XBMC DevCon 2010 Summary

Posted By: Team XBMC on Dec 06, 2010 in Site News

It has been a few weeks since the annual XBMC Developers Conference (DevCon) took place and we thought it was about time that we gave you some feedback about what took place.  What follows is a rundown of what happened at DevCon, who the sponsors for the event were, a brief discussion about sponsors, and a list of ideas and thoughts that were discussed at length during the course of our time together.

This year we were fortunate enough to be hosted by at-visions at Hotel Fabrik in Vienna, Austria. at-visions where truly wonderful hosts and did everything they could to make this a great weekend for everyone that attended. I think I can safely say that everyone from XBMC thanks them for their hospitality and we wish them well with everything they are doing.

This year’s DevCon was possibly the largest to date with a total of 24 people attending over the weekend – a true reflection of how the project has grown over the years.

Team XBMC and our hosts

Hover over faces to see names

Amet (Zeljko) Andy (at-visions) freezy (Nico) clumsy (Thomas) topfs2 (Tobias) chadoe (Martin) jmarshall (Jonathan) elupus (Joakim) vdrfan (Matthias) prae5 (Paul) davilla (Scott) WiSo (Winfried) malloc (Sean) Malard (Martin) TheUni (Cory) Michael (at-visions) Olympia (Bence) Ronen (at-visions CEO) lcapriotti (Luigi) spiff (Dr. Arne) Lucas (at-visions)

This year’s DevCon host: at-visions

For those of you who don’t know, at-visions is a sponsor of XBMC and have developed a bespoke hospitality environment that utilizes XBMC as the front-end in hotel rooms. I think everyone who saw the demo of it over the weekend was incredibly impressed and is looking forward to seeing it in action in more hotels in the future!  (jmarshall even had it in his hotel room – presidential perks!)

Whilst on the subject of corporate sponsors, I know this is something that comes up occasionally in the forums and there is a great deal of misleading information being passed around.

We are often criticized for not being more open about the XBMC Foundation. We have nothing to hide; this project is run by all of us in our free time and, as such, things can take longer than planned to get out. However, we do plan on addressing this apparent lack of openness. Watch for a series of follow-up posts over the next week or two. A primary topic that will be covered in great detail is the XBMC Foundation: what it is, who the members are, and why we need it.

Communication

We want to try and improve our communication with the user base. With this website we have an ideal platform for conveying information more frequently. We intend to start putting up a “This week in XBMC” type post every week or so.  This post should give an insight into what is happening among Team XBMC and will be the first place learned of new things to look out for.

This is a very big commitment for us; so if there are any users that would like to work with us on this, then please get in touch. Additionally, if there is a topic you would like to see covered in a future article, let us know. It can be easy for us to overlook topics, being so close to the coding process.

Dharma Release

The release of Dharma hasn’t quite gone to plan and has run on far longer than originally planned. It was decided during the DevCon that the current code was in a suitable state to be a release candidate. RC1/RC2 have been pushed out since. Providing there are no major issues as users work their way through RC2, the Dharma final should be imminent.

Usability

We want to make XBMC more user-friendly. We acknowledge at times there can be aspects of XBMC that aren’t completely user friendly and this needs to be improved.  In all honesty, this will probably always need to be improved. Perfect usability is an ultimate goal that every team strives for.  We only hope that our users remain impressed with the steps we take to push XBMC to be the most user friendly AND the prettiest Media Center available in the world today.

A major area we will be looking into is pushing the Home interface to be more easily customizable and standardizing this customizability across all skins. For example, we want a simple way for users to select add-ons, playlists or just about any item they want and have it placed on the Home screen.  At present, favorites work this way to some small extent, but we’d like to ensure an even better integration with the main menu.

The Library and Scraping

Staying on the usability theme, it has been agreed (again!) that scraping and setting up the library is far too difficult for many users. We know we need to make this easier and are looking at how we can make what is arguably one of the most important features of XBMC easier to use for the average user.

One quick and simple improvement that should make it into Dharma (Ed: and has made it into RC1), is that, when adding a video source, the user is immediately prompted to set content on that source, rather than allowing the user to guess there is a second step.

Another idea that has been passed around was making scraper selection simpler. Rather than users specifying a specific scraper, we could perhaps just have them set their main language. From that selection we could then automatically select the best scraper. Ideally, we would like to be able to combine information from multiple sources. No promises any of this will be implemented, just some of the ideas that we have considered to make this process easier.

Next Release – Eden

Given that the Dharma release cycle hasn’t been what we wanted, we want to learn from this process and improve for future releases. Our release cycle is too long and rather than things improving over the long release cycle, things get committed that shouldn’t be, causing issues, which in turn lead to even longer release periods.  This is not good for anyone and we need to improve upon this pattern.

We want to get stable releases out more often so users can see progress more often. Rather than “big” feature releases, we plan to start putting out stable releases every few months. These releases may only have one new feature or a collection of fixes, but as a whole we think this will give a greatly improved user experience.

For Eden, the main focus is binary add-ons. Once this is complete it will be released.

PVR Support

It was suggested at one point that PVR support would make it into Dharma. That is not happening.  It was then suggested it would make it into Eden. In truth this is also very unlikely to happen. We are not ignoring PVR; there is a lot of work going on in the PVR branches but they are not ready for inclusion into core XBMC at this point.  Rather than including a half-baked PVR implementation too quickly, we need to ensure the proper steps are taken, so PVR support is rock solid.

PVR support requires that binary addons are ready to go, so the first priority for Eden is to get that finalized. Of course, this is not ideal for those waiting for PVR, but we felt it necessary to be as open as we can on this matter.

XBMC Appliance

openelec.tv is an embedded Linux release that is entirely focused on XBMC and similar to XBMCLive. It is a very stripped down version of Linux that creates an XBMC appliance / set top box with minimal user input required. It is incredibly easy to install and removes a lot of the difficulties that new users experience with XBMCLive. openelec.tv has been developed by a forum user called sraue, who has now joined the XBMC team.  To duly acknowledge the value of openelec.tv, we’ve decided to give it it’s own full release name.  While we haven’t decided on that name, the working title is XBMC Appliance .

