Fixing the sports plugin

Re: Fixing the sports plugin

Post#121 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:04 pm

Sharks, I appriciate you joining the conversation. I have spoken to the author of sports bar, and its a good concept but from what I gathered, his plugin is still kinda up in the air. He couldn't find a way around the drm problem, and he had audio issues he couldn't quite narrow it down. I'm not sure about which details he would rather keep quite but maybe he'll chime back in at some point.
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Post#122 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:11 pm

And I forgot to mention, any MCML and or CS templates with explanations would help.
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Post#123 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:47 am

Try PM'ing Abbodi. Pretty amazing guy. He split Win10 wide open and injected some WMC.

https://forums.mydigitallife.info/threa ... ost1200602

You might want to start a thread over there.

You got to have 20 posts for full privileges.
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Post#124 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:43 pm

Will do, and thanks. I'm still asking around about this here and there and I've put a lot of thought into it but in terms of doing actual work to move it along, I had to put it on the back burner for a little bit due to working around the house, and work stuff. I'm slowly moving towards a new sports related program, and I'm kind of going back and forth about what language/development platform I should use. I'm thinking MCML will give the best user experience in windows media center but MCML is dying along with WMC. If I could find another platform that is still being developed, and use that inside of WMC instead, then would probably be better for everybody. So far, I've looked at building...

1. A Windows Presentation Foundation application. This uses a combination of C# and XAML, and the platform is still used a lot for development. WPF and C# are well documented, and this application can be launched from any other HTPC platform as far as I know. The disadvantage to this is that as far as WMC is concerned, its a deprecated method of development so I'm not sure how well it would act running inside of WMC. Microsoft is also trying to make it easy to port WPF apps to UWP apps so this choice will give the plugin a life beyond WMC.

2. Build a native WMC app using C#, and MCML. This option would run best inside of WMC but I can't really find much documentation on it, and it would require me to learn a language that will only be useful inside WMC. I'm still willing to do this if I have to but I want to look at my other choices first.

3.Build a webpage that can be hosted locally on the user's machine which displays sports information, and live TV/recordings. I'm not even sure this is possible but I want to look into it because every computer has a web browser, and WMC can display a webpage using .mcl files. You can do quite a bit graphically with CSS, and java, and this would probably give the plugin/App the most feature rich environment. I'm not sure about streaming h.264 or mpeg 2 videos on a web page though but I'm sure there is a way.

I'll still ask around about fixing the existing plugin but I also want to look at building something new, and see if that will be worth my time. As far as finding feeds, I'm hoping that if i don't distribute the program with feeds built into it, and instead allow users to add these later, I won't have to worry about content distribution/ legal woes.
The quickest way out of this problem looks like it would be finding someone to fix what is already there but the best way forward looks like building something that can be used on any platform.
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Post#125 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:39 pm

I sent abbodi a PM
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Post#126 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:43 pm

I just ran a tuner setup on a machine that stopped working after a recent Comcast channel re-organization.

Here are the InternetTV channels. Would be cool if the InternetTV cells in the guide actually did something.....
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Post#127 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:45 am

Crash, I've run across that also but I didn't catch the starz ITV channel. If you install the TV Library plugin, the internet TV tile shows up again but it doesn't have any content. I haven't had the time to play around with this too much lately but its still on my mind. I'm poking around to see what the best way to approach the problem is, and I got stalled working on machines around the house. I went out and got a PC just for my projects but it has WIn 10 and Visual Studio 2015 on it. I'd prefer to use a win 7/Visual Studio 2010 environment because the templates are already there, and I don't know my way around Visual Studio too well. I found yet another way to connect to a database in Win 7 natively through the Security and Analysis Configuration snap-in but I'm thinking its for View ACLs, and I get an error that tells me the file name is too long when I try to connect to mcepg through that snap in. I haven't put too much time into looking too deep into it but maybe someone here knows. For the RSS reader, I've found a prebuilt program written in C# on .net 3.5 but I haven't put it together, and I would still have to bind it to the WMC UI either through MCML or some other graphical language. Even a WIndows Forms app like the Netflix Plugin might work for just that purpose.
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Post#128 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:39 am

The ITV's are all 9000's. Starz1991 is a normal channel.

I am pretty sure I could install plain old Win7 Ultimate, with no SP1, and I would have ITV and the Sports Strip. There is a software that will record the changes that occur when you upgrade to SP1. Perhaps this might help...to know what is removed/changed.
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Post#129 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:34 pm

I'm thinking that might do the trick. I've also seen a way to supposedly unpack a Dll from powershell but you need to know the dependencies I think I have it written down somewhere so I'll share that tomorow. My sports strip is gone again but I've done a reinstall fairly recently also so I can't say for sure that I ever put it back. I have updates enabled and I use EPG123 so the sports strip might dissapear with regular updates. IF so, keeping it might just be a matter of lying to windows in just the right way. I've also found a few registry keys that set the value of which leagues you follow, and they're all empty on my machine. They were in the same area as the skip ahead interval.
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Post#130 » Mon May 01, 2017 6:00 pm

