels constantly needing hacks to get them working. The EPG is crap.
  • Mymovies is brilliant, but sometimes behaves erratically.
  • EPG support for Freesat is non-existant in 7MC. Configuring with GuideTool or TVSource is a lengthy process! Oh, and the EPG also takes an age to load when pressing the Guide button.
  • 7MC almost seems the 'forgotten project'. There's never any bugfixes or any other proactive behaviour from Microsoft.
  • Plugins often fail to load at startup.
  • Red button/text/subtitle support for DVB-S/S2 is poor at best.
  • Addons cost a bomb, and don't always work as advertised (TVSource for example is too resource heavy and is temperamental, let alone it costs a fortune for functionality that 7MC should be great at in the first place)
I was going to comment on the above but i feel from your post, you really just need a vent and then to move on to something else. Don't think it matters what anyone says, you just want to move on (which is fair enough).
 

cygnusx04

Active Member
Agree with a lot of what you have said. Sadly there are not enough adopters of media center for MS to warrant the investment, plus too many hardware configurations to support. I think they may be shifting their attention to the Xbox for home entertainment....

My HTPC performance is very good in W7 (far less power than your rig), I find the guide is fine providing I remove many of the duplicated / redundant sat channels.

I've tried MP and although it can do much of what you want, I found it slow and hated the navigation of the UI. I'm currently waiting for the dig switch over before deciding which route I take going forward.

I'm sure someone else will be along shortly to provide you with more detailed information.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
Agree with a lot of what you have said. Sadly there are not enough adopters of media center for MS to warrant the investment, ....
Its still in Windows 8 Consumer Preview but from the little i've played with it, it looks identical to Win 7.
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
Although I haven't used WMC, I can help you work out to achieve what you want using MP.

•DVD Rip/Archiving functionality, looking great like MyMovies. (Would MP support all the formats I have in MyMovies? I have ISO, DVD Folders and BD-9 ISOs). The MP home page says it used IMDB, which probably isn't as good as the MyMovies database I pay for now. I also love the ability to view cast bio and filter movies casting certain actors etc.

There are two plugins that do this with MP, one is best if you already have an established database of movie information (My Films plugin), and the other is best if you want to setup and forget and let the plugin get all your data for you (moving pictures plugin).

•Aesthetically pleasing interface (LOVE the scrolling album art in the background when music is playing in 7MC and the fluid transition animations, faded TV in the EPG/Home screen background etc)

MP will do this and there are loads of skins to choose from. Both the plugins mentioned above do the background artwork etc. There is a fanart downloader too, which will populate your music backgrounds and CD cover art.

•Fast performance

Well, I can't compare, but I have 10,000 music tracks and 200 videos and it is pretty slick, but you will need to have a play and see what you think.

•Channel logos in the EPG

Yes, there are logo packs that you download and install and they work very well.

•Straightforward EPG, accurate channel scanning, easy confirguration. Freesat EPG as standard, possibly through the dish but can cope with online download like 7MC

You can do both/either with MP. There are a number of different plugin solutions, some handle it all for you, and others let you do it more manually. I use XMLTV GUI to download the radiotimes data and populate most of my EPG with that (via XMLTV plugin), and then get MP to fill up the missing channel data using DVB-EPG through freesat and freeview.

•Possible automatic 'channel following' i.e. if a channel were to move transponder, I wouldn't know about it, it would just work. If the info is available on KingofSat, surely this is more than possible?

This feature is new to MP, but seems to work. The community are very active about updating channel lists, so if a channel has moved then you normally just click on the "update tuning details" button, then run a scan.

•Wake from sleep/go back to sleep before/after recordings

MP does this using the Power-scheduler plugin

•Full music collection integration with something to look at whilst listening, such as picture slideshow, album art, artist info etc.

Yes

•Timeshifting

Yes

•Red Button support - this has always been 'iffy' for 7MC on DVB-S/S2. Since installing TVSource I have lost it altogether. Can this be done on MP?

