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Big Screen EPG Renewals system is Live..

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It’s been almost 2 years now since Big Screen EPG for WIndows 7 Media Center went on sale for the first time– and that means the first batch of paid/subscribing users are almost at the end of their 2 year subscription period.

Up until now there wasn’t any easy way to resubscribe using the same serial number (as of course no one needed to yet) – so I spent a bit of time upgrading the purchase system to handle this functionality.

The Renew feature has been added to your bigscreenglobal.com account page (just click on ‘Account’ once you’ve logged into your account) – so just click on the appropriate link (next to the subscription you wish to extend) – and it will take you through the purchase wizard with that subscription selected.

image

 

Discount for Early Bird Re-Subscribers (+ a small discount for those who aren’t as quick)

As a reward for those who’ve gotten behind this product and previously purchased it – I decided to offer a special discount to those who are renewing (applicable when you renew an existing Big Screen EPG license).

First up there’s an Early Bird discount – which gives you 25% off the original RRP (USD$19.95). This discount will be automatically applied when you go to renew your subscription from now up until 14 days past the expiry date (for example : If your license was due to expire on 1st August 2012 – you have up until 15th August 2012 to get this Early Bird discount)..

If you miss out on the Early Bird discount – then a smaller discount of 10% off the original RRP will be automatically applied to your purchase.

Note that you don’t need any special discount code for these – assuming you’ve clicked on the Renew link – the site will work out which discount you are eligible for and apply it.

Once you’ve renewed – don’t forget to load the Big Screen EPG configuration tool and re-activate your product so that it picks up the new expiry dates.

 

Notes on Windows 8 support

For those that missed it earlier – there is now a Windows 8 specific version of Big Screen EPG (released along with the v1.5a windows 7 version update back in March of this year) – and available for download right now on the Big Screen EPG product page.  If you’re not sure if you are going to upgrade – or you’re running the WIn8 CP (Consumer Preview) – and you might go back to Windows 7 – the good news is the Big Screen EPG license is allowed to be used on both WIndows 7 and Windows 8 (no need to purchase a separate license). As it’s a family license – the main rule is still you can run Big Screen EPG on up to 5 pc’s inside your house – and it doesn’t matter if they are Windows 7 or 8 versions.

Thus far although the Windows 8 version is officially considered to be an unsupported beta product (as is Windows 8 CP) – it appears everything is working as it should – I’ve been personally running Big Screen EPG on Windows 8 CP for over 3 months now and it hasn’t missed a beat.  Further good news is that all indications from Microsoft are that what you see in the Windows 8 CP is the exact same build/version of Media Center that you will see available with the final release of Windows 8 later this year (so nothing is expected to break or require further work in Big Screen EPG when that does happen).

The bad news of course (for HTPC enthusiasts) is that Microsoft is all but strangling the Media Center platform to death with their recent decision to remove it from the intended Windows 8 o/s SKU’s and make it an additional addon only (which also requires you update to the Professional SKU of Windows 8 before you are eligible).  For this reason it’s entirely likely many of you who are giving Windows 8 CP a spin on your HTPC machines may revert back to Windows 7 if you are forced to pay a whole lot extra for it at release.

 

 

So anyhow that’s the news on Big Screen EPG – so don’t forget to go and renew your subscriptions before they expire and you lose your ‘Pro’ features from the product (or do so within 14 days post expiration to get the Early Bird discount).  Also don’t forget to re-activate your installed versions to pick up the new subscription expiry dates if you renew!

Written by mobilewares

May 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Big Screen EPG v1.5a Beta Available (with Win8CP Support)

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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).

    image

  • New UI to make increasing number of tuners much easier – previously was a command line option only :
    image
  • 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 :
    image
  • 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).

Enjoy!

Written by mobilewares

March 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

3rd Party EPGs on 8MC (and some other interesting bits)

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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 :

win8epg

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..

 

Written by mobilewares

March 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

WP7 App Launch : AU Video.OD (streaming Video + WebTV for Australians)..

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(Yet another) brand new mobilewares.net product has just been published to the WP7 Marketplace called ‘AU Video.OD’.

This time it’s an App dedicated to bringing you streaming Video On Demand + live WebTV direct to your Windows Phone 7 (in awesomely hi-res quality) – and brings the mobilewares.net WP7 app range up to 19 products.

As the name suggests (the AU bit at least) – the app is primarily focused on Australian content (although has a smattering of quality o/s content) – so you won’t be wasting time watching low bitrate foreign language news from the Ukraine (as seems to be the go on many of the other video apps out there on other platforms).

AU Video.OD is built on the same engine used for the previously released AU + UK Newswire Apps – but enhanced somewhat to work directly with full screen live/streaming video and provides a more media rich front end browser. 

