MediaPortal GET YOU GOING GUIDE

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by aal, July 17, 2006.

  1. aal

    aal Portal Pro

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    This guide was written with the following software versions used:

    Mediaportal 0.2.1.0
    Project Mayhem III skin Final Version 1.3, 08.10.2006

    Last updated: October 27, 2006





    Ok,

    For anyone wanting to jump on the MediaPortal bandwagon like myself i have written this guide to get you going. Consider it a tribute to the developers. All of you know that MediaPortal is a very configurable program with loads of features. This however has as result that there is a steep learning curve for beginners, even the computer savvy. That's why i'm trying to put together some initial guide you can use as a starting point and work from there. It does not cover all of the possibilities MediaPortal and it's plugins has to offer, but enough to get you going for some time. Just learn from it and use it if you like. If you screw or blow something up, don't blame me. I assume relevant PC knowledge. This guide is not for beginners, but for computer savvy people that do not want to spend hours searching this forum. I'm Dutch, so you will probably need to modify your TV signal and EPG setup if you are from another country. Some of the MediaPortal settings reflect my personal preference. You can always adjust them later if you like.


    My goal:
    ======
    Let me first describe the goal i had in mind while building my HTPC.

    For Movies i wanted to be able to play MOV (Trailers), DivX, XviD and DVD movies. Movie info, TV Series info, covers, subtitles, aspect ratio and AC3/DTS output through SP/DIF were important here as well.

    For TV, i needed an Electronic Programming Guide (EPG), Live TV with timeshifting and recording based on time/EPG data (seasons tickets,keywords).

    For Games i needed to be able to launch external emulators for GameBoy Advance and Super Nintendo games. These emulators needed to support the Saitek P3000 gamepad. The gamepad needed to be able to control MediaPortal as well, as i didn't want to switch between the Logitech Harmony and the Saitek while playing different games. My children should not have a problem controlling MediaPortal this way.

    For MP3 playback i needed to be able to play properly tagged MP3's based on artist, title, decade, album and genre. Visualizations, Lyrics and gapless playback for live albums would be nice.

    For News my goal was to be able to read RSS newsfeeds and watch the latest news (streaming video) that was aired on TV.

    For Pictures: just browse the folders where i keep my digital photo's and generate some kind of slideshow with nice transitions.

    And all this controlled fully by the Logitech Harmony remote control.

    My folder structure is as follows:

    D:
    \Games\GBA\Emulator
    \Games\GBA\Game roms\*.zip
    \Games\ZSNES\Emulator
    \Games\ZSNES\Game roms\*.zip

    \Movies\<movie name>\<movie name>.avi
    \Movies\<movie name>\VIDEO_TS\VIDEO_TS.IFO (and other files)

    \Music\Albums\<artist name>\<album name>\*.mp3
    \Music\Compilations\<compilation name>\*.mp3
    \Music\Tracks\*.mp3

    \Pictures\<subject>\*.jpg

    \Streams\*.pls



    First, my system specs:

    Ahanix D.Vine 3 case with parallel 16x2 VFD
    Asus A7V8X-X motherboard
    Athlon XP 2700+ processor
    Zalman CNPS6000-Cu CPU cooler
    512 MB RAM
    Seagate 160GB ST3160023A 7200.7 8MB harddisk (barracuda)
    ATI Radeon 9600 256MB videocard (fanless)
    Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-250
    Nexus real silent NX3000 power supply
    Pioneer DVR-109B (for black cover)
    StreamZap PC remote receiver + Logitech Harmony 885 remote
    Saitek P3000 wireless gamepad
    Logitech Cordless Desktop Comfort
    Sony 32FQ86 widescreen PAL CRT TV (connected to s-video output from ATI Radeon 9600)
    Pioneer VSX-D511-K audio receiver with digital input (connected to A7V8X-X SP/DIF output)

    Software needed:
    ================

    Tools
    -----
    * PCAnywhere
    * dumppo.exe
    * Graphedit
    * TweakUIPowertoy
    * MouseHide
    * Girder with plugin: StreamZap
    * VisualBoyAdvance
    * ZSNES
    * MP3Gain
    * MusicBrainz MP3 Tagger
    * Evillyrics & EvilTagger
    * MusicMatch Jukebox Plus
    * Tag&Rename
    * TVGids_to_XML (Dutch EPG grabber)

    Drivers: (you might need other drivers depending on your configuration)
    --------
    VIA 4-in-1
    ATI Radeon 9600
    SoundMAX Audio
    Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-250
    Streamzap remote
    DriverLINX
    Linksys

    Codecs/filters
    --------------
    ffdshow For DivX, XviD playback
    QuicktimeFull For MOV playback