You can view red channel programmes (you can list all the red channel streams in the EPG and MP populates the EPG correctly), but you can no use the red button function in the way that a set top box would allow. (you can record them and get all the audio streams though)

•Refresh rate switching for different media types including blu-ray

Yes

•PDVD11 support for seamless Blu-ray playback

You have a couple of options. You can run PDVD11 from within MP, or you can ditch MP and use the build-in player (as long as you have an on the fly decrypter installed - I think there is a free one available)

•Faster, more reliable performance than 7MC.

I can't really answer that.

•Cheap! MyMovies, TVSource etc. all cost money!

ALL FREE and open source

•Playback of my 7MC recorded TV

Yes

•7MC remote support, so all of this can be done without having to use the keyboard. Can MP be assigned to the green button, so that it loads instead of 7MC and can it be set to launch at boot?

Yes


•My HTPC is in a static caravan (Expensive, but very compact!) and therefore only has an internet connection when I plug it into my phone. This means things such as EPG data, IMDB info, music details etc. would have to be downloaded/cached periodically. Can MP do this?

I know there is a special plugin for EPG grabbing without broadband (downloads more efficiently or something). But basically, everything is downloaded and stored and so you don't need to download data unless you add more content. To make MP work, the PC has to be on a network, however if you don't have one, you can setup a loopback network and that works fine.

•For music, 7MC automatically uses Auto Volume Leveling if it's set in WMP. Can MP do volume leveling?

I don't know.

•Is the imdb/cover art downloaded high res?

Within the fanart plugin, you can specify the resolution you want and how many different bits of art per movie/album. This means you can get max quality, or limit your download requirements.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
Hi Monty,

That was a fast reply! You're right... I've just about had it with 7MC. It's by far the best version yet, but it feels like just to get basic functionality you have to do nothing but use 'workarounds' and 'clever fixes' for things that should work out of the box. As my HTPC is in my caravan and I'm only there weekends I can't leave it on all the time and I don't get the time to maintain it. That's the trouble. 7MC is impressive, but only if you look after it.

Agree with what you say regarding the database... Every now and again 7MC will tell me that it's rectified a problem with the guide, and then it'll go fast again. Thing is the following fortnight it's back to being poor again. I only have 42 channels and it shouldn't happen like that! I was fed up of little hacks and mods for getting channels to tune natively, so I went to TVSource. Again this cost time and money, neither of which I have much of and it just opened up a can of worms, some of which don't seem to have been reported by others (such as the random muting). For full details, if you're interested, check out my post over on the DVBLogic forum.

What I'm looking for is fast, easy to set up & use performance from a low-cost alternative. I can see that MediaPortal has a highly active community, which straight away seems a good sign and they have an alpha of a new release out, so they appear to be keen on improving. It doesn't look as messy to set up as XBMC, but my OP lists the concerns I have. You never know, when Windows 8 comes out I may snap back to MC. I am, after all (believe it or not), a massive MS fan.

Just throwing ideas around at the moment!

cygnusx04,

The dig switch over? As for MP, thanks for the feedback. Speed/fluid performance is a priority for me, so that's duly noted. I must say from the screenshots on the MP site the default skin doesn't look anywhere near as pretty as 7MC, but I do now have an overwhelming sense of impending doom with MS. Maybe there's some other, better looking skins about.
 

Monty Burns

Well-known Member
... I must say from the screenshots on the MP site the default skin doesn't look anywhere near as pretty as 7MC, but I do now have an overwhelming sense of impending doom with MS. Maybe there's some other, better looking skins about.
I personaly think that none of the homegrown solutions look as professional as MC but then looks are very personal and actually, secondary to functionality in this case.

I suspect that this (Win 8) could be the last chance for MC as its strongly rumoured that the x720(?) will be taking over MC duties fully - MS have already patented some parts of a console performing TV PVR functions. Its a shame really as MC has been the only truley "touch" ready MS app for years, and now they are about (Windows 9?) to scrap it as everything else goes touch. :(
 

mrrodge

Active Member
Hi robbo100,

Thanks for that, some great info there. What's your specs?

