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LinkPlayer Feedback

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PhilLondon
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PhilLondon Posted: Wed, Mar 7 2012 12:41 PM
I couldn't leave this Mac forum empty for longer, so I thought I'll give some LinkPlayer news…

Currently busy updating the Forum's App, but recently made some progress on the Spotify support. It now support multiple sound cards and should be more reliable.

Now trying to bring back external app support. But in a different way possibly...

P.

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Christophe
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That sounds like good news, I can't wait for the next LP2 beta update!Cool

Scott Needham
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hello,

i am also very excited about a new beta for linkplayer. your product has saved my installation.

i would take this opportunity to push for some sort of minimal support for itunes. it does everything i want, and it is easy to control from my iphone and ipad. even something as simple as turning on n.music and activating itunes would be cool.

thanks again, and keep up the good work !

 

- scott

 

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elephant replied on Mon, Apr 16 2012 1:32 PM

Scott Needham:
i would take this opportunity to push for some sort of minimal support for itunes. it does everything i want, and it is easy to control from my iphone and ipad. even something as simple as turning on n.music and activating itunes would be cool.

Hi Scott, could you be more specific about what you mean by "minimal support of iTunes" ?

I admit I still tend to use LinkPlayer 1 in [N.MUSIC] mode and from that mode I can access my iTunes library and its tracks.  I can use the coloured arrows on the Beo4 to select the mode, such as "playlists".

So to me it is fairly comprehensive - and I have also used LinkPlayer 2 and it also accesses my iTunes library and its tracks ... but does not capture their usage under Last.FM ... is this the kind of support you are looking for ? the use of Last.FM, or Apples PING ?

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PhilLondon
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I am currently busy re-implementing all external sources as they were in LinkPlayer 1, in addition to LinkPlayer's internal play.

Although I still think using the internal player is more robust.

I am also done with re-writing LinkRemote.

p.

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spezializten
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Sounds excellent, I'm really missing the Plex or XBMC and EyeTV. =)

I've been using spotify for a while and it works really good. The only thing I'm missing is the starred list.

Scott Needham
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hi ed !

what i do today is :

  1. launch n.music from beo-4
  2. stop playback with linkplayer
  3. start itunes playback with remote

minimal support would be avoiding step 2 by activating itunes on launch of n.music. bonus points for forward / back buttons working and putting itunes on pause when linkplayer goes inactive.

the thing that makes me stick to itunes is genius list. i love being able to launch a playlist from a song.

 

- scott

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elephant replied on Tue, Apr 17 2012 7:47 PM

Scott Needham:

hi ed !

what i do today is :

  1. launch n.music from beo-4
  2. stop playback with linkplayer
  3. start itunes playback with remote

minimal support would be avoiding step 2 by activating itunes on launch of n.music. bonus points for forward / back buttons working and putting itunes on pause when linkplayer goes inactive.

the thing that makes me stick to itunes is genius list. i love being able to launch a playlist from a song.

- scott

hey scott ! thanks for that - now I understand.  That is the way that I use LinkPlayer as well - only because I like the ease of search and select with my iPad's apple remote app.  However I don't so step two (stop), I just push the remote, and it overrides the first sone ... but I agree it's a pain to always here a few bars of the same song every time i start up.

most times I press [stop] or deactivate [PC] I believe iTunes is paused ... but every once in a while it does keep running, which is why ABBA is top of may use count :-(

@spezializten - now days I just PLEX on the iPad and Airplay to the Beovision - I find that PLEX on the iPad is easier for me to use and it allows me to stay in touch with my content (pun intended) - I am using the new, restructured, version 9 

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PhilLondon
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Just a quick work to say that after weeks of quite intense work, I am finally seeing the end of the tunnel and it is all taking shape.

I will be releasing a Beta 3 of LinkPlayer this weekend probably.

I am using the remaining days to do some more testing and write some kind of documentation...

Once the Beta is released, I'll be waiting for some feedback and will try and fix all the remaining issues.

Beta 2 will bring all the external sources back (Frontrow, Plex...), and add a more complete implementation of Spotify, as well and Internet Radios with display of song title.