    Motherboard + BIOS
    ==================
    Disable everything you do not need
    Set primary display adapter to AGP
    Enable AGP Fast Write + Performance control + 8x
    Set Video Memory Cache Control to USWC
    Enable Suspend-to-RAM (for silent S3 standby mode)
    Enable power up control for keyboard and mouse

    If you want to use the remote control to wake the computer from S3 standby mode, you will need to configure this on the Asus motherboard. Just configure the jumpers to support +5VSB on the USB ports. This will keep the power on the USB ports when the system is in standby mode. The StreamZap however does not support Wake-on-USB. I learned that later on. I believe the USB-UIRT supports Wake-on-USB, but it still leaves me with another problem and that is that the TV (or monitor) does not "wake" by itself. It still needs a mouse movement or keypress from an actual mouse/keyboard (not just a girder emulation).


    OS + UPDATES
    ============

    Create two partitions C: for system and D: for data (both NTFS)
    Install Windows XP SP2


    CREATE GHOST IMAGE AT THIS POINT !!! (wxp-sp2-1.gho)


    Install PCAnywhere "Host Only" for remote management
    Enable SP2 firewall (let awhost32.exe (PCAnywhere host) and filesharing pass)

    (From here on you can manage your HTPC from another computer on your WIFI home network)

    Install updates:
    DirectX 9.0c
    .NET Framework 1.1 + SP1
    .NET Framework 2
    Windows Media Player 10
    Critical Updates (Windows Update)

    Disable System Restore
    Adjust Windows for Best Performance
    Set screensaver to Off and turn off monitor to None
    Enable Cleartype under Display Properties and set font size to "Large" (improves readability on CRT TV's)
    Set background color to black
    Set Windows startup and shutdown sounds to "none"
    Set Standby status to 30 minutes

    Run gpedit.msc
    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System
    Enable 'Remove Boot / Shutdown / Logon / Logoff Status messages'
    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Logon
    Enable 'Always use classic logon'
    Run msconfig
    In Boot.ini section, Select /NOGUIBOOT

    Share D:\ drive (to upload files from your "management" computer)

    If your system leaves the fans running in standby mode (S1), you can disable those with the following

    command:

    dumppo.exe admin minsleep=S3

    This will enable S3 mode and also shuts down the fans in standby mode.

    Install TweakUIPowerToy (Enable Autologon, disable balloontips, remove Recycle bin from desktop)



    CREATE GHOST IMAGE AT THIS POINT !!! (wxp-sp2-2.gho)


    DRIVERS + MEDIAPORTAL INDEPENDENT SOFTWARE
    ==========================================

    DRIVERS:
    VIA 4-in-1 (for 8x AGP)
    ATI Radeon 9600
    SoundMAX Audio (on board audio with SP/DIF output)
    Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-250
    Streamzap remote

    On ATI Panel:
    Select TV PAL-B plus S-video output
    Set resolution to 800x600, 32 bit color
    Lower flicker filter (better video quality)
    Enable Overscan

    On SoundMAX Panel:
    Set SoundMax speaker setup to 5.1 sound
    Set SoundMax SPDIF to AC3 and PCM (both analog and digital sound -> S/PDIF)
    Mute Bassboost (otherwise you may hear a crackling sound through S/PDIF)

    Install Girder (PM me for sample GML file)
    Install Streamzap girder plugin
    Enable plugins: alarmtimer, streamzap, taskswitch, taskcreate
    Autoenable input device

    CREATE GHOST IMAGE AT THIS POINT !!! (wxp-sp2-3.gho)


    CODECS + MEDIAPORTAL
    ====================

    CODECS:
    ffdshow (DivX/XviD playback)
    Quicktime codec (Quicktime playback)


    Install MediaPortal
    Download and unpack Project Mayhem 3 theme
    Run Setup MediaPortal (Basic configuration, Select Next, Next, Next...)
    Run Setup MediaPortal again (Custom configuration)


    GENERAL:
    Select:
    Start MediaPortal in fullscreen mode
    Autostart MediaPortal when windows starts
    Disable Windows XP balloon tips
    Hide taskbar in fullscreen mode
    MediaPortal always on top
    Start with basic homescreen
    Blank screen in fullscreen mode when MediaPortal is idle
    Unselect:
    Show special mouse controls
    Leave the rest of the settings untouched
    GENERAL - SKIN
    Select Project Mayhem 3 theme
    Select preferred display language


    DVD
    Select preferred Subtitle & audio language
    DVD - DVD Codec
    Video codec: DScaler Mpeg2 Video Decoder
    (i've had menu navigation issues with the other one)
    Audio codec: DScaler Audio Decocer
    Audio renderer: Default DirectSound Device


