Adobe Photoshop Elements and MCE

I am using Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 to administrate my images. To make collections, simple editing, tagging and organizing.

I have more than 30 000 images in my collection and Photoshop Elements is one of the programs that actually handle that amount of pictures.

 

The picture module in Windows Media Center is pretty limited. And it does not support automatic rotation based on EXIF info. That is extremely annoying. And, when I have tagged a series of images with “The best pictures from the summer of 2006” I want to be able to run that exact collection as a slide show on my TV.

Now, if you install Photoshop Elements 4 on your MCE box you will get an option in more prorgrams that starts a Photoshop Elements plugin for MCE. It has the pretty slow and boring navigation like online spotlight services and most of the other plugins for MCE, but it lets you browse tags, collections and calendars from Photoshop Elements in MCE on your TV screen.

I must admit that on my 30 000 pictures collection it is quite slow, but as long as I have made the collection in Elements first this is a nice way to look at it on the TV screen.

And, it lets you view PSD-files in MCE and rotates images based on EXIF info…

Adobe Photoshop Elements and MCE

neave.tv – a flash wizard’s frontend to YouTube

Paul Neave is a complete genius that have made amazing stuff like the wonderful flash based frontend for Google Maps and Windows Live Local.

He has also made a very nice frontend for YouTube, blip.tv and Google Video. It’s called neave.tv and it’s close to a service that you would want on your media center. Slightly better keyboard control and it would have been perfect.

As far as I understand the content is selected by Mr. Neave himself. It’s a very nice collection of good stuff from the three video sites mentioned. Including a video that I put out there a while ago…

Most media centers is capable of starting internet explorer in kiosk mode. Meaning full screen without any toolbars. Simply make a shortcut in your media center of choice that starts internet explorer at neave.tv and you have yet another television channel to play around with. The command you need looks like this:

iexplore -k http://neave.tv

Neave.tv lets you play the videos in full screen as well. I wouldn’t recommend that if you have a big LCD. Image quality isn’t exactly what YouTube and the others are known for. And, neave.tv had problems scaling correct on a 16/9 monitor:

Anyway, yet another interesting experiment from Mr. Neave.

neave.tv – a flash wizard’s frontend to YouTube

Yahoo Go for TV just updated

YahooGO TV main screen

There’s a new beta of Yahoo Go for TV out. The update includes:

  • Picture in picture viewing capabilities (sounds cool!)
  • View personal Flickr photostreams
  • Support for more tuner/capture cards
  • Overall user experience improvements (responsive and consistency of menus and navigation, video player and network experience)
  • Movie recommendations
  • Ability to access shared music from your local network

I haven’t had the time to check it out, and I really would like to see a version that would work in Norway as well, but I’ll give it a go and anyone with a working US proxy: feel free to contact me!  :-)

You find my first experience with this software here.

Thanks Dave and Jeff

Yahoo Go for TV just updated

TVedia – An amazing networked media frontend!

TVedia is a media center frontend with some extremely interesting networking functionallity and a very nice interface for YouTube, Google Video, Flickr, LastFM and other media related web sites.

I recently gave it a run on my Windows Media Center Edition box. The installation was very easy. The MCE remote worked at once with no configuration.

Excellent media library

You let the software scan your drives for media files and it builds a database that lets you browse your images, videos and music. So far so good. A full screen media browser like all the others out there. And, after my quick test I must say that it is a very good one. The animated user interface is fast and user firendly, but not as smooth and slick as Windows Media Center Edition (MCE). The advantage is the fact that TVedia has modest hardware requirements compared to MCE.

Universal plug and play

But what’s so special about TVedia compared to all the other available options? The network integration. During installation it asked if I wanted access to the media that TVedia found on the other computers on my network. I said Yes, and when installing TVedia on another box on the same network all my media showed up there as well. No questions asked, no configuration. It just worked.

TVedia is a universal plug and play (UPnP) client and server. Meaning that it will communicate with your UPnP enabeled phone or media server. I haven’t tried this yet, so I’ll have to come back to how this works. You can read more here.

Web video in your living room

But the functionallity that impressed me the most is TVedia’s nice integration with sites like YouTube, GoogleVideo and Flickr.

