XBMC thumbnail generation

Well, I have a few movies and series that ain’t represented in TMDB/TVDB. So here’s a little script, that will parse over any video files, check if a thumb file is already present, and if not generate one using ffmpegthumbnailer



hama_mce client for XBMC on Ubuntu

Well, I finally switched back to the official builds of XBMC (well, semi-official).

Now, since my previous and my current media center doesn’t come with a remote like, say a Boxee box, I built myself a custom one using a Hama MCE Remote Control and a Logitech Harmony 300. After trying a bunch of things (it actually works like a standard mouse), I stumbled upon this Trac ticket.

After first wrangling the sources into a patch, sometime ago when I switched to a new media center I started using the official builds as I mentioned earlier.

One disadvantage of the official builds is, that I can’t patch in the event client. Eventually I decided to write a small debian package containing everything the event client previously had.

Running XBMC/Ubuntu on Zotac HD-ID34

I recently bought a replacement for my aging Acer Revo R1600. I decided to go with the HD-ID34, since I didn’t wanna fiddle with buying a bunch of components. Installed a copy of Windows 7 on it (just to try it out …. :-P), and downloaded the Ubuntu 11.10 mini.iso. However the mini.iso apparently has issues (no clue which), basically it boots but gets stuck when bringing up the network connectivity (which is fucked up, since the mini.iso needs network connectivity to contiune the installation).

So I went a version back (11.04 – Natty Narwhal) and installed my stuff, however the audio didn’t work. So I kicked of a distribution upgrade, and about half an hour later that was finished. But still no audio …

1) The SPDIF channels were muted (no surprise there)
2) XBMC sent the audio do card 0, device 0 (which is basically /dev/null)

After playing around with the audio output settings (and trying different devices without any luck), I finally found a post for OpenELEC for the ZBOX (for an older version, but non the less, it still applied) describing what I had to configure.

Audio output = HDMI
Speaker configuration = 7.1 (or the what your receiver is capable of)

Audio output device = custom
Custom audio device = plughw:1,7

Passthrough output device = custom
Custom passthrough device = plughw:1,7

What’s just left now, is actually mounting the thing to the wall, since it looks just shabby sitting on my TV wall.

Ember MM, XBMC and 0s Video Duration

Some of you out there may know, I am using Ember MM to scrape my movies and TV episodes. One thing about that is, that Ember MM is kinda stupid doing so.

After the 9.10-release of XMBC, they apparently changed the XML format, introducting durationinseconds, which is basically like duration, just … yeah you guessed right, in seconds.

Now Ember MM doesn’t know that, and still writes the old duration-tag. Now, everytime when something goes kaboom! with my library, I do have to rescrape all my episodes and movies, which isn’t a big deal since the NFO’s are still on disk. However, since I didn’t watch them (as Ember doesn’t know about the lastplayed-tag) XBMC is not showing any runtime in the GUI. Now this isn’t annoying per se, but it was just bugging me (and since I got lots of spare time, due to being chained to the sofa).

So I ended up comparing exports of movie databases before and after playing back an episode and came up with a smallish shell script to do the rescanning and replacing of stuff for me.

Since Ember doesn’t provide anything like hooks or “post-scraping”, this is the only way I can think of doing this. If anyone has a smarter idea, I’m all ears.

HOWTO: Installing XBMC on a Acer Revo R3600 with Ubuntu Jaunty/Karmic

Yesterday out of a sudden, the sound on my Acer Revo stopped working. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t update anything in between New Years eve and today. Just no sound. Tried removing my .asoundrc, tried rebooting, tried powering off; but nothing worked.

Since the Revo was running Jaunty Jackalope, I decided to reinstall the box (yeah, yet again) — but this time with Karmic Koala. Took this forums post and this blog entry as pointer (ie what needed to be installed), and started from there. And guess what … after finishing all that, changing the settings in XBMC — tada sound works. After finishing, I turned the box off and then back on, booted to the “old” installation — guess what .. Sound is working again. I really don’t have a single clue as to why the heck the sound stopped working and the started working without any doing, but I’m glad 😛

Read More

Custom Keymap.xml with XBMC

If you intend to use a custom Keymap.xml with XBMC you might need to be aware of a change that recently happened. Up till now the Keymap.xml was placed in ~/.xbmc/keymaps. Recently (not exactly sure, which svn revision it changed) although it changed.

