Monday, September 12, 2005

Good News for Owners of the Philips Streamium Media Hubs

Version, which is now available for download, includes a fix for the famous periodic rebuffering that occured with the Streamiums. This fix eliminates the major issue that may have prevented owners of the Streamiums to switch to TVersity and therefore we have decided to make a special release just for it (and few other minor bug fixes).

Owners of different media hubs may also benefit from this fix, which should improve the performance of the TVersity media server for media hubs connected wirelessly to the home network, resulting in less hiccups and a smoother playback. This improvement may also prove beneficial when streaming media from network shares and NAS devices.

Finally, we would like to remind our users to share URLS of the good online stuff they come across. Let's all not forget the good old BitTorrent saying "Give and ye shall receive!".

Friday, September 09, 2005

Some fixes for version 0.8 are now available

Version is now available for download. This release is fixing issues with regard to the corruption of the media library when the media server and MShare attempt to modify it simultaneously, as well as a few other minor issues. We also extended the URL sharing feature to include sharing of MP3 streams and of HTTP URLs of M3U or PLS files. This means that for example radio stations from shoutcast can be added by sharing the URL copied from the shoutcast website using any web browser. There is no need anymore to save these URLs as files and then MShare the files, moreover the URL will appear under the "My Online Audio" entry with a title of your choice and will not be mixed with your playlists.

A few words about running MShare, MShare can still output an error message if invoked while the media server is refreshing the library. This is because only one of them can modify the library at a time. This failure however is temporary and no longer results in corruption of the media library, i.e. it is safe now to do it. Once the media server is done with the refresh, MShare will be successful. The error message that MShare displays has been revised to reflect that. Please also note that each time the media server is started it does a refresh of the media library (i.e. it is synchronizing the library with the content of the shared folders), and therefore at that time MShare is very likely to fail. Feel free to stop the media server when you need to share something right away, then run MShare and start the media server (even before MShare is done). Please also be advised that while MShare is running, the media server will occasionally fail to acces the media library, this is because from time to time MShare is committing the changes to the library, during which time the media server cannot read from the library. Those occasional failures may result in an error message on your media hub, however they will disappear once MShare is done. OK, now that we said it all we must add that it is not as bad as it sounds :), just try it, it is safe.

Before we finish, we want to encourage users to share URLs of new and interesting content. In order to facilitate that we started a new forum called "Share your online content URLs". Users that have found some nice URLs should post them there so that others can enjoy them as well. In order to make it easy for users to try these URLs we ask that each post will include a short description of the content covering things like the topic, website, language, bitrate, etc. and then a line per each URL which is the same command line one needs to use in order to MShare the URL. This way users can copy this line and save it in a text file with a ".bat" extension and then simply run this file. Each user should have such a file (or files) for online content, so that they can easily restore their URLs in case they reset the media library or reinstall the server. Here is an example of what a message posted to this fourm should look like:

The US WB channel has the pilot of its new series the Supernatural (english) available for watching on Yahoo ( You can add it to your TVersity content by running the following command:
MShare -T "Supernatural Pilot" -V "mms://"

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Version 0.8 is here

It has been a little over two months and version is finally here. The previous post covers pretty well the highlight of this release (a complete rewrite of the media library database that can handle up to 100,000 items and more) so we won’t repeat it again. We will say however that we added thousands of radio stations from all over the world, which are accessible by name, region, genre or language. We also added support for many new file formats including Quicktime (mov), Real media (rm, rv, ra, rmvb), Matroska, FLAC and more. Each of these will require some directshow decoding filters to be installed or else the media server will not be able to transcode them. These filters are not distributed with the media server since their license does not allow that. We will however add to the FAQ some links that will make it easier to find them.
Another new feature is related to the management of the disk space consumed by the cache area. Unlike previous versions where the cache area could grow indefinitely, in this release one can configure the minimum and maximum disk space to be allocated for the cache and the media server will manage it automatically.
Finally, many bug fixes, support for some new media hubs, and more configuration parameters also made it into this release.

Before we finish we would like to share some information about the next release, which will be the first to feature automatically updatable online content. Initially we will add support for RSS and for Media RSS. This will allow one to subscribe to vlogs and podcasts and have the media server take care of everything from downloading the audio/video to making it available for playback on the TV/Stereo. Later on we will add new channels that do not have an RSS file readily available on the web, but rather TVersity will create one for them, using its web crawler. These RSS files will not feature only downloadable content (as is the case for vlogs and podcasts) but also streaming media content. Consider for example a CNET news channel, or a FoodTV short video channel, which will feature their videos as an updatable channel on your TV.

This is it for now, please drop us a note and tell us what you think about the current release and about our plans for the next one. As always we would like to thank our users for providing great encouragement and very helpful feedback. Special thanks for all those that showed their support for the project and made a generous donation, without you we might not make it to this point.