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XBMC verses Meedio / MeediOS - what is the XBMC attraction that makes it so popular? - Printable Version

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- Gamester17 - 2009-06-18

Compromises sometimes have to be made, and then the needs of the many may have to outweigh the needs of the few.


Putting it into one sentence, the vision of Team-XBMC is to create the best cross-platform media center software there is, XBMC should always be the de facto standard that other media center applications are measured against, whether they are based on commercial or free open source software.

The XBMC manifesto

This XBMC ‘manifesto’ is Team-XBMC’s public declaration of the XBMC project members principles, philosophy, and intentions. This manifesto tries to outline the goals we aim and hope to achieve with XBMC, and sum up the XBMC project’s strategic direction vision for the present and the future.

User-friendliness is next to godliness

One major ongoing goal of Team-XBMC has always been to continuously try to make XBMC Media Center and its user interface feel even more intuitive and user-friendly for its end-users, based on the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle of simplicity, (which is to simplify, without dumbing down). It is our belief that usability is the most important aspect of a media center like XBMC. Many other media center projects make user interface decisions by developers, who often have little experience in user interface design. In contrast, Team-XBMC does its best to listen to XBMC’s end-users to learn how XBMC is actually being used and how we can improve the user experience. We also aim to do regular overhauls, improving existing features/functions, and scrapping outdated code and features/functions (as “too much stuff” adds unnecessary complexity and can thus also be a bad thing). Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

XBMC as a whole must…
  • First and foremost be aimed at a large-screen (28″ or larger) 10-foot GUI (graphical user interface) for the living-room experience. Large menus, text/fonts and buttons that is before anything designed to be navigated by a hand-held remote-control as the single input device capable of performing everything in the GUI.
  • Be focused around the main features of playing music, watching movies, recorded television broadcasts, streaming online content, and viewing pictures. XBMC may be capable of converging other areas of digital media as well but those things should never take over the main focus in the interface.
  • Be easy to install, set up and maintain, so that our valuable end-users do not get fed up with it and quit. XBMC Media Center should always be designed to let users be up-and-running as soon as possible after the initial installation, no need to to fiddle around with settings to get started, XBMC should work straight out-of-the-box.
  • Have an user interface that is simple and intuitive enough so that less tech-savvy people are not intimidated by it. Make common usage easy, simple Human–Computer Interaction (HCI), from the viewpoint of an ordinary user.
  • Be able to play audio and video files that have been encoded using DivX, XviD, etc. directly out-of-the-box.
  • Be able to organize audio and video files in an easy and user-friendly way.
  • Use standards and be consistent, (the Music section can for example not use completely different controls from the Video section).
  • Perform all and any actions in the GUI with as few ‘clicks’ as possible.
  • Be aimed at an international audience, internationalization and localization by supporting different languages, timezones and other regional differences
  • Require no non-GUI configuration for normal operating and very little no non-GUI configuration for advanced configuration (and all such non-GUI configuration should be done in just one file: advancedsettings.xml). There is still a little work to be done here, for example RSS-feeds configuration need to moved to the GUI.
  • Last but not least, be beautiful to look at, after all, we hope you will be using it a lot!

Team-XBMC members should always strive to…
  • Promote open source - XBMC is based on the ideas of FOSS (free open source software), licensed under the GPL and builds partly on other open source projects which we do our best to support. The GPL should be respected at all times. All code should be committed to the XBMC project’s SVN before any public binaries are released.
  • Promote the sharing of knowledge and collaboration - Through the use of information sharing tools and practices XBMC is a collaborative environment.
  • Understand that development is a team effort - Treating our users as co-developers has proven to be the most effective option for rapid development. Always strive to work as a team at all times. Actively promote discussion on new features and bug fixes, and respect others comments and criticisms with replies in a timely fashion.
  • Apply the Law of Diminishing Return - The majority of the effort should be invested in implementing features which have the most benefit and widest general usage by the community.
  • Try to make all code, feature, and functions to be platform agnostic - XBMC is a multi-platform software, thus any single platform specific features should be discussed with other team members before implemented, and software portability should always be kept in mind. All major new features and functions should be developed in a separate branch or committed in small increments so that other members have the opportunity to review the code and comment on it during development.
The fact is as XBMC Media Center is no longer only a niche product for a people that mod their Xbox for it, XBMC can not be everything including the kitchen sink to everyone, some people might feel that this limits or restricts them, however others might understand that this bring stability and makes it more user-friendly to use for the larger majority of end-users. So while we are not Microsoft or Apple, thus we can still be very flexible, XBMC is today aimed for the masses, as a product by the people for the people.

