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XBMB3C vs dedicated MB client vs MBT


sfnetwork
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I know this was discussed already in the past but I felt like bringing this concept back to the table.

Right now, MB official client is MBT. (and MBC but personally, WMC is dead in my mind, just my personal opinion and preference, not want to argue on this because I know A LOT of users still love it)

MBT is fine but after waiting for some time to let dev make progress, There are still limits that IMO doesn't satisfy everyone needs.

-Windows only

-dependencies with codecs, etc...

-UI lack of scrolling animations in some areas that gives the "alpha" feel (just my opinion)

But the layout, etc... are amazing.

 

Then, there is XBMB3C XBMC addon.

Once fully configured with desired custom skin, nodes, etc.. it is a perfect HTPC client and it's XBMC so you know the based is super solid (codecs, etc...)

BUT, for the average user that doesn't know XBMC at all, not an easy setup and it takes work to clear all XBMC specific stuff...

 

I still really think that it could be AMAZING if we (not including me lol, I'm just the idea guy  ;) ) could fork XBMC and REALLY make it our own MB client.

In my vision,

-MB custom setup wizard during installation with nice MB setup prompts (server, etc...)

-ABSOLUTELY NO XBMC SPECIFIC setting (library, folders, etc...) Just MB client options.

-With one at first, pick a skin (or make one to match MBT I guess) and make it the default skin/theme for this dedicated MB client. (MB signature skin for the new client "XMBT" ;) )

 

I know I'm annoying to bring up Plex again, but they did the work with their PHT (Plex Home Theatre) and it's just awesome (and you can "feel" the XBMC solid based behind without any trace of it in the UI)

As reference, they also have like XBMB3C, PlexBMC XBMC addon but the popularity of PHT vs PlexBMC addon is huge, not even close. 

With a client like this, A LOT of doors would open (OS support, OpenElec, etc...) 

ANd as for the argument that it will be hard to keep the base up to date with XBMC updates, I don't think it's that important that keep rush this client to keep up with XBMC major updates depending on how it's built.

 

For my HTPCs, personally, here are my issues..

-I experienced OE so no Windows will ever be installed again on a dedicated HTPC.

-When I setup XBMB3C addon in XBMC... I don't see the reason why adding the extra layer of the addon vs using XBMC without MBS connection, with centralized MySQL and Trakt keeping everything up to date, the fact is that it's much better experience for me and simpler than with the addon (yes I don't have access to collection, etc.. but vs the configuration on all my HTPCs, not worth it (for me)

-But using XBMC for me has one big issue; need to do library updates manually from at least one of XBMC instance (no actual centralized server).

-And Plex PMS with PHT is the closest to what I want but Plex is missing SO MANY features that I need (local/online trailers, metadata and images, PMS super long scan delays, Collection (MB exclusive), SCENE SELECTIONS (god damn, this is a cool MB exclusive features), etc...

 

I am really aware that this isn't a small project but I really think this could be almost a game changer for MB because in my personal needs and preferences, MB has no official client.

 

Just opening this thread for discussion as maybe I'm really the only one that feels like this...

Edited by sfnetwork
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MrWebsmith

You arent the only one at all... Im trying myself to get an xbmc skin "mb3'd" in order to see what it brings to the front-end side of things... In short, its not easy...many aspects make me want to go back to mbc/mbt already but im trying to push forward and writing down my thoughts for xnppo and the xbmbc plugin devs on what i find new/different/awkward/etc

 

I agree that the output/info that would come from this will be helpful to the mb team overall... Certainly some of these xbmc skins are closer to the much-sought-after throg theme look that were fielding many reuqests for...

 

As i encounter more issues and draft some form of "walkthrough" ill make sure to link it back here.. I would be curious what our plugin devs could do in concert with luke/eric to further a goal like this

 

 

Good post sf... Interested in what others think

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I think having a single install would be a great thing. Just a matter of who is willing to build and maintain it.

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Believe me, if I would have the skill and knowledge, I would put all my time and sweat on this.

I just feel this could be amazing with MBS exclusive features and performance (library scans, etc..); and not just a Plex killer, but also XBMC...

 

But I know it's A LOT of work, just I'm just the annoying guy since I just can't do it...

Edited by sfnetwork
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The thing is you would need to maintain this for EVERY XBMC build.

 

Part of the benefit of us NOT doing as you are saying is that we get XBMC Pi, OpenElec, XIOS, Ouya builds for free.  It would be a massive effort to support all those devices with our own builds.

