Pandora plugin for Windows Media Center

Screenshot
Pandora Playing in MCE
I have written about Pandora before. It is the first music recommendation engine that I actually like and find useful. When I tried it for the first time I instantly wanted a plugin for my Media Center that would let me open Pandora.

I guess I wasn’t the only one. Colin Savage has made a little plugin that not only let you open and start Pandora in your media center, but it let you start Pandora on basis of music from your local collection.

Update:
The links are dead and unfortunately I don’t know where this project is now.

The plugin is a little web application hosted on Colin’s page. It seems like he has some performance issues, so my friend Jahn-Tore has kindly offered a mirror. He has also done some minor changes to the plugin to make it look slightly better in MCE. You find the modified version here.

Screenshot More Music Like This

Then what?

You can go to your artist listing, select an artist and hit the Info-button on your remote. Now select “More…”. That will let you start Pandora playing similar music to the artist or track you have selected.

In other words, I am listening to Tom Waits in my Media Center. Two clicks and Pandora streams similar artists choosen from the very detailed Music Genome Database that is the basis of the recommendation engine in Pandora.

The main problem with the plugin is the fact that the Flash based Pandora player does not scale and is not designed for navigation with a remote.

If now only the Pandora guys get the message, talk to Colin and implements a version that is tailored for MCE. Until then, this solution works fine. The fact that the Pandora interface looks like crap on your 40 inch LCD as long as it doesn’t scale does not destroy the good recommendations and acceptable sound quality from Pandora.

The installation of the plugin from Colin’s page is not 100% straight forward. It includes saving a file to the right directory on your media center and register the plugin. For the people that is afraid of starting that dangerous black command line window and write strange commands in there I have made a simple BAT-script that will register the plugin for you. Just right-click this link and select “Save as”. Save it to a place where you find it and double click it after you have saved the plugin from Colin’s or Jahn-Tore’s page in your eHome directory.

Pandora plugin for Windows Media Center

24 thoughts on “Pandora plugin for Windows Media Center

  1. If you have a 40 inch LCD. It may have an option to have multiple screens? That could be a solution for your “problem”. You could then have Pandora on a tiny little screen, an the interface then may look ok?

    But it may also cause other problems? I don’t have a LCD-tv!

  2. Setting up two screens for this plugin alone might be a bit overkill? And, as far as I know MCE does not support dual screens very well…

  3. Anyway!

    I have not figured out how to install random top/site-header using wordpress. I know that I have to ad something about a header and all that. But in which file (php) must I insert the “header-code”?

    I have installed a basic wordpress , with no modification. Have mailed with the people at Pandora, regarding how to get at “Pandora-jukebox” on my site. They refered to this site: http://blog.pandora.com/faq/index.html#115

    Do you have a solution for how to implement it on my site (using wordpress)?

    By the way! I have read somewhere that a group of people have made a software/method for analysing music and see if it’s going to be a hit! Don’t remeber where, but they should team up with Pandora?

  4. How to make a random header is described at the bottom of this page. You have to modify the “header.php”-file found in your current theme directory.

    Regarding Pandora on your site I am afraid I have no more information than what’s on their FAQ. I haven’t experimented with that.

  5. Trond says:

    Meedio too :)

    http://www.meedio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=222187#222187

    You can use the plugin with your remote or keyboard and do the following:
    – switch to next song
    – change the volume
    – tell Pandora if you like or dislike the song
    – change the station
    With the mouse, you can also use Pandora’s other features, like adding stations. Support to do this using the remote is planned for the next version.

  6. Trond says:

    A screenshot using the default theme. Looks like the buttons below the Pandora player can be used to control Pandora.

  7. Thank you! I’ll do a quick article on this plugin as well. It looks better than the MCE plugin because some of the functions in Pandora has been made available in the Meedio GUI and can be controlled from the remote.

  8. Paul Childs says:

    I am getting a run time error when pandora starts up in media center.

    Line 223 access denied.

    When i try to unregister it fails saying not registered and when i try to register it tells me it is already registered.

    I have installed Rollup 2 and also have disabled all firewalls.

    Can anyone help!!

  9. Hi all

    I’ve fixed the Pandora link problem in the plugin and updated the more.xml to go to my other server (Hopefully it’s faster).

    The new page is located here.

    So i recomend uninstalling your existing more.xml and downloading the new one and install that instead.

    Jahn-Tore

  10. hmm

    There seems to be a problem with the plugin.

    Pandora.com has made some changes to their application and has added some checks that blocks this plugin.

    Sorry…

    I’ll be looking into the problem.

    JTS

  11. I have Webguide3 running locally on my box in IIS an was wondering if it woudln’t be smart to host it locally instead of using your webserver?

    Would it be possible to get the needed files and put them locally on my own pc Jahn-Tore?

    ———————————————————-

    I currently do this quick-n-dirty to at least have Pandora visible in more programs, i create this file: C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersStart MenuProgramsAccessoriesMedia CenterMedia Center ProgramsPandora.mcl

    and put this in the file:


  12. Nicolas (Copenhagen) says:

    Hi I have installed the plugin and the latest fix and still I just get the “Media Center Timeglass” (The spinning circle). I have waitet for more that 10 minutes, and still nothing happens. Any suggestions pls….

  13. Steve says:

    ummm i would love this app but can you write it for vista media center so i can use pandora on my xbox :)…i know its been 2 years since the last hope you will think about it.

  14. joseph says:

    I’ve tried this on Windows Vista SP1 Media Center. I’m assuming it was written for Windows XP MCE (Media Center Edition) which is vastly different from Vista MC.

    Attempting an install results in a registry error on my machine saying the registry entry is locked or something.

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