MediaBrowser has come on leaps and bounds within the last year or so. Firstly, it’s no longer confined to Windows Media Centre, it’s undergone a complete overhaul, complete recoding and opened up a world of new beginnings for the HTPC world, where the community is always listening to improve the MediaBrowser experience as a whole to the end user.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will be enlightening you to more of the intricacies of MediaBrowser and what’s available. For now, I’d just like to give you a brief overview and how fanart.tv and MediaBrowser help to deliver an eye popping, visually stunning media experience.
A little History on MediaBrowser?
Some of you may remember VideoBrowser which eventually matured into MediaBrowser and was solely a Windows Media Centre Plugin which allowed a user to display rich and detailed information about their media collections much like other available media front ends. The benefits of using MediaBrowser were having Live TV readily available and a large media collection in the same application. It then started allowing themeing and plugins to enhance the media experience?
So What’s Changed? Out with the old in with the new!
MediaBrowser now has a brain, a central nervous system which uses its Server Application and currently runs on your Windows based PC or even your server(Linux/Mono server is currently under development). The server is the hub of all things to do with your media collection, from Movies to Music Videos, Books to Games, MB has it all and allows the user to organize and categorize their collections as they deem fit for their use and application. Furthermore, it allows almost any device to connect to it from anywhere, such as Android, Windows Phone, iOS, Roku, Sky’s NowTV box, your favorite web browser, and standalone applications such as MediaBrowser Theater, Windows 8 and still MediaBrowser Classic(WMC integration). These are all referred to as Apps/Clients within the MB world.
The Server and what it does for you?
The server runs on the PC where your media collection is or has fast access to, such as NAS drives, Everything is in place to automatically collect the right metadata information for your media collections including all the art that fanart.tv provides, it stores all this artwork in your item’s folder but can be edited from the metadata manager within the web dashboard. What’s beautiful about MB is that if you use MediaPortal, XBMC, Plex then MB is intelligent enough to understand the metadata structures for those front ends and also integrate with them. We now have many users using MB-Server and XBMC Front End. The server has the right amount of configuration available to not daunt a new comer to the HTPC world and can leave the settings at default, where as a power user can get stuck in and, tweak things the way they want their metadata scraped and saved.
The screen shots below show just how easy it is to edit images and the selection available that MB recognizes and uses.
Apps and Accessing the Servers Content
Think about the Apps like shoppers in a mall, where the mall is the MB-Server and the MB-Apps are the customers, shopping around for things they like or want to see. It seems appropriate to call them these as that’s exactly what these MB-Apps do. Just about any handheld device, pad, laptop or pc can access the server using a dedicated app or access via a web browser, which in my eyes make life easy. Now I will certainly be going into these more over the coming weeks but I’ll list what MB has available.
- MBClassic (Original MB, WMC integration)
- MBTheatre (Standalone PC based application)
- Win 8 App (Windows Tablet or standalone PC based application for Windows 8)
- Android App- (Available on google play and Amazon for Android OS devices and Kindle)
- WindowsPhone App (Available in the WindowsPhone Store)
- iOS App (Available thru AppStore)
- Roku (Available from Roku Store || NowTV box from Sky is available for side loading)
- WebClient (Browse your collection from your favourite internet browser thru HTML5)
- XBMB3C (XBMC integration using MBServer with XBMC Front End)
Fanart.tv and MediaBrowser
There has been a long standing partnership with MB and fanart.tv and MB would like to commend you on your hard work over the years and may it continue. I feel it’s only fair that there should be some screen shots to wet your appetite. These Screenshots have been taken from MB-Classic and show just how beautiful fanart has helped to make themes like Subdued(An MBClassic Theme) look beautiful.
MediaBrowser is an open source project and welcomes developers from all coding backgrounds. If you are a developer and wish to get involved head on over to our github repository and check it out. https://github.com/MediaBrowser
We’ll take a look at MB-Server and the Web Client in more detail and how it manages a so much for you…… so you don’t have to.