My Home Theatre Project

good place to post your setup and get feedback from others.

My Home Theatre Project

Postby a06lp on Mon Apr 17, 2006 1:15 am

I've decided to set this up as a place to document my steps to "complete" my HTPC.
(Like it's ever possible to complete a HTPC. :roll:)

Hopefully, it will be a good starting point for others - especially those who come over to XLobby from Meedio, as I did.

Setup:
I have a custom-built home-theatre PC:
Image
Case: Monarch Hornet Pro Aluminum u-ATX (Black)
Power Supply: PS 270W - Enermax EG285SX-VB(W)SFMA ATX 1
Motherboard: Asus A7N8X-VM/400 nForce2
Processor: AMD Sempron 2600+ 256K 333 FSB (Socket A)
Memory: DDR (400) 3200 - 512 MB Corsair (VS512MB4)
2nd Memory: DDR (400) 3200 - 512 MB Corsair (VS512MB4)
1st Hard Drive: IDE - Samsung (SP0802N) 80 GB/7200-RPM/2M
2nd Hard Drive: Ultra-IDE – Seagate (ST3300831A) 300GB/7200-RPM
CD/DVD-RW: DVD-RW - NEC ND-3520A/GNB 4x-DVD±R DL/16x
Video Card: ATI (Sapphire) Radeon 9250 128MB DDR/8x-A
Thermal Grease: Shin-Etsu G675 Thermal Grease (Cools CPU)
Heatsink Fan: CoolJag JVC258A for AMD XP 3400+/MP 2800+
Case Fan: Antec 40mm Ball Bearing Case Fan
(more coming soon.)


The skin I am using is a custom one, based on the ColbySkin2. It will also be 'borrowing' elements from other screens, such as the Default screen from Xlobby2pre14. After all, creating/modifying a screen is a great way to learn XLobby,


Music
File Structure:
One folder (D:\Music) containing all my MP3s. Every single song is properly tagged using MediaMonkey, including embedded album-art, so that I never have to go searching for pictures for my music.

    Example
    D:\Music\50 Cent - Candy Shop.mp3
    D:\Music\Caesars - Jerk It Out.mp3
    D:\Music\Linkin Park - nuM (zero.6 Remix).mp3
XLobby:
The database is created by using the newly included feature of the Music import. I select ID3 for import type, Artist>Album for Views, and I check Ignore Folders.
I'm using a slightly modified ColbySkin2 music screen. I basically removed the event of the album-overlay so that my music selection goes like this:
Artist>Album>Overlay of Tracks (in order)
I also added a button that only shows my wife's music (WAF!!). Click here for more info on that.
97% Complete - I'm just running into a problem with custom searches (with the "Mood" ID3 tag - for the Wife :wink: ).


Television
File Structure:
A Directory tree as follows:
D:\TV\Series\Season\EpNum - EpTitle.*
    Example
    D:\TV\Family Guy\Season 1\101 - Death Has A Shadow.rmvb
    D:\TV\Family Guy\Season 4\421 - I Take Thee Quagmire.rmvb
    D:\TV\Friends\Season 03\302 - The One Where No One's Ready.avi
XLobby:
The database is created using a new import (which I labeled "tv").
Extensions: mpg,avi,mov,rmvb,rm
Coverart: jpg,jpeg,bmp,gif
Import Type: Custom
Folder: Container
Meta Masks:
Code: Select all
\\(?<Series>.*)\\Season\s(?<Season>\d*)\\.(?<EpNum>\d*)\s-\s(?<Name>.*)\. *
\\(?<Series>.*)\\Season(?<Season>\d*)\\.(?<EpNum>\d*)\s-\s(?<Name>.*)\. *
\\(?<Series>.*)\\(?<Season>.*)\\(?<Name>.*)\. *

For more info, see thistopic.
Uses a modified Movies screen from the Default skin.
Using infoscreen: overlay:overlay_tv (a modified overlay_movietracks screen)
Category Layout: nocover side left.
98% Complete
Just need a Button for Random TV Episodes



