Popcorn Hour API is announced


Syabas recently announced a Rich Objects Based Interactive Graphics (ROBIG) UI for the Popcorn Hour platform, software development kit, application store and hardware reference kit. That step will add more users, fans and enthusiasts for its popular networked media tank. I wrote about integration Popcorn Hour and Video Disk Recorder (VDR) which allows to watch and control satellite TV on the Popcorn Hour. The announced SDK will offer more efficient way to do such integration. Additionally the application store will give to both users and developers the easiest and safest way to extend networked media tank GUI and functionality.

SDK’s official release set on May 30. Developers can sign up for the program here.

[thanks to Zibi Jamal]

Boxee opens App Dev Challenge


Boxee tries to attract attention to its recently published API by starting App Dev Challenge. It’ll have 3 categories: Video, Music and Photos. In each category it’ll be two prizers – a People’s Choice award (prize – intelligent NAS Drobo) and a Judge’s Choice award (prize – Sony Bravia XBR9 46″). Developers have a time to submit their applications till June 14th at 11:59pm PT. Voting will take place between June 15th – June 22nd. The winners will be announced on the boxee event in San Francisco on June 23rd. Hurry up, guys! The sooner submitted applications have more chances to be popular.

Note that the challenge is not restricted by US or Canada citizens. So, anybody from “the milky-way galaxy” can participate.

As en example of application for the Boxee App Dev Challenge I’d like to give integration XBMC and VDR – Video Disk Recorder. Since Boxee is based on the XBMC code that approach should work with it as well. Integration with VDR brings the PVR functionality to Boxee which can add more users to that social media center software.

Xbox Media Center API

XBox Media Center

Xbox is one of the best products produced by Microsoft IMHO. Using open source software XboxMediaCenter (XBMC) it can be tuned into full featured media center. LinxuMCE community tries to find a way to use Xbox as a media director but currently without luck. However, XboxMediaCenter offers a web based API to give a full control to the box – HTTP API. Currently there are two ready interfaces for ASP and Python. But since the API is pretty simple it’s easy to implement the same functionality on Ruby, Perl, PHP or other desired programming language. For LinuxMCE it might be good to create Ruby implementation and add the XBMC controller as Generic Serial Device (GSD).
Anyway, HTTP API is a good way to integrate Xbox in your home entertainment area. I’m thinking to create a Perl module or Maemo application for Nokia’s Internet Tablet. But I don’t have enough time and Xbox for testing 🙂

VidaBox vCommand Software

VidaBox vCommand Software

VidaBox well-known producer PC based home media centers announced its new software – vCommander. vCommander helps to developers create an interface between their systems and VidaBox services and clients. The software is oriented mostly on AMX, Crestron and HAI (it includes pre-built templates for those systems). But vCommand can be used with any TCP/IP & RS-232 control system.

The vCommand offers following:

  • two way IP control protocol;
  • pre-defined templates for AMX & Crestron programmers;
  • live media transport, metadata and navigation feedback;
  • browse music, movies, recorded TV, videos and pictures;
  • control multiple VidaBox and extender systems;
  • direct access VidaBox interface navigation.

Personally, I like that tendency when producers of different systems offer a simple and clear interface between them based on common protocol (TCP in that case). It’ll make a life of integrator much easier.