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This is a place where I plan on documenting some of the things I'd like to see improved in LinuxMCE, categorized by "annoyance level", and some longer-term thoughts of no significant importance.

If you're looking for "What is LinuxMCE" or "What do I do to get media applications running in Linux" see Linux Media.

If you're looking for "How do I set up LinuxMCE" see the LinuxMCE website

LMCE Improvements

I've used MythTV for quite a long time, so I've made references to Myth where I think they did something that LMCE could learn from.

Highest Annoyance Level

  1. Cover art and additional data is not automatically downloaded for music
    • Yes, I know there's a tool to do it - but it took me 3 days to get my movies straightened out - by my calculations, I'm looking at well over a year to do the music
    • I understand why this is complex for movie files that have no metadata, so I don't think that's too bad, but if Windows Media Player (which I hate with a passion) can go and pick up cover art for MP3s automatically, there is no reason LMCE can't - if your demo videos are going to compare your software to WindowsMCE and say yours is better, it had better be better in every way. This is the one and only feature that WinMCE has on LinuxMCE.
    • I do like the ability to choose from all the different cover art available for some titles, but this should not be the default behavior. Perhaps the cover art search could automatically select the first thing it finds for every file, then let the user go back and select something different if he feels the need.

High Annoyance Level

  1. When browsing media on my Nokia N810 orbiter, there is text over the cover art, making the text and cover art completely unreadable.

Medium Annoyance Level

  1. When browsing my video collection on my Nokia N810 orbiter, any synopsis that is too long will simply be cut off, so you can't read the whole thing.
    • The MythTV video plug-in dealt with this by providing a little button that presented a pop-up containing only the description.
  2. Imported DVDs are not tagged as Movie of DVD quality
    • This breaks the filters in the file list
    • Imported DVDs must be updated manually from the web interface every time
    • We already have all the information we need to populate these fields during import - we know it's a DVD at least, maybe we could ask what type of media it is or figure that out from the metadata.
  3. The genre field is not populated by the cover art and metadata retrieval tool (at least not for video, haven't tested music for the reasons above)
  4. In the file list, titles starting with "The" are all sorted alphabetically by "The" instead of the next word in the title, which is just wrong...
  5. On the orbiter, when viewing recorded TV within MythTV - there are no buttons to do commercial skip or to access or navigate the on-screen menu
    • I'm working to help correct this right now

Low Annoyance Level

  1. Although LinuxMCE can rip DVDs, it cannot transcode them
    • This means movies take up twice as much room as they need to (but storage is cheap so this isn't too bad)
    • This means I have to get all the tracks on the DVD, including the menu, special features... I don't want any of that - gets in the way of the movie
    • This means that many portable devices cannot play the imported file - so I can't take a movie on a plane as easily.
    • MythTV has a plug-in that does this - it has a pretty good interface, and is fully automated. Could act as a good model for LMCE.
  2. The photo screensaver resizes images to the same aspect ratio as the display, distorting them badly.
  3. The "Video" scenario includes recorded TV shows and Movies
    • There should be a "Movie" scenario and a "Recorded TV" scenario.
    • I'm having trouble making this happen - I haven't figured out how to setup an event to turn on the filters in the file list yet.
  4. On the orbiter, when viewing recorded TV within MythTV - the last viewed live TV show title and channel is displayed instead of what is actually being watched.
  5. There is no "supported" way to ease into the LinxMCE system
    • There is no reason LMCE can't be used as a standalone system in one room with a single orbiter - why should the system be limited?
    • There should be an option to install the system as a standalone server on the existing network (i.e. one NIC, no routing or DHCP)
    • This broadens the audience of users and makes it possible for people to start a small system in one room or on their parents' network
    • I know this disables some automation, but that is easily documented
    • I also know that it works just fine, because that's how mine is set up now. In fact, it still detects new networked media storage automatically, my N810 orbiter works great, and all my AV equipment is controlled perfectly. No other software can do all this as well as LMCE does.

Lowest Annoyance Level

  1. The photo screensaver runs when the display is off, creating unnecessary disk reads
  2. The webpage http://dcerouter redirects to http://dcerouter/pluto-admin
  3. A movie synopsis retrieved from Amazon is usually a "review" rather than a "description"
    • MythTV's video plug-in uses IMDB instead of Amazon, which provides much much better descriptions of the movies
  4. The main page of the web admin (http://dcerouter/pluto-admin/) says the Help button refers to "a local copy of the online documentation" when it actually refers to the online documentation.

LMCE Long-Term Project Ideas

Portable Media Directors

We have lots and lots of neat little devices that make our media portable such as MP3 players, portable video players, and even our phones. LinuxMCE already manages all our media within the home - what if it could manage all these devices too? When a portable media device is connected to the LinuxMCE system, new options would be available to manage the media on the device including the ability to:

  • Synchronize selected groups between the device and LinuxMCE system
  • Add new media to the device from the LinuxMCE system
  • Add new media to the LinuxMCE system from the device

LinuxMCE may also automatically transcode the media into the proper format for the device to save space or combat technical differences, such as the device's probable inability of playing DVD images.

It may also be possible to run a lightweight version of the LMCE Media Director on some devices.