Just a few further queries:

  • Red button - the support sounds pretty much the same as 7MC, though in 7MC I know it's possible to enable the red button just for digital teletext, not for multiscreens. The same goes for subtitles, it can be done. Can the same be done in MP?
  • Blu-ray - I'd be looking to use PDVD11 as it's paid for. Can it be launched into cinema mode and then when I hit the back button close and go back to MP? That way it would appear seamless. The same goes for insertion of a Blu-ray disc, and can menu items be tweaked so that the play dvd button says play DVD/Blu? Thing is, I use it for 3D playback so I don't think the default MP player will cope. I've read somewhere that if I use PDVD for Blu-ray, I have to use it for DVD and all other video. I wouldn't like this, is this true?
  • Are you saying that MP doesn't work at all if it isn't plugged into a LAN or router? Wouldn't my USB 3G dongle (My phone) suffice for periodic content updates? What's a loopback network?
  • Channel following - I didn't know MP worked like that, it sounds great. So basically someone creates a channel frequency list for Freesat, I point MP to it online and if I lose a channel I prompt MP to download the latest list and scan for the channels again? Sounds dead easy, not having to look up frequencies or plug in the keyboard to get TVSource to search.
  • How is it for reliability? Does it often crash, fail to record on schedule or require a lot of power to display/record HD channels simultaneously?

Thanks again.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
I personaly think that none of the homegrown solutions look as professional as MC but then looks are very personal and actually, secondary to functionality in this case.

I suspect that this (Win 8) could be the last chance for MC as its strongly rumoured that the x720(?) will be taking over MC duties fully - MS have already patented some parts of a console performing TV PVR functions. Its a shame really as MC has been the only truley "touch" ready MS app for years, and now they are about (Windows 9?) to scrap it as everything else goes touch. :(
Monty,

I agree. I don't think they look that great either. In my opinion that's something that MS have always gotten right. They've patented PVR functions for consoles? Sounds like Sage/GoogleTV all over again. Making people shell out and giving them no flexibility over configuration like we have.
 

ChileanLlama

Active Member
Win 8 seems a missed opportunity for MC for me.

It already has hubs for music, videos, pictures etc. Just needs an additional hub/app for TV and you've got everything through the Metro front end. Plus it would make it much easier to run other apps, that historically have been poor or not even available without major work in MC itself.

Maybe apps will come that allow that but would have been nice for MS to show the way on this.

If they can do that, then they can kill off MC for me and Metro will be my new frontend, only with lots more options.

Food for thought anyway...
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
Hi mrrodge,

No problem.

Reading some of you other comments, I have to tell you that MP is not as easy to setup than MCE (from what I have understood). The software is highly configurable and this means that there are more options. However, it is not that hard if you use the wiki on the MP website.

What's your specs?
I am running a server (E7400 processor with 1 gb RAM) and a client (AMD X2 265 with 2 gb ram), but before I got the client I used to run both the server and client side software on teh E7400 system with no problems.


•Red button - the support sounds pretty much the same as 7MC, though in 7MC I know it's possible to enable the red button just for digital teletext, not for multiscreens. The same goes for subtitles, it can be done. Can the same be done in MP?
Subtitles can be done (I don't use them myself unless I am watching a foreign film). I don't use teletext so I can't comment, but there are teletext options in the setup. You might be better asking on the MP forum.


•Blu-ray - I'd be looking to use PDVD11 as it's paid for. Can it be launched into cinema mode and then when I hit the back button close and go back to MP? That way it would appear seamless. The same goes for insertion of a Blu-ray disc, and can menu items be tweaked so that the play dvd button says play DVD/Blu? Thing is, I use it for 3D playback so I don't think the default MP player will cope. I've read somewhere that if I use PDVD for Blu-ray, I have to use it for DVD and all other video. I wouldn't like this, is this true?
Yes, you use a plugin called multishortcut which will minimise MP (stopping any playing media) and run any programme you wish (inlcuding using command line switches to make it run in cinema mode). As long as you map your remote to Alt-F4 to exit PDVD, MP will then reappear. With the Moving Pictures plugin, you can specify that all bluerays are played with an external player. Moving Pictures will database all your removable media and list it with all your other films. If you select it to watch it will say "please insert the disc", when you have you click OK and it will run PDVD for you. MP does do some 3D stuff, but I have not tried it.

