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What is the best media center software?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
All I really need is software that will download and display the media information and cover art for my 1080p x264 BluRay rips. I have used XBMC media center, but the video doesn't play smoothly. I know it's not a hardware problem because all of my files play perfectly fine through Windows Media Player with the ffdshow codec. If there is anyone with experience using different media center software, or if anyone knows of a software that will just download the cover art and media information and let me continue to use Windows Media Player, I would appreciate your help.
post #2 of 28
You can set XBMC to use an external player, like MPC-HC for example.


I have no problems playing bluray MKV files in XBMC with an E5200 processor.

But my brother struggles in XBMC with an Opteron 165 (Athlon X2 4000ish) and uses MPC-HC as the external player just for MKV files.
post #3 of 28
windows media center with the media browser plugin. it will display covert art and metadata, you can launch an external player based on video format. it can automatically download metadata, but get a separate metadata program if you want more control...
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

windows media center with the media browser plugin. it will display covert art and metadata, you can launch an external player based on video format. it can automatically download metadata, but get a separate metadata program if you want more control...


+1

Media Browser is fantastic. I went through all the various front ends and this one by far is the best. And this from a die hard XBMC guy.
post #5 of 28
+2 Media Browser is fantastic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GooberedUp View Post

+1

Media Browser is fantastic. I went through all the various front ends and this one by far is the best. And this from a die hard XBMC guy.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GooberedUp View Post

+1

Media Browser is fantastic. I went through all the various front ends and this one by far is the best. And this from a die hard XBMC guy.

I am an XBMC guy but I am frustrated with the lack of acceleration under Windows (external player kludge doesn't work for me) and have been looking for something else. Does Media Browser replace the look and feel of MCE? Meaning does it replace the craptastic frontend of MCE with one that looks like MediaStream on XBMC (at least that is what the pics look like on the Media Browser website)?
post #7 of 28
in a way... its a completely different interface, and you can easily choose different looks, ie cover flow, thumbnail, poster, etc...

im not sure what you mean by craptastic, but i find media center to be very functional, it only suffers from a lack of easy customization...

as far as external players, when you click the movie or video to play, an external video player is launched (if one is set), so so can choose whatever you want.
post #8 of 28
Mediaportal with Moving Pictures and My TV Series plug ins. Hands down!
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_311 View Post

in a way... its a completely different interface, and you can easily choose different looks, ie cover flow, thumbnail, poster, etc...

im not sure what you mean by craptastic, but i find media center to be very functional, it only suffers from a lack of easy customization...

as far as external players, when you click the movie or video to play, an external video player is launched (if one is set), so so can choose whatever you want.

Sorry, should have been much more clear. What I like about XBMC (using Media Stream skin) is that the main screen for XBMC only has My Movies, My TV Shows, My Pictures, My Videos, On/Off, System, Weather, etc. Also, I can disable any menus that I don't need. MCE on the other hand, has at least 10 menu items with countless sub menu items. So my question is can MCE with Media Browser plugin be setup to go straight to the Media Browser plugin so I don't have to see the other menu items?
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by l2e View Post

Sorry, should have been much more clear. What I like about XBMC (using Media Stream skin) is that the main screen for XBMC only has My Movies, My TV Shows, My Pictures, My Videos, On/Off, System, Weather, etc. Also, I can disable any menus that I don't need. MCE on the other hand, has at least 10 menu items with countless sub menu items. So my question is can MCE with Media Browser plugin be setup to go straight to the Media Browser plugin so I don't have to see the other menu items?

i believe there is a hack for loading directly to MB. i just came across it the other day but i forget where i saw it at...

you can also remove strips in MCE with registry hacks...
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Flowerday View Post

Mediaportal with Moving Pictures and My TV Series plug ins. Hands down!

+1 for Mediaportal w/ Moving Pictures. Once set up you just plop a movie file in a monitored folder and your done.

Mediaportal allows you to turn off their internal codec selector and use windows codec handling. I find that to be the better way to go.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason32835 View Post

+1 for Mediaportal w/ Moving Pictures. Once set up you just plop a movie file in a monitored folder and your done.

Mediaportal allows you to turn off their internal codec selector and use windows codec handling. I find that to be the better way to go.

I assume it is a given, but you two left out adding the StreamedMP skin to Media Portal.
post #13 of 28
Windows 7 MC. after that.... xlobby2

oh sorry the title is a little misleading til you read the post.

I just rip my BDs to ISO using AnyDVD and set them up in xlobby2 to auto launch with daemon tools.
post #14 of 28
Windows Media Center just works right and has the best picture and audio quailty if set up correctly. It is hard to customize though and has poor video playback features. Subtitles are also not handled natively so it is a chore to select subtitle and audio tracks.

MediaPortal comes in at 2nd and it definitely has more features. Only problem is that it is not quite as polished. Video skipping/rewinding/fforwarding actually work really well on it though. Subtitles selection is great. There are some bugs here and there which are the only dealbreaker for me.
post #15 of 28
I have not used XBMC but I have used both Media Browser and My Movies with VMC and Win 7. Both are solid programs for pulling cover art, metadata, etc. for DVD/Movie collections.