    MOVIES
    MOVIES - MOVIE FOLDERS
    Add & Delete folders to reflect your movie folders
    Select default folder or leave all blank to show all on entering My Movies menu
    MOVIES - MOVIE PLAYER
    Video codec: DScaler Mpeg2 Video Decoder
    Audio codec: DScaler Audio Decocer
    Audio renderer: Default DirectSound Device
    MOVIES - MOVIE DATABASE
    Unselect "Automatically select the nearest match"
    Add IMDB (english)


    MUSIC
    Player settings tab Select BASS engine
    Playlist settings tab Select Auto shuffle playlists
    Set playlist folder
    Misc settings Set Jump to behaviour to: Now Playing (if multiple items)
    MUSIC - MUSIC FOLDERS
    Add & Delete folders to reflect your music folders
    Select default folder or leave all blank to show all on entering My Music menu
    MUSIC - MUSIC DATABASE
    Select "Use coverart embedded in MP3s for thumbnails"
    (otherwise folder.jpg in album folders will be used)
    Select "Treat tracks in an individual folder as an album
    (otherwise albums with the same name are grouped together)
    Select "Scan albums for Various Artists"
    Select "Monitor shares for changes and update database
    Hit "Update database from selected shares". This will import MP3 tag info for additional views
    MUSIC - MUSIC VIEWS
    Add/delete or modify views if needed, e.g.:
    Albums
    album v List
    artist v List
    title v List
    MUSIC - MUSIC SORT
    Adjust sorting modes if needed, e.g.:
    Name: [%artist% - ][%title%] |
    Date: [%artist% - ][%title%] |%year%
    Size: [%artist% - ][%title%] |%filesize%
    Track: [%artist% - ][%title%] |%track%
    Duration: [%artist% - ][%title%] |%duration%
    Title: [%title% - ][%artist%] |
    Artist: [%artist% - ][%title%] |
    Album: [%album% - ][%artist% - ][%title%] |
    Filename: [%filename%] |%filesize%
    Rating: [%artist% - ][%title%] |%rating%


    PICTURES
    Set Ken Burns speed to 10
    PICTURE FOLDERS
    Add & Delete folders to reflect your picture folders
    Select default folder or leave all blank to show all on entering My Pictures menu


    RADIO
    Browse to the directory where you store Internet Streaming Radio and TV info (e.g. D:\Streams)
    Create playlists (*.pls files) in this directory using the following sample format:

    [playlist]
    File1=http://cgi.omroep.nl/cgi-bin/streams?/tv/nos/journaal/bb.laatste.asf
    Title1=Laatste NOS Nieuws
    Length=-1
    NumberOfEntries=1
    Version=2

    Optionally install the Shoutcast station grabber and have it download pls files into the Streams folder


    TELEVISION
    Video codec: DScaler Mpeg2 Video Decoder
    Audio codec: DScaler Audio Decocer
    Audio renderer: Default DirectSound Device
    Set Default zoom mode (for me 14:9)
    TELEVISION - CAPTURE CARDS
    Capture card tab Set recording folder
    Set crop settings (for me Bottom: 10)
    Autotune tab Download TV channels
    Quality tab Use Quality control
    Set default quality to high
    TELEVISION - TV CHANNELS
    Delete channels that you do not watch
    Rename the remaining ones if needed
    Change order of channels if needed
    Put png files with the name of the channel in \Thumbs\TV\Logos\ (e.g. discovery.png)
    TELEVISION - PROGRAM GUIDE
    Scheduler tab Set grabber to TVguide.xml File
    Scheduler tab Create task for running grabber (e.g. daily 19:10)
    (be sure to use windows account with a password!)
    In MediaPortal directory run: WebEPG-conf.exe
    Click "Import" (Channels should appear)
    Select first channel and click the "..." button. This opens a new window
    Browse to the correct channel and doubleclick it
    Repeat for the other channels
    Enable linked pages for detailed program info for all channels (0-23u)
    Hit Save button - Close window


    REMOTE
    REMOTE - DIRECT INPUT
    Select General HID if you have a generic remote
    Select "Use Direct Input devices" for gamepad support
    Select appropriate input device
    Activate button-combos (this will allow you to close an emulator and return to MediaPortal)
    - Select the kill (or close) process edit field
    - Press and hold button on gamepad you wish to assign
    - Hit the "Learn" button


    DECODER FILTERS
    DECODER FILTERS - DScaler Audio Decoder
    Select "Use S/PDIF for AC3/DTS" (surround sound to external receiver)


    WEATHER
    Set refresh interval to 15 minutes
    Add weather images as needed
    (Dutch Sattelite: http://www.teleweer.nl/freedata/radarbig.gif)
    (Dutch Temperature: http://www.teleweer.nl/freedata/nl_Middag_g.gif)