The differences between V1 and V2 are quite subtle on the exterior, but it has been completely rewritten in a more modular way, which will allow me to add more sources in the future, once it is stabilised.

P.

Philippe

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elephant
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elephant replied on Wed, May 9 2012 10:56 PM

PhilLondon:

I will be releasing a Beta 3 of LinkPlayer this weekend probably.

I am using the remaining days to do some more testing and write some kind of documentation...

Once the Beta is released, I'll be waiting for some feedback and will try and fix all the remaining issues.

Sad

sorry Philippe but I think I shall be too busy to cram even a small test in this weekend - but I will give it a go if I can

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PhilLondon
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elephant:
sorry Philippe but I think I shall be too busy to cram even a small test in this weekend - but I will give it a go if I can

No rush! I'll be travelling for a few days just after that, and then of course to Struer, so won't be able to treat the feedback immediately any way.

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elephant
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elephant replied on Wed, May 9 2012 11:30 PM

PhilLondon:

elephant:
sorry Philippe but I think I shall be too busy to cram even a small test in this weekend - but I will give it a go if I can

No rush! I'll be travelling for a few days just after that, and then of course to Struer, so won't be able to treat the feedback immediately any way.

I forgot we would finally be meeting face to face - see you in just over a week's time !

And bring a copy of LinkPlayer to blow Tue's socks off Laughing

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Scott Needham
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excellent news !   Lets have a Party !!!

PhilLondon
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I have just finished the 17 pages documentation! Still more testing to do!

 

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PhilLondon
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Testing is going well for now... Still on track for a weekend release.

Linkplayer 2 needs LinkRemote 2...

If you want to try it as well send me a PM or email with your phone's UUID (or your iPad's).

Here is how to get it: http://www.innerfence.com/howto/find-iphone-unique-device-identifier-udid

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elephant replied on Fri, May 11 2012 6:58 PM

PhilLondon:
Linkplayer 2 needs LinkRemote 2...

tempt us with some screen shots :-)

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PhilLondon
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Oh, it looks the same. All improvements are under the hood!

Lots of performance and other subtleties.

Once all bugs have been fixed it should work much better than v1.

Also new architecture will allow me to add a lot more sources in the future. Next one will be last.fm, which I think you use...

Spotify already works really well.

Here is the doc...

http://db.tt/ewfa78c2

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elephant replied on Sat, May 12 2012 12:44 AM

PhilLondon:
Next one will be last.fm, which I think you use...

Indeed I do ... but Spotify is finally on its way to Australia :)

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elephant replied on Sat, May 12 2012 1:51 AM

PhilLondon:
Here is the doc...

http://db.tt/ewfa78c2

excellent - thank you 

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PhilLondon
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So guys, the big moment has arrived and without further ado, here is the link where you can download LinkPlayer 2 (Beta3), but please read the rest of the post...

You can also download the documentation here.

I'll try and publish LinkRemote 2 (Beta) tomorrow. Because of Apple's restrictions, you'll need to send me your UUID if you want to be able to run it. LinkPlayer 2 does not work with LinkRemote 1. LinkRemote 2 and 1 can coexist on the same iPhone, and it won't be on the App Store until all is out of Beta.

I started writing LinkPlayer 2 in Jan 2011, and it had to be a rewrite as LinkPayer's code had grown "organically" as they say politely in IT and it had become impossible to maintain. I had learnt a lot while doing the first version, in term of programming, in term of understanding of the Beoport and the Masterlink protocol and also thanks to feedback, in term of understanding how it was used and what problems users were having.

I also wanted to give the possibility to access online media, rather than just the media that is stored locally on your device, as it seems in the air...

With that in mind, LinkPlayer 2.0 was written in a much more modular way, that will help me extend it in the future, I am thinking Last.fm and possibly DLNA/UPNP. If you guys have suggestions, please let me know.

And I have also tried to solve a multitude of little issues that were reported to me. So LinkPlayer 2 looks the same as LinkPlayer 1, but it is all the little things that will make the difference.

