With more than 650 changes, MediaPortal 1.2.0 is one of the biggest and exciting releases we have ever done!
Due to the huge amount of bug fixes, new features, tweaks and enhancements I can only highlight a few in this news.
With MediaPortal 1.2.0 we introduce a brand new look, that replaces Blue3 and Blue3wide which served us well during the last few years. We have made the Blue3/wide skin files available to the community, in case someone wishes to make it available, and maintain it, as an extension. The Team certainly hopes that this will happen.
Besides the new look, we also introduced a couple of new controls for our awesome skinners in the community, plus a brand new layout called "Coverflow" which you can see in action in the teaser video of 1.2.0.
Plugin Version Check
The biggest change in usability is our new version check for plugins. From 1.2.0 on, users will never again face the problem of having a plugin enabled which is incompatible with the installed version of MP. The issues such caused could reach from a small glitch, to random crashes of MediaPortal.
Note: If you are upgrading from 1.1.3 or earlier to 1.2.0, then none of your installed Extensions (skins & plugins) will be compatible with 1.2.0 and therefore get deactivated. To keep your downtime as short as possible we recommend to download the 1.2.0 compatible versions of the Extensions you use before you do the update. You can find updated versions of the extensions in our websites repository. If you already upgraded to 1.2.0, then you can simply launch the "MediaPortal Extensions Installer" to find, download, install and update extensions (only works if the extensions is submitted as MPE - if you want an extension to support this, then please contact the author of the extension).
Improved Interaction between Skins and Plugins
Skin designers now have many more options to integrate dynamic functionality of MediaPortal core functionality and external plugins. The skins can now dynamically apply skin expressions to react to different situation and open plugins with specific parameters. Our highly talented skinning community has already started to use this new functionality to great effect:
- Replacing dedicated streaming plugins (e.g. trailers) with the equivalent OnlineVideos site (e.g. iTunes Trailers, IMDb trailers).
- Submenus for different Moving Pictures/MP-TvSeries categories.
- Showing a trailer from a button in movie details with OnlineVideos plugin.
- Backgrounds depending on the time of day.
Music and Video View Definition Changes
Setting up and changing views for music and video was previously complicated and confusing. We have now updated the interface to make setup far more logical and allow views to be easily re-ordered.
- Because of this change any user defined views you had setup will be lost when upgrading. Hopefully we have mitigated this by replacing the default music views more in-line with those in Kiwijunglist's guide to setting up music. To learn how to use the new features, see our Wiki: Music Views 1.2.
The music section of MediaPortal has been given a thorough health check with lots of changes behind the scenes as well as lots of bug fixes and changes to make things more logical and consistent. There are also some new features:
- Better handling of multi-disc albums.
- A playlist mode.
- Last.fm Love / Ban functions on music Now Playing screen.
Deda has taken our Videos feature to a whole new level. He has added several new features, as well as speedups and bug fixes.
These changes will upgrade your videos database. After the upgrade, the database will no longer work with older MediaPortal versions.
These changes are already fully documented on the Video Database 1.2.0 page in the Configuration section of the new wiki.
Note: Users of the FanArt Handler Extension have to wait for a new, 1.2.0 compatible version.
DVD Playback - added Closed Captioning support
We have added supported for Closed Captioning (CC) to the DVD playback.
You now have the option to use SMS style input with your remote control, just like you know from your cell-phone.
If you want to use the standard keyboard, then you can switch the input style back to it by pressing the related button on the virtual keyboard.
Play all videos inside a folder
This is a feature many users requested for a long time. In this release we introduce the option to play all videos inside a folder with one option.
MediaPortal Configuration restructured
We have reworked the structure of MediaPortal Configuration in order to group the options more logically.
Obsolete plugins removed
We removed the following obsolete/no longer maintained plugins in 1.2.0.
- Video Editor
We made several significant changes which improve the overall responsiveness of MediaPortal. In some cases you will see response times reduced by over 50%. See if you can spot them!
Smooth Video Playback:
Owlsroost has spent the last few months on enhancing the video playback of MediaPortal. The result of his work is now part of 1.2.0. Check it out!
TV - Fast Forward
Fast Forward inside TV should now work smoothly with up to 4x playback speed, which is the maximum for Windows 7 (Note: Windows XP supports only 2x, due to it's audio renderer ). Fast Reverse will still work in a skip-step like fashion.
TV - improved Live TV in multiseat setups
1.2.0 vastly lowers the workload placed on the hard drive by live TV. This virtually eliminates the stuttering and picture corruption that was sometimes seen before on client systems while watching live TV.
TV - increased performance of channel selector
Opening and browsing through the channel selector inside TV was very slow for some users. So we increased its performance!
Image Caching option for skins
While this does not sound like much, it will dramatically decrease the loading time required to switch between various screens or sections of MediaPortal, especially for HD skins which use high resolution background images.
Skinners should take a look at this new Image Caching skin feature when updating their work for 1.2.0 compatibility.
Hauppauge Colossus TV Card Support
With this new release we introduce full support of Hauppauge's new Colossus TV card.
We want to thank our community member WileECoyote for his support, which enabled us to add this to 1.2.0.
Full list of changes
You can review the complete change log for 1.2.0 by using the following links:
Compiled List of Skin and Plugin related changes
Community Skinners and Developers should have a look at the following pages to find out about the changes which will effect their extensions.
Some of these changes are mandatory to become 1.2.0 compatible:
Installation, Upgrade, Download and Feedback
When doing a clean installation of 1.2.0, then there is nothing special to worry about
Upgrading to 1.2.0
All MediaPortal installations starting with 1.1.0 RC1 can be upgraded to 1.2.0, without losing your settings.
If you are running MediaPortal 1.2.0 Beta or RC, then all your installed extensions (plugins and skins) will continue to work after the upgrade to 1.2.0!
If you are running MediaPortal 1.2.0 Alpha or earlier, then none of your extensions (plugins and skins) will work after the upgrade to 1.2.0! You must update your extensions after the upgrade!
Please make sure that 1.2.0 compatible versions of your extensions are available before you start the upgrade!
- Remember, because of the changes to the MediaPortal Extensions Installer (MPEI), none of the old mpe files will work with 1.2.0. The author just has to re-save and publish the MPEI file.
- Manually stop TV-Service!
On some systems our installer is not able to update the TV-Server installation because its files are locked or the service can not be stopped. In 1.3.0 we will completely rework our Installer to take care of this problem once and for all.
For upgrades to 1.2.0 we recommend you manually stop the TV-Service, and make sure, via Windows Task Manager (enable the "all users" option), that the TvService.exe process is really gone before starting to upgrade.
We are very curious what you think about our new design which we have introduced in 1.2.0. Please share your thoughts in the dedicated forum section.
If you think you found a bug then please post a detailed report in our Bug Reports Forum.
Make sure your report includes all the required information. Incomplete reports will be removed to keep the forum clean.
Finally - the download. We hope that you took the time to read this release news entirely because it includes vital information about the major changes.
If you would like to support MediaPortal, we would be happy to receive a small donation.
The team wishes you a lot of fun with this new release!