XBMC Appliance is seen to be a complementary product, rather than a replacement for XBMCLive. XBMCLive is great for those that would like to tweak things, add new software, have some flexibility, but the downside of this flexibility is that setup and maintenance is much more difficult. XBMC Appliance is for those that want to create a dedicated XBMC media player. It has releases for specific hardware platforms and can have users up and running in less than 15 minutes.

Exactly what we’ll call “XBMC Appliance” (and if we’ll call it that at all) is still being discussed.

DSPlayer

After somewhat lengthy discussions on the pros and cons of what the DSPlayer branch offers, it was decided that it isn’t a priority for inclusion in core XBMC at this time. Unfortunately this is unlikely to change, even more so given that XP’s usage is on the decline.

However all is not lost, there may be some hope of it becoming an add-on in the future. Development, without a doubt, is not halting on DSPlayer.

In Summary

I hope that this gives you all an insight into what took place at this year’s DevCon and some insight into what developments may take place in the future. If anyone has any questions or would like to know more, just ask and we will try and  answer if we can.

To summarize, I think we can sum up our continued and future vision for XBMC as:

  • XBMC will run on as many hardware and software platforms as it can.
  • XBMC will continue to be completely free and open.
  • XBMC will be easy to use and setup for the average user.

As always we appreciate our users feedback and welcome your comments on everything. The team will be monitoring this post for the next week or so and will try and answer all the questions we can.

I hope this has given you a bit of a insight into what took place at this year’s DevCon and watch out for my upcoming posts – we have lots more exciting news and information to share with you over the coming weeks!

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Discussion - 81 Comments

  • drabina Dec 06, 2010 

    Great job guys. I am XBMC user since it was available for the original XBOX and it is just keep getting better and better.

  • S4Rs Dec 06, 2010 

    Wow. This is all great news. Very impressed. I think you guys have the right idea with new releases. I have been using XBMC for over a year, and although I have only had minimal issues with bugs, I have technically never used a “stable” release. I think this will help encourage add-on devs which will ultimately make xbmc the most powerful and diverse media player available. Especially with binary add-ons.

  • Jens Andersson Dec 06, 2010 

    Thank you, for updating us :)

  • EricV Dec 06, 2010 

    While PVR seems to be one of the more awaited functions, it keeps been postponed and the status is as far as I see it even worse than 9 month ago.

    There is no even working trunk code that works with HD TV right now (VDR vnsi does not supprt it, vdr streamdev has been broken by a change that requires to supply a minimal buffer size, tvheadend does not support HD TV with EAC3 audio, …).

    At the end people will switch to other stuff to play TV (mediaportal, mythtv, vlc, …)…

  • This is all good news, especially a more frequent release cycle, as it took us ages to get to Dharma. Still, I haven’t seen one skin/UI that takes full use of what Dharma offers, and no one seems to use at-launch addons and resident addons, they have to be manually launched to work…

  • Wnuck Dec 06, 2010 

    … yes, that´s because there´s no TV support in xbmc. ;)

  • UBS8546 Dec 06, 2010 

    It’s good to see the faces behind the software we use day by day.

  • bAum Dec 06, 2010 

    Thank you for this update. I think it is a great idea to post weekly (or even monthly) what’s being worked on.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Anders Dec 06, 2010 

    Thanks for updating us and for making those public committments to higher frequency news updates, releases and usability improvements.

    I can confirm the user difficulty re: setting up the scraper/library – I and a couple of friends were impressed by the looks of XBMC, installed it but gave up before we figured out the “set content” steps. Am now running Dharma – it’s awesome.

    Thanks for a great product! Keep up the good work!

  • Mr. Roboto Dec 06, 2010 

    Thanks for the news!!!!!!!!!!

    PVR and MYSQL support not for Eden? :-(

    Congrats for DevCon 2010!!!

    • prae5 Dec 06, 2010 

      mysql support is in Dharma – I’ve been using it for some time!

  • Zz Dec 06, 2010 

    XBMC is a great product, but DevCon Summary really frustrate me – PVR and DSPlayer are the my most wanted features in XBMC. :(

    Anyway, thanks for a great product!

  • Juan Dec 06, 2010 

    My opinion is very similar to the others. I was really waiting for PVR Support in Dharma, then in Eden, and now… I have an HTPC in my living room with XBMC. My parents can use it fine with IR, but they can’t understand how to use the PC to open an extra TV application with a keyboard and touchpad integrated. I hope finally can see PVR support in Eden. XBMC and our living rooms aren’t completed without it.

    Anyway, 1.000.000 thx for your work, and offer a great free software application.

  • uhm hum Dec 06, 2010 

    An awesome, well written post. Thanks for the info.

  • max Dec 06, 2010 

    With pvr-testing2 pretty much abandoned* and only a marginal** hope for PVR support in Eden xbmc is pretty good piece of software, but not really what i need.
    Its time for me to look into alternatives, i.e mythtv freevo…

    * no real improvements in the last 4 months
    ** why keeping our hopes up, if there is only a very slim chance. You could be honest and just write “no”.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m really grateful for all the hard work you put into this project in your free time, but there is a time when you want to put the hardware you bought into use. I don’t want to wait another year to (again) find out, that PVR support almost made it into the current release but its no problem, because the release cycle will be short (see “Dharma branched” around August) and after that …
    One year ago, you said, that PVR just missed the upcoming release (which was, surprise, surprise, Dharma 10.04/5/6/0) but will be in the one after that.
    I’m really disappointed and a little angry that you have kept me (and all those, who are waiting for PVR support) hanging and with almost every posting here keeping my hopes, for the perfect mediacenter, up.

    I know all of that is a bad thing to say about an open source project, because those who make it possible here are volunteers, but it, in my opinion, it needed to be said.
    And thats the moment everybody can tell me what an ungrateful jerk i am.
    Do what you have to, i can live with that.