Movies
File Structure:
A "Movies" directory (D:\Movies) containing folders. Each movie gets a folder, and each movie's folder contains the movie files themselves, as well as a covertart jpg file.
    Example
    D:\Movies\American Pie\American Pie.avi
    D:\Movies\American Pie\American Pie.jpg
    D:\Movies\Memento\Memento.avi
    D:\Movies\Memento\Memento.jpg
    D:\Movies\Minority Report\Minority Report (1 of 2).avi
    D:\Movies\Minority Report\Minority Report (2 of 2).avi
    D:\Movies\Minority Report\Minority Report.jpg
XLobby: I've gotten the movies to import (easily, using the default movies import settings).
100% Complete


Pictures
File Structure:
A folder (D:\Pictures) which contains folders of years (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, Other). In each year folder, there are folders of dates and events, which contain the actual pictures.
    Example:
    D:\Pictures\2003\11-25-03 - Concert Night\Fountain 2.jpg
    D:\Pictures\2003\11-27-03 - Thanksgiving\Cousins.jpg
    D:\Pictures\2006\02-12-06 - Snowstorm\Shoveled Path.JPG
XLobby: Modified the Colby screen, and added a thumbnail/preview box on the left which shows collages or the actual picture preview (depending on what level you are at).
100% Complete.


Home Videos
File Structure:
A single directory (D:\Videos) containing all my home videos.
XLobby:
Modified the Colby movies screen (copied & pasted; then search and replace "movies" with "videos"), and changed the category layout to "nocover default"
100% Complete


Internet
File Structure:
None.
XLobby:
Modified the Colby Internet screen.
Much thanks to art for his suggestion as how to get a Browser Address bar:
I made a text box with the text of "input>button".
Then I made an event called 'Goto URL' which has an action of gotourl with the value "input>button".
I then added an on-click event for the text box, of 'Goto URL' (so when the user presses Enter, it goes to the url typed).
I then added a button which I assigned the event 'Goto URL' to on-click (so the user can also press "Go!" to go to the site typed in).
100% Complete.


Games
File Structure:
D:\Games\SYSTEM\Roms\ROM.
    Example
    D:\Games\NES\Roms\Mario Bros.nes
    D:\Games\NES\Roms\zelda.nes
    D:\Games\SNES\Roms\Mario Kart.zip
    D:\Games\N64\Roms\Super Mario 64.n64

Emulators:
Nintendo (NES) Emulator: FCE Ultra 0.98.11
Super Nintendo (SNES) Emulator: ZSNES 1.42
Nintendo 64 (N64) Emulator: Project64 1.5
XLobby:
Created the Databases for the games using Rom2Xlobby (Great tool!).
Modifed Colby games screen for the main menu (only Nintendo, SNES, & N64). On game selection, and overlay comes up ("overlaygamestracks system"), and shows the game. The "Play" button has an event associated with it: Category>Execute
NES
Created new "file type" (in setup):
Program: D:\Games\NES\fceu.exe
Extentions: nes
Command Line Switches: "%parameter%"
Category: NES

SNES
Created new "file type" (in setup):
Program: D:\Games\SNES\zsnesw.exe
Extentions: zip
Command Line Switches: "%parameter%"
Category: SNES

N64
Created new "file type" (in setup):
Program: D:\Games\N64\Project64.exe
Extentions: n64,v64
Command Line Switches: %parameter%
Category: N64

100% Complete


File Browser
File Structure:
None.
XLobby:
75% Complete
Need help with the password function - I have an overlay which shows the keyboard, and when you enter the pw by clicking numbers it works.
I also want it to work by typing the numbers on the keyboard.



PocketPC Remote
Setup:
I own a Dell Axim3, with integrated WiFi.
I plan to set this up as a remote to control XLobby.
XLobby:
I tested the xlobby2sd.exe, and it works - I saw the screens (although they they tiny and squished). I was able to connect, navigate, play songs and shows, etc. The mimic function works as well.
(This is so amazingly cool!)
10% Complete.
Need to create custom screens.