•Are you saying that MP doesn't work at all if it isn't plugged into a LAN or router? Wouldn't my USB 3G dongle (My phone) suffice for periodic content updates? What's a loopback network?
Because MP works as a server and a client, the live TV is sent via a network protocal. So even if you only have one PC and the server and client software are installed together on that PC, the PC must be on a LAN. However, you can install a "Loopback network" which fools the computer into thinking it is plugged into a LAN when it isn't, so it really isn't a problem.

•Channel following - I didn't know MP worked like that, it sounds great. So basically someone creates a channel frequency list for Freesat, I point MP to it online and if I lose a channel I prompt MP to download the latest list and scan for the channels again? Sounds dead easy, not having to look up frequencies or plug in the keyboard to get TVSource to search.
I agree


•How is it for reliability? Does it often crash, fail to record on schedule or require a lot of power to display/record HD channels simultaneously?
I have not had a failure to record a TV programme for about 2 years (I record quite a lot).

I do (occasionally - once every two weeks or so), have to re-boot my client PC, but that is mainly because the GPU stops sending sound to my amp via HDMI which is a windows problem not a mediaportal.

Also, with mediaportal you can record ALL the channels on a mux with a single tuner. So if you have DVB-S2, you can record BBC One HD and BBC HD at the same time with just a single tuner. So you have far more TV watching flexibility.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
Robbo,

Reliability sounds promising. It's not so much the ease of setting up, but the ease/lack of maintenance once I've got it up and running. At the most I want to plug it into the internet once a fortnight for EPG. I think I may just have a stab at it when I've got time alongside 7MC so I can go back to that if I'm unsuccessful. I'll not assign it to the green button until I'm totally happy it will work. I might even run it on another partition for a short while, just to see how it goes.

Thanks again, great advice. I've just looked at a few videos on YouTube and the aesthetics don't look half as bad as I thought they would on some skins.
 

youreds91

Standard Member
I have not had a failure to record a TV programme for about 2 years (I record quite a lot).

I do (occasionally - once every two weeks or so), have to re-boot my client PC, but that is mainly because the GPU stops sending sound to my amp via HDMI which is a windows problem not a mediaportal.

Also, with mediaportal you can record ALL the channels on a mux with a single tuner. So if you have DVB-S2, you can record BBC One HD and BBC HD at the same time with just a single tuner. So you have far more TV watching flexibility.
I like this feature, I'm just testing the water with MP ATM, but I managed to get 18 channels recording at once across 4 tuners (2 DVB-T2 & 2 DVB-S2).
 

WheresMyArtisan

Active Member
Win 8 seems a missed opportunity for MC for me.

It already has hubs for music, videos, pictures etc. Just needs an additional hub/app for TV and you've got everything through the Metro front end. Plus it would make it much easier to run other apps, that historically have been poor or not even available without major work in MC itself.

Maybe apps will come that allow that but would have been nice for MS to show the way on this.

If they can do that, then they can kill off MC for me and Metro will be my new frontend, only with lots more options.

Food for thought anyway...
Spot-on. Hopefully MS can get the idea and the MC app can die, to be replaced by using the OS itself, via a remote control.

I've recently got an xbox, and its latest GUI looks just like Win8. That works fine to navigate using the MC remote, so there's no reason this couldn't happen.

Perhaps it would just need to hide some keyboard/mouse-only programs when it detects IR-control, until it sees a keyboard/mouse again. Just like MC does with the mouse pointer and window controls.
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
I have just made the move to MediaPortal from Windows Media Center, I have also been using WMC since 2005, so it was quite a big decision.

I must say that ultimately MP is better than 7MC, but mainly because you can configure it to do (nearly) exactly what you want. Which is good.

However, I have spent literally hours tweaking it, but that includes building a second PC to act as a client in the bedroom, to replace the Xbox 360, and installing client software on that and on a Windows 7 and now Windows 8 laptop. But mostly I am spending so much time because I want to try every skin and every plug in and every possible combination of codecs to check that I am getting the best HTPC experience that I can. That's probably just me though!