 

SplashScreenImage   vau1   vau3

The App (as pictured above and further below) – provides a couple of different types of sources of content :

One of these is the awesome collection of online streaming video provided by Australia’s ABCTV (and a couple of other parties) – including latest/previous full length episodes of over 20+ shows (ie. The Movie Show, Good Game, At the Movies, Q&A, Poh’s Kitchen, Media Watch etc) – plus latest selected segments from other current affairs/news shows like 7:30 report and Lateline/Lateline Business (which is handy if you’re just after a particular story or interview). 

The ABCTV streaming quality is simply awesome – it’s fast, hi-res, full screen – and no buffering (if you’re internet connection is half decent). The other great thing (apart from there being 100’s if not 1000’s of hours of content) – is that it’s all updated daily as new episodes are screened – so there will be always something to watch.

The other source of content is from live WebTV streams – such as 6 live tv channels from BigPond (which I think are the same ones that T-Box users get – such as News, Sports News, AFL, NRL etc) – plus other international channels like BSkyB News UK, Nasa TV etc.  These live channels are handy to have available – particularly when there’s live breaking news (such as last few days from the terrible earthquake in Japan).

Please note that all video is very good quality and pretty high bandwidth – so it’s recommended you use this app when you have a wireless connection (home, office etc) – or you ensure you have a very large 3g mobile plan (with several gb’s).

The screenshots above / and below give you some more ideas on the types of content you’ll have available.

vau2  vau5  vau6

 

Anyhow – AU Video.OD is available right now from the Music & Videos section (or within a couple of hours if you’re marketplace app is caching old data) – for just USD$1.99 – or AUD$3.00 (when converted using the Marketplace exchange rate).

 

If you’re reading this on a Windows Phone 7 – or you have Zune client installed – click this link below to go straight to the app (so you can install/purchase it):

image

And in other news…

Additionally – I’m also happy to announce that AU Newswire was a ‘runner up’ in the Microsoft Australia Dev vs Dev competition (results announced today) – and I’ll shortly be the proud owner of a 2nd HTC Mozart device.

Big congratulations are in order to the other runners-up and winner (whom I’m extremely jealous of given they won a totally awesome trip to Mix11 in Las Vegas) – and thanks to Microsoft AU for running the comp!

Written by mobilewares

March 17, 2011 at 10:59 pm

WP7 App(s) Launch: 6 x new Apps with FMRadio

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Another batch of new Windows Phone 7 apps have just been submitted for certification (hopefully should be published to Marketplace sometime in the next 24-48 hrs).  This will bring the mobilewares WP7 app catalogue up to 16 published apps.

The new apps are designed to work with your phone’s internal FM Radio – allowing you to quickly locate available radio stations in your area (from an inbuilt database contain radio station frequencies, names, genre and transmitter information). You can also mark your favorite stations as presets (for easy retrieval) – or view/filter the stations by type.

au3  au6  au4

 

The app(s) also allow you to add custom FM stations – which is really useful if you need to regularly tune into to stations at your local gym (ie. for watching TV sets), university/college or elsewhere..

There’s a specific app designed for each of 6 different countries/regions (more to come including the US) – and currently the offerings include (click links to go to the specific product pages) :

 

ApplicationIcon AU FMRadio
Supports a massive inbuilt catalogue of 1800+ stations from around Australia.
ApplicationIcon CA FMRadio
Supports a massive inbuilt catalogue of 480+ English and French stations from around Canada.
ApplicationIcon HK FMRadio
Supports a large inbuilt catalogue FM stations from various transmitters around Hong Kong – plus stations you can also receive from nearby Mainland China and Maccau.
ApplicationIcon NZ FMRadio
Supports all the known FM Radio stations from across New Zealand – including popular music and indigenous Maori stations.
ApplicationIcon SG FMRadio
Supports a inbuilt catalogue of all the FM stations from Singapore + nearby stations in Indonesia and Malaysia (receivable in Singapore).
ApplicationIcon UK FMRadio
Supports a massive inbuilt catalogue of 3800+ stations from around United Kingdom – including England, Wales, Scotland, and Nth Ireland.

 

The apps support a common slick/theme aware UI (which adapts itself to the particular theme you have set your phone to use) – including using the accent color to  colorize your digital frequency viewer (light/dark theme supported too) :

hk1   uk1 sg4

You can also tilt the phone sideways (into landscape mode) – to get an uber cool interactive radio frequency slider – which supports WP7 flicks/gestures to slide your way up and down the dial to available frequencies :

sideview

 

The apps are will be available shortly for purchase or for trial (with limited functionality – but allowing you to fully test out the features).  Pricing various for app to app (to suit the individual markets) – ranging from USD$0.99 to USD$1.99.

Enjoy – and look for even more apps coming soon!

