MP2 and the "Usability" in daily use. (1 Viewer)


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  • December 17, 2010
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    While using MP2 (Alpha 2 Release) on a daily base (some would call it "productive") I've encountered some issues or glitches in MP2 usability. This and the "Pre- Alpha" TV part are the two main goals to fix before a "Final" version can be released. All other things like missing features or so are not that important imho. Basic functionality is there, one can manage and watch Movies, TV Series, Pictures, listen to music and watch TV somehow.
    Please don't get me wrong. This isn't meant as moaning, it should help improving MP2 to the best HTPC software out there. I'm using a remote and Titanium skin fyi. I won't make any difference here if some issues are skin or core related. Some of the issues are no big deal if you use mouse for navigation, but main goal of a HTPC software is the control by a remote, I'm sure.

    First point and I bet everyone who has MP2 running has encountered this already. There is no way to preserve a View or a Filter for next time usage. Every time you come back to a screen all is set to default values. It's necessary to save the views and filters used before. E.g. If I enter a Series I always got "all episodes" filter with the same view used for series overview... Imagine some long running series as "Doctor Who" with nearly a thousand episodes. Really hard to find the one you want to look next. So every time I enter a series first I need to go to the menu (navigation will be another point to talk about later) and choose filter by season... This really is annoying and has to be changed asap.

    Next is a similar point. Some of the settings are simply ignored. E.g. I disabled the screensaver (don't know what the sense of it is at all...). But after watching a episode when MP2 GUI pops up again, it's dark as screensaver is active again, also screensaver is disabled in settings. Not as it should be.

    Third issue is the focus after coming back to a page. If I watch a episode and it's finished, the focus most of the time stays on the first entry of the list. This isn't a good choice especially as the first episode isn't shown on screen. Shown are the later ones. So you can't see which item has focus and need to navigate blind. On some other cases (e.g when you came from menu) the focus is set completely outside the items and for that the navigation is really a lucky game... This is in Home also. Not a nice thing when you come back to home and don't have any clue where the "cursor" is. The focus always has to stay on the list items, no matter where the user came from. And in case of finishing playing an item, the next (unwatched) item in the list should be shown and have focus automatically.

    Fourth issue, no refresh of watched flags when you came back from watching a video. The watched flags are refreshed only the first time you enter the screen. After watching a few episodes and combined with the focus issue you didn't know where you are and what's to watch next... Watched status must be refreshed on every screen entry.

    Fifth issue. Navigation with Remote. The navigation isn't that intuitive as it should. E.G. if I was in the menu (it's needed too often atm, see above) and press "cursor right", the focus goes to "Start" on top menu, then I need to go through "Series" "Series Name" and "Season" before I'm back on the listed items I really want to use... So there are 5 button presses needed also one would be the preferred count. I don't need the top menu at all, if using the remote. I would prefer this menu to disappear until a mouse movement (same as for the "top right buttons")...

    Another point I'm desperately missing is an option to change between Database and File-system view in some"plugins". I know I can use file-system structure by "browsing media" but that's way to "global"... As example pictures. For me there is no way to add useful categories to all my pictures (have half a million of them) so I can't use the "pictures" section at all atm. I have sorted my pictures by filesystem structure to easily find what I'm looking after long before I first time used a HTPC software. So that's why I'm not in a need for the whole "database functionality" But I always need to "browse media" and go all the way through the server path, all shares are listed,... It would be much, much easier when I have a button inside the pictures section that allows me to switch between database and file- system view for this special share. Another part where this can be useful is on Videos... If those Videos are Movies or TV Shows, the database views are perfect. But what's about holiday videos or other more "private" stuff, no one ever will make a database from?

    And everybody knows already that a "resume" feature is missing on MP2 up to now. I know there is a lot of brainstorming going on on this point that's why I don't add to much text on this. It's mentioned just to keep it on the list.

    This are the main glitches I've encountered on daily usage. Hope this helps a bit on fixing this.

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