XBMC verses Meedio / MeediOS - what is the XBMC attraction that makes it so popular?
Quote:I found the XBMC install difficult to use, the UI is proprietary and uses a combination of point-and-click (mouse operation), and keypresses with context menus etc. The MeediOS config is a standard Windows/Mac/Linux type dialog box with tabs etc and very intuitive.

Actually, XBMC doesn't use point-and-click at all. Everything must be doable with a remote, which is why we have the "proprietary" interface. In this regards it's exactly the same as the MeediOS front-end.

The key point of difference is the XBMC philosophy is that everything must be doable from the frontend while sat in front of a telly, whereas MeediOS's philosophy is that everything is configured via a point and click UI backend (on a PC), and the frontend is for viewing only.

As for client-server stuff, UPnP is the answer here IMO.

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no no no jmarshall. upnp isn't the answer. we need to come up with a gazillion of protocols first. THEN we can realize upnp is the answer.

btw i'm 100% in disagreement - i tink the future of htpc software, or, well, the mainstream ones, is NOT more complications - rather the opposite. those using it already (or atleast up until a couple of years ago) were the savvy people. sure, they love advanced shit and setup and whatnot (i have no issues with such things personally, although i'm getting too old to play with too many configs) but their mums don't. it's all about bringing advanced functionality to the "technoimbecils" and that means simplifying the interface , not complicating. the trick is doing that it without hurting functionality at the same time.

as for xbmc using point-n-click. get your hand off that damn rat. it has no place on a htpc.
Point-n-click is extremely useful for touchscreens, either a via a dual monitor setup, a handheld device like a PDA or iPod/iPhone, especially for playing music when you don't necessarily want to have the TV on to browse your collection, or in a multi-zone system. Touch is a lot more direct and intuitive than a remote control. Also, this is where DLNA/UPnP comes in with discrete servers, control-points and renderers. 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.
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.

1. Customization
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?

2. Flexibility
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.
1. Complexity
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.

3. Platforms
Obvious... Meedio was Windows only. Not sure what MeediOS will be.

4. Control
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. Smile 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.
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People have already went into detail on this topic but I thought I'd add my 2 cents in case someone happened to be in the same boat I was in a month ago.

Which was...I started with Meedio 3-4 years ago. I was happy with my install after the weeks of tweaking so I left it alone. Finally after the years, my htpc needed an upgrade so I started to poke around at the Meedio advancements. I built the new host and began the install/configuration of MeediOS. It took me weeks to get it halfway usable. I found it to be sluggish on my updated server and complicated to configure within a few days. I am very technical but also very impatient.

So I decide to give XBMC a try. I've made a few noobie posts on this site in the past week but I know have a full install configured to my liking. XBMC is hands down easier to install and configure. The stability is incomparable.

I'm now starting an install on Linux Mint...another plus over Meedio.

Although I did like the way I could easily correct or add entries into the database....I also agree with a previous post that stated that user access to a database is not always a good thing.

My 2cents.
dtviewer Wrote: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.
I want to find out how you implemented this structure please. I am more or less happy with your approach and would like to copy it.
I guess the video button opens in file and not in library mode so it displays whatever structure you`ve created.
MeediOS ultimate is now released for anyone who had difficulties setting it up originally. Multiple menus with library modules is pretty standard and easy to do in MeediOS, it just links to a seperate database each time with its own importers. This way you can have a "stand up comedy" menu link, or "Sports DVDs" just as 2 examples.
I was tired of scratched disks from my 3 yr old daughter and a living room with DVD scattered around like coasters

From day 1 when I dusted off the old XBOX left in the basement and loaded it up with XBMC the entire family cheered.

If a piece of technology can be used by a 3yr old and the wife raves to her friends (for once) about something you did your a lucky man Smile
Not too many Audio\Video or Home automation projects I do get's "Wife Approval".

Daughter is now almost 6 and this project just 100% works and used daily for years! Every TV in the house has a $40 XBOX attached it from craigslist and I have looked at the other projects and will never change. (Sage is the only tempting one, but expensive and with XMBC soon doing Live-Tv, I wouldn't consider Sage)

Many thanks to the XMBC team for moving forward to newer platforms and special thanks to ARNOVA for keeping the XBOX specific project alive.

I am a new user and have just registered on the forums, so this is my first post and just thought I would introduce myself.

I have been a Meedio user since the very early days and still have three Meedio PC's setup in the house. These are all fed with media stored on a 3tb NAS server. The server has around 250 ripped DVD's, around 300 ripped CD's and all the family photos & home movies etc.

I am now starting to look for a suitable replacement for Meedio and, having ruled out MediaPortal, am now testing MeediOS and XBMC. As it stands at the moment, I far prefer the configuration of MeediOS but XBMC is more usable at the moment. However, bearing in mind that I have only just started using XBMC there is a lot I don't know yet and I may find it does just what I want albeit with a few concessions. However, I'm not going to hide the fact that I would really like to use MeediOS but with so few people working on the development it could be some while before it is ready.

I don't want to start an argument about which HTPC app is better, I think they all have their merits and it is personal preference. I also think that competition is important as it drives development & innovation.

Welcome to the forums! Best place to start is the XBMC Live! CD. Download it and give it a go. You can use a program called unetbootin to make the ISO bootable from a flash drive. If you like eye candy as well as functionality, XBMC is the way to go. The new default skin is Confluence and is very nice. TV Show, Movie, & Music scraping all work great which adds a LOT to the experience. Good luck!

Thanks for the welcome,

Well, I've got XBMC installed, I've scanned my DVD's and music folders and am now using the library view. It is coming together quite nicely and yes, you are right, the Confluence skin does look very nice.

The folder scan seems to have misread some of my ripped DVD's and none of my CD's have any thumbnails at the moment so I have some work to do. I also want to configure TheaterTek as an external player for DVD's as it is what I've always used and I think it is the best software DVD player available.

So, still lot's to do but it is coming along nicely.

Hey guys,

I finally retired the MeediOS website today after over 10 years running it. Its really sad to see it go but maybe others will take it up.

Anyway, I know a load of refugees are over here now Wink I'm an XBMC user and official Team member now so will endeavour to help build any good features back into XBMC. We already have Library Nodes and a Add-on front end website like openMAID is in development.

Is there anything else people miss?
Very sorry to see MeediOS go. Even though I moved away nearly a year ago I still found myself checking in every week to see how everyone was doing.

We made some good friends and some amazing work was done. Hopefully we will keep bumping into each other around the web!
I haven't used MeediOS for years, but I must say that when I saw it was getting a MadVR add-on, it did spark my interest.
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XBMC verses Meedio / MeediOS - what is the XBMC attraction that makes it so popular?52