It does 'feel' slightly less slick and slightly slower than 7MC, but that is an okay compromise for now, as ultimately it is doing everything I want it to do, whereas despite stubborn perseverance, 7MC failed in a couple of areas.

I had a quick look at MP 2 Alpha, and that seemed faster and 'slicker' so that seems hopeful for future improvements. Also, every time I discover something new about MP, I have to add it to the HTPC and the two clients, and I have different skins on all of them, so again, very time consuming. I understand that MP2 will make this whole process much easier.

Let me know if you have any specific questions, although my set up is different to yours, I have Freeview / HD and a permanent internet connection.
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
Also, one thing on the LAN issue. You don't need to actually have a full-on functioning LAN with router etc, you could just setup your HTPC to have a static IP address and connect it to a dumb switch.

I have been threatening to write a guide to install MP for ages and ages. I have just bought a new hard drive for my server I need to do a re-install, so I am going to use this opportunity to put a guide together (and hope I get a chance to finish it!)

I will post a link soon.
 

mrrodge

Active Member
Hi lisag,

I can't do anything until the weekend as my HTPC is all the way out there and I'm all the way over here, but I've just installed MP on my laptop (albeit without any TV) to give it a whirl. So far I really like what I see, it's so configurable! I've got a good setup using the Avalon skin and fanart, lyrics music searching etc. So far I think the experience is almost as good as 7MC, but it might actually look a little more polished with the skin! I do have a couple of niggles, though.

The music searching - it isn't as good as 7MC... in 7MC you don't have to search for an artist or song, you just search for anything and it looks everywhere. It also reveals results as you type, which is better.

Layouts - I like my picture galleries to be shown as icons, similar to 7MC. I can change this in MP, no problem. Thing is though, it doesn't remember it and I can't seem to find an option. Do you know how this can be done?

Music artist bio etc. This is a great feature of the Avalon skin and I found the plugin to make the lyrics work, but there's still a fair bit of unpopulated information on the artist/song info. Is there another plugin that populates this?

I haven't had a stab at my movie collection yet, that will have to wait for the HTPC. I don't seem to be able to find a ripping plugin though. I like to rip movies through the 7MC interface using MyMovies at the moment. Is this possible?

Same goes for music. I know ripping can be done, I just haven't sussed it.

Dynamic refresh rate changing - This is a brilliant idea. If I use the Arcsoft plugin to launch PDVD for Blu-Ray/3D though, will it know what to change the refresh rate to?

In your experience either lisag or robbo100, how long does it generally take for new MP releases to come out? Obviously I won't be running the alpha as my prime HTPC front end but I like the look of it.

Sorry for the million questions, but lisag, what's your specs? I've already found that with Avalon and fanart it can be sluggish scrolling through the galleries/libraries. Thing is though, my laptop is really old and has terrible onboard GeForce Go 6150, so I'm thinking this could be the cause of the sluggishness. I'm hoping that with my GT430 in the HTPC it will be better.

Thanks again!
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Hello mrrodge,

Eek, welcome to my world, this has been a journey and a half for the last week or so, good luck :smashin:

I'll answer what I can...

Music - not used it much yet, so not too sure about that, sorry. I just have a few music files, and MP lists them nicely and plays them. I don't really use my HTPC that much for music.

Layouts - there is an option to set default layouts in the Media Portal configuration, under folders, there are also some other options under 'views' as well, but I can't work out what they do. I thought MP did remember last views, it may be that different skins behave differently. There are databases for music and videos, but I am not using them. I found them overly complicated, the same with the TVSeries plug in.

You definitely need the 'Moving Pictures' plug-in for your films though, it is brilliant. Much less complicated than the other databases. I rip outside of MP and just put the files in a folder that MP is already pointing to, and it magically gets the data and the artwork. There are a couple of films that it trips up on, but that is fairly easily rectified, via the plug-in. I no longer have to get my own cover art (folder.jpg) like I did with Media Browser for 7MC.

The auto-refresh rate change is a godsend in comparison to 7MC. I don't use an external player so not sure if it will work the same way. I play everything within MP, including ripped blu-rays. Well, except Blu Ray discs as I use my Sony Blu Ray player for those.

