Monday, July 11, 2011

Works in Progress

I've mentioned in the past that the next version of PseudoTV will have some additional features.  I'm going to go through some of those, and then in the next week(s) you'll be able to try them on stable-pre.

Directory Channels

This feature has been requested several times in the past, but I hadn't really understood the reason for it.  People wanted to create channels based on a certain directory of media that wasn't scraped into XBMC.  Why?  For myself, the motivation came when I discovered HD-Trailers.NET Downloader.  My wife laughs at me for having this, but I really like having a channel that plays all of the newest trailers.  So I setup this program to download the newest ones every night.  Of course these won't scrape into XBMC so I need a way to play them...hence directory channels.

Background Channel Loading

One complaint that I've personally had about PseudoTV was that, at times, startup would take too long.  I'd have to sit and wait for each channel to update.  This isn't a problem if all of your media is connected to the computer running XBMC, but one of my machines is connected over dreaded WiFi.  Channel updates could take up to 15 seconds each...I'm not patient enough to wait for 20-something channels to update.  In comes background updating.

On startup, only channels that are ready to go will actually be loaded.  You may end up with as little as 1 channel actually enabled when PseudoTV starts playing.  After that, it will update and load the rest of the channels in the background, giving you a little message that pops up after each one is available.  No more waiting!  Combined with the previous version's ability to load up to 5 days of data in advance in the background, there should be virtually no updating of channels on startup and if updating is necessary it will be done without forcing delays.  Ah, multithreading, I'm a fan.

Channel Rules

You may have noticed in the above screenshot the addition of a new button: Channel Rules.  This will hopefully allow me to give users a lot more flexibility over how each channel is setup.  It also doesn't force it on them, so you can safely ignore its presence if you want.  Here's what the rule screen (currently) looks like:

It will have a bit of a different interface that I hope people find intuitive enough.  It will contain only a list.  Each channel will start with no rules.  When you select an empty rule to modify, you get this:

From there you can select the rule type and then just fill in the rule options.  The number of rules in a channel isn't limited, but it's possible to create a garbage channel if you're not careful.  For example, if the channel type is TV show, the show is Firefly, and you make a rule that says not to play the TV show Firefly.  That would be stupid.  Don't do that.

I don't have a final list of rules yet, but I'm working on it.  This is the big feature that will delay this release, so please don't throw things at me if it takes too long!  I'll make sure to update the PseudoTV thread with any stable-pre updates.

Worth mentioning

The video parser will now determine the length of MOV files.  Turns out that they are virtually the same format as MP4, I only needed to send them to that same parser and everything worked.  Huh, who knew.