Windows Media Center Returns!

Latest and Greatest in the world of Technology and/or Media Center.
Kevin Chalet

Posts: 121
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:00 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#21

Post by Kevin Chalet » Sat Sep 02, 2023 8:38 am

softworkz wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2023 9:33 pm I had a short chat with acer-.. and I guess it was your blog that I had read on the subject? So well - nice to meet you!
Indeed, it's me. Nice to meet you too :mrgreen:
softworkz wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2023 9:33 pm Yes, TVnext beats those timings - with HLS streaming to a LAN client included. It's very close to a TV's hardware tuner switching (just 100-300ms slower).

It's a bit difficult to name absolute times because it depends on whether the tuner needs to re-tune or the target channel is on the same transponder/mux and also on whether you are hitting a video keyframe or you just missed one.
Without transcoding, 700ms are achievable, when the tuner is on Linux. Unfortunately there's a 300ms penalty on Windows with BDA (comparing same tuners). Transcoding adds 600-900ms.
Sounds very promising! (FWIW, I briefly tried Emby a while ago - before it moved to a closed-source license I believe - and switching times were definitely not that fast 8-))
softworkz wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2023 9:33 pm TVnext just pipes the stream into ffmpeg in and out, so there's buffering and overlapping disk IO in the way. That's probably why your values are higher.
Ah yeah, I should have been clearer about that: in our tests, piping was used too without first writing the content to the disk (I updated my post to include the timings I get without ffmpeg in the mix: less than a second/1 second max, so ffmpeg doing "nothing" basically adds 0.5s/1s: not free, but certainly not slow either).
softworkz wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2023 9:44 pm Thanks a lot for pointing this out, I wasn't aware. It should be fixed now.
My pleasure :mrgreen:
softworkz wrote: Fri Sep 01, 2023 10:33 pm The WMC UI Beta is available now: http://WMC.emby.media/

There's also a new video with a detailed walkthrough: https://youtu.be/dbbZhED1z94
Great video! :thumbup:

Quick question: I don't have an Emby server set up so I couldn't give it a try, but I took a look at the package files and noticed that while the .NET Framework app itself was not obfuscated, many .js files in the Electron app were (and the Electron part seems to be where most of the fun happens: AFAICT, the .NET app only deals with networking and plugin installation/update). What are your plans regarding customization?

User avatar
softworkz

Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2023 11:41 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#22

Post by softworkz » Sat Sep 02, 2023 4:12 pm

Pinpoint wrote: Sat Sep 02, 2023 8:38 am
Sounds very promising! (FWIW, I briefly tried Emby a while ago - before it moved to a closed-source license I believe - and switching times were definitely not that fast 8-))
Yea, that's correct and it's still the same in current Emby Server (without TVnext). I use to explain it like this:

Emby is very good in playing back ANY kind of media on ANY kind of device while employing the available and configured ways of of hardware-accelerated or sw-transcoding at the server (disclaimer: I developed most of this and I'm also contributing to ffmpeg in this area).
These procedures are reliable and universal, and as such they also work for TV streams, but a typical downside of universal solutions is that they often can't provide optimal handling for specific use cases. That's where TVnext comes into play: it provides optimized, no-compromise processing for TV streams only. It processes and decodes MPEGTS streams in-memory, it parses video streams to identify IDR frames and creates HLS segments on-the-fly, streaming them to clients even before they are written to disk and before they are complete. None of this would be possible with ffmpeg.
Pinpoint wrote: Sat Sep 02, 2023 8:38 am
Ah yeah, I should have been clearer about that: in our tests, piping was used too without first writing the content to the disk (I updated my post to include the timings I get without ffmpeg in the mix: less than a second/1 second max, so ffmpeg doing "nothing" basically adds 0.5s/1s: not free, but certainly not slow either).
LOL, granted - it's a matter of perspective: If you would have been spending so much time on fighting down every 100ms, you would probably consider it slow as well :D
Pinpoint wrote: Sat Sep 02, 2023 8:38 am
Great video! :thumbup:

Quick question: I don't have an Emby server set up so I couldn't give it a try, but I took a look at the package files and noticed that while the .NET Framework app itself was not obfuscated, many .js files in the Electron app were (and the Electron part seems to be where most of the fun happens: AFAICT, the .NET app only deals with networking and plugin installation/update). What are your plans regarding customization?
We never had such extreme obfuscation before and the other apps don't have it yet, but we've gotten challenged by Chinese cracks for circumventing Emby Premiere limitations (even though it's just $6/month for multiple servers and 25 clients).
The regular Emby Theater app is loading the application files from an online source, but for the Emby Theater WMC, they are part of the installation and even more exposed. It's also a test for whether we'll proceed with this.