Home Automation
Setup:
X10 switches, located throughout my home.
XLobby:
Created Events for all my Play actions to dim lights 60%.
Returnig to Menu screen, brightens lights to 100%.
Created scren to display all lights in my home, with buttons to turn on, off, dim, and brighten.
Event: OS>execute file
File: C:\path\to\ActiveHome\x10comm.exe"
Arguments: actions wanted (i.e. a1 on, a1 off, a1 dim 60%, a1 bright 60%)
(Much thanks to XLRETARD for his help with this!)
100% Complete.


To Do List:
- Make custom searches 'stick' (see here)
- Button for Random TV Episodes (see here)
- Fix Password on File Browser (see above)
Last edited by a06lp on Sun May 21, 2006 6:38 pm, edited 14 times in total.
a06lp
 
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Postby bkilburn on Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:38 pm

i am very interested in your setup so far as importing and sorting music is concerned. I have a large collection (mainly from itunes) and can see the benefit of proper id3 tagging. what i don't seem able to achieve (which is probably due to my lack of knowledge) is how to organise the skin to achieve the following and wonder if you have been successful or have any tips. i like the idea of choosing Artist or Album and playing the whole album. That bit is easy. however if you have albums made up of various artists it gets more problematic. What i want is to search say Artist or Composer and see a list of the individual tracks and be able to choose one to play as opposed to a whole album. is this possible now the directory structure can be ignored. With the default skin if you choose Composer eg Beethoven you get a list of albums in which one or more tracks are contained. With itunes for example you can search by track, artist, album , composer easily. Any ideas or is what i want simply not possible with xlobby?
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Location: UK

Postby a06lp on Fri Apr 21, 2006 7:53 pm

if I understand you correctly, then you'l want to take a look at Colby's skin. I am working on modifying his to achieve what I want.
One of the great things in his skin is being able to search (Type in your term), and choose whether to search by artist, album, title, etc.
Take a look at it. :)

I personally do the artist>album thing. Any album that has multiple artists either get the actual artist name in the artist id3 field like so:
Album: Charlie's Angels 2
Artist: Pink
Track: Pink - Feel Good Time (feat. William Orbit)


or they get the album name in the artist field like so:
Album: Grease
Artist: Grease
Track: You're the one that I want
Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging
My Home Theatre Project - Follow the development of my XLobby setup!
a06lp
 
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Re: My Home Theatre Project

Postby art on Sat Apr 22, 2006 12:47 am

a06lp wrote:Internet
File Structure:
None.

XLobby:
Modified the Colby Internet screen.
50% Complete. - I put in a feature request for Steven to add a Browser Address Bar. Vote for it!


This should be doable now with "input>button" and "save to variable" command, and than "goto url" with "%variable>yourvariable%"..... Did you try that?
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Location: Allen, TX

Re: My Home Theatre Project

Postby a06lp on Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:00 am

art wrote:This should be doable now with "input>button" and "save to variable" command, and than "goto url" with "%variable>yourvariable%"..... Did you try that?


No, and after reading your post, and messing around with XL, i'm still lost. could you give more basic instructions to accomplish this?
thanks
Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging
My Home Theatre Project - Follow the development of my XLobby setup!
a06lp
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:17 am

Postby art on Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:01 am

I was playing with this myself.... Download those 3 files:
web1.xml
web1abc.xml
testWEB.xml

First 2 are screens, so place them in xlobby\skins\yourskin folder. Last one has events place it in xlobby\eventsgroups folder and see if this will work for you. I'm not sure why, but sometimes it would not save %button>input% into variable, this may be a bug in XL. If you'll have problems try restarting XL or go to setup (F2) and mess with events, this seems to do something to fix it not sure what...
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 8:40 am
Location: Allen, TX

Postby a06lp on Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:29 pm

art wrote:I was playing with this myself.... Download those 3 files:
web1.xml
web1abc.xml
testWEB.xml

First 2 are screens, so place them in xlobby\skins\yourskin folder. Last one has events place it in xlobby\eventsgroups folder and see if this will work for you.