I have only been a MP user for about a week, so not sure about updates / new releases.

My main HTPC is a 3ghz core2duo with 4gb ram + ATI 6450. I use the avalon skin on it, and once MP has started it seems pretty fast. I also like the Amped skin and may move to that on there, but not that happy with the way it lists recorded and scheduled tv so will stick with avalon a while longer.

The client PC I built in the bedroom is an old Athlon XP 3500+. so a single core 2.2 ghz cpu, with 1.5gb Ram and an Nvidia 9400GT. I found it slow to begin with, but have moved to the Frames skin, and tweaked the codecs and it's running really well now. Even playing back 1080p with no problems. Using coverflow or filmstrip views slows it down a bit, so I keep everything in list views on there.

I also have a laptop with an i3 @ 2.53 ghz, 3gb Ram + ATI HD 5000 GPU, and that seems to run everything fine. I have tried out pretty much every skin on the laptop, and it seems to cope with them all.
 

robbo100

Well-known Member
The music searching - it isn't as good as 7MC... in 7MC you don't have to search for an artist or song, you just search for anything and it looks everywhere. It also reveals results as you type, which is better.
There is a new keyword search plugin for MP1.2.2, it works very well. I am away from my HPTC right now, and can't remember how to access it. Some of the plugins are not all supported by some skins and I don't use the skin you have chosen. In StreamedMP it works fine.

Layouts - I like my picture galleries to be shown as icons, similar to 7MC. I can change this in MP, no problem. Thing is though, it doesn't remember it and I can't seem to find an option. Do you know how this can be done?
It should remember your last setting. Hmm, not sure. I will check for you tomorrow.

Music artist bio etc. This is a great feature of the Avalon skin and I found the plugin to make the lyrics work, but there's still a fair bit of unpopulated information on the artist/song info. Is there another plugin that populates this?
There is an Artist Information scraping tool developed by "Jameson UK". Where I am at the moment has a really poor broadband connection so it is painfully slow to find on the MP website. Have a look through the plugin section and you will see it.

I haven't had a stab at my movie collection yet, that will have to wait for the HTPC. I don't seem to be able to find a ripping plugin though. I like to rip movies through the 7MC interface using MyMovies at the moment. Is this possible?
Again, there is a ripping plugin, but I don't use it myself (I tend to use MakeMKV).

Same goes for music. I know ripping can be done, I just haven't sussed it.
In the main MP config there is a tab under the music setup for ripping settings. Have a look there.

Dynamic refresh rate changing - This is a brilliant idea. If I use the Arcsoft plugin to launch PDVD for Blu-Ray/3D though, will it know what to change the refresh rate to?
Yes. You can use command line switches in the Moving Pictures plugin and tell it to always command 24hz when you play a blueray with PDVD.

In your experience either lisag or robbo100, how long does it generally take for new MP releases to come out? Obviously I won't be running the alpha as my prime HTPC front end but I like the look of it.
It depends on how big the release is to be honest. When I started using MP in May 2009, it was at version 1.1.0. Since then they have released 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.2.0, 1.2.1 and 1.2.2. For each of these releases the team released multiple beta versions (depending upon the increment in capability - with the jump from 1.1.2 to 1.2.0 having one alpha release and 6 (I think) beta releases). The stability and function in these three years has been spectacular!

MediaPortal 2 is now at the first alpha release and a lot of the team have moved onto developing this new version (which is a complete re-write of the code). However, they are still planning a MP1.3.0 which I expect will come out in the next 6 months or so (complete guess).
 

mrrodge

Active Member
robbo100,

Absolutely brilliant. I can't seem to trip up MP, I don't think it'll be long before I convert. It seems so flexible, and I've noticed from browsing around the MP forum that there doesn't seem to be half as many unexplained problems/issues as there are for 7MC. I can't believe I didn't start looking into this sooner... Software I've bought such as MyMovies and TVSource look pointless now that there are free and functional alternatives for MP!

Thanks again. I'll be sure to report back with a verdict when I've got it up and running on the HTPC.
 
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