 

As far as getting rid of any 'old' XBMC references - that can be completely purged with developing an MB3 only skin.

 

What I would REALLY like to see is you guys putting together some Wiki docs on how to get started. 

 

I really think we could get down to:

 

1. Install XBMC for your device

2. Install the MB3 Repo

3. Install the script and skin

 

Honestly if you are using XBMB3C on a Pi, Xios, OpenElec - then the MB3 part of this isn't the hard part!  If you are using Windows - then there is MBT.

 

Just my $0.02.

 

xnappo

Edited by xnappo
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I fully understand, really.

 

XBMB3C is great just like PLEXBMC is for Plex but it's not officially an MB client. But there is a reason they have both (PLEXBMC and PHT). This is, IMO, a secondary option for specific needs for some to keep XBMC and use their MBS.

MBC is, again, not a real client, it's a WMC addon as well.(and IMO there is no promising future in WMC). To be honest, that was, a long time ago, the reason I switched to XBMC from MB2; WMC, codecs, etc..

 

So what are the choices for a new MB user (that has no experience with XBMC)? MBT

 

First of all, MBT is Windows only.. and I think will always be. This reaches out only a part of HTPC users.

Then, the UI navigation feel, performance, playback controls, etc... not even close to XBMC (or PHT).

BUT, the layouts and how it takes advantage of what MBS has to offer.

 

I just think (in my perfect little world) MB would need a second generation of MBT based on XBMC.

 

***Only reason this thread in in XBMB3C is just because this project seems closer to this addon...

Edited by sfnetwork
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Hmm - well doing a package for Linux with XBMC and a pre-installed XBMB3C skin removing all the XBMC library/scraper baggage would possibly serve to get some attention...  I don't know anything about that stuff though and would rather spend time on XBMB3C still - but if someone want to try to make a package I will certain provide any help needed.

 

xnappo

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I think a 10' Android app puts us on a lot of these same types of form-factors/devices as well...

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Hmm - well doing a package for Linux with XBMC and a pre-installed XBMB3C skin removing all the XBMC library/scraper baggage would possibly serve to get some attention...  I don't know anything about that stuff though and would rather spend time on XBMB3C still - but if someone want to try to make a package I will certain provide any help needed.

 

xnappo

Yes.. first, your time is precious on the addon so I wasn't actually pushing you specifically. (or whoever else working on XBMB3C)

 

Then, the end game here would be to have MBT with XBMC base. There are a lot of different paths to get there.

One of them is to have several pieces of the puzzle done to at the end put them all together to have this "MBT 2" (you addon is one of the piece I think)

 

I understand that maintaining and support multiple versions (for each platform) is work but in this scenario, XBMC would have done most of the heavy lifting.. the rest would be MB specifics...

There is no need to keep base up to date with XBMC if it works fine behind the scene.

 

But of course we need more dev on MB team for this kind of thing though.

***This is not a suggestion to optimized/replace XBMB3C, because a lot of XBMC users wants and loves XBMC and want the MB environment as well. This is more about MBT.

Again to compare PLEXBMC and PHT... two very different dev team, needs, targeted users, etc... 

Edited by sfnetwork
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I agree with xnappo and null_pointer here. For people who may have forgotten or did not know, Plex originally started as a fork of the xbmc base code where it was targeted at the Mac OSX. Eventually it expanded and started adding things like "plex pass" features where charges were made based on that originally forked code, and of course it's now available on more OS and had built up a good reputation on the server side. The plexbmc addon then arrived to allow xbmc users to use the plex server as the backend, therefore gaining the benefits of using one server as opposed to local library's. That addon was attempted to be integrated into a few skins (my xperience1080++) being one of them..but tbh the API provided by plex was poor. This is where this XBMB3C addon stands out, the features in there are way beyond what was in the plexbmc version.

 

However there is still no OpenElec plex version and the fact that it was based on an old code base means it misses one of the biggest game changers to xbmc recently and that's Live TV. It works very well through xbmc and is actively being improved for the next (Helix) addition. If forked these changes would be lost or need to be merged.

 

I do agree though that things are far too windows biased here, personally I haven't even used any of the MBC or MBT clients as like others here, once you have a HTPC running on openelec then the thought of using windows to ruin the experience doesn't come into the equation.

