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From Windows Media Center to Kodi


Guardian Hope
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Guardian Hope

So, as everyone here likely already knows, Windows Media Center comes to an end with Windows 10 and with it that green button I've used for years with MediaBrowser. I remember Kodi from its XBMC days and to me it was one of the most convoluted setups I had ever seen but I see they have improved somewhat. With that said: it's still remarkably convoluted. However, with the unfortunate demise of the little green button I must look elsewhere for a suitable replacement and the only thing that came to mind was indeed XBMC/Kodi. So I installed it, downloaded the themes and other required packages, and got it running on my Windows 8.1 system. That was the fairly simple task.

 

However, now I am dealing with thousands of things that I just simply don't want. In Windows Media Center's MediaBrowser I had/am using the Pearl theme and have three sections setup: Animation, TV Shows, and Movies. All self explanatory. I was able to remove all the clutter and make it a seamless and simple experience. Naturally, since I have all the codecs installed I never needed to leave Media Center to watch anything.

 

On Kodi I have gotten as far as setting up a theme: 1080XF MB3. It, like all the other themes detected the library for the most part and pretty quickly picked up where I left off on WMC. With one exception: I can't seem to find a way to organize it the way I have it in MediaBrowser Classic or in any of the MediaBrowser applications.

 

No matter the theme. In addition, it seems that sometimes Kodi's MediaBrowser doesn't load the metadata for titles although it does in all the other applications.

 

So, my most important question: can I organize MediaBrowser on Kodi so that I have only 3 (or 4) sections: Animation, TV Shows, Movies, and Favorites just like WMC's MediaBrowser? Like I have in every other MediaBrowser application I use?

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c0m3r

I personally use the modded version of Arctic Zephyr by im85288 on here but you can certainly have whatever you want on the homescreen. You simply remove the ones you dont want and point it to the bits you do want. For example, I have attached a photo of my home screen.

 

55760790d5ffa_11334252_10152907595856592

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im85288

On 1080XF that level of customisation cannot be done. You can however do it with Arctic Zephyr (and many other skins) as pointed out above

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Guardian Hope

I personally use the modded version of Arctic Zephyr by im85288 on here but you can certainly have whatever you want on the homescreen. You simply remove the ones you dont want and point it to the bits you do want. For example, I have attached a photo of my home screen.

 

(Removed image for courtesy)

 

 

On 1080XF that level of customisation cannot be done. You can however do it with Arctic Zephyr (and many other skins) as pointed out above

 

I hadn't even seen Arctic Zephyr until just now and will try it out. It looks really nice from the preview images and if I can customize it to show essentially what I have in Media Center that would be perfect.

 

A shame 1080XF doesn't have that level of customization as it does appear to display more content and works wonderfully with a Media Center remote.

 

Here's another question, this time not about customizing the theme: does Kodi support the same stretch options that Media Center does (i.e. stretch 4:3 to fit to screen, etc.)? 

 

By the sounds of it, with Arctic Zephyr I should be able to utilize Kodi as a replacement with minimal hoop jumping which is most important as the ease of use of Media Center once you have the codecs installed (the same ones that I'm sure Kodi will now take advantage of from the K-Lite Codec Mega Pack) it was pretty easy to use with a remote.

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xnappo

God no.  Kodi doesn't need any of that Codec hell.  It is all built in.  That is why I laugh when people say Kodi is hard - that Codec stuff with WMC is NASTY!

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knuta

Yeah, exactly what I was going to say. And pressing Z during playback will stretch and shrink your image in several ways. If none of them fit you can do it another way where you can adjust horizontally and vertically independent of each other. Honestly, except maybe for live tv, WMC is shit compared to Kodi. Just my opinion though.

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knuta

Also, the skin has nothing to do with the library or remote support. The same library is there when changing skins, it is just the views of it that may change. If a remote works in one skin it works the same in all other skins.

 

Here is what you can do with the keyboard

http://kodi.wiki/view/Keyboard_controls

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Deihmos

God no.  Kodi doesn't need any of that Codec hell.  It is all built in.  That is why I laugh when people say Kodi is hard - that Codec stuff with WMC is NASTY!

 

Yes I never understood that either. Setting up Kodi is so simple and you don't have to deal with setting up codecs. WMC sometimes crashed during video playback so I had to lay it to rest  but still use it occasionally for live tv. The only reason I moved video to WMC was to use one program but the experience was not a good one.

 

OP I like the Aeon Nox theme. It is fast and smooth while some of the other themes are very cpu intensive. You can configure the home screen for Anime and whatever you like.

