Originally Posted by dengland
I am late to the party on this one... I may have seen your thread awhile ago while dreaming large, but found it again as I am now looking for Crestron control of media for the space I ended up with. Google got me here today. As a side note, when I started reading my copy of November EH, I turned straight your write-up since "Crestron Programmer" was in the sub-title. A few days later I end up here because of the Google "XBMC Crestron" search. Nice job on your space...the article does not do all the work justice!
I need to start at the top and go through the complete thread, but here are the two things that I am not happy with at the moment with my configuration. I don't know if XBMC would help.
I have a small multi-use space. It is my den/computer room that contains a 72" screen above an L-shaped desk. I have an AV2 controlling hardware and I use both an XPanel and an iPad Mobile Pro G application to interface to the Crestron. I do not currently have my PC connected to the Radiance XS, but could.
1) If I want listen to iTunes through the AVR while at my desk, (a) I can use my Apple TV to accomplish that. However, I don't really want to waste the bulb hours for that. (b) If I try and use iTunes on the computer, running digital Audio out of the PC to the AVR or Radiance requires me to mess with which sound device is active. Sort of awkward. (c) If I try and do Airplay from the iPad to the Apple TV, I am bouncing back and forth between iTunes and Mobile Pro G on the iPad. Nothing seem simple and integrated enough. I would like to stay inside of either the Xpanel or Mobile Pro G that lets me browse and play from my library without requiring powering up the projector. I certainly have not found a CEN-ISERVER at a low enough price to use that as a solution. Not sure at what price point I would pick "it just works" by emptying my wallet for an iserver. Does XBMC help?
2) I have tried the Blu-Ray Demo discs on a DL DVD, but my Samsung player hates them. The player will stream the mt2s files off my PC, but the interface is painful to get there. Not to mention about half the time the Samsung cannot see the PC without a reboot. That really spoils the show and tell mood. It certainly looks like setting up XBMC could tackle that job with ease. I am not opposed to setting up a dedicated PC for that.
Can I kill both birds with one XBMC stone?
Hopefully, I am not hijacking your thread with my post. The crux of my inquiry is centered around your experience with Crestron control even if it does not clearly read that way.
Wow, I am VERY sorry for the late reply. Thank you for your kind words! The article was a lot of fun and it is really humbling to see my space in that magazine next to the really professional jobs (a category, to which, I do not believe mine belongs!).
I'm sure you've figured out something by now but here goes, nonetheless. Regarding the first issue. I have run into this precise problem myself and you need to weigh the value of playing iTunes Music Store-purchased content vs. playing your own music rips. If the scale tips to the former then XBMC will work fine. There are pretty good Crestron modules floating around the 'net to control XBMC that provide indirect text, etc. etc. The protocol is pretty basic HTTP get/put stuff too so it wouldn't be too difficult to roll your own. Another very viable and inexpensive music-only alternative is the old Logitech Squeezebox. I have one of their version two units that has been a ROCK SOLID performer for almost a decade. That's pretty remarkable for a box that streams digital media in my opinion. Pretty good modules available for that too.
XBMC is a bit of a Hydra. There are umpteen partially-supported add-in modules that lure you in and then kind of let you down. Personally I didn't want another hobby; I wanted a media server. I built and XBMC box and live with the limitations. I don't care that the music interface is kinda clunky via the OSD. The reality is that I hardly ever listen to music in the theatre anyway.
One trick that I like is to just live with the fact that if your iPad is your remote you will have to jump from app to app periodically. I'm a VERY good UI programmer and a VERY good Crestron programmer but I am not interested in attempting to replicate the ease that the native "Remote" app works at controlling an AppleTV. I use a call-out that automatically switches the user from Mobile Pro G (could they have come up with a worse name, really?) to Remote when the AppleTV button is pressed. I also call-out from Crestron to the XBMC remote control app. It works beautifully and it lowers the programming burden considerably.
Now if only Nest would put the call-out feature in their API! You can browse the possibilities here: http://handleopenurl.com/
I've emailed Nest repeatedly about adding the openURL feature to their app but it falls on deaf ears.
XBMC is a great media player. It really is. I have not found a video that it doesn't like. My biggest problem with it is how subtitles work but that, I'm sure, is something that I'm doing incorrectly with MakeMKV. Bizarre stuff happens with subtitles for me. Sometimes I'll have an English movie with no subs and then if there's a song all of that is subtitled. The biggest problem is when there is a section of an otherwise English-language movie that is in a foreign language. Nothing shows up. Then other times the subtitles, in English, are on by default for an English-language movie.
Well.. I'm sure that's more than you wanted to know!