 

This of course is not news to some of you: http://openelec.tv/forum/90-miscellaneous/67673-media-browser-client-for-openelec?start=30

 

One issue I see preventing this from gaining popularity is a lack of Linux or OSX server. For months I've been hearing it's about to be released but my perception is the web client is getting more focus.

Edited by im85288
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Good points and opinions mentioned here, I was basically opening this thread for exactly that, discussing it... :)

 

BTW, yes, there is an OE version of Plex PHT. (still work in progress but working)

The way I see this, Plex and MB started on very different paths, with different backgrounds, with very different focuses and priorities. Because Plex exceeds in some areas compared to MB (and the other way around).

MB is growing MUCH faster though but Plex is still growing and since they don't mention ANYTHING about their roadmap or ETA, things like live TV, trailer support, etc... can arrive anytime. (look at features like Chromecast per ex.)

And even if it's later than XBMC, PHT will get Gotham forked, that was confirmed. And more doors might be opened for Plex at this point... (better OE support, etc...)

 

But, that wasn't my point really... (and I realized this was misleading with the thread title and maybe where I posted the thread)

If you take aside the server features (MBS vs PMS), because the features like Live TV, etc... really comes more from there, the real comparison is MBT vs PHT because THAT'S the official clients from both sides, the obvious choice for any new user without previous experience... If you really give both a real and long try, maybe it's just me but you can really feel the solid XBMC base in PHT compared to MBT... Also, I think this gives more access to other dev or advanced users to create skins, addon, etc... 

 

So, yes, when comparing to XBMB3C, there is no real valid reason to fork XBMC with all those valid arguments and opinions but MBT... not so sure...

 

***I really appreciate you guys giving opinions, etc... that's what I love about this community, every opinion and idea is considered and discussed instead of being turned down without explanation  :)

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I agree it is a no brainer that MediaBrowser needs a main client that runs on more than just windows..however before that can happen it needs to have servers available on both Linux and OSX. This would bring in a lot of interest and could result in a possible multi platform client being built quicker.  

 

However like I mentioned above my impression is that the web client is the focus of development, so maybe the plan is for that to be the multi platform client of the future... 

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Getting the linux and osx releases up on the website is a major priority. I just need a little help.

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I'm in agreement with sfnetwork here: this is the only missing piece of an otherwise amazing ecosystem. (Until today I'd have also said the iPad app - but that's now done and submitted to the App Store!!)

 

I ranted a bit about this a while back:

http://mediabrowser.tv/community/index.php?/topic/4026-why-use-mb3-vs-mymovieswmc-or-xbmc/page-2&do=findComment&comment=62770

 

XBMB3C is unbelievable - but it's not for everyone. And with the rPi currently one of the most popular hardware choices for XBMC (but not powerful enough for XBMB3C, unfortunately), we're missing out, here. Requiring a Windows server instance for now isn't catastrophic since it's just one box (and the Linux version is close to a release already - that's Luke operating at his light-speed best - as usual!!)

 

The kicker that I mentioned in my post is that PHT - as an already-existing product - and as a fork of XBMC -- is already open source. And with it already running under OpenELEC, that's half-a-dozen platforms covered in one product. Pi included.

 

Definitely worth pursuing for anyone that has some C++ knowledge: it might be a bit simpler than we think!

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I think the best way to make this happen is to do a little recruiting over in the xbmc forums. Can anyone help with this?

 

If we can achieve this, then we have a front-end that can run on just about any platform. (Technically we have it now, but with several install steps).

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I agree with @ .  Let's first focus on making what we have easier to use.

 

@@im85288 - do you know if AddOn repos can have requirements?  That way we could just have the repo as the thing the user downloads and installs, then it would automatically download Confluence and XBMB3C.  I don't think it is hard to modify XBMB3C so it prompts for server info if the fields are blank.

 

That will get us down to:

1. Install XBMC

2. Install the repo

 

Of course the other issue we have is bandwidth.  im85288 is graciously hosting our skins right now, but I don't think that is sustainable if our user base grows.

 

xnappo

Edited by xnappo
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Does MediaBrowser3 server have any way to broadcast its presence? I think Plex uses the Bonjour protocol which is also free, I'm sure Windows may have some equivalent. I seem to remember MBT detected my server automatically. It would be nice if XBMB3C could do this as well.

 

And I agree, an XBMC fork or better still a set of addons which configure everything for MB would be ideal. It should run a wizard either within XBMC or perhaps the wizard could be a standalone app/webpage which determines things like the server, libraries, path mapping, user prefs etc, then generates a config file to pass to the addon so nothing extra needs to be done.

