Our First jflicks media system Release!

It’s been a long journey until this moment but we would like to release our first version – or better stated – our first code that we hope people will try and at least play with. Please read on for important information – but also see our downloads page to get the software.

We have been working on trying to make the jflicks media system get to a point where people can try it without it hurting too much! We have some simple install programs made using the InstallJammer project. So actually installing the programs is very simple. Probably the easiest approach is to follow this installation cookbook we have written on our wiki.

What should you expect? The jflicks media system has not been run on a lot of different hardware. The folks who invented Java which is the language used to write our software like to say “write once, run everywhere”. However even though that may be true (or not) it’s definitely “write once, test everywhere” for our project. This is where you come in – we need your help on the testing part. Report problems so we can try to solve them.

We need to point out to you that if you are going to install DVR functionality in a server (it’s always your option of what is installed), a subscription to Schedules Direct is required. Getting program data is a service and at this point we have only written a service that can access Schedules Direct. Also because development has been in the USA we are sure there are many subtleties we have missed if you live outside the USA. We know popular recorders like DVB-S and DVB-T exist but we have no way of testing them. However we do have ATSC DVB here and can report success for the one we own. We would think that getting the DVB-S and DVB-T working would not be hard and most likely is just a configuration setting.

Also at this point our system is not a “DVR for dummies”. It does take some skill to get things working. You need to be quite knowledgeable in the ways of HTPC configuration – especially getting your remote control, mplayer and/or VLC installed and configured properly for your hardware. At this point you need to be able to run programs from the command line and be able to read through log files in case problems arise – which most likely will happen.

Since we have only run the software on our hardware that we own, it’s even hard to say what the minimum requirements should be. So let’s just say what hardware we do run it on – hardware where the software performs well.

Our “server” where all recordings happen (6 recorders) is a:

Quad Core 2.8 Intel CPU
Four gigabyte memory
Two terabyte of disk space

Our “clients” are generally Duo Core AMD machines with two gigabyte of memory. Importantly they have NVidia graphics to offload the video decoding to the GPU. The duo core allows us to easily handle Flash video. However we do have a single core 2.2 AMD machine which works great on our recordings and video files but is pushed hard to do Flash video. Our clients are connected to 720p TVs and a projector.

Our home network is a gigabit one and all machines are wired.

All development has occurred on Ubuntu Linux. All of our machines run Ubuntu 10.10. The jflicks media system is a cross platform project but clearly it has the most capability on Linux at this point. Really a media system has two points where the hardware matters – recorders and remote controls. Recorders are specialized hardware and using them is not portable at all especially if they are USB or PCI based. The drivers on the different operating systems have nothing in common. The only cross platform recorder as of today is the HDHomerun from Silicondust. The project definitely needs help on supporting recorders on Windows and Mac.

We have tested the “client” on a Windows 7 machine and all functionality worked. So the software is more portable on the client side. The client still needs hardware support for the remote control but we were able to get our remote control to work using WinLirc.

Well thats it for now. If you can give us some feedback via the Forum we certainly would appreciate it. Thanks!


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