  • Mike Dec 06, 2010 

    Good to get the info. Things always go so much smoother when you keep people in the loop. Of coruse I am sad (along with everyone else) about the continued delays of the PVR function but at least we know now.

  • Ronald Dec 06, 2010 

    For some of the “This week in XBMC” posts, please go through the major features for both Dharma, Eden, and future releases that are currently being worked on by different developers and are already listed in the roadmap on trac :D

    Personally I would love to know much more about the plan for the appliance / embedded platform market, through I am sure that most people would rather hear more about what the team has in store on the upcoming PVR additions, and extensions to the addon framework for other things then PVR or python plugins, like binary addons and more.

    Oh, and I prefer “XBMC Embedded” over “XBMC Appliance” as a new name for the openelec.tv distro, as “XBMC Appliance” sounds more like a hardware device then “XBMC Embedded” which sounds like software and a proper name for an operating system :)

  • watzen Dec 06, 2010 

    Thank you for the communication. I really like reading official posts like these!

  • Keeef Dec 06, 2010 

    You guys really rock, and the decisions you’re making seem to have been soundly reasoned (OK, I’m disappointed about PVR, as will most people, but getting the product right is far more important).

    Keep the communication flowing, this was a great write up.

  • adsoto Dec 06, 2010 

    Definitely “release often” it’s a good point. There are massive improvements with each XBMC release but users have to wait very long. Better to deliver a constant flow of smaller upgrades that also would make the learning curve easier as the userbase would see how XBMC evolves (something they miss now unless they run nightlies)
    I wish you all the luck with the “easier UI” stuff. We users ask for thousands of options, combinations and parameters and we also want everything to be dead simple. Tricky job
    I can’t wait for Dharma final, thanks for delivering this awesome software.

  • Ralob Dec 06, 2010 

    People who want PVR- don’t forget that Eden will be out in a cycle MUCH shorter than Dharma. I understand lots of people want this and are dismayed it is not included in the next release, but look at it this way, Eden could be out in months as opposed to the half-a-year minimum cycle that was pre-Dharma.

    As stated by Team-XBMC, binary addons is THE major feature in Eden. Once that is completed, plus other fixes, I expect they will push it out the door before beginning to dig into the PVR (and other desired) areas.

    And yes, other software like Mediaportal and MythTV has PVR. If you need it that bad right now, use it. That is the wonderful perk of being open-source. But please know that the dev team hasn’t forgotten about PVR. Unfortunately, other priorities have made it so that PVR took a backseat to addons.

    Keep your chin up though. Really exciting things are planned and I cannot wait to test them out.

  • daemox Dec 06, 2010 

    Great information and I’m excited for the new release cycle. Thanks you all!

  • matt Dec 06, 2010 

    Does anyone want to post the names for the photo?
    I’d be interetsted in putting a face to the developers.

    • prae5 Dec 06, 2010 

      I had planned on including that originally, however couldn’t remember everyones names/nicks ;-)

      Also, I’m not sure if people want to be named or not. I’ll drop everyone an email and see if they want to be named.

  • Derek Dec 06, 2010 

    Re: Usability and The Library and Scraping features;

    I work in the IT Department on application all the time, designing applications that need to be user friendly and intuitive, and one thing I noticed off the bat when I first started using XBMC is that there is no “Getting Started” wizard within the application. One thing that would easily improve the ramp-up time with XBMC would be a “Getting Started” wizard.

    To easily make the user training wizard:
    Create or build an add-on that runs the first time XBMC is installed. Upon the wizard running, prompt the user to pick the folder(s) for the library, the source type, the best naming conventions for files and folders, etc… Also it should prompt the user for localization settings like weather & everything so the user can easily get started with XBMC without fuddiling around the application the first time.

    Good idea? Bad idea? What are your thoughts?

  • Derek Dec 06, 2010 

    Also I agree on changing from the typical “waterfall” approach for a new Rapid Application Development approach, but I wonder how this new model would work on a team like this where everyone is distributed across the world?

    It is harder to coordinate with a team like this with the RAD approach… I still think it is far much better to stick to the process you guys are doing now.

    Also, I think it would be better for the team to develop an open-source “testing suite”, like Mozilla has for Firefox. The idea behind it is, that ANYONE on the internet who wants to can use run test cases and report defects on the fly… Its pretty much indispensable and gets the team FREE testers that typically do a pretty good job of regression testing the application… What are your thoughts? I can try to find an application or something and start developing test scripts for the team if you’d like.

    Feel free to email me if interested.

    Regards,
    Derek

  • topfs2 Dec 06, 2010 

    @Derek
    RAD is much harder in a push style, which is why its likely that we move to a more pull based approach. i.e. consider trunk “stable” and devs produce patches which will get pulled if acceptable. If trunk is always in a stable state releasing often is much much simpler (ideally just package and go!)

    @max
    PVR depended on addons, when addons got merged we realized how much was missing. We have finally cought up on that and if we where to merge in PVR right now we would look at an earliest release in atleast a year. The API in PVR was designed much earlier than the rest of the addon API (which have evolved) so there is alot of stuff that will be reusable when binary addons are done. As such the merge after binary addons should be simpler.

    And as said, we want PVR. We don’t want a crappy PVR that crashes or make the code unstable / unreadable. Reason it is a bit imperfect is becaues it hasn’t been a team effort (still minority of devs that actually use PVR.) If you need it that bad, help out. If you can’t code there are lots of other ways to help than just complain. If you don’t want to help, there are plenty of other apps which you may use :)

  • lee B Dec 06, 2010 

    PVR
    “It was then suggested it would make it into Eden. In truth this is also very unlikely to happen.”
    I’ve be using XBMC since the old XBOX and have moved it on to a number of PCs in the house.
    The missing component for me (and the rest of the family) is the PVR function.
    Currently been testing out MediaPortal with the XMBC like skin … works well
    I had a look at the XBMC PVR Branch , but overall the mediaportal option looks better.

    guy you need to move the PVR functionaility up on the ‘to do ‘ list.
    otherwise you have to use two appliactions to view video and live tv etc

    you have to consider the “Wife” Factor :)

  • ben Dec 06, 2010 

    For your next post, can you explain the end user features binary-adds ons bring.