marcus d Wrote:I find XBMC :-

Far more user friendly - wife and kids agree here too.

More stable.

Has enough capabilities for our purposes
@marcus d, you seem to be in XBMC target audience sweetspot there Big Grin

- marcus d - 2009-06-18

Again, IMHO, XBMC is almost perfect, not just the way it operates but the whole ethos of the devs. Keep it lean and simple as a base product yet if anyone wants to code up some add ons go for it but make them an option... if you want it get it and use it, if you dont want it, well at least you dont have a ton of options that you will not ever use, clogging up the UI and the sw.

From my Media Portal days it seemed that a lot of good add ons were available yet too many were incorporated into the base product. MP fans dont get me wrong its a stunning bit of kit but a tad too stunning (!!) for us simple/base users. Im confident that I was nowhere close to using MP to its full potential, because I never needed/wanted to.

My final plea to the devs....." If it aint broke, dont fix it " keep it lean and mean.

Oh and a big thanks for all the hard work put/being put in, Im here to stay

Big GrinBig Grin

- Jong - 2009-07-10

Hi. I am a long time Meedio user (and before that it's predecessor MyHTPC) who recently spend several weeks evaluating XBMC. So here is the view from "the other side"!

As has been mentioned earlier MeediOS is in Alpha. This needs to be considered when evaluating.

Whilst there is no doubt that XBMC is easier to get up and running there is also no doubt that Meedio and now MeediOS offers infinitely more powerful user configuration and library manipulation. This does make it hard to setup if you are not familiar with it. Much of this will be addressed by pre-packed themes nearer to full (or even beta) release. But, yes, it is likely MeediOS will always have a steeper learning curve than XBMC. However in return you get:

- A very flexible plugin architecture that allows even relatively inexperienced programmers to enhance MeediOS though importers (meaning web scrapers), modules, themes, and (with MeediOS) even audio/video players

- An infinitely more flexible UI allowing the configuration e.g. of nested menu items with any name, icon, background you wish. This, for example, allows you to have a single "TV" button at the top level with a sub menu showing "TV Shows" (normal XBMC TV Show style module) and "HULU", "NetFlix", "BBC iPlayer" and any other online or offline TV resources you may want. You no longer have to hide all your non-standard stuff under "Games".

- A very powerful library that though use of multiple importers (scrapers) or direct editing can contain just about anything you want. You can have as many libraries as you want all individually accessible from the menu.

- Even the screens are editable by the "power user" so you can change the tags from your library displayed on any screen and rearrange/resize things to your heart's content.

- More powerful multi-player capability with "Playmee" plugin

All this needs to be considered when trying out MeediOS when you are used to the simple but, for a Meedio user, limited user capabilities of XBMC.

- keeganl - 2009-07-10

Whoa, Zag is on the XBMC forum. I used to use your plugins with meedio. I wanted to say this and clear any misconception. Maybe I miss understood, but it was said that meediOS's core is based on an outdated core from developers who dropped it years ago. MEEDIO was canned years ago and has been hacked to death. Fanart loads very slow on MEEDIO.

MeediOS on the other is being written from scratch and if you watch the new videos which are found here http://www.meedios.com, you will see that fanart and the GUI in general are much faster and run smoothly.

I just wanted people to realize that Meedio and MeediOS are two different programs based around the same idea. MeediOS is built to resemble everything that their community loved about Meedio, but incorporate all the features that will benefit the software to run more efficiently and perform better.

visiti http://www.meedios.com and read trough the forums. They have some great coders, but unfortunately there aren't as many people skinning for them. XBMC has the best skinners around, NO DOUBT.

