SpotifyMCE has now transformed in to Songler. Why the name change? Because it now fully supports both last.fm and Spotify, so SpotifyMCE wasn't the right name any more. The new version has numerous bug fixes, and can play all of your last.fm stations directly within media center. Download here.
One of the pieces of feedback that I got from SpotifyMCE was wouldn't it be cool if it also integrated with Last.fm. Well, I listened, and I have a new version coming soon with full last.fm integration. Because of that there is also going to be a name change, and I'm please to announce the imminent arrival of Songler. It will allow you to play Spotify content, and also will allow last.fm premium subscribers to play all of their stations properly within media center – even on extenders. Here's a sneak preview;
At last – your two favourite music services merged together (assuming you aren't from the US in which case it's 1 of your favourite services and one you can't use). That's right, I've just released the latest (beta) version of SpotifyMCE, which brings integration with Last.fm. When you play a track through SpotifyMCE, it will now scrobble that in to your music profile. Download version 0.9.3b for this great integration.
And I know I will get asked about launching last.fm stations from within SpotifyMCE. All I can say is stay tuned.
Please note – Songler is no longer maintained. You are free to download it and use it, but any issues will not be resolved.
Songler (formerly SpotifyMCE) is a fantastic add-in for Windows Media Center for playing music content from multiple legal streaming music providers – currently Spotify, Last.fm and YouTube. It is the first Add-In for Windows Media Center to play Spotify content, and the most up to date Last.fm Add-In. It allows both free and premium Spotify subscribers you to play any of Spotify’s 6 million tracks instantly, directly from your Media Center, all controlled with your remote. It also allows you to scrobble the tracks that you are playing in Songler to last.fm to build up your music profile, and last.fm subscribers can stream all of their radio stations too.
After listening to Helen and Ollie's Web 2009 Awards, and hearing them give the Public Service award to Spotify, I got really in to the free music service, and decided to write a Media Center application for it. At the moment it can search for artists, then drill down to albums and tracks to play those tracks individually via the regular spotify free application. It's got a bit of work to do still, but look out for a beta release soon.
My one question to you all is would people pay to buy a version that worked better but required a premium subscription? I'd need to pay for a premium subscription myself to be able to build it (you can't get access to the api without that), so I wouldn't be able to do it for free. The advantage of access to the premium subscription code is that better media center integration can be achieved with the Ogg audio played directly in media center, not via the Spotify application, although even then the Ogg format isn't supported on extenders, so it still wouldn't work with them. Anyone think it is worth it?
Another question is what about the name? SpotifyMCE seems just too uninspired, so I am open to suggestions.
UPDATE The beta is now available to download here.
PowerController MCE is a multi-standard Home Automation Add-In for Windows Media Center, controlling electrical devices that run on the Bye Bye Standby/ Domia system, Z-Wave and Mi Casa Verde devices, as well as IP webcams.
Control devices from your Media Center PC
Control your lights, your electronics, anything you want, all from your media center PC
Monitor webcams round your house from your media center PC.
Multiple format support
PowerControllerMCE support both Bye Bye Standby, Z-Wave, and Mi Casa Verde devices, all in one control system. Mix and match devices as you build your system.
Note, if you are involved with another system, we are also interested in adding further support, so get in touch
Monitor your system
See which devices are on and which are off round the house – no matter how they were controlled – via the PC, a switch, remote control, over the web. PowerControllerMCE will keep track of it all.
Turn everything off
When you leave the house, turn everything off with just one click
Support for multiple zones
Split your house in to different zones or rooms to allow you to group your devices conveniently
Support for scenes
Create multiple scenes for different activities, e.g. Watch Movies, or Bedtime to set multiple devices on or off, and set the dim level, all from one control
Turn devices on and off at scheduled times or at sunrise and sunset. Make your house look lived in when you are away, or just make sure everything gets turned off at night. Or have your hi-fi or TV turned on in the morning automatically. Offset the events by a random amount each day for that extra lived in look.
Universal Remote Control
You can set a keyboard shortcut for any of the devices or scenes so that you can turn them on or off and dim them without even going in to PowerControllerMCE. If you have a programmable remote control you can even program those keys in to it to control your devices without even turning on your PC
Rather than leaving your media center PC on all the time to monitor the state of your devices, you can now install a windows home server add-in to control and monitor everything. Best of all, when you do this all of the settings and state information is stored on the server and can be shared from multiple PCs.
In addition to media center control, a touch enabled web interface is available – ideal for a PC, tablet or smart phone.
Media Center Downloads
Home Server Downloads
Ian Dixon wrote an article yesterday about a new iPlayer add-in for Media Center. It's not a bad interface if you just want BBC content (no ITV, C4, Five, Hulu or plugin support at the moment), and looking at it gave me a brainwave about how to stream BBC wmv content instead of Flash that obviously occurred to the other developer before me. Doh! TunerFreeMCE already had the ability to download BBC programs to your hard drive, and I realized that all I need to do is to pass that same download URL to media center, and it would start playing. Since I already had the code to support WMV and already had the code to get the download links, all I had to do was to wire the two together and add a preference for Flash or WMV for BBC content (Flash is probably still the best option for low bandwidth households, and is the most reliable way of playing programs).
I have now released version 3.4 with that new code in. There may be some subtle issues with combining the flash that is still required for Radio and Live TV with the WMV content, so let me know on the forums if you spot anything.
Channel 4 now have a good amount of their 4oD content on YouTube. That's a really interesting move, because it puts the content on a far more accessible and higher quality platform than their internal 4oD server. Presumably it reduces their costs, and at the same time makes the viewing experience much better for the user. The videos are full of adverts, so I assume Channel 4 still make good money out of it too.
Now the down side – you can't embed the video, so it's not as seamless as it might be to do something like bring it in to TunerFree.
And then the really bad news – Google are clamping down on people enabling access to YouTube on the TV. They have already been aggressively chasing Popcorn Hour for enabling YouTube access on the TV, and reportedly want a 7 figure licensing fee from anyone who wants to do it.
Fortunately TunerFreeMCE has a great plugin system which allows YouTube's public RSS feed to be read, and allows TunerFreeMCE to link off to YouTube to display the video. Since it just uses the public feeds and direct access to the site, it isn't breaking any YouTube rules. Click here for the plugin.
For some time now, ITV have been the only UK TV company to make their content available using silverlight, which also uses wmv behind the scenes. That has been great for Media Center users, because it has meant that the video played well on media center and on extenders.
It looks like on Friday ITV switched from Silverlight to Flash, which has temporarily stopped it from working in TunerFree. Apparently the reason is that they want it to be supported on as many computers as possible. Shame for media center, but I can see their logic.
Anyway, look for a TunerFree update in the next week or so.