XBMC September Cycle

Posted By: Nathan Betzen on Oct 11, 2012 in Site News

As mentioned previously, we have now moved into a monthly development cycle, in which we merge new features at the beginning of the month and then perform bug fixes through the rest of the month. This means, at the end of every month, developers, bug-reporters, and those willing to deal with potentially highly unstable builds can try a snapshot from the current development cycle, and the organization, in turn, will have a more stable and predictable development process. For those of you who would prefer a stable version of XBMC, we will always recommend the most recent stable release (XBMC 11.0), but for the brave, you are welcome to try the end of the month build. To give an idea of just how unstable/alpha these builds can be, there will almost certainly be months in which some platforms won’t actually have usable builds. As always, we recommend you backup your userdata folder before upgrading.

With that said, let’s review some of the more notable changes in the September Changelog.

Before we do though, we should note that this month will be slightly different than previous months. As we are beginning to gear up for Frodo, a significant number of new, big features that touch numerous portions of the whole program are being added. With all of these new features added, there is a very good chance that this month’s snapshot will be even less stable than normal.

Personal Video Recorder (PVR) support

It is, without a doubt, one of the single most requested features for XBMC, and we are happy to announce that PVR support has been added to mainline XBMC, which will allow users with a TV tuner to watch live TV, listen to radio, view an EPG, schedule recordings, and more.

XBMC’s approach to PVR support is somewhat unlike its approach to other features. Rather than supplying our own PVR software, a task that likely would have taken much, much more time, particularly if we had wanted any hope of making it work across all platforms, we have determined that there are already numerous PVR software platforms available and ready to serve up TV to XBMC. So we made it possible for XBMC to speak with these other applications through PVR addons. For those familiar with the terminology, XBMC acts as the frontend and the software that tunes and records television acts as the backend.

At present, PVR support remains very much a work in progress. The PVR addons required to get XBMC speaking with your chosen backend still need to be compiled by hand. There is no combination of hardware and backend software that is more highly recommended than any other combination.

The Team does not recommend that you attempt running PVR now, unless you are pretty comfortable working with the guts of XBMC and don’t mind getting your hands dirty. In the coming months, documentation and PVR addon support should become much more user friendly.

For more on PVR, feel free to visit our Wiki section and our PVR Help forum. And check out our list of frequently asked questions. For more images of PVR in action, scroll to the end of this post.  Thanks to Lars Op Den Kamp for being the primary dev of the project for the past few years and alcoheca for starting it up, all the way back at XBMC’s last GSOC.

Raspberry Pi Support

As many of you are aware, XBMC has already been available on the Raspberry Pi for quite some time. However, until now, that support has not been a part of mainline XBMC. With this change, OMXPlayer (the player used to playback 1080p video on the ARM powered Pi) enters mainline XBMC as do many under the hood features for ARM and RaspberryPi support. Thanks to Edgar Hucek for heading up this project.

So Many Others

Additional features this month include:

  • The Test Suite developed by amejia for Google Summer of Code, designed to make testing various parts of XBMC easier and faster
  • A code generated scripting engine that comes from Jim Carroll that performs two separate tasks. First, it makes it much easier for XBMC developers to open up the XBMC API to addon writers. Second, it opens up the possibility of more easily writing addons in the future in code other than python.
  • Improved picture zooming and rotating on touchscreen devices
  • Tagging support for tv shows and music videos so that they match the tagging support already available in movies
  • Improvements in slideshow movement.
  • Additional GUI speedups for low power devices

Conclusion

As always, this is merely a sample of the many changes this cycle. For a full list of all the September changes, feel free to take a look at our list of September milestones. Or, if you are feeling a bit brave and a bit lucky, just start downloading.

  • Windows and OSX
  • Apple TV and iOS installation instructions
  • Given the additional complexities of distribution, builds for Linux are not currently available at XBMC.org.

Finally, a note for those of you who are tracking and submitting bugs. You may notice that Github has an “Issues” section. The Team would very much appreciate it if you did not submit bug reports through that section, but rather continued to use the forums and Trac. At the moment, the Team is using Issues as a concise means of grouping and identifying particular bugs that they gather from the forum and Trac sources.

Also, as we move closer to Frodo, we would like to remind all of our dedicated translators that we’ve now moved to Transifex, which should make the entire process much easier. For a step by step walk through of Transifex, feel free to visit our wiki page on the subject.

Thanks for your help!