- technojunkie - 2009-07-10

I used Meedio Waaaaay back when it was MyHTPC, and paid for a Meedio license the day it was available. I used it up until the day that Pablo sold out to Yahoo.

What I liked about Meedio
- massively configurable, but still fairly simple
-- the backend and databases were a thing of beauty
-- the menu was simple to configure in the backend, allowed easy entry creation using built-in components, plugins and external players and associated with appropriate database tabel for media
- Meedio Add-Ins Directory(MAID)
- control scheme/remote setup was easier/less time consuming than XBMC

What I didn't like
- Performance, when Pablo started using .NET the software started being too much for for my EPIA platform ( I saw this as an unnecessary bloat)
- Windows only, hey you get more performance out of linux as we all know
- wasn't as stable as it could be(and of course support went bye-bye after Yahoo bought Pablo out)

- smcnally75 - 2009-07-10

adamsmith Wrote:I look forward to the time when people like you guys flock to Meedios like moths to a flame, as it takes it place at the top of the HTPC software tree, with the help of theme's like this.
I was a HUGE Meedio supporter back in the day and worked with it since the day it came out (and even before that with "myHTPC"). MeediOS has a ton of potential, but until they get away from the complex setup procedure that has been needed since the days of Meedio it will never be at the top of the "HTPC software tree". An ideal HTPC needs to be effortless to use and effortless to setup and MeediOS may be effortless to use, but setting it up is a never ending and ever changing task. If you do as little as changing a theme, you are required to go into the configurator and change add or remove list layouts depending on whether or not your new skin supports your previous configurations. Once they get the configuration down to a very basic thing it will be an extremely incredible HTPC front end.

- jondr13 - 2009-07-11

smcnally75 Wrote:I was a HUGE Meedio supporter back in the day and worked with it since the day it came out (and even before that with "myHTPC"). MeediOS has a ton of potential, but until they get away from the complex setup procedure that has been needed since the days of Meedio it will never be at the top of the "HTPC software tree". An ideal HTPC needs to be effortless to use and effortless to setup and MeediOS may be effortless to use, but setting it up is a never ending and ever changing task. If you do as little as changing a theme, you are required to go into the configurator and change add or remove list layouts depending on whether or not your new skin supports your previous configurations. Once they get the configuration down to a very basic thing it will be an extremely incredible HTPC front end.

That is exactly my point when I posted this for everyone to take a glace at. I spent at least 30 mins trying to figure out how to even install this new theme for MeediOS. I hadnt even begun to figure out how to add my files, etc. Heck, I couldnt even get the weather to change from the default North Pole to my location! So, I agree, XBMC is extremely user friendly when trying to set up. When it gets to convoluted and complicated, any user will never use it.

RE: Meedio/OS complexity - sbass - 2009-07-11

Guys we're all very well aware of the complexity of Meedio/MeediOS. While porting a compatible version of Meedio was the first objective, fixing up the difficulty is another high priority. It will come with time.


- TerranQ - 2009-07-11

I used Meedio myself-it was my introduction to HTPC front ends. It is difficult to set up, but the main reason I switched to XBMC was the speed difference. Of course, I've since upgraded my HTPC, and this theme looks pretty good, and I'm always looking for a new thing to tinker with (to the chagrin of my wife Laugh), so I may have to give it another try.

It is much more flexible than XBMC, but the price you pay is the complexity of the setup.

- dtviewer - 2009-07-11

CMitch Wrote:Thanks for following this up Analog.

Its control over the main menu. I have some pretty fishy TV/Film tastes and have divided the media in a way that suits me. I'd like Movies, TV Shows to point to exactly that, which is seprated into folders on my NAS BUT i'd also like direct links to my Dr Who stories, which are divided by each Doctor. I also have MusicVids as a seperate folder as are my Horror movies sperated from Movies. So my main menu may cosist of Movies, Horror, Dr Who, TV SHows, MusicVids, Music and Photos. Then on top of that you have settings, weather..etc..etc..