Edited by Deihmos
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Guardian Hope

Yes I never understood that either. Setting up Kodi is so simple and you don't have to deal with setting up codecs. WMC sometimes crashed during video playback so I had to lay it to rest  but still use it occasionally for live tv. The only reason I moved video to WMC was to use one program but the experience was not a good one.

 

OP I like the Aeon Nox theme. It is fast and smooth while some of the other themes are very cpu intensive. You can configure the home screen for Anime and whatever you like.

 

To me I had the opposite experience. Of course, this was when it was XBMC but Kodi still retains some of those design philosophies. Kodi to me seems convoluted in the way they approach many aspects: especially the UI. I've noticed that every theme I have selected uses this little box to display episodes for TV or descriptions for Movies before pressing play. I am guessing its the underlying Kodi display. It doesn't look or feel right from a projector.

 

Maybe with WMC coming to an end someone will freshen up that part of the UI.

 

However, Kodi has crashed on me three times so far but I must keep am open mind as its either Kodi or Emby Theater. Kodi is the closes to WMC as one will get - I just need to get used to it and its flaws.

 

I remember before MediaBrowser WMC has its issues - especially with metadata.

 

I will take a look into Aeon Nox as well; I do like the Arctic theme but it has one pitfall that I have encountered with all themes: that little box for episode listing or movie description that looks lime it was designed for a 17 inch monitor and not a 100+ inch projection image (thank you Wireless HDMI/WHDI)

 

God no.  Kodi doesn't need any of that Codec hell.  It is all built in.  That is why I laugh when people say Kodi is hard - that Codec stuff with WMC is NASTY!

 

Really? Setting up codecs for me was pretty plug and play; get both Mega Packs, install, select the filters and sound system, disable subtitles, enable hardware acceleration, and WMC (and pretty much anything else) can play pretty much any format without issues. And all it  took was 10 minutes - when I first installed Windows 8.

 

I remember Kodi from when it was XBMC (early XBMC) so it left a bad taste in my mouth. Quite frankly, Media Center + MediaBrowser/Emby has been my ideal setup for years but we are all entitled to like whichever we prefer.

 

Yeah, exactly what I was going to say. And pressing Z during playback will stretch and shrink your image in several ways. If none of them fit you can do it another way where you can adjust horizontally and vertically independent of each other. Honestly, except maybe for live tv, WMC is shit compared to Kodi. Just my opinion though.

 

 

Also, the skin has nothing to do with the library or remote support. The same library is there when changing skins, it is just the views of it that may change. If a remote works in one skin it works the same in all other skins.

 

Here is what you can do with the keyboard

http://kodi.wiki/view/Keyboard_controls

 

 

"Z" isn't exactly on the remote but it does recognize most buttons, I don't know if Kodi has its own built in volume like WMC does but when I pressed volume up it changed the Windows volume which was already at max.

 

I find the library: I just want it to be as simplistic as it is in WMC. Arctic is currently my go to theme as it does just that. I am still trying to see what works on the remote and what doesn't in Kodi. There really isn't a keyboard in the screening room. That's where the computer resides. As I hinted at above, I use Wireless HDMI to deliver 1080p content and 2.1-7.1 audio streams ti the room with the projector,

 

And I was hoping to fund a theme that didn't rely on that little centered box to show descriptions or TV listing but it doesn't seem there are any.

 

Edit - This is what I get for typing from an iPad: Yes null_pointer, I am just going to have to keep an open mind and try to find the right things for me. I had to do the same with WMC.

 

But you are right on one thing: losing control over LAV and DirectShow is sort of disconcerting.

Edited by Guardian Hope
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Deihmos

Don't you have a harmony remote? You can configure buttons in Kodi by editing the keyboard.xml but with a harmony you can simply configure keyboard entries.. You can configure buttons to go directly to recently added or pretty much any action available. I don't use a keyboard.

 

Not sure what centered box you are referring to. Why is losing lav disconcerting? I hated dealing with codecs. For one ff and rewind does not work with mkv videos and no way to manage subtitles with the remote.

Edited by Deihmos
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Angelblue05

If you are able to take a screenshot to show the box (no idea either, what you are referring to).... it might be possible to disable it.... Or are you talking about the Info dialog? If you are, then you can change the behavior by going to Settings > Videos > File lists > Default select action And select Play or resume.

Edited by Angelblue05
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CBers

Interesting thread.