    Install VisualBoyAdvance
    Install ZSNES
    Configure these emulators


    PLUGINS
    WINDOWS PLUGINS
    ===============
    PLUGINS - My Music Videos
    Enable plugin
    PLUGINS - My News
    Add RSS newsfeeds, e.g.
    Buitenlands nieuws (http://www.nieuws.nl/rss/Buitenland)
    Binnenlands nieuws (http://www.nieuws.nl/rss/Binnenland)
    Brabants nieuws (http://rss.omroepbrabant.nl)
    Select "Auto refresh"
    PLUGINS - My Trailers
    Enable plugin
    PLUGINS - MY PROGRAMS
    Add Child "Grouper" named: Game Emulators
    Add Directory-Cache for each emulator with appropriate launching parameters
    Don't forget to update database on Files tab !
    PROCESS PLUGINS
    ===============
    PLUGINS - WEBEPG GRABBER
    Set WebEPG grabber to run at e.g. 19:00 (just before TVguide.xml processor run)
    PLUGINS - POWER SCHEDULER
    Set idle time to 20 minutes (allows for WebEPG.exe to complete properly)
    PLUGINS - AUDIOSCROBBLER
    Enable plugin
    Create last.fm account on the last.fm site
    Fill in username and password on the Plugin settings tab

    Disable other plugins as needed
    My Sudoku
    Play DVD
    Topbar
    My Tetris



    Put MouseHide in Startup group

    RUN MEDIAPORTAL

    Correct overscan by going to SETTINGS - UI CALIBRATION
    (My settings on a 32" CRT TV with 800x600 resolution = 33,15 - 766,597)


    CREATE GHOST IMAGE AT THIS POINT !!! (wxp-sp2-4.gho)




    Configure TV settings with e.g. AVIA test DVD (for improved picture quality):
    Contrast
    Brightness
    Color
    Sharpness
    Noise reduction

    On "Management" PC:

    Install PC_Anywhere Remote client
    Install MusicBrainz Tagger for properly tagging MP3 files
    Install Evillyrics and EvilTagger for tagging MP3 with lyrics
    Install MusicMatch JukeBox Plus & FixTunes for extra genre info and cover art
    Install Tag&Rename for mass tagging of MP3 files
    Install MP3gain for audio normalizing MP3 files


    AND THEN ENJOY!


    Leave me a post if you thought this was useful...
     
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  3. Lyxalig
    • Premium Supporter

    Lyxalig MP Donator

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    I'm a experienced MP user, but still found this useful. I will ue this as a checklist when reinstalling my HTPC. GREAT INITIATIVE :D
     
  4. TimmyT

    TimmyT Portal Pro

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    great post aal, thanks a lot!

    I use MediaPortal for quite a while now, but I learned a couple of new things when reading your instructions.
     
  5. aal

    aal Portal Pro

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    Thanks guys. I'm curious. As experienced users, what did you get out of it?
     
  6. James
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    James Retired Team Member

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    Hi aal,

    I will move your guide into the Wiki, because I think it has a lot of value.

    I learnt something new too. The part about the /NOGUIBOOT, however, you should try one of the boot screen replacements ;)

    /James
     
  7. infinite.loop
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    infinite.loop Retired Team Member

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    i think that guide should be splitted into differnet parts, some of the info is allready there in the wiki.
     
  8. aal

    aal Portal Pro

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    Guys,

    Feel free to split it up in parts and put it all over the wiki, but i think it is also best to keep it in the tips & tricks section on the forum as a lot of users might not look in the wiki and use the forum as their single source of information. Maybe even a sticky there?

    Thanks!
     
  9. infinite.loop
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    infinite.loop Retired Team Member

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    thats not very wise.
    because the wiki is updated if something changes, forum topics are not in 99% of the cases.
     
  10. aal

    aal Portal Pro

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    That is probably true, but it will take some of the fun away. Fun meaning seeing how many people are actually viewing my posting and replying to it. I mean i had some 500 views on the first day and after the topic got moved it dropped drastically. That's not why i created to topic...
     
  11. infinite.loop
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    infinite.loop Retired Team Member

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    I have moved that topic back to the Tips and Tricks Forum.

    Good tutorials will be added to the wiki by the team. But keep in minde that EVERYONE can add their wisdom to the wiki on thir own.

    You can add info to existing pages or start new guides in our "User Guides" section.

    However Topics will not be moved again out of this forum :)
     
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  • About The Project

    The vision of the MediaPortal project is to create a free open source media centre application, which supports all advanced media centre functions, and is accessible to all Windows users.

    In reaching this goal we are working every day to make sure our software is one of the best.

             

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