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I'm one of those that tried to use xbmbc3 on the pi and found it to be unusable so it's gone back in the drawer for now. But it just feels wrong that we accept this is the case. Raspbmc runs perfectly well on it, even using some of the themes, think I was using aeon mq5 or something similar, performance was more than adequate.

 

But I don't really like xbmc's presentation of live tv and it has no integration with the rest of the system. But then xbmc has some nice features ready made. Just some thoughts

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I agree with @ .  Let's first focus on making what we have easier to use.

 

@@im85288 - do you know if AddOn repos can have requirements?  That way we could just have the repo as the thing the user downloads and installs, then it would automatically download Confluence and XBMB3C.  I don't think it is hard to modify XBMB3C so it prompts for server info if the fields are blank.

 

That will get us down to:

1. Install XBMC

2. Install the repo

 

Of course the other issue we have is bandwidth.  im85288 is graciously hosting our skins right now, but I don't think that is sustainable if our user base grows.

 

xnappo

 

As far as I know any XBMC addon can require other add ons to get automatically installed. However I do not think this is the way to go because for example things like the Confluence skin are installed in a system directory rather than a user directory to prevent it from being overwritten.

 

What I think could be pretty achievable is to provide our own custom OpenElec builds. By doing this when compiling, we can set the default skin to whatever we want and even add some cool configuration tools (similar to the openelec settings addon) that would make it into a package that we can deliver as a one-off install for everyone. I have done this before when for example creating a OpenElec build with spotify built in.

 

Of course this involves a lot of setup, i.e. compiling each type of build (compilation takes about 8 hours!) with the end result being similar to what we have already and is restricted to the OpenElec eco system.

 

Bandwith like you mentioned is also an issue, ultimately we should be hosting this on MB3 space so that needs to be addressed soon too.

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I'm one of those that tried to use xbmbc3 on the pi and found it to be unusable so it's gone back in the drawer for now. But it just feels wrong that we accept this is the case. Raspbmc runs perfectly well on it, even using some of the themes, think I was using aeon mq5 or something similar, performance was more than adequate.

 

 

What I think could be pretty achievable is to provide our own custom OpenElec builds. By doing this when compiling, we can set the default skin to whatever we want and even add some cool configuration tools (similar to the openelec settings addon) that would make it into a package that we can deliver as a one-off install for everyone. I have done this before when for example creating a OpenElec build with spotify built in.

 

Indeed - that's part of what we're saying:

 

The ideal scenario is something like this:

 

  • Windows: Media Browser Theater (MBT); even in its current guise. It's fantastic for higher-end hardware; assuming Windows is on the box. This is the 'premium' solution for an MB client.
  • Non Windows - Medium-to-High-End Hardware: XBMC + XBMB3C. Already works great; relatively seamless.
  • Non Windows - Lower-End Hardware: Something OpenELEC-based; perhaps even a PHT-type fork. XBMB3C doesn't cut it performance-wise in this scenario due to relying on CPU-intensive Python interpreting, which is very, very slow on lower-end hardware; especially the Pi. This is a problem with PleXBMC as well.

    Which is why the PHT-on-OpenELEC route (which has already been done: just look at the popularity of RasPlex) would seem the logical way to achieve this. PHT (the basis of RasPlex) is already open-source; grafting it to use MB3 server shouldn't be too complicated since they share so much in common. It does require C++ skills, though. 

    OpenELEC is open-source as well (which is also how the RasPlex guys have achieved their distro.)

    Once again, this is pretty important: the Pi is one of XBMC's most popular platforms; but OE also excels on other very low-end hardware. Getting a fork running on smoothly on OE would also mean Pi, Apple TV,  i386  and x86_64 support all in one go; with OpenELEC already doing much of the heavy lifting in terms of the OS and associated drivers.

 

@@Luke : I'm not sure we'd receive too warm a reception requesting this on XBMC's forums, to be honest... I'm relatively active there so wouldn't mind giving it a bash if you think it'd work out, but I can't imagine drumming up too much interest there. Any other ideas for where we could search for skills?

