Channel Five have been changing their streaming from WMV to Flash. That has meant that some Five programs don't work in TunerFreeMCE any more. I have made changes in version 2.3.0 to add in support for the Five Flash based programs too. It does that by going to the Five page and then clicking on the full screen button.
For those of you who don't know, Boxee is a content agregator that brings online TV together in to one desktop interface. It is is invite-only beta mode at the moment. Boxee was very popular because it pulled rather a lot of content all in to one place, such as Hulu, Netflix, ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, Last.fm, and flickr. Pretty impressive. Unfortunatly, last night Boxee got a notification from Hulu asking them to remove all Hulu content. Both sides admit it makes no sense since Boxee preserves Hulu's adverts, but apparently the content providers are demanding it.
I have made changes to TunerFreeMCE to automatically go full screen in Hulu, BBC, and for the BBC streams it will also now auto play and auto full screen. Download version 2.2.7 now to get all of these great features.
It does that by simulating a mouse click in the right place. It only works when running full screen, and there is a slight possibility that on some screen resolutions it missed. If that happens to you, send me a full screen screenshot, and I'll use that to improve the reliability.
I have taken the latest version of TunerFreeMCE out of Beta. That means it is stable and has all of the basic features I think it needs for the latest enhancement, which is adding Hulu support. This download is not just for US users though. Even if you are a UK viewer, there is a fantastic new UI to take advantage of, so download now for all of these great new features.
As noted by Stuart over at The Digital Lifestyle, I have released a version of TunerFree MCE that integrates with Hulu. It's most definitley a beta at the moment because of a number of issues;
For those of you who didn't know, the BBC, ITV and C4 have been working together for some time on “Project Kangaroo“, which was a project to merge the on-demand offerings from those providers, and potentially to expand the back catalogue too. Today the competition commission released a report which forbade them from going ahead with that project on the basis that they were getting too cosy and that the consumer is best served by close competition rather than having one service which does it all.
Opinion on my blog.
The biggest feature in the new version of TunerFreeMCE is going to be completley invisible to everyone for a while. It's a check to see if you are using the latest version. The reason that it is going to be invisible is because only the latest version has this check in, so until I release the next version, there won't be anything to notify you about! Installing version 2.1.0 means that every time you open TunerFreeMCE it will check for a new software version, and you can download it, ignore it, or be reminded 1 day later.
Also fixed in this version is an issue where the date of Channel 4 programs was not being picked up any more, and the sorting of programs has been improved.
At the start of a new year, I thought it would be interesting to look back at our progress over the past year.
TunerFree MCE has gone through a number of fantastic milestones. From the first basic release with just BBC support, we have added Channel 4, ITV and Five support, bringing our channel support count to 18 (BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News, BBC Alba, ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, Channel 4, More 4, E4, Five, Five US and Fiver). We also have live TV available on 11 of those channels too, meaning that anyone in the UK with a TV licence can watch live digital TV on their PC wherever they are.
We have been through a few UI iterations, starting with a basic list of program episodes that loaded quite slowly. We added offline caching which really sped up the program loading dramatically. With input from a number of our most helpful users we also had fantastic evolution of our UI, with the critically acclaimed V2 making it incredibly easy to use.
The first release supported vanilla 32bit Vista. Since then we added support for TV Pack, 64 bit, and now Windows 7 support has been added too on the same day that the public Windows 7 beta was released by Microsoft.
In terms of popularity, as of the time of starting this article we had 18,633 downloads of the software, and our hosting company, hostgator, never flinched even at the busiest times. I added a link because I really like them, and I get commission if people sign up via the link.
Speaking of commission – I got my first cheque from google for the advertising on the site. The current low value of the pound against the dollar is good for me and makes that worth a whopping £70. Thankfully there have also been a number of people who have very generously donated to me to help me continue development. I'd like to thank each and every one of you for that again – no matter how large or small, each donation has motivated me to continue development.
We do have a wishlist of things to do in future, and it's a never ending task to keep the software working with the never ending changes from the TV companies, so look forward to more releases in 2009. We rely on you, the user, to point out anything that doesn't work and to suggest new directions, so keep those comments coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your support
I have released a beta version of TunerFree MCE for Windows 7. It does have some minor installation issues, but otherwise appears to work OK so far. See here for details.
Update: This version only works for Vista/Windows 7 dual boot machines. I need to wait for a dedicated windows 7 SDK before I can build a version that works on Windows 7 standalone.
Version 2.0 of TunerFree MCE has been released. It brings a number of usability enhancements to bring it more in to line with the native components of Vista Media Center. It uses icons for the channel and date search, and adds a completley new search screen. It also navigates backwards with the remote in a more intuative way. More programs can be seen on the screen at any one time, and programs are grouped by episode. Download it now!