  • Mike Dec 07, 2010 

    Considering the software is free then we really shouldnt be complaining should we?

    Personally I think it is awesome and it does everything it needs to do!

    PVR would be nice but when it come it comes!!! I use my Beyonwiz as a PVR anyway!

    Great work guys!!!

  • Tuckr Dec 07, 2010 

    Great stuff Team XBMC! And a great first step in improving communication with your userbase. Thanks for the insights.

  • D0nR0sa Dec 07, 2010 

    Hi,
    thank you for the infos, great to see some faces to the names on the forums :D

    Thank you very much for your hard work.

    Oh and btw who is the one holding the I?+

    Greetings, D0nR0sa

  • ant_thomas Dec 07, 2010 

    I’m in the group of people who want the PVR functionality ASAP and it feels like we’ve been waiting for ages after seeing it on the dharma roadmap. Whilst I’ve been using various PVR builds they all have their issues. I’m a fan of VDR and really don’t want to go to TVHeadend but right now that’s the preferred option.

    I’m also someone willing to help but can’t code, how do I help?

  • Voyager-xbmc Dec 07, 2010 

    Thanks a lot, I truly appreciate the transparency and professionalism with which you drive this project forward! Being a contributor to it in the form of bug reports/patches, I’m really happy to be able to stick the faces to the names now.

    I fully support the usability proposal, and don’t consider PVR a priority (can’t do much with that with Belgian digital TV).

    More important for me, the top priority of a media center should be the *player*. There are users who don’t use it and fully rely on external players. That’s a shame. I secretly hoped for DSPlayer to reach maturity and to become standard part of the Windows distribution, but with the decision not to focus on it anymore, I would hope that DVDPlayer will get the level of attention that it needs in order to match playback quality of some other free and light-weight players out there like MPC HC.

    It has to play everything as well as a regular living-room DVD or Bluray player, without stuttering, and with the same intuitive navigation controls. Admit it, playing back a DVD image through XBMC is not as easy as with a regular hardware DVD player.

    There’s some room for:

    1) Usability improvement: especially wrt. remote controls. OK, I have a nice working set up by tweaking keymaps and using Eventghost, but that’s not easy to do for everyone… I managed to include some standard things that XBMC can do, but are missing out of the box, like single-button “next audio channel”, single-button “video menu” access, etc.

    2) Playback improvements: DVD playback / navigation is still missing a few features (like skipping trailers/ads in VTS menu structures); For HD material there is choppy playback in some cases when Aero enabled; Audio sync of 24p material when auto refresh change (many people are reporting 250ms delays), CPU consumption of background threads interfering … especially on low-power CPUs like the popular Atom/ION combo…

    That being said, I think Dharma is a giant leap forward, and I’m looking forward to next releases!

  • Nessus Dec 07, 2010 

    Good news about the release cycle. I was afraid to post anywhere in the forums or here because of the usual answer… “is going to released…. when is released”. I can’t agree more that users have to see some more frequent progress. Even a small one.
    Also i agree with the team about XBMC Live and the setup and maintenance difficulty. A new version of XBMC based on openelec.tv is excellent idea. I think PVR support will be a good feature but it’s not the end of the world the lack of it.

    Keep up the good work guys. This great software is getting better and better with the pass of time.

    Cheers
    Nessus

  • coops Dec 07, 2010 

    Very happy to hear about the take up of the openelec appliance flavour of xbmc.

    This should suit a great many people better than other flavours which as said have the option to tweak but therefore also greater opportunities to break and more difficulty to maintain etc.

  • duck Dec 07, 2010 

    hi XBMC-Team,

    great work!!….as the XBMC works perfect….

    But I was looking forward to see PVR support very soon in next release…
    and now i must read that their will be no PVR support in next release???

    …very disappointed, as I am convinced that the PVR feature would be a milestone in XBMC future and would find a lot of response in the media center world. without PVR the solution is just half worth and you need one more box at your livingroom :(
    my personal target would be to have a small, noiseless, fast and good looking central box at my livingroom that plays all pieces at all!!!
    ..and not a technical hoem constructor corner…

    hope you will overthink your decision about PVR….(pvr-testing 2 runs well but is very complicated at all to get it run with all features)

    by the way thanks for a great freeprogramm ;)

  • Derek Dec 07, 2010 

    @topfs2

    you mean you won’t do complete cycles of regression testing the application when releasing it? i think that would lead to less stable code, i think i would opt for these long build cycles, regardless of how excruciatingly hard it is on the dev team, it leads to stabler code…

  • topfs2 Dec 07, 2010 

    @Derek
    We would obviously still test every release thoroughly. Thing we have noticed regarding these long cycles is that almost no user reports any problems until beta-ish. Many of the problems reported are stuff that may have been in there for months but stuff we just haven’t found since people tend to use stable (which they really should). So if you release more often, you are more likely to find regressions and since you release more often it doesn’t matter as much if someone happens to notice a problem, since you can release quickly again when said thing is fixed.

    Many projects actually use the more pull based approach (linux being one) and in the end they are way more stable than us, with less testing, which is a good end. And this goes without saying, if it doesn’t work with shorter releases we would revert to longer ones :)

    @lee B
    It is on the todo list, and rather high for sure. The todo list is handled based on how many developers wants the features and sadly there are way to few that cares about PVR, why don’t you help out if you want it in?

  • EricV Dec 07, 2010 

    Many projects actually use the more pull based approach (linux being one) and in the end they are way more stable than us, with less testing, which is a good end. And this goes without saying, if it doesn’t work with shorter releases we would revert to longer ones :)

    The truth is that linux has much more automatic regression test regarding performances and stability than XBMC because you can test it without human intervention. XBMC being a gaphical apps, this is way more complicated!

