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Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

Sneak Peek: Big Screen EPG – ‘by Remote’ (2 Foot PVR Client for Media Center)

with 5 comments

As part of the Big Screen EPG (for Windows 7) product offering – a core important component (which hasn’t yet been announced/released) –  is the ‘by Remote’ client application.  This product aims to provide  some of the functionality previously provided by Webguide (currently available only for Vista Media Center) – with a focus on the PVR side of things. (such as browsing/searching the EPG and managing scheduled recordings).

‘Big Screen EPG – by Remote’ (codename) is designed to target both 2 ‘ and 1 “ clients – by providing a Silverlight 2 client for the desktop (which is hence usable on most versions of Windows and Mac o/s) – an XHTML expierience (Mobile site) with reduced functionality – as well as an iPhone optimized HTML site. 

The ‘server’ product is currently deployed as a single .exe file (only 400k in size) – which contains it’s own inbuilt Web Server (so no need to install IIS or Casini) – and all required content (such as the Silverlight .xap) and host pages/images are delivered right out of this single .exe as well (and are embedded as resources).  In a simple configuration – users can then expose the required ports via their firewall – so this client can be accessed from remote locations (over the internet) – or via the local network.

Please Note : Currently, this product is only designed to view EPG Data imported to Windows Media Center 7 by Big Screen EPG – and will not allow access to EPG data provided by Microsoft (or EIT) providers.

 

‘by Remote’ Silverlight 2 Client

While the UI (and product) are still a work in progress – some screenshots of an early version of the Silverlight 2 App are pictured below (click for full sized images) –

image    image

             loading page                                                                EPG Browsing

 

image    image

             popup program info                                                       view upcoming recording

 

image     image

              series browser                                                        series keyword searching

 

The client app is very small/lightweight (and designed to deal with slow upload speeds from your internet connection) – and all requests/responses are compressed (and encrypted) between server and client.  Typical download sizes while using application (which is data being served up from your machine) – may be 20-50k for a day’s worth of raw EPG data (when browsing EPG – you can view an entire day without reloading more data) – smaller then a lot of image files you’d download. 

A nice feature on this product (which I believe is different that a lot of the other remote recording clients on Vista) – is that when you make scheduled recordings it does ‘proper’ series + program recording (if applicable) – rather than just doing ‘Keyword’ recordings (which can not always work as expected).  This is made possible by the fact that you’re browsing metadata from your own machine – rather than from some shared server/epg store.

 

‘by Remote’ iPhone Web App

The iPhone app (further behind in development) –  uses a .NET version of the iui toolkit – which provides an optimized iPhone Web App. This gives you the commonly used sliding menu/touch aware UI so the experience is much more user friendly. (and requires a lot less requests to the server due to use of javascript etc  to store nested sub menus in initial request).

The mobile experience for by Remote will be a subset of important functions found in the Silverlight app  (as it’s not practical to browse entire epg’s on a small device).

A couple of (sorry- blurry) screenshots are below :

image

The XHTML version (targeted for Windows Mobile, Blackberry etc) will also provide a similar set of reduced functionality.

 

‘by Remote’ Server / 7MC Integration

The server for this (as mentioned above) contains it’s own built in web-server – and is designed to be accessed wherever you have internet or network access to your Windows Media Center 7 machine.  (and doesn’t require Live Mesh, WHS or any other remote/connection framework to get to your machine).  At the moment the prototype is a windows .exe – but this will be converted over to be a windows service (so noone needs to be logged into your local machine).

The server also has the ability to act as a proxy to other Media Center Servers – so rather than expose every 7MC machine in your house to the internet (and remember a bunch of ports/addresses) – you can just access a single server – which in turn will relay (and get response from) the other media center machines that are pre-configured (and provide a friendly access page with a directory of configured machines).

Down the track – I’m also considering developing a WHS addin version of this product (which would then act purely as a ‘proxy’ server) – but am not convinced yet about whether there’s enough users out there to justify it.

 

–     –     –     –     –      –

 

The ‘by Remote’ client will be made available over next couple of months – and will be offered as part of the Big Screen EPG product.

Also – depending on how soon Silverlight 3 is released – an ‘out of browser’ (standalone desktop app rather than inside browser) version of this will also be on offer.

Stay Tuned…

 

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Written by mobilewares

June 14, 2009 at 6:43 am

Posted in Windows 7

5 Responses

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  1. Looks excellent Niall!Need a beta tester? 🙂

    Richard

    June 15, 2009 at 2:43 am

  2. Hi Nial, will we be able to adjust rec settings through this program? I did not notice anything in the screenshots above.Keep up the good work!

    Dion

    June 15, 2009 at 7:44 am

  3. I’m still finalizing that part (so no screenshots) – but am pretty sure I’ll allow that type of functionality (ie. Create/Update/Delete on existing requests).

    Niall

    June 16, 2009 at 1:44 am

  4. Hiyour idea sounds very good!Espceially this " I’m also considering developing a WHS addin version of this product (which would then act purely as a ‘proxy’ server) –" sounds wonderfull! Please implement it!! :-)Another point, it would be great if you think about a Windows Mobile optimized App oder Website 🙂

    Tobias

    October 16, 2009 at 10:27 am

  5. Small but effective way to get screenshot of an iPhone Application: Hold down POWER and press HOME Button at the same time…Looking forward to your solution, as webguide does not work under windows 7.best regards from munich, nico

    Nico

    October 20, 2009 at 8:35 pm


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