Share on reddit
Share on StumbleUpon


Discussion - 37 Comments

  • bossanova808 Oct 10, 2012 

    Yay! (Although I’ve been actually using it for more than a year now anyway…) It’s awesome to see it made mainline, and yet another remarkable achievement.

    Well done!

  • Disgruntled Oct 10, 2012 

    I see Linux is still too hard to build a snapshot release for, even though a lot of people would be happy with just a Ubuntu/Mint PPA. Funny… seems like it should just be enough to perform a recompile of the current code on a machine with the dev packages installed. But what do I know – maybe I should just assume that several virgin sacrifices were necessary to even 11.0 built in the first place.

    It’s the only reason I can think of for why one of the most popular uses for Linux (an HTPC running XBMC) is denied a monthly snapshot.

  • Jake Oct 10, 2012 

    Fantastic job guys, that mainline PVR support is excellent news!

    I love the look of the interface and love that the screens were taken by a fellow Australian!

  • Ale Oct 10, 2012 

    hurray!

  • NineT9 Oct 10, 2012 

    I feel like this is just the beginning of many good things to come

  • Dingdong Oct 10, 2012 

    Wooow. Great news.

  • Skilogram Oct 10, 2012 

    I have never felt so proud to be Australian

  • silviu Oct 10, 2012 

    those are all great news. Keep up the good work guys :)

  • brian Oct 10, 2012 

    Is there an ETA date for Frodo release?

  • N3MIS15 Oct 10, 2012 

    Any chance I could get a link to those channel thumbs?

  • backend Oct 10, 2012 

    Have been using XBMC as a TV frontend in this manner for at least 2 years. It has never been reliable due mainly to the poor backend services. XBMC is the best MC bar none. I have been hoping that the devs would step up and put everyone else to shame.

  • Putte Oct 10, 2012 

    @brian
    Due in 6 weeks (11/24/12) according to the Timeline

  • Spencer Oct 10, 2012 

    This has been my experience too, and I think I have tried every windows and linux backend available. Between buggy backends, buggy plugins and the horribly slow channel change times I’m losing hope for the pvr features. @backend

  • Justin Oct 10, 2012 

    Sweet! I personally don’t care about PVR (why bother with outdated television when you have THE INTERNET!!!!?), but I know it makes a lot of people happy.

    Can’t wait for the feature freeze and beta of Frodo!

  • Anonymous Oct 10, 2012 

    @Disgruntled
    if you say that the most popular uses for Linux is as an HTPC running XBMC… you are wrong

  • Bill Oct 10, 2012 

    I to would like to get a hold of the channel thumbs. Also info on how to install channel thumbs would be great.
    @N3MIS15

  • demod Oct 10, 2012 

    I got mine here: http://www.iconharmony.com/icons/watchtv?category=harmonyOne. Did a double take when I saw those screenshots, looked like my setup. Logo’s for many channels, not just Australian

  • hts Oct 10, 2012 

    Finally!!

    XBMC’s most wanted feature list is shrinking fast.

    Congrats to the team and everyone involved in making it possible.

    Cheers

  • Kevin Oct 10, 2012 

    This is looking good and hopefully it won’t be long before it makes stable status. It might even get me back to watching live TV!

  • atv420 Oct 10, 2012 

    Great news on Frodo can’t wait to try it out once the stable is released!

    Has anyone heard of new ‘boxee box’ it has the TV tuner built right into it for watching live tv (OTA). see link below. Only if are able to install XBMC on to it!
    http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/8/3474602/boxee-tv-live-hdtv-antenna-dvr-apps

    -atv420

  • Daniel Oct 10, 2012 

    I don’t have the thumbs used, but I made thumbs that were very similar for another little project of mine. For the source logos, go to wikipedia and search for each channel. Most of the logos are there all in pretty high definition (some are even vectors!).

    Excellent work guys, cannot wait for Frodo. It does seem a shame that Linux dev builds aren’t available, as I would imagine that’s the platform for the bulk of the “bleeding edge” userbase. I understand it’s easier said than done and it’s an amazing job all the same.

  • Daniel Oct 10, 2012 

    @Daniel
    One better, all Australian TV logo pages in one place. Just click the station names for their respective pages.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Userboxes/Media/Television#Australian_television_stations

  • Disgruntled Oct 10, 2012 

    Anonymous :
    @Disgruntled
    if you say that the most popular uses for Linux is as an HTPC running XBMC… you are wrong

    I’ll rephrase – An HTPC running Linux and XBMC is a very, very popular combination. It seems like binary builds of the snapshot releases should be developed on that basis alone – you’d have a higher number of people trying it out if they didn’t have to (attempt to) perform a build themselves.

