I used Meedio exclusively and actually had a handful of really poorly written plugins for it. I haven't tried MeediOS yet, but only because I'm too busy. I'll run down the line of things that Meedio did extremely well, which I assume MeediOS will do well also.
jmarshall touched on the flexible library issues and also why there are drawbacks associated with them. I will say that without having the various top-notch plugins installed it'll be impossible to really see how well it works in practice. Everything that XBMC does with music, tv shows, and movies are things that I've done in Meedio. The difference comes in when you want to go a step further and handle things beyond the basics.
Take emulators, for example. To get all of my emulators to work in Meedio, I simply used the regex importer to import the files and then a launching plugin that called the appropriate emulator for that particular game. It took around 10 minutes to set up and anyone could do it following some simple steps on the forums. In XBMC I had to write a perl script that went through all of my files and made a shortcut file for each, including the launching program and the image. All told it took around 45 minutes, and also required the ability to write perl.
I know there are outside plugins and scripts that can do the same thing, but scripts rarely work with all the skins and I'm not sure if plugins can do all of the same things (probably, but I haven't see one do it yet).
Additionally, there are many things in XBMC I have no need for and others that I'd really like, and making it work would require extensive customization by me. For example, now that my son is old enough for cartoons, I've LOVE a children's shows section. I'd also LOVE a parent's movies section that's passworded. Now I know XBMC can do that part, but it'd be REALLY nice if the children's shows would be visible on the main menu and the default option, so he could quickly get into his shows. XBMC can do that, but only with some advanced customization. Doing the same in Meedio would take about 5 minutes of work (make library, pick options for importer, add to menu). If someone wrote a mod for a popular skin for this, what happens when I also want my cooking recipes on the main menu?
I'll use the various image formats as the example with this one. Let's say a skin needs a new banner format that is provided by my site, TheTVDB. With Meedio you only needed the download plugin to grab the new format and then skins could make use of it. The plugin would simply load those image locations into a new library field and skins would reference it. This means that switching views from banner to poster to thumbnail to fanart mode was cake.
3. Scheduled Imports
Let's use Apple Trailers as an example. I haven't used it all that much in XBMC, but I do know that it takes a little while to browse and load. IIRC the old version downloaded everything to a local cache that you browsed while the new version just pulls from the website each time? You were either frontloading the wait time to when you loaded the plugin or dealing with the wait time as you used it. With Meedio you could schedule the various plugins, which meant you could have Apple Trailers run once daily at midnight and it'd be ready for that entire day with no wait time. Frontloading or backloading was still possible, but most things were scheduled.
4. Simple skinning
I modified some of the skins for Meedio and they were extremely easy. I think MeediOS is getting a bit more complex due to the system they're using, but Meedio was really nice. For new layouts, like my sports score plugin screen, the plugin author simply released a default template that would be used. If the skin designer wanted something that fit their theme better, they would simply override the default with their version. It worked really well and was very simple and flexible.
Now, the things Meedio did poorly.
Setting up your system for the first time was a pain. XBMC is definitely better in this way. However, I think there's middle ground there. A system like Meedio's library could easily have an installer/wizard that did the initial configuration of the various import/display plugins. New plugins could easily use their own integrated installer that would configure the options as well. It'd be the best of both worlds: complete flexibility that even grandma could use.
2. Animated Interface
Meedio was definitely lacking in this area. You couldn't do animation of various screen sections like XBMC can. I'm not sure if the simple skinning method of Meedio prevents it or if there's some way of combining them.
Obvious... Meedio was Windows only. Not sure what MeediOS will be.
I think MeediOS is addressing this by using a number of input plugins (mouse/touchscreen, keyboard, controller, remote). But Meedio was terrible for customizing these things. To be honest, I think XBMC is terrible too, but I think for both it's because neither puts a high premium on being able to customize your controller. It'd be really nice to have integrated controller customization in either program.
5. File Browsing
XBMC does this so much better, and it's the main reason I switched (other than wrestling with hardware... I'm on an Xbox now). Meedio did have a file browsing mode, but didn't display the various artwork like XBMC does. I didn't want to have to scan 2+TB of media every time I wanted to watch a new TV show.
There's definitely a way to do XBMC's style in Meedio's skin system, though. I'm guessing it would be a few minor adjustments of template files.
Overall, I think my biggest issue with XBMC is that there doesn't seem to be a separation of data and presentation yet. Plugins were a step in the right direction, allowing more customized data to be shown within the theme itself, but it's still not across the board. I haven't looked much at the skinning system, but from a user standpoint that's what it feels like. :/ I think both systems are great, but it might just come down to different target audiences...
csimon Wrote:The XBMC web interface is a step in the right direction because you can control a server instance that is elsewhere from any net-enabled device. That's something that's missing from Meedio.
IIRC, MeediOS has this planned. I believe the goal was to have a central core that could handle input/output plugins of various types. That means you could put the server system on one box and remote input/outputs elsewhere using that same server instance. It also means that more unique interfaces like LCD screens or web interfaces would be handled easily.