That said, it is still a Beta, and I am expecting bugs. I do not have access to many systems, and there are some many different configurations that it is difficult to test, that's why I need you. But I am determined to go through all the bugs that are reported and fix them.

I am on holidays from Tuesday and then on Monday the week after, I am going to the Struer factory tour, so it is only in 2 weeks that I will be able to start the debugging, etc...

I'll be writing more posts today to give more explanations, grouped by theme, about LinkPlayer 2, and you can ask me questions on each themes if anything isn't totally clear.

p.

 

 

 

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PhilLondon
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Configuration/Preferences:

So this is the first topic. As you'll see, LinkPlayer's 2 preferences window is a lot richer than v1.

The idea behind it is that instead of activating/deactivating features, you describe your system and LinkPlayer configures itself in the optimal manner.

With V1 I had a lot of questions on how to best configure LinkPlayer, so I have put all this knowledge in there. Just answer all the "questions", and that's it.

Always start by the General tab, and move down to configure the different devices. This is because some of the settings will be greyed out depending on some other settings.

Don't forget to quit and restart after you've changed some preferences.

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elephant
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First difference ... Scans iTunes Playlists and saves something :-)

(this might be the only test I get to do before meeting you in Struer !!)

 


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Configuration has detected AirParrot on my Macbook ... not sure what that will do !

(this test is a standalone test)

 


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elephant replied on Sun, May 13 2012 8:48 PM

OK did a quick launch of PLEX, started my v8 server rather than the v9 client

Also ran music - so the playlists were there etc

Similarly a music video - started it playing

But no sound for music nor for video

I suspect the Airparrot may be the issue

elephant:
Configuration has detected AirParrot on my Macbook ... not sure what that will do !

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PhilLondon
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elephant:
OK did a quick launch of PLEX, started my v8 server rather than the v9 client

It should start the application named Plex in the application folder.

elephant:
I suspect the Airparrot may be the issue

Look in the LinkPlayer > Preferences > Sound, and also activate support for assistive devices in the Universal Access preferences.

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elephant replied on Sun, May 13 2012 9:03 PM

elephant:

Also ran music - so the playlists were there etc

Similarly a music video - started it playing

I just went and packed my Apple Remote (aluminium kind) so I can use LinkPlayer 2 on the road :-)

 

Interestingly the behaviour on the MacMini was different:

- download was of the executable not a zip file

- immediate start from downloaded object but with a "internet application warning" message (don't think I saw that on the MacBook!)

 

Testing is difficult since the new BV8's system module is stuffed Sad

 

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PhilLondon
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Distribution vs Local Playback, multiple sound card support:

Now, something important to understand about V2, it the way it handles 2 "channels".

There is the sound that is sent to the Masterlink when you call N.Music or N.Radio, and there is the sound and image that is played locally on your Mac, or on your TV if you use it as a Mediacenter.

The first "channel" is called "Distribution" and the second is called "Local playback".

The is now a "View" menu, and you can switch the virtual remote from one channel to another. By default the remote always starts by controlling the local playback, but if you're distributing N.MUSIC to other rooms, you can switch the remote to "Distribution" and follow or control what is playing.However you cannot start or stop a "Distribution" source from the virtual remote. You can only start it with your Beo4 in the relevant room. When you switch to Distribution, you'll see all the items in the Source menu will be greyed out to reflect that.

LinkPlayer also does a better job at handling multiple sound cards. There are many reasons for which you may need this multiple sound card support:

 

  • New Mac minis have an HDMI output, so when you connect a TV, there are 2 sound cards available, the HDMI that sends the sound to the TV and the line out which you usually connect to the Beoport.
  • You may want to use an external DAC to improve the sound quality.
  • You have connected the Beoport to an iMac on your desk, but you still want to be able to hear the normal Mac sounds through its own speakers while it distributes audio to other rooms, or to Beolab speakers connected to the Beoport.
  • You have no Beolab speakers connected to the Beoport. Local playback can be sent to the Mac built-in speakers, while "Distribution" is using another sound card. You can even connect an extra audio cable from the Beoport to an input on your Mac so you can listen to your main room sources (TV, CD, Radio) on your Mac.

