MediaPortal GET YOU GOING GUIDE (1 Viewer)

aal

Portal Pro
July 15, 2006
50
4
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...
 

Lyxalig

MP Donator
  • Premium Supporter
  • January 30, 2005
    276
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    Norway
    Norway Norway
    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
     

    TimmyT

    Portal Pro
    October 18, 2004
    107
    11
    Zurich
    Switzerland Switzerland
    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.
     

    aal

    Portal Pro
    July 15, 2006
    50
    4
    Thanks guys. I'm curious. As experienced users, what did you get out of it?
     

    James

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • May 6, 2005
    1,385
    67
    Switzerland
    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
     

    infinite.loop

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • December 26, 2004
    16,163
    4,133
    127.0.0.1
    Austria Austria
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    i think that guide should be splitted into differnet parts, some of the info is allready there in the wiki.
     

    aal

    Portal Pro
    July 15, 2006
    50
    4
    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!
     

    infinite.loop

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • December 26, 2004
    16,163
    4,133
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    aal said:
    as a lot of users might not look in the wiki and use the forum as their single source of information.
    thats not very wise.
    because the wiki is updated if something changes, forum topics are not in 99% of the cases.
     

    aal

    Portal Pro
    July 15, 2006
    50
    4
    infinityloop said:
    aal said:
    as a lot of users might not look in the wiki and use the forum as their single source of information.
    thats not very wise.
    because the wiki is updated if something changes, forum topics are not in 99% of the cases.
    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...
     

    infinite.loop

    Retired Team Member
  • Premium Supporter
  • December 26, 2004
    16,163
    4,133
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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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