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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 :


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…



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? 🙂


    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!


    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).


    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 🙂


    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 regards from munich, nico


    October 20, 2009 at 8:35 pm

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