 

LinkPlayer 2 handles all these configurations. You can define how in Preferences > Sound.

If you do not have 2 sound cards, LinkPlayer will use that same sound card for both channels, but of course, if you call N.Music from a link room, it will interrupt the local playback, and vice-versa.

Internal sources (Music, Radio, CD, Aux, Video...) have built in support for Multiple sound cards, and will directly output to the right channel. They can be played in parallel: play one tune on the distribution channel, and play another one for the local playback - and be controlled independently.

External sources (iTunes, Plex, EyeTV) do not have support for multiple sound cards, so LinkPlayer runs a little macro that switches the default sound output in the System Sound preferences. You need to activate Assistive Devices for this to work.

Of course that means that you cannot play one external source in distribution channel and another external source on local playback at the same time if you have 2 sound cards, as they will fight to turn the default output. So if you're planning to use External sources for both Distribution and Local, and at the same time, only use the same sound card for both.

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elephant replied on Sun, May 13 2012 9:10 PM

elephant:
Testing is difficult since the new BV8's system module is stuffed Sad

Testing from BeoSound 4 ... playing music ... but LP screen on MacMini just black .. then I discovered there is a VIEW option for LOCAL or DISTRIBUTED source ... WOW !!!

Also plays on distributed BV8 .... brilliant

And the BS4's display is showing the track data perfectly

 

 

Well done Philippe

Cake Happy Birthday LINKPLAYER 2.0 BETA II Cake

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Internal Sources:

I understand that a lot of you are happy using external sources, for example when playing iTunes music. Controlling external sources was an easy solution to build LinkPlayer 1 quickly but has many drawbacks:

  • These external softwares get updated and compatibility with LinkPlayer may be broken.
  • They do not support multiple sound cards.
  • Controlling an external application is always more flaky. It can block if the application has a window open, or is in an unexpected state.
  • I have to build one “Source” for each application, but you can only distribute 2 (N.Music and N.Radio). So as the number of these grows, you’ll have to decide which 2 to affect to N.Music and N.Radio.
  • They all have a different interface, so they are controlled differently with the remote.
  • Some source can only be controlled with the Arrow keys, and cannot use digits, colour keys, etc..

For these reasons, I have greatly enhanced all the Internal sources, and this is the direction LinkPlayer is taking. I’ll be trying to add more and more media access in there internal sources.

First there has been some cleanup, and you won’t find a separate “Podcast” source, or “Spotify” source… All digital music is accessible through one source now called “Music”. All videos are accessible through “Video” and all photos in Photo. 

And this will remain the same as I add additional services… for example, last.fm will be accessible though “Radio”, like other streaming radios.

This solves one issue, you affect Music to N.MUSIC and Radio to N.Radio, and you can distribute all your audio.

Internal Sources work all in the same way, so don’t need to remember how each work with the remote. They have been optimised to work well, even when controlled through the limited Apple Remote PUC.

They are all organised in 3 levels of hierarchy:

  • The first level is the modes, which define which media you’re accessing and how it is sorted.
  • The second level is the playlists for the chosen mode.
  • The third level are the tracks in the playlist.
  • (A 4th level is added when the track has chapters).

The modes correspond to the colour modes as before, but you can have more than 4 per source, and this is how I could get Podcasts, Spotify merged into Music.

When you start a source in “blind” mode, i.e. from a link room, it will start playing the last song it played. When you start a source in full screen mode it shows a menu starting from the first level (choosing a mode).

When playing a track, you can call the menu, the third level will appear showing which track is being played, and you can work back up the hierarchy of menus.

The top level also has choices for “Random” and “Repeat” so you do not have to fiddle with Beo4 keys when using internal sources in full screen. It also allow these function to be activated when controlling LinkPlayer through the limited Apple Remote or the PUC.

During playback, you can also use the number keys to change modes, playlist and tracks… Note: this has changed!

  • Type 003 to get the third mode.
  • Type 03 to get the third playlist of the current mode.
  • Type 3 to get the third track of the current playlist.

No more having to use the “Track” button. You can still use the colour keys to access the first 4 modes of each source.

