Launched: Big Screen Headlines 2 (Private Beta)
Big Screen Headlines v2 "private beta" has been made available to a small number of people yesterday/today I’m keeping this group very small (fingers on one hand small) – and hopefully if no showstoppers – I will release a public trial version shortly.
I’ve added a few new features since I announced this product on the blog a little while ago. In particular – a lot (more) work refining the parsing of different feed formats was required – but the end result is that the program does some new tricks.
There’s also a lot of new video feeds added to the presets (with a strong focus towards feeds offering WMV format) – such as a whole bunch of news/entertainment/sports/etc feeds from BBC (guys in the UK will be happy), a lot of Video on Demand content from ABC.com.au (Australia), plus a whole lot more (there’s even some US Video News etc in there ).
Being Australian – I love the content on the abc.com.au feeds – they have entire episodes (14 different shows), latest news and more. (very cool stuff – and all in MediaCenter friendly WMV’s).
Below is one the comedy shows you can watch – "Chasers War on Everything" – and the latest episode available has the prank they pulled at the APEC summit – which I think made news worldwide (where they faked a canadian motorcade to get through all the security – and then stopped outside Bush’s hotel and one of them dressed as Bin Laden got out). There’s also a bunch of shows from Andrew Denton’s "Enough Rope" series – from (I believe to be) one of the best interviewers on TV.
One area where I spent a bit of time was correctly interpreting (and identifying) the different "content types" found in RSS enclosures and RSS 2.0 Media feeds. In addition to this – I added support for feeds which had multiple content attachments – ie. where the same video (or audio) would be offered at different bitrates and in different formats.
In the screenshot below – is an example of what you see when you are viewing video feed item from the BBC (which I added to the default presets) – where they offer ASX and RA format at high and low bitrates. When you click on the play media button – it will now popup a list of available media items. (with as best a description it can get) – and you choose one of them from the list.
I’ve also added support for a lot of other video, audio and image formats (via their content-types) – and "in theory" – if you have the right codecs installed (sorry not on extenders) – there’s a pretty good chance you can play a lot of other formats + content. (ie. divx, xvid, m4v’s, flv’s, quicktime, realaudio/video, matroska etc etc).
So far – I’ve not had a chance to do a lot of testing with what codec packs are working etc (and my 64bit dev environment means I can’t get a lot of these codecs to work) – but I’m pretty sure it means that some of the other video sharing + news sites (with decent RSS Feeds) may now be accessible with Big Screen Headlines 2 (ie. Google, Youtube, Break.com etc the usual suspects).
One other bit that was sorely needed was a nice generic Wizard UI (for doing those longer running operations like exporting feeds for extenders, activation, checking for updates etc). The screenshot below shows doing a check for updates.
I’ve also made the whole signup/registration process easier/simpler (it was a little cumbersome to get your serial number entered in the first revision used for Big Screen Photos 2). When you do an online signup – you can now download a Registration file (with your serial number included) – and when you run the installer – you can supply it with the reg file (so nothing to type – and no desktop programs to run after installation is complete).
There’s some other goodies that I don’t think were mentioned – so stay tuned for the product site, public trial version (and ‘full licensed’ version).