It doesn't affect customization options. The available options are:

- Server Plugins
These are very powerful and allow customization in really broad range of areas
Server plugins can add configuration pages for server administration, but don't change client UI
- Web App CSS
For the web app which is hosted by Emby Server directly, you can configure custom CSS
- Entry Page Customization
There are some options for configuring text and logo for the entry/login pages
- Context Menu Customization
This is an upcoming feature which allows to add client-side functionality in form of adding context menu items (or extra actions in case of the WMC UI)

Customization by making modifications to the htmljs code directly is not supported. But this has nothing to do with the obfuscation. Even when you had the original code to modify it, you wouldn't have any fun doing so, because this code is so rapidly changing in fundamental parts, that it would just drive you to desperation while trying to keep-up (and I know what I'm talking about, sighh).

User avatar
softworkz

Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2023 11:41 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#23

Post by softworkz » Sat Sep 02, 2023 4:16 pm

Pinpoint wrote: Sat Sep 02, 2023 8:38 am
Sounds very promising! (FWIW, I briefly tried Emby a while ago - before it moved to a closed-source license I believe
A note on the subject of Emby going closed-source: This is seen by many as a bad and unfriendly move, but only few people really understand the background. Even though all of the Emby code has been provided under an open-source license, it has never really been a typical open-source project developed as a community effort. In fact, 98% of the Emby code had been developed by just 2 persons (the Emby owners). If it would have been different, it wouldn't have been possible to go closed source (after replacing the 2% with own code).

One of the main actors behind the JellyFin fork had earlier published a crack to circumvent the "Emby Supporter" mechanism which provided some extra features, and also made inacceptable claims and statements, which finally led to the decision of closing the source and revoking the GPL licensing. From a legal point of view, the fork couldn't be disputed, but from a moral standpoint, it was just stealing.
While they made progress in certain areas, they still have more code from the old Emby 3.x (when they forked) than current Emby itself.

Without these events having happened, Emby might possibly still be open source these days (even though under a different license). But when you see people standing up in front of you, telling what rights they think they have on the code on which you have been working on for years, and to which they didn't contribute the slightest bit, then you can't just tolerate that. At that time, I've been the first one to suggest going closed source, which was the best possible decision.
What I really hate to see these days is that so many people are thinking that JF would be the "good guys" and Emby the bad guys.
Though, nothing against all the community developers participating and contributing there. Probably they don't even know that the original code base was effectively stolen.

blupupher

Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:27 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#24

Post by blupupher » Thu Jan 04, 2024 8:43 pm

So forgive my ignorance on this, but I am down to just one old Win 7 WMC unit and need a replacement before this one dies.
Is this something that would let me have the same WMC experience on a standalone Windows 10 computer with a tv tuner?
Do I need to have a server to run it off of?

Have not been much into this stuff since my stuff has just worked, and my wife needs the simplicity of WMC to watch live tv, record tv, and playback movies (both on dvd and saved as .iso files), and I don't want to have to mess with a bunch of stuff to get it to work.

User avatar
IT Troll

Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:42 am
Location: Edinburgh, UK

HTPC Specs: Show details

#25

Post by IT Troll » Fri Jan 05, 2024 9:30 am

I completely missed this news, but just watched the walkthrough video. It is an impressively accurate recreation of the original UI.

This is both a good and a not so good thing. Some parts of the Media Center UI are a little dated and can really benefit from customisations like changing the theme to use different colours and icons, tweaking the guide to show more rows and more time, using add-ins (like Recorded TV HD) to modernise and consolidate the browsing of recorded TV and other media. Will any of this possible?

blupupher wrote: Thu Jan 04, 2024 8:43 pm Is this something that would let me have the same WMC experience on a standalone Windows 10 computer with a tv tuner?
Do I need to have a server to run it off of?
Most of the alternatives like this use a client and server model. Usually both parts can be run on the same machine.
Are you a Recorded TV HD user or want to give it a try? Check out the new community-made update; Recorded TV HD v2.1.1

prsa01

Posts: 125
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 4:19 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#26

Post by prsa01 » Fri Jan 05, 2024 12:04 pm

IT Troll wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2024 9:30 am I completely missed this news, but just watched the walkthrough video. It is an impressively accurate recreation of the original UI.

This is both a good and a not so good thing. Some parts of the Media Center UI are a little dated and can really benefit from customisations like changing the theme to use different colours and icons, tweaking the guide to show more rows and more time, using add-ins (like Recorded TV HD) to modernise and consolidate the browsing of recorded TV and other media. Will any of this possible?

blupupher wrote: Thu Jan 04, 2024 8:43 pm Is this something that would let me have the same WMC experience on a standalone Windows 10 computer with a tv tuner?
Do I need to have a server to run it off of?
Most of the alternatives like this use a client and server model. Usually both parts can be run on the same machine.
I had planned on trying this late last year but got sidetracked, still planning on giving this a shot this year. I'm currently evaluating nextPVR. Most things, including iptv integration, work very well. It is definitely a different user experience tho and will take a bit to meet the WAF.

To the original question, do some reading in the win10 sub-forum, many are successfully running wmc on win10 and 11. The only major issue is windows updates. When I move to win10 I will use stop10 or similar to control updates, attempt to determine if an update will cause problems, and backup the system prior to allowing updates.