Since r21442 (that’s after the current 9.04.1 release), the default keymapping files are stored in the system/keymaps/ subfolder of your installation. To alter the default keymapping simply add one or more xml-files in the Userdata/keymaps/ folder with the changes you wish to make. If the keymaps folder doesn’t exist, create it. For backwards compatibily, Userdata/Keymap.xml is still read.

If you place the Keymap.xml in ~/.xbmc/keymaps you’re gonna see weird things happening. Basically, most commands work however not everything. Once you move the keymap.xml to ~/.xbmc/userdata/keymaps, everything magically starts working again.

XBMC Keymap

After I had the initial stuff done, I spent some time yesterday (roughly one hour) figuring out, why Play/Pause/Stop aren’t working any longer (they worked at some point).

After looking at the XBMC debug log for some time, I went back and looked at my Lircmap.xml. As it turns out, you can’t map one Lirckey to two functions (in my case, I mapped KEY_7 to <pause> as well as <seven>). XBMC doesn’t like that, and in return quits functioning for those keys.

After removing the number declarations (<one> through <zero>), my keys are back to working order and I’m completely pleased with my media center Acer 😉

XBMC on the Acer Revo

As I wrote a month ago, one of my trainees put up with my stubbornness to put XBMC on said Acer Aspire Revo. Now, initially he put the Live Edition onto it, which didn’t really fly with me. I’m usually the CLI guy, so I needed to install it myself (again). Since I wanted to use the VDPAU features the later GeForce cards offer (and the Revo has such a graphics cad), I had to install the current development builds (you know — I love bleeding edge!)

At first, I was struggling with how to switch the rendering to VDPAU, but after looking through the various settings menus, I figured it out 😛

The next things on my list we’re:

  1. Get the TechniSat USB IR receiver/TechniSat IR remote working with XBMC
  2. Get a better looking user interface
  3. Get cross fading working

1. Since there aren’t many USB IR receivers available to purchase, I went ahead an bought a TechniSat USB IR receiver. Shortly afterwards I figured, that I might need the remote too.

After all my stuff arrived I spent about the evenings of one work week and one whole weekend figuring out this damn remote and it’s keys. But nada .. Nothing appeared in the output of irw or mode2. After googling for the problem (and coming up with just stupid answers), I went ahead and installed inputlirc. After that, I simply turned of the box and carried it back to work the next day.

When I initially showed my trainee the box and asked him to figure out why the remote wasn’t working, he was like “WTF ? Are you serious ?“. After about an hour I went back to see what progress he had made, and he was like “Dude, it just works .. don’t ask me how“.

To get this damn remote working, you need the following:

After placing all these files, I can program my Harmony (a bit strangely I admit) to the various keys of the TechniSat remote 😮

2. I don’t have anything against the default user interface of XBMC, but it really isn’t all there is .. So I went looking. Looked at about fifteen different skins, until I found Stark. Now, Stark is about everything I’ve been looking for.

3. The next thing on my list was to get simultaneous output working. If you do cross fading (only to name an example), you need the ability to stream two audio tracks through a single device. If you remember back two years, ALSA still wasn’t capable of doing that either way. A short time later, the ALSA developers introduced DMix. Now, after fiddling a bit with it, I think I have that too!

I still need to work out a few flaws in the keymap, but once that is resolved, I’m probably completely happy 😀

XBMC: Adding the ppa keys to apt

I recently bought an Acer Aspire Revo and had one of my trainees put XMBC on a SDHC card today. So after a bit of toying earlier, I started looking at the thing (from the command line that is).

One thing, if you enable the PPA (ppa.launchpad.net) sources, apt/aptitude is gonna babble something about an unverified key.

I ended up looking the error up (since I only have an Ubuntu desktop). There’s a simple solution for this:

Alternatively you can also use this: