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BUILD in your Media Center with MediaBrowser

Last week was all BUILD, so it seems fitting to highlight a project that makes revisiting BUILD quicker, easier and kind of fun. Also we've not featured a Media Center plugin before (let alone one that's OSS). And finally I'll give you some tips on building a custom RSS video feed for BUILD (and other Channel 9 hosted events too). So it's like three for one day...

First of all we'll start off with the Media Center plugin I mentioned, which was brought to my attention by Ian Walker in his, Video Podcasts on TV, post.

This Media Center plugin makes is very simple to view video podcasts/video RSS feeds directly within Media Center. So say you wanted to view This Week on Channel 9 or BUILD2011 on your XBox 360 (via Media Center Extender)? Yep. Or on Media Center Vista/Windows 7? Oh yeah...

Media Browser

What is Media Browser?

Media Browser is a media aggregator plugin for Media Center that takes your recorded, digital, or ripped media and presents it in a simple, easy to use interface. Media Browser prides itself on delivering a fast, intuitive, media rich experience for the whole family.

Highlights

  • Automatic metadata retrieval
  • Streaming latest online trailers
  • Media bookmarking (resume play)
  • Support for external players
  • Vodcast support (video rss feeds)
  • Third party plug-in architecture
  • Automatic updates
  • Custom view layouts
  • Multiple themes
  • Create random / full folder playlists

About Media Browser

Formerly known as Video Browser, Media Browser is a personal media aggregator that takes your recorded, digital, or ripped media and presents it in a simple, easy to use interface. Media Browser prides itself on delivering a fast, intuitive, media rich experience for the whole family.

...

Media Browser is written in the C# programming language for the .NET 3.5 SP1 Framework. You can download the .NET Framework from Microsoft or directly form here. Media Browser runs on the Microsoft Media Center platform, found on Vista Home Premium, and Vista Ultimate operating systems.

The UI for Media Browser is written in Windows Media Center Markup Language (MCML), which is an XML-based declarative language. MCML rendering technology allows Media Browser to create experiences with the same richness and quality of the user interface (UI) within Windows Media Center (perhaps even more so).

This Media Center plugin is free for non-commercial usage and is OSS too. So we not only do we add some cool capabilities to Media Center but we get the C# source too.

Here's a snap of the project's source folder;

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And the Solution;

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In short, everything this plugin does, we can see how it does it... Got to love that.

The feature I'm focusing on today is its Vodcast/Podcast capability. Say for example, if a recent show, like BUILD 2011, provided video RSS feeds?

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You take the feed URL and add it to Media Browser via its configurator utility.

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That's it. Done.

Fire up Media Center and you're ready to start viewing

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But what if you don't want to have to scroll through that list of 258 session videos? I mentioned a trick to build a custom Channel 9 Event RSS feed, didn't I?

The full story is here, Channel 9 Events / BUILD2011 RSS Feed Tip, Building your perfect, custom, filtered BUILD RSS feed, but in short what you do is build your filter on the main event page, and then copy-n-paste it, appending it, onto the RSS feed. That gives you your own custom RSS feed, which also works great in MediaBrowser.

For example, I want only the BUILD 2011 sessions that had Brian Keller or Dan Fernandez presenting? Create the filter on the main page, which gives you a URL like this;

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011?sort=sequential&direction=desc&s=Brian%2BKeller&s=dan%2Bfernandez

Copy the parameters of the filter, (the question mark to the end), select a video rss feed and append this to that;

?sort=sequential&direction=desc&s=Brian%2BKeller&s=dan%2Bfernandez

Giving you your custom RSS feed;

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/RSS/wmv?sort=sequential&direction=desc&s=Brian%2BKeller&s=dan%2Bfernandez

Now just add that to Media Browser and you've got your Media Center friendly custom BUILD 2011 viewing platform!

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Maybe I'm only interested in WinRT sessions? (i.e. parameters of ?sort=sequential&direction=desc&t=windows%2Bruntime)

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http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/BUILD/BUILD2011/RSS/mp4?sort=sequential&direction=desc&t=windows%2Bruntime

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And the filtered sessions, this time in the Detail view...

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NOTE: The version of MediaBrowser I'm using doesn't like it of you add multiple RSS feeds to the same URL, where only the parameters (i.e. the custom filtering) are different. In short, don't add two BUILD2011 WMV feeds with different filters. The good news is that with the number of video format feed available you've got five options . Just use a different format for each custom filtered feed, zune, MP4, WMV, etc. etc. And given we've got the source we can look at fixing this ourselves if we really wanted to... Smiley

BTW this RSS filter trick seems to work for all the Channel 9 Events.

Enjoy... Smiley

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