  • topfs2 Dec 07, 2010 

    @EricV
    Also a great point, and also something we hope to better ourselfs at. Its impossible to test all the graphicals but we rarely have regressions there. The parts we have regressions mostly in is scanning and decoding, much of which can be tested. Perhaps not fully automatic at times but we can atleast do some scripts that would help testing quite a bit.

  • MrIcka Dec 07, 2010 

    Very nice to hear about the work and plans on XBMC. A weekly xbmc new would rock!

    And, what is Binary Add-ons?

  • sebak Dec 07, 2010 

    @topfs2
    I believe better developer->user communication and documentation would also help greatly in finding bugs more early.
    I, for one, often use the nightly builds. However, when finding a bug, I’m hesitant to report it because I have no idea whether it’s a known issue, or a feature that’s not yet fully implemented.

    It would help a lot if there were lists about working topics (for example: addons/playback/database work/…) that are frequently updated with info about the known issues, work that still needs to be done, reported bugs, …
    Right now the only way is to spend hours on the forum following the topics in the developer forum.

    Furthermore it’s also a good way to make people more involved in the project, and maybe that way get more contribution.

    Let’s hope the weekly communications promised in this post are a good start of that.

  • Nessus Dec 07, 2010 

    Every “favorite thing” (favorite software, favorite team etc) in this life it has two kinds of fans. Those that they are happy using it/support it without any complains and those who if that “favorite thing” didn’t meet they’re expectations….. they grumble about it (wrong behavior) or they move along to find another “favorite thing” without any nagging (right behavior).

    The worst behavior is to want to go to another “way” by grumbling !!!.

    In any case…. team XBMC, should keep in mind that these behaviors they do the most “internet noise”. The majority of the fans (user base), are happy with what they have and they are thankful with any new additions and futures….. without any “internet noise” !!!.

    Bottom line…. keep up the (free) good work, keep the communication flowing, keep the insights coming….. and let the people enjoy the benefits of your work more often with the sorter release cycle.

    Cheers
    Nessus

  • appreciative Dec 07, 2010 

    I would like the Development team to know that they are doing a fantastic job overall. I was writing a long rambling thought on this subject, but I guess I should take it to the forums….

  • bulkzooi Dec 07, 2010 

    I am very happy to hear two things:
    1> Communication: This is the projects most missed feature. Communication can bring this project to a complete new level. It also is very much related to the following:
    2> Foundation openness: As you can read on my blog, the way this Foundation currently operates is not possible in the long run. Many bad choices are made and hopefully this new attitude will set things right.

  • bulkzooi Dec 07, 2010 

    ps. I would advice to get some none devs aboard for those matters…

  • topfs2 Dec 07, 2010 

    @sebak
    Also a good point, documentation should exist but this is something the community (and not necessarily coders) could help with.
    And personally I think this is another plus with the pull model as then we wouldn’t pull unfinished stuff, thus if its there it should work. Also why PVR is unlikely to be in eden because we really don’t want yet another unfinished beast in code. And I think everyone, even the whiners, can agree that having a non-working PVR in eden is worse than not having it.

  • jdomg Dec 07, 2010 

    Why is everyone crying about PVR? With the plethora of available ways to watch streaming content ON DEMAND, I’m not sure PVR is even worth the attention. Creating add-ons that can access those means are worth far more than having to rely on a rapidly deprecating means to watch broadcast content at your liesure.
    Paying a premium for cable/satellite is lame: you can’t channel select (instead of only picking stupid bundles), you’re still paying for commercials, and you still can’t watch everything on-demand.

  • topfs2 Dec 07, 2010 

    ant_thomas :
    I’m in the group of people who want the PVR functionality ASAP and it feels like we’ve been waiting for ages after seeing it on the dharma roadmap. Whilst I’ve been using various PVR builds they all have their issues. I’m a fan of VDR and really don’t want to go to TVHeadend but right now that’s the preferred option.
    I’m also someone willing to help but can’t code, how do I help?

    its hard to find specific tasks but anything help.
    Donations so devs can get hardware, while we cannot promise a donation go to a specific task if they are reasonable they usually do though.
    Anything non-dev related a dev needs to do is taking time from developing generally, as such helping out answering questions, writing on wiki etc. etc. is a great help! Also mockups, ideas and such about how to implement it is also of great help, while much is implemented in the pvr branch it feels rather slapped on as extra and doesn\t really tie in nicely with the rest of the xbmc feeling, something we want to fix before merging back. Other stuff as splitting up certain features into small manageable patches would also help (this is code part though).

  • Brent212 Dec 07, 2010 

    I’d love to get a portable device, not much bigger than a hard disk, with 1 TB storage or more, that is dedicated to running XBMC, complete with HDMI, digital audio, and composite (for older televisions, since this would be primarily used while traveling) output, along with an IR receiver and remote. XBMC Appliance sounds like it could lead to something like that in the future, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  • marcuszurhorst Dec 08, 2010 

    I really don’t understand either, why so many people are running behind PVR.
    Can you please test VDR distributions like yaVDR to see, whether this suits your needs or not.

    There’s quite a lot of things going on at the VDR side, looking for a nice integration of “XBMC into VDR”.
    Actually, this is the total opposite of what people on this forum are looking for, but at the end, this won’t matter a lot.
    yaVDR works “out of the box(tm)” on typical HTPC hardware, it is self-configuring and facilitates a nice web interface to customize some important tweaks.
    Sure, you may need fudge around manually if you desire some fancy specialties, but the regular stuff just works.

    It takes you ~2-4 seconds to switch from VDR to XBMC because this launches a totally independent app.
    But honestly, ask yourself how often you’re typically switching between watching tv, listening to music, watching pictures etc. etc.

    Spend more time using great software ! :-) )

    Regards,
    Marcus

  • Lamm Dec 08, 2010 

    Since i’ve loved XBMC since the XBOX days i can’t tell you how much i appreciate your commitment to this kickass software and the love you put into it. One thing i’ve missed thought is news, development progress and vision statement. It seems that all my wishes come true this christmas :D

  • EricV Dec 08, 2010 

    Nessus :

    The worst behavior is to want to go to another “way” by grumbling !!!.

    Well, well, I contributed patches and bug reports on PVR-testing branch, VDR, VDR streamdev, tvheeadend, …

  • EricV Dec 08, 2010 

    topfs2 :
    @sebak
    And I think everyone, even the whiners, can agree that having a non-working PVR in eden is worse than not having it.

    The real problem is that it was proposed for dhrama and someone worked on the pvr-testing2 brabnch which is now nearly dead but is the only one that allow me to watch HD TV in france.

    Then there is the gitorious xbmc-dharma-pvr that breaks vdr-streamdev, HD on tvheadend, and that I can invest some time fixing bugs but only if I know it will serve any purpose. This way you discourage people to invest time.

    In addition, I think if you look from a strategic perspective, not having TV support (cable, Sat, DVB-T), will push XBMC out of the HTPC playground. But This will be in another thread.

  • EricV Dec 08, 2010 

    jdomg :
    Why is everyone crying about PVR? With the plethora of available ways to watch streaming content ON DEMAND, I’m not sure PVR is even worth the attention. Creating add-ons that can access those means are worth far more than having to rely on a rapidly deprecating means to watch broadcast content at your liesure.
    Paying a premium for cable/satellite is lame: you can’t channel select (instead of only picking stupid bundles), you’re still paying for commercials, and you still can’t watch everything on-demand.

    The replay TV feature quality in france is so poor, that appart looking at in on a small screen Its unwatchable. VoD is quite expensive and you rent it only for 48 hours. Or do uopu belong to peple that only wtach tv on a 7inch screen?

  • EricV Dec 08, 2010 

    People like me that have tried various multimedia NAS, and have been disappointed by codec, container support and the poor UI, have decided to go the HTPC way. But I do not want to have n boxes connected to TV. I can play blue-ray, DVD, stream from my NAS, recorded numeric PVR stuff but also do want to watch TV with box, and being able to record it. Why should I use another program for this when after tuning a DVB adapter I can receive plain mpeg2ts stream reading from a device instead of a file?

    There are already XBMC forks (plex, mediaportal) that have realized it. For me its just a waster of precious resources. I start seeing plex in TV, DLNA + PVR via USB faeture also. If this trend continues and XBMC is still not able to offer more than the online part a connected TV can do, there will be soon no need for HTPC, except for people that want to be able to control their software,GUI, …

    And again as already explained catch up TV, is visually not satisfying on a 46+ inch screen and VoD can only be ranted for 48 hours… Plus we have the chance in france to have quality on free TV (BBC life has been producted in HD and many BBC documentary are brodcasted).

  • dushmaniac Dec 08, 2010 

    couple of quick comments on EricV’s posts:
    - pvr-testing2 might be dead, but that doesn’t mean the pvr integration won’t arrive. it just takes some time to do it properly.
    - streamdev is obsolete. use vnsi.
    - xbmc uses a backend of choice and there will be no integrated backends. if you only use one frontend, then you can still install both a pvr backend and xbmc on the same machine.

  • EricV Dec 08, 2010 

    dushmaniac :
    couple of quick comments on EricV’s posts:
    - pvr-testing2 might be dead, but that doesn’t mean the pvr integration won’t arrive. it just takes some time to do it properly.
    - streamdev is obsolete. use vnsi.
    - xbmc uses a backend of choice and there will be no integrated backends. if you only use one frontend, then you can still install both a pvr backend and xbmc on the same machine.

    VNSi does not support french HD TV (AVC/EAC3 audio). So far the only working solution I have is streamdev (tvheadend via Live plugin is broken also but network via HTSP protocols works. And I added manually EAC3 in tvheadend PVR audio codec parsing already without success).

  • topfs2 Dec 08, 2010 

    EricV :

    topfs2 :
    @sebak
    And I think everyone, even the whiners, can agree that having a non-working PVR in eden is worse than not having it.

    The real problem is that it was proposed for dhrama and someone worked on the pvr-testing2 brabnch which is now nearly dead but is the only one that allow me to watch HD TV in france.
    Then there is the gitorious xbmc-dharma-pvr that breaks vdr-streamdev, HD on tvheadend, and that I can invest some time fixing bugs but only if I know it will serve any purpose. This way you discourage people to invest time.
    In addition, I think if you look from a strategic perspective, not having TV support (cable, Sat, DVB-T), will push XBMC out of the HTPC playground. But This will be in another thread.

    Well we only have one which is development, which is pvr-testing2. anything else is either deprecated or a fork.

    And PVR support is very very likely to come at some point, it just was NOT able to happen in dharma due to addons being very immature when we merged (and we learned from that mistake). PVR will be at earliest in one year is my prediction (might be wrong though, depends on the devs doing it), and we want eden out faster than that, simple as that.

  • EricV Dec 08, 2010 

    topfs2 :

    EricV :

    topfs2 :
    @sebak
    And I think everyone, even the whiners, can agree that having a non-working PVR in eden is worse than not having it.

    The real problem is that it was proposed for dhama and someone worked on the pvr-testing2 brabnch which is now nearly dead but is the only one that allow me to watch HD TV in france.
    Then there is the gitorious xbmc-dharma-pvr that breaks vdr-streamdev, HD on tvheadend, and that I can invest some time fixing bugs but only if I know it will serve any purpose. This way you discourage people to invest time.
    In addition, I think if you look from a strategic perspective, not having TV support (cable, Sat, DVB-T), will push XBMC out of the HTPC playground. But This will be in another thread.

    Well we only have one which is development, which is pvr-testing2. anything else is either deprecated or a fork.
    And PVR support is very very likely to come at some point, it just was NOT able to happen in dharma due to addons being very immature when we merged (and we learned from that mistake). PVR will be at earliest in one year is my prediction (might be wrong though, depends on the devs doing it), and we want eden out faster than that, simple as that.

