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Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

Big Screen ‘By Remote’ v0.6b – Update Launched

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An updated version of Big Screen ‘By Remote’ (a browser/silverlight client for Windows 7 Media Center) was launched today (‘v0.6b’ beta)– which adds some brand new features and also fixes some bugs from the v0.6a beta launched last month.

A couple of the new ‘funky’ features of this release are to do with the EPG Grid – and provides some brand new ways of browsing your EPG such as the ‘By Channel’ view (pictured below). This new ‘By Channel’ view takes the original EPG Grid concept and pivots it around so the entire grid represents a nominated channel – and each row represents a day of the week (rather than each row being an individual channel). This new view then allows you to view all upcoming programmes on your favorite channel(s) – rather than having to step through each day on the standard EPG Grid (which shows data ‘per day’).  As per example below – you can then go to a timeslot (such as evening/primetime) – and see whats on for the next 7-14 days without any reloading of data.  Then to make things a little more usable – the row headers on either of the standard EPG Grid (by Day) and the ‘By Channel’ view can be clicked so you can quickly jump between the two views (ie. if you click on a channel logo in standard grid – it loads up the by channel view with that channel and vice versa).

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Another new feature of both these EPG Grids is the ability to (slighly) customize the views. The customization options introduced in this version (pictured below)  allow you to change the ‘zoom’ level of the time display – which can make your 30 minute blocks wider/narrower allowing you to see more (and less) in your view window.  Additionally – you can now enable display of episode titles in the EPG Grid (which adds an additional line of text to each programme entry) – which is useful for a number of reasons (in the example below it allows you to see which actual AFL football match is being broadcast – which is provided via the episode title ie. ‘2010 Round 15 – Melbourne vs Sydney’ – and not the programme title which is just ‘AFL: Championship Season’ for all matches). The new customization options are provided by a new Settings dialog – which now incorporates the EPG Local cache settings introduced in v0.6a.

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There’s also some (well reported) bug fixes for this release – one causing particular pain in v0.6a (and unfortunately introduced to that version) was a problem which prevented the Windows Service from starting when the machine was rebooted (and has now been fixed).

Anyhow – here’s the full list of fixes/enhancements below (taken from the Release Notes) –

  • (SL) New: Brand New Page/Tab in Silverlight Client  – ‘Browse By Channel’.  This new tab provides a new EPG Grid – which displays available programmes by Channel – rather then by Day of the Week (and each row in the EPG Grid represents a Day – rather then channel). This allows you to easily view all programmes being aired on a favorite channel for up to 14 days in a single page. The functionality is similar to the standard EPG Grid except that up the top you can select different channels from the drop down (which replaces the day picker).
  • (SL) New: Clickable Channel Headers (on standard EPG Grid) and Day Headers (on By Channel EPG Grid). By Clicking on the row headers on either version of the grid – you can easily jump back and forth between the two epg grid views. For example if viewing EPG per a particular day – you can click on the Channel Row Header – and it will switch to the ‘By Channel’ view and select the nominated channel (showing you all up to 14 days of programmes for that channel). The reverse of this function also exists (from the By Channel view) – and allows you to click a day header a flip back to the EPG grid for that day.
  • (SL) Enhanced : The ‘cache settings’ button (in top right) and dialog has now become a ‘Client Settings’ dialog – and the icon has changed to an Options Icon (instead of the cache icon). This dialog now has tabbed display for client settings with the first page being ‘EPG Cache Settings’ and the second tab being for ‘EPG Display Settings’ (see below).
  • (SL) New: EPG Display Settings : This new option allows you to slightly customize the look/feel of the EPG Grid. In this release of By Remote – this allows you to enable/disable extended program display (which shows an additional line containing the Episode Title – if available) – and also adjust the width of each 30 minute block in the EPG Grid. Note that when you nominate to show additional program details (currently just Episode Title) – the height of each row in the EPG Grid will be made taller to allow for the additional line of text. NB: More Display Customization options will be added in future via this new settings tab.
  • (SL) Fixed : Globalization Issues with display of times, dates throughout the UI. In previous versions there was various issues with supporting non-english locales which had different rules for display of times and dates – and in many places english datetime display/text had been hardcoded (ie times had AM/PM etc). This new version now uses the .NET globalization routines to correctly interrogate your locale/culture information (and format it correctly) – and also correctly handles locales where concept of AM/PM is not used (and instead uses 24 hour time for these). Similarly – use of the system’s date formatting is now implemented in most places (so it should pickup different day/month/year ordering based on your culture).  These changes should now work for all locales supported by .NET/Silverlight 4 including use of non english characters for display of dates and times. (ie. Thai, Chinese, Hebrew, Greek etc).
    NB: The Mobile Phone clients have not yet been updated with these date/time display routines – will be done in future.
  • (SL) Enhanced : Look/Feel updated to look a little better. This includes a new black/smaller loading dialog – which also now appears more quickly when loading data (in past there could be a pause before it was shown) – and also now correctly shows status of what is going on.  Also enhanced is the Recorded Files + Scheduled views to use new group headeres which look better within the current look/feel.
  • Fixed : Problems with Windows Service not starting when machine was rebooted.
  • Added : Windows Service Log now being generated in ‘%ProgramData%Big ScreenEPG’ directory (svclog.txt)
  • Fixed(?) : Upgraded Internal Web Server to (hopefully) fix problems with Windows Mobile device access from outside routers.

The new version of By Remote is available for download now on the bigscreenglobal.com website.

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Written by mobilewares

July 24, 2010 at 11:09 pm

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