 

OP - you know you don't have to upgrade to Windows 10 don't you :)

 

You don't actually state that you've installed the Kodi for Emby add-on, unless I've missed that.

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knuta

Maybe OP should try JRiver MC instead. Seems more up your alley. It's got LAV I believe. I actually think they have hired they guy who wrote LAV.

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Guardian Hope

Don't you have a harmony remote? You can configure buttons in Kodi by editing the keyboard.xml but with a harmony you can simply configure keyboard entries.. You can configure buttons to go directly to recently added or pretty much any action available. I don't use a keyboard.

 

Not sure what centered box you are referring to. Why is losing lav disconcerting? I hated dealing with codecs. For one ff and rewind does not work with mkv videos and no way to manage subtitles with the remote.

 

Actually, a Harmony Remote is the one thing I never got around to purchasing. Never had the need for it but I know it can control the PC, Xbox One, and the Projector and I also believe the Surround Sound System and those other related things. The one thing I have to check if it can control the Wireless HDMI Transceiver. If it can, I would happily pick one up although I'm not entirely certain how Harmony connects to all those other devices or if it can connect to that many. The big four are PC, Projector, WHDMI, and Audio System.

 

The only reason losing control over LAV and the other codecs is disconcerting is because it makes it easy to universally control how all programs on the system playback audio and video. I never had a problem rewinding MKV videos and typically I force subtitles except for the essential ones (like if they are speaking a different language in a scene) off.

 

 

If you are able to take a screenshot to show the box (no idea either, what you are referring to).... it might be possible to disable it.... Or are you talking about the Info dialog? If you are, then you can change the behavior by going to Settings > Videos > File lists > Default select action And select Play or resume.

 

 

Yeah a screen shot of this, I dont have any idea what this is. When I select an episode to watch it starts playing. Unless I have the Show Info as AngelBlue05 mentioned above turned on.

 

 

I'm guessing the little box is the info screen? Not sure if the OP has explored many skins but most are now showing this in full screen..as can be seen here: http://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/19594-arctic-zephyr-skin-custom-version/?p=215497

 

Since the three quotes here go together I figured I would address them at the end of the last quote. I think what I was seeing was a glitch that was bringing up Kodi's file browser or something that listed episodes in a very small square box at the center of the screen.

 

However, with that said, the info box is of concern to me as that doesn't display full screen either. I am in fact using Arctic Zephyr now but I will admit to the fact I haven't explored through all themes to determine one I like (though Arctic has been my favorite). However, it looks like the full screen info display version I have to pull from GitHub unless you've already merged those changes (I saw your name mentioned: I'm guessing you are the theme's designer im85288?) but this is what I get now (pulled from 1 movie and 2 TV shows - you'll have to forgive me, I have no idea how to take a screenshot in Kodi; I thought it was Control + S but it didn't do anything but bring up a drive list so I had to switch to windowed to get them as print screen didn't work either):

 

The info box on a movie; you are right, I do not like the fact that this does not come up full screen; it looks a lot smaller on the projector than from the 27" monitor

 

5prhgva.jpg

 

This also comes up relatively small on a large screen projector (this is just the listing of episodes) - also note Kodi reports the file at SD but WMC's MediaBrowser reports it at HD - the file is 1280x720p but that's an entirely different issue:

 

1nmiGSX.jpg

 

Finally, we have the thing that you stated - the info box. I don't want to get rid of it. I just would like to be full screen; this time from a TV show:

 

DAFMgZ7.jpg

 

It seems it might be a good idea for me to pull that version from GitHub but I don't know how to do that in Kodi. I can do that on Linux; heck, I do that for Linux servers everyday. But the way Kodi behaves makes me think I am required to use its package manager GUI (I'm used to the CLI for that stuff) and to be honest have no idea how to add sources to Kodi.

 

Interesting thread.

 

OP - you know you don't have to upgrade to Windows 10 don't you :)

 

You don't actually state that you've installed the Kodi for Emby add-on, unless I've missed that.

 

Yeah, I figured this would spark an interesting debate. Having come from using Windows Media Center for years after trying XBMC it's a strange thing. It may be Kodi now but it's still XBMC - just under a different name unless I missed a few things.

 

I do have the Emby add-on for Kodi; very first thing I did.

 

It is also true that I don't have to upgrade to Windows 10 but having it running in a VM right now I can tell it has much improved over Windows 8.1. I felt sorry (and still feel sorry) for those that never made the leap to 8.1 from 7 because of Metro/Modern because there were vast under the hood improvements to 8.1 compared to 7. It's a "get used to it" type of thing - the Start Screen is so much better for larger screens. However, 10 offers the best of both but I'm sure people will still complain. Like the XP folks who refuse to upgrade. XP was really bad when it first came out and wasn't really usable till SP2 but no one seems to remember that. I keep XP in a VM with no internet access so I can control some of my older devices.

