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Auto Rip n Compress

logo I was very excited to share my new method for ripping my DVD’s into my collection, but it has just not worked out.  From timing issues to things just mysteriously not working anymore.

I installed and setup a Media Center plugin called Auto Rip n Compress.  I actually ripped a few movies and it was great.  It took more than a few steps to setup, but once it was working it was a one button solution.  One Button!!!

If you feel like trying to get it to work follow the link above.  I am going to try to get my installation working again so I can post a video of how great the solution when it does work.  Oh and it supposedly works for Blu Ray discs too but I never got that far.

We’ll see after I download the latest version from the Green Button.

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Remote Potato v0.85 – Hands On Review

All I can say is Wow!  The latest release of Remote Potato is a huge step forward.  If you are not running this on your media center you need to go install it right now.  Here is the link: Remote Potato

I really thought that Big Screen EPG By Remote was going to make me forget about Remote Potato but I was definitely wrong.  Even though By Remote had some performance issues I thought the features were far enough ahead of Remote Potato to warrant a switch over so I did.  With this latest release I am definitely back with Remote Potato and I may be staying for good (especially since its free).

So let’s get into the good, the bad and the interesting.

The Good

  • Silverlight UI – The new Silverlight UI is amazing.  I say amazing in the context of having used the Silverlight UI in By Remote.  By Remote was slow and a little clunky.  Remote Potato’s Silverlight UI is snappy, looks great and loads the EPG data with great speed which allows you to easily pop in and set a show to record.  If by chance you do not like the Silverlight UI the regular HTML interface is still there. 
  • Custom Guide – I have a highly customized guide and the early versions of Remote Potato could not represent my exact guide in the browser.  I could still record but it was hard to navigate based on what I was use to.  That is no longer the case.  I now have a Remote Potato guide that looks just like my Media Center guide including the logos.
  • Streaming is back! – So most of us know that Windows 7 allows for streaming of content over the internet.  Well I have only gotten it to work correctly once and it also has the restriction of having to have a Windows 7 machine on the receiving end.  Remote Potato now has streaming through the browser enabled which means it works on any web browser with Silverlight.  My first test was a little rocky but it worked!  Of course this is only for DRM free content.

The Bad

  • XMLTV Files – Remote Potato still relies on XMLTV files instead of the native guide data.  It takes some work to get the guide data setup but it can be automated so it’s  one time setup.  It would be A LOT better if it was leveraging the guide data that you already are using within Media Center.  By Remote found a way to do so its probably only a matter of time before Remote Potato does it too.
  • Logos – Remote Potato has support for using your "My Channel Logos” logos within Remote Potato.  It makes the process very easy to get logos in or so I thought.  There were still a number of channels that My Channel Logos had been able to reconcile that Remote Potato did not pick up on like the local affiliates for example.  My Channel Logos assigned the NBC HD logo to WCNCDT but for Remote Potato I had to create a copy of the logo with the filename WCNCDT.png.  Small annoyance but it can grow depending on the number of channels you have to fix.  I tried to use the logo mapping file in conjunction but did not seem to do anything.

The Interesting

  • Mobile UI– The mobile user interface works great on my Blackberry.  It also solves the biggest gripe I had with the WebGuide mobile UI in that it let’s me easily jump to a specific channel.  I am interested to see if there is an iPhone specific mobile UI coming like the one By Remote has.  That one is slick and works great.
  • Streaming – I did not think I would care to have this back after the option to stream from Windows 7 was announced but after having used both I want it back.  This new feature took my surprised as I did not think anyone would invest the time to try to get it working again.  Nice to see that I was wrong all around.  I am definitely interested to see how this progresses.
  • Recorded TV List – The list is sorted based on when shows were recorded.  Why can’t we choose to also sort based on show title?  I use to use WebGuide to clean up my Recorded TV because it was so much easier and I could do it from anywhere at anytime.  I can do that here too but I cannot sort by Series in the Recorded TV section.

Remote Potato Screenshots

That’s all for now.  Look for more info later.

Remote Potato – A Second Look

Today has been the first chance I have had to try Remote Potato outside of my own home network and I must say “What a Difference!”. The app runs at a very acceptable speed. Not sure why its so painfully slow on the home network, but hitting it from the outside provides great results!

We will be keeping an eye on the app and I will work on a video tonight.

Remote Potato First Impressions

I installed Remote Potato this evening to give it a try.  Remote Potato is a utility for Windows Media Center that allows you to do remote scheduling via a web browser.  It also lets you see what you have scheduled  to record and a list of the shows already recorded.

I was not expecting much since its still in Beta and because it does not actually pulling the guide data from Media Center. Remote Potato is using guide data downloaded and saved in an XMLTV format.  This limitation makes the application run extremely slow.  I was accessing the web app on my local network and it would take about 25 seconds for pages to come up.  It’s not ideal but it works and is better than the alternative.

I was also concerned that the application would fail to record shows on my setup because I have remapped almost every channel in my guide and the guide data is not coming from Media Center.  To my surprise the recordings worked just fine.

There are a number things to like about Remote Potato and it’s coming along nicely.  If the developer could somehow figure out the API to get the guide data directly from Media Center then it would be freakin awesome.  At this point its cool and worth watching.  At the very least remote scheduling is back!