With TVedia these sites are suddenly available from your remote on the big screen in the living room. The experience works very well. You can search for video clips and browse categories. Compared to the YouTube and GoogleVideo plugin for Windows Media Center Edition this experience is way better. Of course, the quality of the videos on these sites doesn’t look very good on your 42 inch LCD, but the playback is done through ffdshow and gives you an experience as good as possible. When trying to predict the future of technology a couple of things are pretty certain. The quality will be better! This is a preview of some of the functionallity that the future of big screen entertainment will give you.

Such a nice interface for these sites can turn out to be very interesting and really emphasize the possibilities of Long Tail Content in your living room. (If you want to know more about the long tail Chris Anderson explains it in The Media Center Show here. Or, of course Wikipedia comes you your rescue with a great article.)

Flickr

For Flickr you can even upload pictures to your account directly from TVedia. You can browse your own sets, your friend’s pictures, search and browse tags.

When running a slide show of photos from Flickr TVedia downloads the largest version available and present them with nice transitions on your TV.

If you add the fact that TVedia plays protected music from both iTunes and MSN Music and has an open interface for plug in development you are close to the perfect media center. And you can’t complain about the price of $35,- either.

So what’s the catch?

Unfortunately, there’s a big one. No TV functionallity yet. You need to run it in cooperation with SnapStream Beyond TV or another proper PVR software. I have years of experience with such solutions. Running one PVR software and another media library software. That is not at all something that I would recommend. The fact that Windows Media Center Edition provides me with both a media library and a proper PVR with an EPG was my main reason to switch to this platform.

The usability, navigation and stability always suffer when running several programs. TVedia version 3.5 had PVR capabilities, so I really hope that 8Dimensions will add a proper PVR with EPG to TVedia version 4 as soon as possible.

But, if you’re in for a tiny bit of tweaking and maintenance, the combination of TVedia and the already mentioned SnapStream Beyond TV will give you a media box with far more functionallity than a plain MCE 2005 box from Microsoft.

So far this is one of the most interesting products I have seen in this space for a long time! The music library, networking and online features are way better than what I am used to in MCE. Please guys, add a proper PVR and you have a winner on your hands.

TVedia – An amazing networked media frontend!

New media center on on its way

Elisa Screenshot

Spanish company Fluendo is currently working on an open source cross platform media center called Elisa.

It looks very promising and if the project gets big enough this could turn into a very interesting platform.

It is a bit early in it’s development for me to try it yet, but I will follow it closely. Have a look at the screenshots and the screencast demo. You also find a Google Video Version of the screencast here.

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=2655766308298066594&hl=en

New media center on on its way

PlayerPal – Media center control from your PSP

PSP and PlayerPal
PlayerPal will let you control iTunes or Windows Media Player from any device with a browser. Your PDA, laptop, playstation portable etc.

NetRemote and Girder could give you similar control, but PlayerPal looks like a pretty interesting and user friendly solution.

It will work as long as you have a browser on the device you want to use as a remote. No client needed. I haven’t had time to try this one out yet, so I’ll have to get back to it.

PlayerPal – Media center control from your PSP

Controlling your media center from your mobile phone

6630 controlling MCE
Salling Clicker is this fantastic program that lets you control your presentations from your mobile phone. It will show you a preview of your next slide on the phone’s screen and works very well through bluetooth.

Salling Clicker consist of a small program that you install on your Mac or Windows machine and a client software that you install on your mobile phone or PDA. It can communicate through bluetooth or WLAN.

By default it can control a range of players and softwares on your computer. It can also be extended with third party plugins.

It controls Windows Media Player very well. Because WMP is the basis for Windows Media Center Edition it will actually also control the music module of your media center very well.

According to the forum over at Salling.com the developer are working on a special module for Windows Media Center Edition as well.

Currently only one client can be connected at any time. If you connect with a new phone or PDA while another is already connected it will automatically disconnect the other one. I would really like to see a possibility for connecting several clients.

Salling Clicker seems like a very well built program, and connecting the devices was extremely easy.

First I tested it by controlling the music in my media center through WLAN and a Toshiba e805 PDA. No problem.

So I bought a cheap USB based bluetooth device and connected it to my Media Center. It installed immediately without having to add any drivers. One minute later, and I can controll my the music in my media center from my Nokia 6630. Nice.

Looking forward to that native MCE support in Salling Clicker!

…and now I have to start playing around with a connection from Salling Clicker to Girder to give myself complete control of my media center from my Nokia…

Related posts:
HighPad Media Control – PDA Remote for Windows Media Center
Remote control your music collection in MCE

PDA controlling MCE

Controlling your media center from your mobile phone