 

Just like I keep 7 and will eventually keep 8.1 in VMs but VMs don't always translate audio streams well. At least, that's been my experience with VMWare which to me is the best. Whether it's Workstation for the Desktop or vSphere for servers.

 

So yes, I will upgrade to 10 even with the loss of Media Center (rather unfortunate) and I'm trying to keep an open mind about Kodi. I went through the very same experience when trying to find a media program to use all those years ago. Kodi truly is the closes thing to Media Center that's really left aside from something like Plex which is just obnoxious. 

 

I just need to find the right combination of themes and plugins and get it all setup and going to my liking. The whole "set it and forget it" policy.

 

And keep an open mind. The last time I used Kodi was as XBMC version 3 if I recall correctly.

 

Maybe OP should try JRiver MC instead. Seems more up your alley. It's got LAV I believe. I actually think they have hired they guy who wrote LAV.

 

Yeah, I took one look at JRiver MC and stopped. I'd rather make the transition to Kodi or use Media Browser Theater - the latter of which isn't a "media center" program.

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im85288

Quick reply to your screenshots, that is my older mod that was/is designed for use with our older legacy MediaBrowser addon. If your using the newer Emby for Kodi addon (which I would advise too) you can use the version I posted a link too. It has a fullscreen info with loads of exploration possibilitys via TMDB, has a Netflix style next up built in and loads of other things..it can also be installed from the same repo as the Emby for Kodi addon so is kept up to date.

 

Any queries just post them in the thread I linked cheers

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knuta

What skin are you using? Looks like Arctic Zephyr to me and the info box should look like this in the current version. If using the modded one from the Emby repository. And yes, it is fullscreen...

 

5578786cbd44a_Skjermbilde20150610194542.

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Guardian Hope

Quick reply to your screenshots, that is my older mod that was/is designed for use with our older legacy MediaBrowser addon. If your using the newer Emby for Kodi addon (which I would advise too) you can use the version I posted a link too. It has a fullscreen info with loads of exploration possibilitys via TMDB, has a Netflix style next up built in and loads of other things..it can also be installed from the same repo as the Emby for Kodi addon so is kept up to date.

 

Any queries just post them in the thread I linked cheers

 

 

Okay, I think you may be right in that it's using the legacy MediaBrowser addon. I downloaded the repository (screenshot included of what it installed) from http://cdn.mediabrowser.tv/downloads/addons/xbmb3c/kodi-repo/repository.emby.kodi-1.0.0.zip based on what's displayed on the Emby page but after looking at the very first page of Arctic Zephyr's thread it links to a totally different repository. Here's what I have (let me know if I need to uninstall this repo and the addons because it's incorrect and pull everything from the other one - in which case Emby's site should really be updated to reflect that):

 

7fX3QJQ.jpg

 

SRDl5mO.jpg

 

What skin are you using? Looks like Arctic Zephyr to me and the info box should look like this in the current version. If using the modded one from the Emby repository. And yes, it is fullscreen...

 

5578786cbd44a_Skjermbilde20150610194542.

 

I am in fact using Arctic Zephyr but it seems I might be using an older version of Arctic Zephyr than this one which literally seems to correct every issue I've had with Kodi since the get-go.

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xnappo

That link was wrong for a long time, but it was fixed last weekend coincident with the 1.0 release announcement in the Kodi forums.

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knuta

Oh, yeah. You are on the wrong track indeed :D The add-on you are using works in a totally different way compared to the new one.

 

You should be on this repo OR the new STABLE one which is linked to here http://emby.media/downloads/emby-for-kodi/

I'm not sure what versions of the add-on and skin are in the stable repo, as I have never tried it. I like getting updates often, and I can't remember functionality being broken.

5578876b51d8c_Skjermbilde20150610204908.

 

This add-on:

 

557887b4b2eaf_Skjermbilde20150610204929.

 

 

And this skin:

 

557887d909068_Skjermbilde20150610204945.

Edited by knuta
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Guardian Hope

That link was wrong for a long time, but it was fixed last weekend coincident with the 1.0 release announcement in the Kodi forums.

 

That's what I get for waiting a week or so to make the jump... I downloaded it on 6/3 but didn't install it until two days ago as I slowly started preparing my system for Windows 10.

