All you music fans out there obviously love the high quality audio streams in Songler from Last.fm and Spotify. Sometimes though it's nice to get the video too, so a new version of Songler is coming soon which integrates with YouTube for music videos too. When you search for a band, you will get the option to search YouTube for music with the name of the artist, bringing a selection of their videos.
Update: Now available here.
Google have produced a 10 foot interface for Google Reader, called Google Reader Player. Nice.
Of course the ideal place to make use of a 10 foot google reader interface is in Media Center, so GoogleReader MCE is a simple app to launch Google Reader Player from within Media Center.
One area that often gets overlooked in media center development is accessibility – i.e. making the software easier to see, hear and use especially for people who have limited sight or hearing. I'm pleased to announce that TunerFreeMCE has been enhanced to rectify. TunerFreeMCE 3.6.0 now has significantly improved screen reader compatibility, and adds the ability to enable both the BBC Sign Zone programs, and the BBC Audio Described programs, bringing TunerFreeMCE's easy to use interface for watching or listening to BBC programs to people with hearing or sight impairments.
Songler will also get improved screen reader compatibility in the next release too, opening up the world of streaming music on your media center to visually impaired people.
I'm really pleased to find you that TunerFreeMCE has won an award for Best free Windows Media Center application over at The Digital Lifestyle.com.
In fact it didn't just win, it romped home with 68% of the vote. You can listen to the awards show with Ian Dixon and Mike Garcen here
. It's the last category to be announced, 43 minutes in to the podcast.
There is no way TunerFreeMCE would be so good without all of you users who have given feedback, and all of the kind people who have given encouragement by donating, and the plugin developers who have worked so hard to bring even more content to the application. A big thank you to all of you out there.
Songler has been updated to allow searching for music in many more ways. First of all, you can now search for Spotify tracks by Artist, Album or Track name (this is only applicable to Spotify, since last.fm can't play individual albums or tracks). Just enter your search and click on one of the icons to search the different categories.
Secondly, Songler now integrates with your Windows Media Center music library. Just browse to something you like in Windows Media Center and press the (i) button on your remote, and select the More… option. Then choose Songler, and it will search for that artist for you.
Download version 1.2 here for these great new features.
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.
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.
I have just finished the first version of a Media Center Home Automation Add-In for the Bye Bye Standby and Domia range of electrical switches. It allows you to control a variety of electrical devices all from your Media Center PC. Full details and download from here.