In part one of this series we looked at the Music Library in part two the Movie library and in part three the TV Show library, in part four I will be looking at all the other areas of the user interface not previously covered.
Pictures in XBMC is not a “Pictures Library”" like in Windows Media Center, its basically a folder and file view type of deal in XBMC, so you cannot filter on tags and years etc. I believe there is a 3rd party Picture Library add-on for XBMC but I have not looked at that yet.
Pictures main menu
Pictures source folder which is on my WHS server.
Picture Folders in the PhotoShow view
Picture Folders in the PhotoShow view
Individual Picture image files in the Photoshow view
Picture folders in List view
Picture folders in Wall view
You can play a picture slide show, I like to use picture slideshows whist listening to music playing. There are two options SlideShow and R.SlideShow, presuming R is for random.
Overall the pictures area of XBMC is not as good as Windows Media Center and I particularly miss the MCE photo screen saver, I have not found an XBMC screen saver add-on that can do the same?
This is the Windows MCE photo screen saver
I always liked having the MCE Heatwave add-on installed when it worked! in XBMC weather is native and is part of XBMC which is nice.
Weather main menu
If you press down on the remote control you can access the sub-menus from any of the main menu items.
The weather sub-menu options are:
36 Hours / Weekend / 4 Days / 7 Days / Alerts / Settings
In the settings you can add more than one location for weather, although I did find it a little tricky then switching between the two locations.
This screen shot shows the 7 days option
If you select the main menu item for Weather you will enter the Weather UI proper. Here you can see there is a menu on the left and that Weekend is the currently selected item.
If you select the Maps item it brings up a satellite map.
Overall I really like the in-built Weather part of XBMC.
Concerts / Music Videos
Concerts main menu item
I haven’t spent a great deal of time using the Concerts area, when I initially set it up to point to my music videos stored on the WHS, I used the Last.FM Music Video XBMC scraper which did a decent enough job of adding the music videos in to the Concerts library. However since then that scraper has stopped working and now the only scraper available is theaudiodb.com/ which wasn’t as good at detecting things.
I believe and don’t quote me on this that your individual music video files should be named like:
artistname – songname.avi or .mov or whatever.
I also have two actual music concerts on DVD VIDEO_TS rips
As you can see in this screenshot not every music video got a poster / cover and some are just showing a thumbnail from the video file, for example the one in the bottom left hand corner has no cover image.
Cat Stevens – Majikat Concert - DVD rip
Elvis Presley – Aloha from Hawaii Concert – DVD rip
I am not totally sure if this Concerts area of XBMC is meant only for full concerts or individual music video files you have downloaded from the Internet? I need to spend more time using this area really to be more certain about it.
YouTube XBMC add-on
The YouTube area is an add-on and not a native part of XBMC.
I would say its functional but not as good as my previous Youtube integration with Windows Media Center.
You can login with your YouTube account to then link in your Playlists, Favourites and History etc.
Youtube videos in List view
You are able to search via the on screen keyboard
As I said the YouTube add-on is functional if nothing else. It has broken once in the time I have been using it, due to site changes made by Youtube on their site and the XBMC add-on developers were quick to release an update, most XBMC add-ons are updated automatically so the newly fixed update was just installed on to all my HTPCs when it was released so I never had to do anything!
This was just a quick and dirty integration I did to get my two IP security camera streams in to XBMC using .strm files. I am still looking for a better solution / add-on for security camera integration with XBMC. I just wish Embedded Automation would get their act together and write an mControl XBMC add-on !
Well that’s it folks. I will probably cover Live TV integration next, but I need some funds for a new BlackGold TV Tuner card first before I get around to that. I will be using DVBLogic’s DVBLink software on the WHS server and their XBMC Live TV add-on.