Alright, here is the info I have for registering a .dll file. I could try to explain most of it but i'll give a link instead. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/hel ... -interface. The syntax to run a .dll is RUNDLL32.EXE <dllname>,<entrypoint> <optional arguments>. In order to find the entry points for a given dll, you can use dependency walker to find the dll's functions. The functions in dependency walker are what you put in place of the <entrypoint> in the rundll32.exe. I haven't gotten my lab setup yet so I haven't tried this. Here is some information about dependency walker. http://www.thewindowsclub.com/dependenc ... r-download. I also looked at manually unpacking the cabinet files, but i'm not sure where I would unpack them to.
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Post#131 » Wed May 03, 2017 6:08 pm

After learning a little bit more about programming in general, and browsing the Dev page for WMC SDK, in the section describing loadmxf.exe, you can see they use two separate namespaces in the example xml documents, both of which are undocumented. These two namespaces are Microsoft.MediaCenter.Guide, and Microsoft.MediaCenter.Store. From what Niall has said in this forum, and his blog, and after looking at the programs he has written along with what krustyreturns gave me it seems obvious to me that there are separate programmatic functions for changing the appearance of the guide, and loading data into MCEPG.

I would guess that the .Guide namespace is used for things like adding and dropping channels in a lineup. You can already do this through WMC by editing your channels.

I’m thinking the .Store namespace is used for manipulating the guide itself, hence its name.

Now I’m wondering if the sports strip used separate APIs for each of its tiles. The On Now is still working, but the On later doesn’t leading me to believe that they each tap into separate functions. Does anyone know if any additional content was displayed, such as ads when it did work? That would point towards a separate API. I have seen a few posts around the internet around 2011 where people were complaining about their Sports, and Internet TV disappearing in WMC, which is a whole two years before they yanked it. I was also lucky enough to find a web address that was used for the scores section I think. After reading this post https://www.eehelp.com/question/the-spo ... -obsolete/
It looks like the webpage for sports was stored in the registry, and the sports application was hosted on sp.miomni.com/MCE_SP_StartPage.html. I’m wondering what would happen if someone were to buy up that domain, and build a new MCML based web page on it. I’m also wondering what would happen if we could find that registry key, and point it to a new page someone has created.

On this page https://www.eehelp.com/question/sports- ... nel-fails/
a user complains about the above mention failure of the sports strip, and give this description. I’ve found other complaints on MSDN about sports and ITV failing in 2011. It looks like a lot of the functionality that broke in WMC relates to Microsoft choosing to give up on advertising within the platform but that is just my guess. It appears this way to me because the parts that are missing look like they all relied on external web pages to deliver content, and every “Media Rich” site I’ve ever been to delivers advertisements.

Sports Media Center section / channel fails
Home Premium to Windows 7 (64-bit), the Sports Media Center Section / channel fails on HP E9200Z identical PC 2 I just bought, but my E9180T HP Vista PC works fine. Initially the same sports section was not, then after that the TV Signal configuration appeared. Now, when you take Sports, each sub-section does the following:
We Now - works well
On Later - it always shows "No Sporting events found."
Partitions - it always shows 'Search'... "I left it there for hours? Looking
Players - a completely white screen.
Leagues - it blocks the program then it restarts finally. Message he shows is, "Media Center has stopped working", on the second attempt, the same thing happens, but it displays, windows searches for a solution to the problem, then "a problem caused blocking the program works correctly. Windows will close the program and inform you is a solution is available. "and a close button the program if. poster, selecting just close the Media Center.
My registry made this interesting:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curiousy\Media Center\Settings\Sports
(Default) - (value not set)
LeagueSettingsSelectedLeague - white
PlayersSelectedLeague - white
ScoresSelectedLeague - white
Version – 65537

Anyway, I’ll keep investigating, and these are all just my thoughts.
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Post#132 » Wed May 03, 2017 6:12 pm

And why not use one of the xml to mxf converters to load data into SportsSchedule.MXF? Then I guess it would just be a matter of using loadmxf to load it into to MCEPG if windows didn't do that on its own. Is there a MXF to XML converter anyone knows about so that we could see sportschedule.mxf
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Post#133 » Sat May 06, 2017 2:55 pm

Crash2009 wrote:I just ran a tuner setup on a machine that stopped working after a recent Comcast channel re-organization.

Here are the InternetTV channels. Would be cool if the InternetTV cells in the guide actually did something.....


When they did, they sucked anyway. Most of full shows were so old and most were shows that no one heard of, or just not popular shows. The other stuff was just previews. I remember when I was in the beta program, it was the biggest complaint with it. Even after release, it sometimes got some random content but, it still sucked.

They killed it but, left those channels in place.