I had the same issue as you (kind of)
I solved it by using a modded version of a PM3-HD skin.
My home page has these buttons:
Tv Shows

Movies and TVShows point to exactly that, Movies and TVShows.

But the 'Video' button opens up a list of sub-folders. They are:
Music Videos
Videos (yea yea...this is where I hide the pornBig Grin)

You can have as many sub folders named whatever you would like under the 'videos' button. This was the easiest and most elegant way for me.

If this sounds like something you are interested in just leave a message here and I'll post up the modded skin on Rapidshare.

- PilGrim - 2009-07-11

I used Meedio for at around 5 years so I thought I would weigh in also. I think zag2me has hit a good list of things I also miss from Meedio. I tend to explain it this way to friends:

Is powerful, smooth and simple to get up and running. Perfect for people with simple media collections or no time or interest in spending time to tweak the system to the Nth degree to get the collection to show just how you want it in the HTPC program. With Auriga XBMC as the best looking interface of any HTPC software out there. Apple has proven the power of good design and djh has really delivered with Auriga. Auriga is the main reason I am working with XBMC now.

The power is in the ability to have multiple libraries and a customizable menu tree. But... Meedio is old and shows its age. The core program is closed with no development for years, it is only through a very active developer community and plug-ins that Meedio stayed relevant as long as it did.

A open source rewrite of Meedio. This program when done will be powerful and many will be attracted to the ability to manage as many libraries as you want along with ability to customize menu items with multiple layers.

For me I still can't get XBMC to manage my collection as I want. I used to have TV Shows broken into 3 libraries:
- TV Shows (XBMC style view)
- Documentaries (folder type view)
- Travel Shows (travel is a hobby and I have a TON of these for every country; I showed them in folder view as they are grouped by country)

Music videos are poorly implemented in XBMC also. My collection of singles is very large and includes a lot of live performances that are never picked up by the scraper and do not show properly. I have to use list view, but I can't seem to get a music submenu option from the main menu with out a lot of xml experimentation. I also have a large collection of live concerts that are either in folders with a DVD file structure format, folder with Mpg2 or folder with Mkv. I used to browse them similar to movies with poster art.

In Meedio my Music Menu had 3 sub-menus:
- Music Mp3 (XBMC view on this is better)
- Mp3 Jukebox (great jukebox mod)
- Video Singles (library style mod view with random 100 play, genre, play lists, or queue up feature)
- DVD Concerts. (movie poster wall view)

In Meedio for Movies I had:
- Movies (wall view, Auriga is better with more options)
- Trailers (similar to Trailers script but better integration into skin)
- Genre (but here you can customize the view and I had a and option for HD, Xvid, then Tagged Genre, no messing with .nfo files!)

None of the post here really help you understand the power of how customizable Meedio is by the user. As a result it does have a large learning curve, but once you learn how the following work it is a snap:
- setup and maintain multiple libraries
- Use customizable importers to get content into your libraries
- Create views from your library (confusing at first, but very very powerful)
- Manage menu tree
- Set type of content container to use for menu tree

EDIT: how could I forget: Meedio works with my remote right out of the box. Getting XBMC to work with my gyration windows media center compatible remote? ARGGGGGHHHH!

Although I love the look and feel of XBMC, I will go back to MeediOS when it gets out of alpha and is more stable; that is unless XBMC delivers ability for multiple libraries and customizable menus.

Just my 2 cents..


- zag - 2009-07-12

Couple of things to add

- MeediOS is just as fast and smooth as XBMC now, the old slow meedio GUI is history
- It also has some amazing new features not seen in and frontends yet, like animated backdrops, and ken burns slideshows.
- MeediOS is based on microsoft WPF so there is a huge community of potential developers
- Mutiple User interfaces are possible so you could have the main window, a touchscreen and an interface on a remote control all visible doing different things.
- Everything is based on a plugin. Things like the UI, library and video player are all plugins allowing developers to write new parts of the software without breaking the core.

As a current XBMC user and MeediOS tester I am hoping both pieces of software try to emulate each others best features, competition always drives innovation.

- bidossessi - 2009-07-12

Let me get this straight. MeediOS is a cross-platform app?

