HTPC, MCE, pandora

Pandora plugin for Windows Media Center

Screenshot<br />
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.

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