User avatar
softworkz

Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2023 11:41 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#27

Post by softworkz » Fri Jan 05, 2024 6:59 pm

Hi, and thanks a lot for your comments!
IT Troll wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2024 9:30 am
blupupher wrote: Thu Jan 04, 2024 8:43 pm Is this something that would let me have the same WMC experience on a standalone Windows 10 computer with a tv tuner?
Do I need to have a server to run it off of?
Most of the alternatives like this use a client and server model. Usually both parts can be run on the same machine.
prsa01 wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2024 12:04 pm I had planned on trying this late last year but got sidetracked, still planning on giving this a shot this year. I'm currently evaluating nextPVR. Most things, including iptv integration, work very well. It is definitely a different user experience tho and will take a bit to meet the WAF.
Yes, Emby is a client-server personal media server and yes, of course you can run client and server on the same machine.
The WMC UI is a new UI for Emby which completely and precisely resembles the original WMC UI. As a whole, it's not a full replacement for WMC yet, because the TV back-end features are far from being on-par with WMC. This will be done in another project named "TVnext" (you can search the Emby forums for it). TVnext is in a late stage but not yet available as a public beta - but hopefully soon. This in turn will provide a full replacement for WMC, then.

In the meantime, you can try with nextPVR and get the channels from nextPVR into Emby, as there is a "NextPVR Plugin" for Emby. This works, but it's not as perfect as it will be with TVnext.

User avatar
softworkz

Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2023 11:41 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#28

Post by softworkz » Fri Jan 05, 2024 7:18 pm

IT Troll wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2024 9:30 am I completely missed this news, but just watched the walkthrough video. It is an impressively accurate recreation of the original UI.

This is both a good and a not so good thing. Some parts of the Media Center UI are a little dated and can really benefit from customisations like changing the theme to use different colours and icons, tweaking the guide to show more rows and more time, using add-ins (like Recorded TV HD) to modernise and consolidate the browsing of recorded TV and other media. Will any of this possible?
When you take on a project like this, you need to have clear goals. When you don't have clear goals, you inevitably start making your life easier by avoiding things that are tough or inconenient to do (as this is based on the regular Emby client code base) and it will also become biased, which might lead to something which WMC users find alienating or not likeable. There are too many "WMC Themes" already in various other projects/products and all of them are despicably half-baked. I really didn't want to add to that list, but instead just provide "the real thing".
This does not only apply to the visual appearance. What has been even more important than the visuals is the mode of operation and the ease of use that WMC provides and where it is still totally unparalleled at the time of writing - now with the exception of the WMC UI, but I'm not counting that as "paralleled", because what you get is the original WMC interactions rather than something new. It also supports MCE Remotes (all buttons).

It is still in beta but complete and stable and used by many already. Customizations and improvements are possible of course, you can particpate in the beta forum (https://emby.media/community/index.php? ... mc-ui-beta) or on GitHub (https://github.com/EmbySupport/Emby.WMC.UI)

User avatar
IT Troll

Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:42 am
Location: Edinburgh, UK

HTPC Specs: Show details

#29

Post by IT Troll » Sun Jan 07, 2024 9:58 am

softworkz wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2024 7:18 pm There are too many "WMC Themes" already in various other projects/products and all of them are despicably half-baked. I really didn't want to add to that list, but instead just provide "the real thing".
A completely understandable approach and really impressive results. It is just that things like the guide were never designed with large 4K screens in mind and can really benefit from some tweaks. I am somewhat guilty of a half-baked approach in that the theme I use only covers the parts of the UI which I use. But it does allow me to have that great Media Center UX for recorded TV, with a slightly fresher UI. The original UI is a overly blue and swirly for my taste. I'm not ready to ditch Media Center yet, but I'll be sure to keep an eye on the project.

ITTtheme.jpg
Are you a Recorded TV HD user or want to give it a try? Check out the new community-made update; Recorded TV HD v2.1.1

User avatar
softworkz

Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2023 11:41 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#30

Post by softworkz » Mon Jan 08, 2024 3:33 am

Ah, so you hacked the WMC resources - nice!

The WMC UI uses the original resource bitmaps, so it might be possible at some time to get in those into the WMC UI. The caveat though is that there are quite a few cases where I had to construct new bitmaps out of the existing ones, because Emby has features which WMC didn't have and these still needed to be represented of course (like the creation of a "WMC Toggle Button": https://emby.media/community/index.php? ... nt=1218584).
All those bitmaps would need to be created as well unfortunately...

For guide rows: Yes, this has already come up and I'll add a configuration for it at some point.
IT Troll wrote: Sun Jan 07, 2024 9:58 am The original UI is a overly blue and swirly for my taste.
A grey-ish theme might come later as this should be doable with batch-conversion of the bitmaps and only punctual adjustments on top of that, but besides adding a few missing bits, usability and mode of operation are the immediate priority. Of course that's not overly exciting for someone who is still using WMC :D

Post Reply