    Pvr-testing is dead and has not evolved for months. It does no even compile with recent version of microhttpd, lack most of the Nvidia VDPAU and DVDplayer improvements (I have at list of patches that I manually apply if it helps) and so on. The consequence is that the XBMC part of the plugins are also starting to die except when there are other clients that need similar code (VNSi XBMC is dead as far as I now and even the VDR part is dead). Alive with commit on the linux PVR backends are tvheaedend and streamdev (and I do not know for myth but for me that just too heavy).

    Note that until the RTP://IP:port rendering bug bug is fixed, IPTV is also broken when some PVR backend do aggregate multiple TV sources.

  • max Dec 08, 2010 

    @topfs2:
    Thanks for your answer. I can understand, why PVR didn’t make it into Dharma and I’m also able to comprehend your argument, why PVR shouldn’t be the next step, but i don’t agree with it.
    As EricV just posted (in keeping with what i observed), the pvr-testing2 branch dead and broken. With bug reports for branches not welcome in the trac system there are not many ways to contribute. I’ve been helping with bug reports in a (german) board, where the “owner” of pvr-testing2 used to be active. But there is nothing happening any more. I can only assume, that maybe his live priorities have shifted or he is also sick of being kept waiting for the merge (which would make developement a lot easier).
    Considering this, i do not appreciate your comment on not helping. If i knew what to do, i would.

    I’m also seeing different stories on the current status of PVR:
    - “there is a lot of work going on in the PVR branches” vs “which is pvr-testing2. anything else is either deprecated or a fork.” (with pvr-testing2 almost dead)
    - “And PVR support is very very likely to come at some point…” that could be in 5 years.

    I guess, what i want say is: It’s kind of a merge now or never. With the pvr-testing2 branch 4 months apart from trunk it will be hard to merge it, but if you don’t do it now, you won’t do it in half a year. If you have to start from scratch, because the pvr frontend and the backend-plugins are outdated to the point, where it will be easier to throw them away, it will be very unlikely that a merge will ever happen, particularly looking at the poor interest among the devs.
    What would it take, to get them more interested? A dvb-t-s-c card each?

  • topfs2 Dec 08, 2010 

    @EricV
    Its a branch, a branch is not meant to be used, its not necessarily meant to have all features from trunk. A branch is meant to have alterations in one specific area. So just because its missing stuff from trunk does not mean its dead, and its by no means dead we are currently focusing on dharma and add ons since they needed attention. I can assure you, I am one of those that really want it also but sometimes you need to step back and look at the big picture, its not ready for main use, and even with team effort it will take time before it is.

  • EricV Dec 08, 2010 

    topfs2 :
    @EricV
    Its a branch, a branch is not meant to be used, its not necessarily meant to have all features from trunk. A branch is meant to have alterations in one specific area. So just because its missing stuff from trunk does not mean its dead, and its by no means dead we are currently focusing on dharma and add ons since they needed attention. I can assure you, I am one of those that really want it also but sometimes you need to step back and look at the big picture, its not ready for main use, and even with team effort it will take time before it is.

    A branch that:
    1) does not compile with a reasonably up-to-date linux system
    2) does contains code that cannot work and be merged upstream because off multiple internal API change (read GetChunkSize here)
    3) get bugs reported on its deleted because it does not exist mainstream (bug I created on CDateTime) (BTW if its still the only official branch, why/who can delete existing bugs?)

    For me such a branch is dead. I can conceive it for exploratory work but then another should be officially created once POC is done to do it for real.

    Never mind, I will manage my own PVR backend stuff as I do not want to be forced to have 3 threads just for reading MPEG2TS from /dev/dvb/adapter0/xxx

  • topfs2 Dec 08, 2010 

    @EricV
    I give up…. you can believe what you want but I’m saying as a team member that it is NOT dead…. but you can interpret that however you wish.

    All in all, if PVR is done before eden is done, it will be in, if it is not done before eden, it will not be in. It is as simple as that, we cannot maintain unfinished code in trunk, nor should we. If you want it in finish up or localize patches that can go into trunk.

    1) sounds like a bad merge, which again shouldn’t be needed but has been done because users keep asking for it. And few devs focus on it atm since we are focusing on dharma.
    2) its a branch, IMO it should not get bug tickets, I know some have randomly said they accept them but I don’t think its valid and just causes confusion. (same with 3)

    If you want to continue this discussion (which I find pointless) please start a thread in the forum…

  • kujo Dec 08, 2010 

    Great to hear that there will be more frequent releases.

    I’ve been using XBMC since it’s inception on the Xbox, and have been using it the last year on a HTPC via XBMC Live. It’s nothing short of amazing the progress this media center has made.

    One thing I would like to see is perhaps adding an info page for what some of the settings features do (i.e. VDPAU studio level conversion). This could one via a settings manual/info menu/page. I guess this info would needed to be added to the manual wiki page first.

    I’m not really the type of user that really needs the interfaced made more user friendly, but in regards to the home page, maybe adding an add-on wizard feature would make sense.

  • Rob Dec 08, 2010 

    Nessus :
    Every “favorite thing” (favorite software, favorite team etc) in this life it has two kinds of fans. Those that they are happy using it/support it without any complains and those who if that “favorite thing” didn’t meet they’re expectations….. they grumble about it (wrong behavior) or they move along to find another “favorite thing” without any nagging (right behavior).
    The worst behavior is to want to go to another “way” by grumbling !!!.
    In any case…. team XBMC, should keep in mind that these behaviors they do the most “internet noise”. The majority of the fans (user base), are happy with what they have and they are thankful with any new additions and futures….. without any “internet noise” !!!.
    Bottom line…. keep up the (free) good work, keep the communication flowing, keep the insights coming….. and let the people enjoy the benefits of your work more often with the sorter release cycle.
    Cheers
    Nessus

    I agree with this I am really happy with XBMC as it is now. Anything from now on is just a bonus.