 

Oh, yeah. You are on the wrong track indeed :D The add-on you are using works in a totally different way compared to the new one.

 

You should be on this repo OR the new STABLE one which is linked to here http://emby.media/downloads/emby-for-kodi/

I'm not sure what versions of the add-on and skin are in the stable repo, as I have never tried it. I like getting updates often, and I can't remember functionality being broken.

5578876b51d8c_Skjermbilde20150610204908.

 

This add-on:

 

557887b4b2eaf_Skjermbilde20150610204929.

 

 

And this skin:

 

557887d909068_Skjermbilde20150610204945.

 

Okay, I think I have the Beta repository now too (yeah, I'm also one of those people that like to hop on the Beta and Dev trains):

 

HwCtEdR.png

 

Emby/MediaBrowser itself:

 

3vCrvbd.png

 

Arctic Zephyr which I noticed got a few little upgrades as I was browsing like "Netflix Style"

 

M9xQbaf.png

 

And of course, most importantly, the info screens don't look ridiculously tiny on the projector anymore:

 

hUIFH4c.jpg

 

What is interesting is that it doesn't seem to be picking up all of Emby's configured folders. It found TV Shows and Movies but it didn't find Animation like it did with the older plugin. I don't know if it's still syncing with the server or what but I don't think it would take this long with a 5GHz overclocked processor powering it.

 

Now I just need to configure it to my liking; either with the Netflix style or the classic style.

 

Oh, and I finally found where "Advanced Options" were hidden away :P. So lots of tinkering to do now. It's a shame it doesn't show episode thumbnails but you win some and you lose some.

 

Thank you all for helping me get Kodi actually usable and to a point where I am satisfied with having it replace my age old tried and true Media Center setup (and actually like it; trust me, I used to loathe XBMC as was fairly obvious).

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knuta

Great to see it doesn't seem as hopeless when you got on the right track :)

 

It is possible to see thumbnails. If you are in a list of episodes that scrolls vertically, press left and it should give you a menu where you can choose view. If the list is horizontal, pressing up will probably get you the menu. The view "Extra Info" gives me a screenshot thumbnail. 

 

5578abaf5582f_Skjermbilde20150610232632.

Edited by knuta
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Guardian Hope

Great to see it doesn't seem as hopeless when you got on the right track :)

 

It is possible to see thumbnails. If you are in a list of episodes that scrolls vertically, press left and it should give you a menu where you can choose view. If the list is horizontal, pressing up will probably get you the menu. The view "Extra Info" gives me a screenshot thumbnail. 

 

5578abaf5582f_Skjermbilde20150610232632.

 

Yep, I got everything figured out finally except one thing: Kodi's Emby is not picking up on the Animation Library even after manually adding it.

 

It flat out doesn't match what's displayed in every other Emby application or on the Emby Server itself. Kodi appears to be only displaying what's considered animated movies but it won't display animated television shows.

 

This didn't happen with the older MediaBrowser plugin which detected and displayed them all and I have found no way to override it to display everything in the library like it does in all other Emby applications.

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xnappo

What do you mean my 'manually adding it'?  

 

If you go to:

 

Videos->Video Add Ons->Emby you should see it.  If you do not, then possibly you do not have the 'Content Type' set in the server?

 

On the server that would be 'Settings' -> 'Library' -> 'Animation'.  It should be set to 'Content Type: Movies'.  

 

xnappo

Edited by xnappo
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Guardian Hope

What do you mean my 'manually adding it'?  

 

If you go to:

 

Videos->Video Add Ons->Emby you should see it.  If you do not, then possibly you do not have the 'Content Type' set in the server?

 

On the server that would be 'Settings' -> 'Library' -> 'Animation'.  It should be set to 'Content Type: Movies'.  

 

xnappo

 

I had to manually add it: Kodi's Emby didn't pick up the library by default - I went into settings and found the Emby Library which was not the case when it was using the older Media Browser plugin.

 

With that said, it's a mixed content folder - it contains both movies and television shows. Every other Emby application doesn't seem to have a problem with this but it seems Kodi's Emby is only displaying it as movies.

 

According to the server:

Animation

Content type: Unset (mixed content)

 

Which makes since given that the content is both animated movies and television shows.

 

The other two folders, however, were detected properly by Kodi's Emby. Keep in mind, this is only occurring in Kodi's Emby. All other Emby applications and even the Emby Server's browser picks up on the the library properly. Heck, even the older MediaBrowser plugin that was installed picked it up correctly.

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