Wouldn't it be nice if it could show the top trending youtube videos, or something like that ? Or different channels based on your youtube choices of favorites (I tend to watch a lot of youtube, so kind of a fan now)
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Post#134 » Sat May 06, 2017 11:00 pm

I found another mxf file, and it looks like something has been purposely changed, I'm guessing by Microsoft. In /ehome/packages/broadband/broadband, there is an MXF file named null-us_null_13_BBPkg.mxf. This is in the WIn 10 port but I'm guessing the file name would be the same anywhere else. If someone has a stock version of windows 7 (Pre-SP1?) can they open up that location, and see what mxf files are in there?
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Post#135 » Sun May 07, 2017 1:50 am

DavidinCT wrote:Wouldn't it be nice if it could show the top trending youtube videos, or something like that ? Or different channels based on your youtube choices of favorites (I tend to watch a lot of youtube, so kind of a fan now)


Good idea!

I was thinking about having shortcuts to our own Movie collection or RecordedTV, but yes, could be pointed to internet, Netflix, YouTube, Radio Stations.
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Post#136 » Sun May 07, 2017 2:48 am

jachin99 wrote: /ehome/packages/broadband/broadband, there is an MXF file named null-us_null_13_BBPkg.mxf. If someone has a stock version of windows 7 (Pre-SP1?) can they open up that location, and see what mxf files are in there?


I just checked my Win7 box. I have several versions of null-us_null_13_BBPkg.mxf

"C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\Packages\Broadband\Broadband\null-us_null_13_BBPkg.mxf"

The file from 9/26/2012 is likely my original build backup. Sports and ITV were likely working at that time.
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Post#137 » Sat May 20, 2017 4:15 am

I've had a chance to browse through the registry for a while over the past day or two but I didn't see much related to sports. I did see a crap load of iTV keys though. I'd like to look at what a Win 7 Pre-sp1 registry looks like, and I'm really looking for these hives in particular.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center

The current user hive is where the sports web page is stored I'm guessing, and those keys aren't there on any of my machines. I'd like to see if they are there on older machines.
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Post#138 » Tue May 30, 2017 2:22 am

This is weird, just because my guide on this particular machine is broken anyway and I happened to be playing around with loadmxf. I tried loading my epg123.mxf file into various data stores whose name were a complete guess. This is my entire attempt pasted from my command line. Could this just be giving me false hope because it processes the guide data first, THEN tries loading it? I wonder if I can use C# commands in the command line?

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Windows\system32>loadmxf.exe

LoadMXF [-s storeFilename] [-v] [-i inputFilename]

where:
-s storeFilename - the filename of the store.
If not specified, the default store will
be used.
-v - verbose. Show progress during the load.
-i inputFilename - the filename of the MXF file to load.

C:\Windows\system32>loadmxf.exe -v -i epg123.mxf
Error: epg123.mxf does not exist or can not be opened for reading. Aborting.

C:\Windows\system32>loadmxf.exe -v -i C:\epg123_v1.1.4_w7\epg123.mxf
Loading... 100%
C:\Windows\system32>loadmxf.exe -i C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\ehome\Packages\Sport
sSchedule\SportsSchedule.mxf -v
Error: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\ehome\Packages\SportsSchedule\SportsSchedule.mxf
does not exist or can not be opened for reading. Aborting.

C:\Windows\system32>loadmxf.exe -i C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\ehome\Packages\Sport
sSchedule\SportsSchedule.mxf -v
Error: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\ehome\Packages\SportsSchedule\SportsSchedule.mxf
does not exist or can not be opened for reading. Aborting.

C:\Windows\system32>loadmxf.exe -s [microsoft.mediaCenter.Sports] -v -i C:\epg12
3_v1.1.4_w7\epg123.mxf
Loading... 99%Error: The following error was encountered while processing the fi
le. Aborting.

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

C:\Windows\system32>
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Post#139 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:43 pm

I was peeking around at media browser just out of curiosity, and it looks like it has a sports, and iTV plugin so I dug around a little more. It turns out there is a sports database that developers can use and in the same way programs like Recorded TV HD use TMDB, TVDB, etc. The Sportsdb uses a JSON API, and I know just a tiny little bit of Java so I think I'll start tinkering with it. I looked at the media portal sports plugins, and they look like they work pretty good. If someone else decides to beat me to the chase and make a sports plugin then it wouldn't hurt my feelings any, and even if I do create a working plugin that can fetch sports data, I would still need some serious help integrating TV functionality into it. The API itself looks like it can display scores, player data, and a few other things. Here is a link http://www.thesportsdb.com/forum/viewto ... 1dece00038
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Post#140 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:22 pm

I looked around at this some more the other day, and I also cracked open the Microsoft.MediaCenter.Sports.dll and found it depends on these references MCEPG and MCSTORE, along with a few others. I also found these namespaces; MediaCenter.Sports, MediaCenter.Sports.Data, MediaCenter.Sports.Platform, MediaCenter.Sports.Resources, MediaCenter.Sports.UX. I also have what I think is all of the code for the entire sports experience, and the EPG. I can't really do too much with all of this info because I don't know enough C# but if someone would like to learn a lot more about WMC, speak up and I'll share. One other thing I found that might be interesting is that I found a namespace called MediaCenter.Store.Sqllite under the mcstore.dl
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