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Still don't see it being worthwhile. There are a ton of things to tweak with OpenElec way way more technically challenging than installing a couple of addons. But have at it...

xnappo

Edited by xnappo
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Indeed - that's part of what we're saying:

 

The ideal scenario is something like this:

 

  • Windows: Media Browser Theater (MBT); even in its current guise. It's fantastic for higher-end hardware; assuming Windows is on the box. This is the 'premium' solution for an MB client.
  • Non Windows - Medium-to-High-End Hardware: XBMC + XBMB3C. Already works great; relatively seamless.
  • Non Windows - Lower-End Hardware: Something OpenELEC-based; perhaps even a PHT-type fork. XBMB3C doesn't cut it performance-wise in this scenario due to relying on CPU-intensive Python interpreting, which is very, very slow on lower-end hardware; especially the Pi. This is a problem with PleXBMC as well.

    Which is why the PHT-on-OpenELEC route (which has already been done: just look at the popularity of RasPlex) would seem the logical way to achieve this. PHT (the basis of RasPlex) is already open-source; grafting it to use MB3 server shouldn't be too complicated since they share so much in common. It does require C++ skills, though. 

    OpenELEC is open-source as well (which is also how the RasPlex guys have achieved their distro.)

    Once again, this is pretty important: the Pi is one of XBMC's most popular platforms; but OE also excels on other very low-end hardware. Getting a fork running on smoothly on OE would also mean Pi, Apple TV,  i386  and x86_64 support all in one go; with OpenELEC already doing much of the heavy lifting in terms of the OS and associated drivers.

 

@@Luke : I'm not sure we'd receive too warm a reception requesting this on XBMC's forums, to be honest... I'm relatively active there so wouldn't mind giving it a bash if you think it'd work out, but I can't imagine drumming up too much interest there. Any other ideas for where we could search for skills?

MBT could apply in all of those scenarios IMO, if it would be redone on a XBMC fork... That was my initial point. (I know easier said than done)

 

XBMB3C is really an amazing XBMC addon (actually better than Plexbmc and dev is so active and smart with it) but at the end, I think it will stay an XBMC addon (and it should). Although I'm very impressed with it and how it's growing. It doesn't have this "Media Browser feel/signature" (if you know what I mean...)

MBT has this "media browser feel" with the skin, layouts, and features in UI but I wish I could feel this XBMC engine under it though, during UI navigation and playback. Even small details, like when going in subtitle settings and it opens LAV properties outside of it.... 

This was why I mentioned PHT as reference; it has this Plex feel/signature. As soon as I first tried it, this XBMC engine behind made it feel robust and minor littles things like "keyboard.xml", etc... were already working the same as XBMC which made it easy to configure the way I wanted (just as a very small example of the many functions already set in XBMC).

 

So, I personally think XBMB3C needs to keep going on the same track because it's awesome as an XBMC addon client for MB and fits this specific need but MBT should maybe take a different path to have a better future.

But this is just my humble opinion  :)

Edited by sfnetwork
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This was why I mentioned PHT as reference; it has this Plex feel/signature. As soon as I first tried it, this XBMC engine behind made it feel robust and minor littles things like "keyboard.xml", etc... were already working the same as XBMC which made it easy to configure the way I wanted (just as a very small example of the many functions already set in XBMC).

 

 

First - I really appreciate your positive comments towards XBMB3C - so please don't take any of this as an argument - just discussing :D

 

This is the bit that is really grey to me.  This part of it is very much a skin issue - not an issue with how it gets installed etc.  Do you have some concrete examples?  To me, Eminence is a LOT like some of the MB skins, and obviously Xenon is a lot like Aeon MQ5/Nox.

 

My family has been using XBMC for 10 years, so I always go for XBMC-like skins - even in WMC.

 

xnappo

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Koleckai Silvestri

First - I really appreciate your positive comments towards XBMB3C - so please don't take any of this as an argument - just discussing :D

 

This is the bit that is really grey to me.  This part of it is very much a skin issue - not an issue with how it gets installed etc.  Do you have some concrete examples?  To me, Eminence is a LOT like some of the MB skins, and obviously Xenon is a lot like Aeon MQ5/Nox.

 

My family has been using XBMC for 10 years, so I always go for XBMC-like skins - even in WMC.

 

xnappo

 

 

You need one of the xbox-like skins to be similar to MBT. The skins for Classic seem to try and copy XBMC, not the other way around. They aren't really as unique as they could be. MBT is pretty unique by almost the lack of a skin. It is very minimal.

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Sure - there are a TON of XBMC skins like that (though I would put Eminence, Artic and Experience1080++ in that category personally).

 

If you guys can suggest one, we can take a look.  It isn't TOO hard to add MB3 support.

 

xnappo

Edited by xnappo
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