  • Chris Oct 10, 2012 

    Skilogram :
    I have never felt so proud to be Australian

    What he said!

  • Steini Oct 10, 2012 
  • azaze1 Oct 11, 2012 

    Is there a solution for a Windows backend with an HD Homerun Prime ? How realistic is this PVR fiasco given dependencies on outside projects that aren’t necessarily thinking of XBMC when they make their PVRs?

  • EVersteegt Oct 11, 2012 

    @Backend and @spencer:

    I have pretty positive experience with “tvheadend” als backend. The software itself is pretty stable on my Synology NAS and there have been quite some days/evenings that I had the XBMC PVR frontend playing from “tvheadend” without any glitch.

    Aside from that, it is a great achievement that PVR finally made it in to XBMC mainline! I am confident many good things and improvements will com from this.

  • Bill Oct 11, 2012 

    Well done guys. I’ve just set up PVR and its terrific! Still having trouble setting thumbnails for channels though – is there a recommended guide for this somewhere?

  • Chris Oct 11, 2012 

    I just tried out NextPVR on the most recent XBMC nightly. I found the backend setup to be far easier than MediaPortal, and once the plugin was enabled in XBMC things progressed super smoothly. I’ll be staying on the stable release of Eden for now, but I’m very excited to take advantage of this when Frodo is release in final form.

  • henryford Oct 12, 2012 

    “A code generated scripting engine that comes from Jim Carroll that performs two separate tasks. First, it makes it much easier for XBMC developers to open up the XBMC API to addon writers. Second, it opens up the possibility of more easily writing addons in the future in code other than python.”

    I’m drooling right now. This is going to be awesome.

  • rdsu Oct 12, 2012 

    Do you know if we already have the new audio tag library on this version?

  • Anonymous Oct 12, 2012 

    Disgruntled :
    I see Linux is still too hard to build a snapshot release for, even though a lot of people would be happy with just a Ubuntu/Mint PPA. Funny… seems like it should just be enough to perform a recompile of the current code on a machine with the dev packages installed. But what do I know – maybe I should just assume that several virgin sacrifices were necessary to even 11.0 built in the first place.
    It’s the only reason I can think of for why one of the most popular uses for Linux (an HTPC running XBMC) is denied a monthly snapshot.

    I have used these build for a long time

    http://packages.pulse-eight.net/

  • BORIStheBLADE Oct 13, 2012 

    Nice work guys! I know a lot have been wanting the PVR support.

  • Mike Oct 15, 2012 

    Awesome progress!

    I will never ever buy a standalone sat-receiver, thanks to you guys.
    Although the internet is easier to use and more comfortable either way.
    *cough* usenet *cough*

  • dist Oct 17, 2012 

    This means, at the end of every month, developers, bug-reporters, and those willing to deal with potentially highly unstable builds can try a snapshot from the current development cycle, and the organization, in turn, will have a more stable and predictable development process.

    If I want to run a “monthly” does this mean I should run a build from the 1st of the current month to have a build with the biggest chance of being bug-free? Or from 1 week before the 1st of the current month?

  • nedscott Oct 18, 2012 

    @dist
    In theory, a build from the last day of the month. We also have pre-compiled binaries (that should, in theory, be identical to the nightly of the last of the month) for iOS, Mac OS X, and Windows (See the links under “Conclusions” in the blog post).

  • nedscott Oct 18, 2012 

    azaze1 :

    Is there a solution for a Windows backend with an HD Homerun Prime ? How realistic is this PVR fiasco given dependencies on outside projects that aren’t necessarily thinking of XBMC when they make their PVRs?

    XBMC is already highly dependent on code from a number of outside projects. Off the top of my head I know we depend on FFmpeg and SAMBA, and would be pretty crippled if those two projects went away. So far so good.

    A lot of backend PVR software is specifically made to work with other software as a frontend, so there’s little worry about losing the ability to use those backends. Most of them (not sure about all) are open source, so even if there is a version that breaks compatibility or goes in a new direction, there’s always the option to fork and maintain our own version.

    We’re very confidant in the stability and future of most of the PVR backends, and see the number of PVR backends increasing in the future.

About Kodi

Kodi is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. Kodi is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.