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February 4, 2008

Release 0.1: Hundredths are for wimps

NOTE: This release is Leopard and Intel only.

Well, it rained straight through the weekend, so I got a chance to work for a few long stretches, interrupted only by kibble-hungry kitties and a tennis-ball obsessed pup. Is this a zoo or a House of Code?

Here are the changes that made it into this release (some of which were mentioned in the last post). If you’re really impatient, just drag XBMC over to your Applications folder and double click. If you’re lucky, it might actually work.

  • The ffmpeg libraries have been updated to bleeding edge. For example, they incorporate some unusually unintelligible H.264 speedups (MMX assembly, anybody?) that were checked in yesterday. Most of the changes in the last week on that project have been removing compiler warnings, so hopefully living on the edge won’t be a bad thing.
  • Video rendering should correctly track the FPS of the source video, as opposed to the last release, in which the frames per second jumped around between 50 and 60 occasionally.
  • On-the-fly “resolution” switching. I put quotes in because it’s not actually changing the display resolution, just the size of the window. Access the feature via Settings -> Appearance -> Screen.
  • Fullscreen support has been added. Video is displayed on the primary display, so those who want to use a secondary (or tertiary for Al Gore) display need to reconfigure their Display Settings for now. I’ll try to address this in a later release. If you set the environment variable SDL_SINGLEDISPLAY, it should only blank the primary display.
  • Note that the video player resolution should always be set to “Best Available” (which it should be by default). Some mode switching works, but if you’re in full-screen mode and want to play video in windowed mode (or vice-versa) you’ll observe rendering glitches (for those who care, it’s because full-screen OpenGL contexts don’t work in windowed mode, and vice-versa). So please, unless you have a really good reason, just leave the video player settings at “Best Available”. I’m considering taking this option out of the OS X build, because I just don’t know any useful scenarios for it. Know of any? Let me know, but you’re going to have to be pretty convincing.
  • The release is compiled in Release mode (fancy that) with some degree of optimization turned on.
  • Subtitles should no longer cause an assertion (but rather will log an error). The problem seems to be that the converter is assuming a certain encoding for SRT files, and I can’t figure out (a) what the standard encoding is or (b) how to tell the encoding.
  • I’ve constructed a standard OS X Application Bundle for XBMC. It’s not perfect, in that user preferences are still location inside the bundle (I’ll move them to ~/Library/Application Data/XBMC in the next release), but it does include all the dylibs, so installing MacPorts and playing command line games in the terminal should not be needed. You’ll need to move your sources.xml (and other preferences, if you’d like) into XBMC.app/Contents/Resources/XBMC/UserData. NOTE: If you have the XBMC_HOME environment variable set, it will prefer this environment. If you don’t set XBMC_HOME, it will use the environment from the application bundle.
  • NOTE: There are a few regressions in this release. You may notice some video garbage when first starting a movie, and if you switch to GUI mode (with TAB), make sure you stop playing one video (the ‘x’ key) before starting another. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

The overall stability seems to be quite good. I’ve watched a decent amount of stuff with hardly any problems.

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