So talking about modes…

  • Music gets 2 extra modes which are RSS Podcasts and Spotify.
  • Video can now access Videos stored in many folders outside of the Movie folder, as well as in iTunes and iPhoto and EyeTV recording. And also Video Podcasts.
  • Photo can access RSS photo streams.
  • Web can access RSS feeds.

So plenty to play with! I encourage you to look for Podcasts and Videocasts, there are some great one and the support in LinkPlayer is great.

Also add some RSS feeds of your favourite new site, you can even add the Beoworld active topic RSS feed, and then you can view these pages on your TV without having to navigate in the pages. Navigate though the different news items using the menu.

I understand that some like iTunes because it is gapless and because it can be controller with the  “Remote” app. So I now preload songs, and although not gapless, there is now “less gap”! And you can use LinkRemote with which you can not only control N.Music, but N.Radio, PC, etc…

“Radio” has been improved and plays more streaming radios correctly and displays the meta data. It even download some of the station’s logo if the metadata has it.

 

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Externa Sources:

iTunes, iTunes radio, Plex, FrontRow are back. They work exactly as in V1, as I have reused the same code.

I have not done an extensive testing, so let me know…

One feature that is missing is that you cannot currently watch your main room TV sources on your Mac using EyeTV (By calling Link-DVD for example), but this will be added later.

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Elephant, don't forget to send me your iPhone and iPad's UUID!

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PhilLondon replied on Sun, May 13 2012 10:16 PM

MediaCenter mode:

LinkPayer can be used as before a MediaCenter, this is for example when it is running on a Mac mini connected to a Beovision.

In the preferences, you indicate that the Mac is connected to a Beovision, and you choose how it is controlled.

  • Via the PC key, which works only on flat screen beovisions.
  • Via the PUC or STB Controller (Set to Apple Remote),
  • Via an IT Receiver.

The support for PUC has been greatly improved. You choose a source that is called when used a MediaCenter, for example V.AUX, and as soon as the TV sends any signal to the Mac mini, LinkPlayer switches to that source. Then the navigation is done in a much more intuitive way, almost like in FrontRow. Pressing Menu displays the menu, rather than going through a list of possible keys. And all functions for internal sources can be accessed through the menu.If you start an external source, like plex or front row, then LinkPlayer stops listening to AppleRemote, so these software get the signal.

If you choose the third option, via an external IR receiver connected to the Beoport, there has been a great improvement too... when you use the Arrow or Number keys on your Beo4 for functions like STAND, or SPEAKER, it will not interfere with LinkPlayer.

Support for long press of arrow keys has also been improved for those 3 solutions, so it is easier to scroll through long lists.

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PhilLondon replied on Sun, May 13 2012 10:26 PM

PhilLondon:
MediaCenter mode:

Forgot a few more details:

When used as a MediaCenter (so LinkPlayer controlled by the TV), it is not possible to start any source for local playback through LinkPlayer's interface. You must use the method (PC, PUC IR) to start a source. So all sources will be greyed in the menu to reflect that.

Also, volume control is disabled, as the volume is handled by the TV, so a clock is displayed instead.

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elephant replied on Sun, May 13 2012 11:44 PM

PhilLondon:

Elephant, don't forget to send me your iPhone and iPad's UUID!

I am carrying both with me to Struer - but I may send the UUID before then :-)

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elephant replied on Mon, May 14 2012 12:21 AM

PhilLondon:

LinkPlayer also does a better job at handling multiple sound cards. There are many reasons for which you may need this multiple sound card support:

 

  • New Mac minis have an HDMI output, so when you connect a TV, there are 2 sound cards available, the HDMI that sends the sound to the TV and the line out which you usually connect to the Beoport.