It works for me.
The problem is that I don't want to have to open the web1abc every time I want to enter a new browser address. Is there a way to make the actualy "browser bar" on the web1.xml screen 'typeable' - that I cant type directly into that box, for my keyboard (and still have the option to open the keyboard screen for remote users)?
In other words, the box on the main web screen is where the address is retirved from, and the keyboard (web1abc) screen just puts letters into that main screen (web1)'s box.

i hope i'm being clear...
Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging
My Home Theatre Project - Follow the development of my XLobby setup!
a06lp
 
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Postby art on Sun Apr 23, 2006 9:38 pm

On the abc screen you can use your keyboard, so the only thing I can think of is to copy all needed elements from abc screen to web screen, make them 1px by 1px and align them beyond screen borders and/or make them invisible... I had to drop the whole idea of web browsing on my htpc due to my tv and resolution being only 480p
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Postby a06lp on Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:50 am

no - that won't fix it.

I can make the main web screen address bar 'typable' by changing it's text from "%variable>www1%" to "button>input". The problem then becomes that pressing 'Go' does not launch the site (since it's event is assigned to "testWEB:gotoURL", which corresponds to a web browser "goto url" command, with the variable: "%variable>www1%")

I need a way to somehow type in the box, press a button which brings up an on-screen keyboard to type (which then goes into the same box mentioned above). Then, when I press Go, the browser goes to the url in the box (whether I typed it in manually, or used the on-screen keyboard).
Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging
My Home Theatre Project - Follow the development of my XLobby setup!
a06lp
 
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Postby sdumas on Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:35 am

I built a small screen that pops up a keyboard. Each key is assigned a Girder event which in turn sends a key to the appropriate screen. Mine was designed to run with SageTV.

I am sure that if you copy the search keyboard from HeavyMetal skin and create a series of Girder events for keyboard press, it would work. You will need to target the Xlobby screen to send the keyboard events to, and that's it.
Sylvain Dumas
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Postby a06lp on Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:57 pm

@sdumas:

thanks for the suggestion, but i am actually trying to avoid using girder if possible.

can anyone else lend some insight here?
Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging
My Home Theatre Project - Follow the development of my XLobby setup!
a06lp
 
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Postby bromfman on Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:26 pm

I use Window's On Screen Keyboard (osk.exe). I have a button on the browser screen to launch it.
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Postby bromfman on Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:28 pm

Also another suggestion. On your movies section, you can create an asx file for the movies with two parts. It works like a playlist and you can assign the asx to xlobby instead of the avi. This way you can play both files in sequence. Do a seach for asx in the forums if you are interested. I've posted it a couple of times before.
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Postby art on Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:11 am

a06lp wrote:I need a way to somehow type in the box, press a button which brings up an on-screen keyboard to type (which then goes into the same box mentioned above). Then, when I press Go, the browser goes to the url in the box (whether I typed it in manually, or used the on-screen keyboard).


Try re-downloading those files I posted above and see if this will work for you. The only thing about 'on-screen' keyboard is that if you use overlay web browser will stay on top of the overlay, that's why keyboard is on a separate screen. When you click on 'save criteria' on abc screen, it should take you back to the web screen and load the page without need for clicking on the 'go' button....
art
 
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Postby a06lp on Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:00 pm

art wrote:Try re-downloading those files I posted above and see if this will work for you. The only thing about 'on-screen' keyboard is that if you use overlay web browser will stay on top of the overlay, that's why keyboard is on a separate screen. When you click on 'save criteria' on abc screen, it should take you back to the web screen and load the page without need for clicking on the 'go' button....


Excellent!
This works just how I want.
I like your 'coding' in the event xml file. I didn't think of that. :)

One quick question: is it possible to make the 'enter' key do the same thing as pressing 'Go' (or 'save criteria' on the abc screen)?
Guide: Proper ID3 Tagging
My Home Theatre Project - Follow the development of my XLobby setup!
a06lp
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:17 am

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