Version 1.5.4 of TunerFree MCE has been released, which is compatible with the new BBC iPlayer site. Unfortunatly the best RSS feed has been removed by the BBC, and the new information does not have categories or dates, so program dates for the BBC programs are marked as the time they were first parsed and the Categories list has been removed.
Unfortunately with the advent of the new iPlayer, the BBC has seen fit to take down the RSS feed that gives all of the programs available from the BBC. That means that BBC content is temporarily not coming through to TunerFreeMCE. I'll be working on a fix soon hopefully.
I have had a number of suggestions for UI changes for TunerFreeMCE. I have been working on them for the past few weeks, and now have the first version. Main changes are;
1) Pre-cache all of the programs for improved speed. This means it will take a long time to load first time, but much faster on subsequent times.
2) Progress indicator for loading
3) Removed “Home” link
4) Added the ability to view all programs
5) Added the ability to group programs
6) Auto navigate to the programs when you pick a list item
iPlayerMCE has now been renamed TunerFree MCE. With the inclusion of ITV and Channel 4 programs, the iPlayer name was no longer really appropriate, since it did so much more than BBC iPlayer. Since this program is allowing you to watch TV without having to use your tuner, I decided to rename it TunerFree MCE. It still provides full access to the BBC iPlayer through Vista Media Centre, but also allows ITV and Channel 4 watch again programming too!
Channel 4 have recently launched a Watch Online web site, which allows you to watch the last 7 days programs from a web browser. iPlayer MCE has now been updated to include that content (version 1.3). To see the Channel 4 content, simply pick Channel4 from the channel list.
Since Channel 4 send their content as wmv rather than flash, it is also far better integrated with the VMC environment, with the content behaving like any local video (i.e. pause, fast forward and so on).
iPlayer MCE has been updated to improve the UI. Many of the components are aligned better, there is a preview of the program description, and the search field now supports triple-tap. Uninstall the old version before installing the new one.
Due to popular demand, I have found a way of getting the iPlayer to auto play, and to go in to full screen. Uninstall the old version then install the latest version.
When you navigate to a program, it will auto play. To go in to full screen, press OK twice. To leave full screen, press the Clear button on your remote.
Ian Dixon have me a great plug for iPlayer MCE on his digital lifestyle blog. Thanks Ian!
The BBC have been quite luke warm about supporting Windows Media Centre for some time now – they had some news video available in Windows Media Centre 2005 online showcase, but it was a bit hit and miss as to whether or not it worked. iPlayer on the other hand is a fantastic media delivery system, but has only really been written for desk top machines, not machines connected to your TV – which in my opinion has to be the obvious market. Imagine how annoyed I was when I read that Wii and PS3 users could get access to iPlayer too. That was just too much for me, so I decided to write a Vista MCE interface for iPlayer.
I have coded some sideshow gadgets for myself for use on my iMate momento photo frame. They are specific to my needs, but people might want to use the BBC news gadget, and build on the weather on.