Archive for March 2012
It’s been a while between releases – however the new version of Media Center (in Windows 8 Consumer Preview) warranted some new releases for Big Screen EPG . As the new version of Media Center is different (under the hood but not above it) – the existing Windows 7 version was broken and needed to be updated.
For Windows 7 users – I developed this with the original users in mind too – so have released updates for both Windows 7 + Windows 8 (which both have all the new enhancements).
You can grab the download now from : http://bigscreenglobal.com/bgproductdownload.aspx?PID=BSEV1 – assuming you are a registered Big Screen EPG user (otherwise you can sign up for the trial and get access that way).
This new v1.5a release provides the following enhancements / new features :
- (Optional) Windows 8 CP Support for both x32+x64 versions (and like will support final release of Windows 8). A separate replacement .exe is provided for this platform (see install notes).All EPG and related features of Big Screen EPG in Windows 7 are now working with Big Screen EPG on Windows 8 (including support for increasing the default number of tuners) – however do note there are some problems with Win8 CP itself (see release notes) with regards to Scheduled Tasks and Network shares.
- New Online updating TV Series Database: The new version will now download ‘metadata files’ for tv series – so you can get the latest updates without having to get a new version of Big Screen EPG. The new database has 2500+ new tv shows + artwork including 2012/2011 titles (and available for download after you install the new version).
- New UI to make increasing number of tuners much easier – previously was a command line option only :
- Enhanced Metro(ish) style User Interface – this is still a work in progress – but I’ve tried (where doable) to enhance the UI to use metro style buttons and layout. There’s a few bits which still look a little ugly.Here’s the new start page for example :
- Some Bug fixes :- Fixed Support for following XMLTV providers :
- Schedules Direct sources now properly parses the Episode ID.
- Added additional support for xmltv_ns with extraction of ‘Part’ numbers
ie. “2 . 23 . 0/2 “ + “2 . 23 . 1/2
- Fixed Add Provider Wizard bug where it was ignoring selection of Enabled/Disabled Channels – plus enhanced some other logic (such as supporting server based presets without passwords).
The new beta release is exactly that (a beta) – so please be sure to not do anything mission critical with it. To use it – you will still need the original setup package (this new version is only provided as a patch at this time).
It’s been tested locally – but may need some more work for release (as well as requiring a proper standalone setup package).
Today I finally got around to getting Media Center up and running on Windows 8 Consumer Preview – aka ‘8MC’ (which was delayed due to my existing ASUS USB Tuner not having correct drivers).
Although it might be a while until I actually use Win8 for real on my HTPC (reality – maybe never) – a number of users out there will no doubt dive headfirst into doing wanting to run the latest and greatest..
I was particularly interested in getting 3rd party EPG imports going (the #1 must have feature for me and for a lot of people using my products) – as it was becoming obvious that under the hood of the ‘seemingly’ identical product – certain things had changed (such as it being recompiled with .NET Framework v4 – previous versions used v2).
As suspected (due to these changes) – the latest released version of Big Screen EPG did not work, and although it reported the EPG import was complete – no imported data was not showing up at all in the system. (NB: this would be the case for all other 3rd party epg tools designed for use with Windows 7)
So hence a bit of tinkering, recompiling and the like was required (using a modified Big Screen EPG version). That is – a test of my kung-fu, pitted against the dastardly plan by Microsoft to provide no technical/developer information or release notes to the public under any circumstances. Luckily I won – and was able to get my first EPG import going. I suspect this may have been the very first successful import done by anyone outside of MSFT (as quite a few things needed to be changed) – so I proudly took a screenshot below for safe keeping :
Note that this is not EIT data – and has channel logo’s, repeat/hd flags, episode title (and all the other bits you’d want from a custom xmltv source). A little later I had all the bits going that I had in Windows 7 (including series images, full Movie Guide support with auto downloading artwork/reviews/etc).
Anyhow – for all the Big Screen EPG users out there wanting to use Win 8 CP – I will try to release something soonish (there’s a few more steps to be done for it to be packaged up + user friendly) – however for the meantime you can sleep safely in your beds knowing 8MC will in fact support 3rd party EPG’s and wasn’t ‘broken’ (when you do get around to using it).
In terms of the other Big Screen products and compatibility with 8MC – here’s the wrap :-
- I successfully Installed and used all 4 of the Big Screen 10 foot addins on Win8CP (‘Weather 2’, ‘Headlines 2’, ‘Photos 2’ and ‘Contacts 2’) – so everyone who has these products will be able to use the currently released version. I’m not going to officially offer any support (or updates) of these for Windows 8 – however they do appear to work as expected. Note that you need to install the .NET v2/v3.5 Windows features (it will prompt you during first setup) – before these addins will install properly.
- Although I’ve not tested it yet – it’s highly unlikely ByRemote will work in it’s current form (without being recompiled using .NET Framework v4 and referencing the new Win8 CP DLL’s – which hopefully shouldn’t be too difficult). I’ll have a look at that product later.
Also – for those struggling with drivers on Win8 CP (particularly tv tuner ones) – from what I’ve seen the deal is this : Win8 likes Windows 7 certified drivers but doesn’t seem to play with ones not updated since Vista Certification. This can be a problem as many of the tuner cards didn’t get Windows7 specific drivers ever written for them (such as the ASUS U3000 Mini USB stick I have) – which was acceptable as Windows 7 worked fine with Vista drivers.
Stay tuned for more..