One of the pr0blems with dealing with an all digital home media library is not only playback like I talked in the last article, but centralized control. Playback is the easy part if you set parameters on what devices you are going to support and how open you are going to be with your media files. For example none of the movies I’m ripping are being converted into a format playable on the iPod, why? Well we don’t really watch movies on the iPod so it’s a waste of time, loss of quality, and space issues to deal with multiple formats.
Control is another issue though, control for these things should be regulated to a single remote or device. This makes it more unwieldy for everyone else around to take control and browse the media. The more barriers to entry that exist the more pain in the butt it is for everyone else except yourself to use. So how have we handled that? Chiefly we are dealing with web interfaces for all the hub devices. If you want to play it on your computer, your on
For audio playback I went with Winamp. I know that everyone has an answer for a better solution, and while I did run a Linux player for a few weeks, it didn’t work out in the long term. I used a plugin called Ajaxamp to provide the web interface for the home. The only problem I have with this interface is there doesn’t seem to be a method to save custom playlists via the web interface. I’ll make due with this until another product comes along.
For videos, it’s all piped through the X-Box hooked up to the TV, lucky for me that XBMC has a built in web interface for controlling playback. Did I accomplish my goal of ease of use? Well Xie has been using it, and she complains whenever I make anything too complex or in her opinion hard to use. That goes to say alot. I do however need to take into consideration a pre-reader using the system in the next couple years. At that point it will back to the drawing board……