- zag - 2009-07-12

bidossessi Wrote:Let me get this straight. MeediOS is a cross-platform app?

No its windows only, always has been, always will be.

- csimon - 2009-11-24

CMitch Wrote:So let me ask former Meedio users, what attracted you to XBMC from Meedio?
Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I've just discovered XBMC after coming from Meedio!

I've yet to find the application that does what I want. Meedio provides the best library manipulation/custom menu structure but probably falls down on UI and control, and support and further development. Other programs have a better UI but have very restrictive library/browsing control. I've been playing around with some uPnP/DLA servers. Some will only give you the standard Artist/Album/Genre browsing structure, others will allow you to customise the browse tree but only give you limited tags to choose from, no filtering, no control over sort order etc.

XBMC seems to be the most complete and useable alternative in terms of slickness and UI but still lacks things from Meedio that I miss. In particular:

1. Dual monitor use: UI on a touchscreen for example while videos play fullscreen on a TV. The web interface is very close to reaching this ideal but it cannot display the library view.
2. Custom menus.
3. Multiple libraries.
4. Completely customisable library views using filters, multiple steps, grouping and sort orders, using any tags you wish.
5. Sensible handling of multi-volume sets, I've not seen any other software yet that can do what Meedio can do.

This is not just a geek wish-list, one of the aims of XBMC is to make the user experience easy and straightforward. What is the main aim of the program? To enable easy browsing and playing of your media library. But if the library is all jumbled up and you can't categorise things you way you want them, the user will find the browsing process painful.

Other people have cited separating out different types of videos into different menus or drill-down options. I haven't yet gone the route of storing all my DVDs on the server but I do have hundreds of music videos. I would like to see these as a separate category, with two options to browse by artist or song title. I then get an A-Z index before seeing all the relevant options. The sort order for artists is by a Sort Artist field, e.g. Collins, Phil but the name displayed is Phil Collins.

My main use of Meedio though is for audio. Not only ordinary albums, but also theme park music (I'm a theme park addict). I have a genre of Theme Parks, but unless I can filter them out from my main Music menu they all appear with my music artists, and I don't want them to. Meedio allows me to do that.

I have my MP3s categorised as Album, CD Single, 12" single, 7" Single, Compilation, Live Album. (The Compilation category is not to be confused with Various Artist type albums). So if I drill down into Marillion from the Artist menu, I get a sub-menu listing where I can choose one of those categories. I don't want to see all the various types of "album" all mixed in on the one page. Then getting an album listing should sort the albums by the year they were released, not by the album name.

If an album is actually a multiple volume set, Meedio is totally flexible as to how I want to handle it. I can either consider them all as one album and number the tracks sequentially. Or it may be sensible to consider the two volumes as separate entities, e.g. remasters where Disc 1 is the original album and Disc 2 is bonus material. If there is a multi-volume set, after choosing the album name, I get another menu which allows me to select which volume (and I am able to define the name I want to call the volumes). For example, for Marillion's Fugazi, I would get a sub-menu listing:

Volume 1: Original Album
Volume 2: Bonus tracks

for a compilation album called Music of the World (hypothetical!) I might get a sub-menu listing:

CD 1: Africa
CD 2: Germany
CD 4: Asia
CD 5: Australia

Basically, my Artist menu has been defined as:

Artist (sorted on Sort Artist) ==> Category ==> Volumes ==> Album (sorted on Year) ==> Track
with a filter of Album Artist <> "Various Artist" and Genre <> "Theme Parks"

If any step was to result in only a single choice, Meedio skips that step. So if I only have 12" Singles for a particular artist, I don't get a menu asking me whether I want to choose 12" Singles. And if the album is not a multi-volume set, I don't get the Volumes sub-menu.

I can set up multiple libraries and attach them to different options on menu structures. So I could indeed have Theme Park Music listed as a separate main menu option.

With XBMC's great UI, multi-platform support, remote-control ability, DLNA server and control-point, it is far more advanced than Meedio. But still would benefit from the library and menu customisation that Meedio has, and that would then be a killer product.