  • xbmcuser2000 Dec 08, 2010 

    I am using the dushmaniac’s PPA which is Dharma+PVR+TVheadend and it works like a charm. The only problem for me is that EAC3 is not suported in some HD channels (with AAC there is no problem). I think it is because EAC3 has only been added in trunk and not in Dharma.

    Because of this it is rare for me that oficial XBMC+PVR release is so problematic.

    Anyway, thanks xbmc-team for great work. XBMC is awesome.

  • xbmcuser2000 Dec 08, 2010 

    I was wrong. EAC3 has already been added to Dharma so it is also available at Dushmaniac’s PPA. Just I have tried it and works fine.

    http://trac.xbmc.org/changeset/35346

  • Vendril Dec 09, 2010 

    Thanks for the great post!

    I want to thank everyone who helped to change and fix the approach to plugins. That alone has made this build worth the wait and is a great milestone for xbmc.

    While PVR is on my wishlist and I am a little disappointed with it not being added I can see all of your reasons in a practical light. Don’t add it until it’s ready! Not much beats showing off my xbmc rig to friends and family and watching their draw drop when they see my library in all its glory, “… oh you watch all your tv shows and movies in vlc on your pc, at your desk? … how drab” :-)

    Won’t have the same effect as, “oh and it can do PVR… if it works and doesn’t crash this time…”

    As Buz Lightyear would say, “XBMC to infinity and Beyond!”

  • EricV Dec 09, 2010 

    xbmcuser2000 :
    I was wrong. EAC3 has already been added to Dharma so it is also available at Dushmaniac’s PPA. Just I have tried it and works fine.
    http://trac.xbmc.org/changeset/35346

    It works when using network protocol in video (the changeset you mention) not with the PVR addon for me (if you check AC3 in the demux, you don’t find EAC3).

  • xbmcuser2000 Dec 09, 2010 

    @EricV

    I am using Tvheadend PVR addon and eac3 works fine for me. Several weeks ago it didn’t work but now it does. I have tested it yesterday. Tonight I will try it again and check the demux anyway, to be sure that the channel has not changed the audio codec recently, but I think this is unlikely. I have checked it one month ago and the codec was EAC3 without doubt.

  • EricV Dec 09, 2010 

    @xbmcuser2000

    Thanks for the head up: just seen it being added also in xbmc/pvrclients/tvheadend/HTSPDemux.cpp the 15 November. I had it in my own tree for longer tna that but it was not sufficient. Maybe other things have changed including also the tvheadend side (I use 2.12)

    NB: it must be real HD program as non HD may well be classical mpeg audio.

  • ben Dec 09, 2010 

    All men! Not surprising, but interesting :)

  • xbmcuser2000 Dec 09, 2010 

    @EricV

    I confirm that EAC3 is properly supported in tvheadend addon.

    I am using this PPA.

    https://launchpad.net/~lars-opdenkamp/+archive/xbmc-pvr

    In this thread you can find more info.

    http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=51945&page=140

  • Anonymous Dec 10, 2010 

    @xbmcuser2000

    Thanks. I use the git source use for the PPA build and my own build on 64 bit debian unstable. version SD works/HD with ECA3 still not. XBMC hangs. Will try the 64 bynaries fromthe PPA and see the config option to try to find a difference.

    Again thanks for the support.

  • ahura mazda Dec 10, 2010 

    what’s with the hidden link at the bottom right of the photo?

  • folecr Dec 12, 2010 

    “XBMC will be easy to use and setup for the average user.”

    You might want to define the average user. From what I have seen, the average user uses a media player integrated with a NAS that can stream content. Offline stored content is often the secondary usage. The average user rarely cares about support for multiple media formats. Or for 24p sync.

    I think the “average XBMC user” :
    * wants the highest quality playback
    * will go to the trouble of setting up a HTPC, even if they are not computer savvy
    * knows what 24p sync/1080i/96KHz/etc. mean
    * wants some reference hardware platform. (Doesn’t have to be a particular brand… but is looking for some kind of specs that match up with requirements.)

    At least that is what I understand from reading the forums.

    XBMC remains the highest quality and most flexible playback system I’ve seen. However, to remain in the lead…. there are some items for the “average XBMC user” that really need to be addressed.

  • topfs2 Dec 13, 2010 

    @folecr
    Fist of the expression “average user” is the worst used expression in computer design ever (not anything to you just an random outburst from me :) ).
    More ontopic, you should not be looking on the forum for what is normal behaviour because, sadly to say, anyone who registers and is active on the forum is _not_ a normal user, they are a power user and this is what you are listing for. While you can make an app for power users this is not what we are trying to do.

    I do agree that the user wants the highest quality playback but they do not want any configuration regarding it, it should just work, and even more important they care more that the content is played than it being played good.
    And as you say, most setup a HTPC which do indeed makes the overall intelligence of our users far higher than what we aim at with our designs, we are aiming at a click and play media simplicity. When there exist hardware which is more accessible for non-tech savvy this will show even more and the design becomes even more important. As it is now we are forgiven quite a bit thanks to our community being quite tech savvy in general.

  • Simon Dec 14, 2010 

    I’ve hackintoshed 3 PCs, have set-up and re-formated/tweaked countless Windows partitions but having to discover Linux to get my nettop to work wirelessly in XBMC is rather challenging and my success rate thus far makes me too “average” for the task. This label is misleading: as soon as you make something too easy to use for the average user it becomes limited because it’s hard to move it off its predefined rails to suit some peculiar preferences. At least I find that the default setup does just about everything right after install; I could almost set-up an XBMC machine for my parents’ living room and feel safe enough that they wouldn’t need constant debugging from me, and that’s quite an accomplishment…

    So when can we expect the final Dharma release? I’m waiting on it to improve thing and try again from scratch on my setup.

  • topfs2 Dec 14, 2010 

    What we aim for is not the most features (anymore) but rather make features used by more users so in the end more features gets used.

About XBMC

XBMC is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. XBMC is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.