Lovely, I now have the Beoport driving the BL 6000s attached to the BS4 in one room, and the BV8-40's BL3s via the HDMI

(I am running a kludge where by the PC is being sent around the corner to the BV8-32 .... but that is just because of the issues with the BV8-40's system module)

 

Really pleased by this new approach - I used to have to unplug the MacMini's audio jack to switch the system around for N-Music, and it looks like I can even get rid of the Samsung monitor I had installed purely for linkPlayer ..... Happy Days

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elephant replied on Mon, May 14 2012 12:35 AM

PhilLondon:

  • Video can now access Videos stored in many folders outside of the Movie folder, as well as in iTunes and iPhoto and EyeTV recording. And also Video Podcasts.
  • Photo can access RSS photo streams.
  • Web can access RSS feeds
  • Tested VIDEO, I liked the directory tree list with the indented levels 

    However not all folders showed up, and not all folders were populated - I suspect that this is a media type recognition "issue"

    Tested PHOTO, nice that iPhoto Faces is an access point - scrolled through the faces of friends and family Smile

    Tested WEB, and accessed your default B&O feed  

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    elephant replied on Mon, May 14 2012 2:55 AM

    elephant:

    PhilLondon:

  • Video can now access Videos stored in many folders outside of the Movie folder, as well as in iTunes and iPhoto and EyeTV recording. And also Video Podcasts.
  • Photo can access RSS photo streams.
  • Web can access RSS feeds
  • Tested VIDEO, I liked the directory tree list with the indented levels 

    However not all folders showed up, and not all folders were populated - I suspect that this is a media type recognition "issue"

    Tested PHOTO, nice that iPhoto Faces is an access point - scrolled through the faces of friends and family Smile

    Tested WEB, and accessed your default B&O feed  

    definite challenge with my video library ... I can play my EyeTV archive, but I can not play any of the materials that were downloaded, purchased, or capture via Handbrake - lately we have been using the iPad Plex App to access these so I know they are there :-)

    but the good news is that the eyeTV did play

    still trying to work out which PLEX is being launched - I am now suffering physical memory constraints - time to upgrade from 2GB to 4GB !

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    elephant replied on Mon, May 14 2012 3:15 AM

    PhilLondon:

    elephant:
    OK did a quick launch of PLEX, started my v8 server rather than the v9 client

    It should start the application named Plex in the application folder.

    elephant:
    I suspect the Airparrot may be the issue

    Look in the LinkPlayer > Preferences > Sound, and also activate support for assistive devices in the Universal Access preferences.

    No PLEX ... yes, the app called plea was the old one, I have swapped the labels around but I am not having much success getting it started on the MacMini ... do not quite understand what is happening in all the various handshakes because the MacMini is now running so slow - but a PLEX client has been started & the LinkPlayer was running with a tag of "LOAD" and then it went to Standby ... and eventually the PLEX client fired up Unsure

    Yes Parrot ... on the MacBook I overrode the Airparrot defaulting (see screenshot from earlier) and selected internal speakers for both options ... and yes now I can hear music Big Smile

    BeoNut since '75

    Christophe
    Top 500 Contributor
    Cape Town
    Posts 94
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    Bronze Member

    One short word: THANKS !

    Installed LP2 beta 3 last night before going to bed, at first glance all worked fine, better (more stable) than LP1.

    This morning I'm using it & major improvements are:

    -startup is bug-free (I needed to restart LP1 at least 4 or 5 times to make it work)

    -using BeoPort as audio master, with BeoLab 3500 and BeoLink Active in 2 link rooms, all works great. 

    -only downside (same issue as before) is that the clock on BeoLab 3500 is not updated to the LP /Mac's clock, which is done automatically with B&O's PC software.

    - in the VIDEO source, I added my NAS files, but it doesn't play them, there's no list of files either, is it because there are only VOB and MKV files? Or is there another explanation? Which video formats are played?

    PhilLondon
    Top 25 Contributor
    London
    Posts 3,607
    OFFLINE
    Bronze Member

    Christophe :
    the clock on BeoLab 3500 is not updated

    I am making a note of that, I think I can do something about this.

    Christophe :
    in the VIDEO source, I added my NAS files, but it doesn't play them

    elephant:

    Tested VIDEO, I liked the directory tree list with the indented levels 

    However not all folders showed up, and not all folders were populated - I suspect that this is a media type recognition "issue"

    LinkPayer uses Quicktime to play any video file. You can install additional Quicktime drivers such as Perian to add more formats.

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