Assuming remote control operation only...
I think MB has a slick and pretty GUI. Very nice looking application, great animation/3D feel for scrolling, etc.
I think My Movies is a little quicker for navigation. You can get to a specific movie with fewer clicks.

MB can work with Recorded TV files, etc. so it is a little more versitile in that fashion, though I don't (or at least not figured out yet) think it does as good a job with recorded TV as native VMC/7MC does.

Overall, I am pleased with both My Movies and MB.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
I installed the Media Browser plug-in, but am having some problems with it. It recognizes certain files as the wrong movie, and doesn't recognize others at all. For example, it thinks the new Italian Job is the old one, and won't get any information for 25th Hour at all. Is there any way I can tell it specifically which movies these are? I haven't found any setting for this.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by l2e View Post

Sorry, should have been much more clear. What I like about XBMC (using Media Stream skin) is that the main screen for XBMC only has My Movies, My TV Shows, My Pictures, My Videos, On/Off, System, Weather, etc. Also, I can disable any menus that I don't need. MCE on the other hand, has at least 10 menu items with countless sub menu items. So my question is can MCE with Media Browser plugin be setup to go straight to the Media Browser plugin so I don't have to see the other menu items?

You can easily modify what is shown on the MCE menus with MC Menu Mender http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/255723.aspx
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jroof View Post

You can easily modify what is shown on the MCE menus with MC Menu Mender http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/255723.aspx

that doesn't work for win7, but the next version is supposed to work in win7 and allow theme changes!
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by tchambers311 View Post

I installed the Media Browser plug-in, but am having some problems with it. It recognizes certain files as the wrong movie, and doesn't recognize others at all. For example, it thinks the new Italian Job is the old one, and won't get any information for 25th Hour at all. Is there any way I can tell it specifically which movies these are? I haven't found any setting for this.

use meta browser. it gives you more control.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

I assume it is a given, but you two left out adding the StreamedMP skin to Media Portal.

Oh yeah.. that is a given
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by roots4x View Post

Windows Media Center just works right and has the best picture and audio quailty if set up correctly. It is hard to customize though and has poor video playback features. Subtitles are also not handled natively so it is a chore to select subtitle and audio tracks.

MediaPortal comes in at 2nd and it definitely has more features. Only problem is that it is not quite as polished. Video skipping/rewinding/fforwarding actually work really well on it though. Subtitles selection is great. There are some bugs here and there which are the only dealbreaker for me.

I had not heard that before, why do you say that? If the same codecs (I use ffdshow), splitters etc are used then shouldn't the quality be the same for all frontends, or am I missing something here?
post #22 of 28
I use xbmc in my htpcs; one with linux, and an e5200 + gpu acceleration .. the other with win 7, and a nice e8600 to provide the grunt to play all my HD files flawlessly.

the interface of xbmc cant be beat; its fantastic
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon View Post

I had not heard that before, why do you say that? If the same codecs (I use ffdshow), splitters etc are used then shouldn't the quality be the same for all frontends, or am I missing something here?

i rip all my season dvds to mkv. they are standard def. i used vista and win7 both with media browser and ffdshow, win7 has far superior picture quality on mkvs. the vista system gavce it a kind of grainy screen door effect, the hd mkvs i have are about the same on both systems.

i know its different decoders but the win7 mpeg2 decoder does a much better job at upscaling sd dvds than the vista the did.

if you have windows with mce, use it. if not, unless you are using it as a dvr as well use media portal.

i have a xp system with media portal and my personal preference is MCE with MB, its not even close.
post #24 of 28
My question was about differences on the same OS, not Vista vs Win7. So in Win7, using WMC vs MediaPortal (which I can set to use the system mpeg2 decoder instead of ffdshow) should result in the same quality, right?
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon View Post

My question was about differences on the same OS, not Vista vs Win7. So in Win7, using WMC vs MediaPortal (which I can set to use the system mpeg2 decoder instead of ffdshow) should result in the same quality, right?

if im understanding you right, then no. ffdshow and mpeg2 decoder will provide different results, ffdshow offers a lot more customization, for instance if you like the picture sharp or dull, color correction, etc... mpeg2 decoder doesnt let you do any of that, but i think its far better than ffdshow in decoding mpeg2 codecs.

and just so you know, you can change the default decoders, if you prefer ffdshow, in mce as well.

but i dont think it would matter which front end is being used, as long as the same codecs are being utilized.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by l2e View Post

I am an XBMC guy but I am frustrated with the lack of acceleration under Windows (external player kludge doesn't work for me) and have been looking for something else. Does Media Browser replace the look and feel of MCE? Meaning does it replace the craptastic frontend of MCE with one that looks like MediaStream on XBMC (at least that is what the pics look like on the Media Browser website)?

Then why not use MediaPortal with Streamed MP skin (a port of Mediastream for XBMC over MediaPortal)? As it uses DirectShow filters, hardware acceleration works fine. Check MediaPortal Install Guide.
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon View Post

So in Win7, using WMC vs MediaPortal (which I can set to use the system mpeg2 decoder instead of ffdshow) should result in the same quality, right?

As long as you use the same filters, the end result should be the same.
post #28 of 28
The thing I like about WMC is the Internet tv - movie trailers, news. sports, popular videos, and the music playback with wall of music. Its all very well done, I prefer it to MP plugins to do the same things.
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