Written by mobilewares

February 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm

WP7 App(s) Launch: 4 x new Apps for Sports Fans

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A bunch (4) of new apps have been submitted for certification to Windows Phone 7 Marketplace – which caters for those who are into sport. 

These apps all use the recently developed ‘mobilewares Fixture Engine Technology’ (aka MFET – or at least until I come up with a sexier name) – to deliver a consistent and easy to use User Interface for keeping up with your favorite sports.

The four apps are :

AU Footy Fixtures 2011for AFL (that’s Aussie Rules Football for you non Australians)
AU League Fixtures 2011for NRL (Australian + Slightly Kiwi Rugby League)
ICC World Cup Fixtures 2011 – for the upcoming Cricket World Cup in February-March.
Super Rugby Fixtures 2011 – for SANZAR Super 15 Rugby (Union)

Note : Click on any of the above links to visit the specific product pages on the mobilewares.net website.

All the apps share a similar set of features (populated with appropriate metadata and imagery/logos) :

– View Upcoming Matches for the Comp + Nominated Team.
– Browse Entire season (or tournament) for selected Teams.
– View Round by Round (or day by day)  fixtures as well as finals schedule.
– Browse Latest RSS News Feeds from Major Sites with team specific feeds
– Comprehensive Venue details with interactive Bing Maps
– Preloaded Images/Data minimizes bandwidth.
– Easy to use and Intuitive User Interface

Each app will be available shortly on Marketplace in the Sports category (as soon as MSFT publish/certify them) – and will sell for USD$1.99 each. Trial versions are available for each so you can take it for a test drive first.

Here’s some screenshots below of what you can expect (taken mostly from the AU Footy Fixtures 2011 app) :

afl1 afl2 afl3 afl4 afl5 afl6 afl7 afl8 icc8

I hope to bring out more of these apps (for other sports and competitions) over coming months..

stay tuned – and check them out in the Sports section of Windows Marketplace shortly!

Written by mobilewares

February 8, 2011 at 5:17 am

WP7 App Launch : “AU Weather Pro” (Live Data from BOM)

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I’ve just submitted a(nother) new App to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace – AU Weather Prowhich as the name suggests provides comprehensive Australian weather observations and forecasts (from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology).

Of Note – this app brings the observation/forecast functionality from ‘Big Screen Weather v2’ (for Windows Media Center) – with numerous enhancements to your Windows Phone 7 (such as BOM specific 72hour views etc).  For those wanting the animated radar – this app can be used in conjunction with AU Radar (available now on Windows Marketplace).

The App should (hopefully) be live in the next 24-72 hours. (depending on how quickly it gets passed by the Marketplace certification team).

Here’s the wrap (taken from the Marketplace description) – or view the product page:


smallIcon AU Weather Pro

 

AU Weather Pro provides a comprehensive app to view Latest Weather Observations and 7 day* Forecasts from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (www.bom.gov.au).

With support for over 550+ Observation locations and 200+ forecast locations (provided by BOM weather stations around Australia) – you’ll be getting the most up to date and extensive coverage possible.

Sporting a slick and theme aware User Interface – once you’ve set your current observation and forecast locations – latest details will be displayed (and updated) upon load.

Finding your nearest BOM weather stations is made simple by using your phone’s GPS lookup – which auto configures the nearest points at a click of a button – or allows you to browse all the available locations by state and region. You can also configure refresh settings for data downloaded data.

When viewing latest observations – you’ll not only see the current temperature/icon – you’ll also get numerous other details such as wind speed/gust/direction, rainfall, humidity, pressure, cloud coverage, visibility as well as numerous other stats about the temperature where available (such as max/min temperatures for that day).

Drill down to a detailed 72 hour history for – which shows all available historical readings for that weather station (grouped by category – or via a summary page). Once in this page you can also tilt the phone to landscape mode and check out various data plotted onto a 72 hr graph.

When viewing latest forecasts – you can drill down to a graphical view – or you can go and browse over 200 forecasts from all over Australia – and see up to 7 days of forecast data from other locations (without downloading any additional data).

Please Note : the trial version of this application will allow you to view limited or sample data only – and forecast ranges will be limited to 3 days only. All values/data will be made available upon full purchase.

*Note that some BOM stations may not provide all metadata.

 

Pricing/Availability :   USD$2.99 / AUD $4.00 (Trial Version Available) /  Available soon in the ‘News + Weather’ category in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

see screenshots below :

wpr_obsmain  wpr_fcmain  wpr_nationalfc

wpr_fcgraph  wpr_72hrgraph  wpr_72summary

wpr_72hist  wpr_settings  wpr_settingslist

NB: Local WP7 Shell notifications functionality will be provided on a future update.

Written by mobilewares

January 5, 2011 at 2:48 am