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Author Topic: HTPC Interface  (Read 1519 times)

ndgame

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HTPC Interface
« on: January 21, 2024, 01:08:23 pm »

It would be nice if there was a complete overhaul for HTPC to catch up with other interfaces such as Plex, Kaelidscape, AppleTV and so on. 

I use JRiver 100% for the home theater to take advantage of MadVR.  My frustrations is the lack of skins and updates for my he poster wall, movie collections, and ISO movie playback support without the popup.   Most importantly is a new User interface that is easier to filter and search and categories for newly added content and so on.
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mattkhan

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2024, 01:19:58 pm »

The stock response to this sort of post is make some specific suggestions on how to improve things, generic "like some other app" comments basically go nowhere
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ndgame

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2024, 02:11:15 pm »

Sorry I assumed everyone kinda knew what the newer interfaces look like.   I’m really requesting a whole face lift on HTPC.   

But to start here are 3 examples.

I have attached 3 examples of things that would be nice to have.  First you will see on the left a list of different libraries that I added such as 4k Movies, Family Movies, Movies, Holiday Movies and so on.

In another screenshot is an over all Main screen view that has things like Continue watching, Recently added to 4k Movies and this can be for all Libraries like you see in the screen shot.

In the 3rd screen shot when viewing a Library of movies you will see on the right side of the screenshot a bar that allows me to skip to movies that “start with A,B,C” and on and on.

I can add a lot more examples if needed for ideas.  But the basis would be to catch up with other players.  I would gladly pay a higher price of JRiver for it to be updated.
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Gedeon

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2024, 02:12:44 pm »

I share that perception.

JRiver could be a good and versatile media manager with a flexible DLNA server and Zone management, some improvements here and there, but I wouldn't expect too much rehaul/renovation in the short or midterm.
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mattkhan

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2024, 04:22:15 pm »

Sorry I assumed everyone kinda knew what the newer interfaces look like.   I’m really requesting a whole face lift on HTPC.   
These pics appear to be things you can basically do today, obviously UI differences in precise layout/fonts but functionality not obviously different. You are familiar with how to define remote views or not?
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ndgame

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2024, 08:32:08 pm »

Another nice update would be a 2.35:1 scope skin option for HTPC.
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JimH

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2024, 12:44:54 am »

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ndgame

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2024, 12:52:11 am »

Oh I have been using it for 3 years now and have modified it the best it can be.  I’ve spent countless hours trying to make it look the best I can.    Which is why I tried putting a request in for a face lift.   There is countless discussions on avsforums of people who agree that it’s dated and needs an update.  Because of MadVR switching to their Envy product JRiver is one of the most options out there for us DIY people and there is so much potential there with it.  I think most of us would like a cleaner interface such like a lot of the l
Hardware players are offering.  As I stated above I would gladly pay more for the software for it to be updated and I’m sure many others would as well. 

Sorry I’m not trying to be negative here.   The whole purpose was to suggest a refresh of the interface. 
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mwillems

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2024, 08:46:01 am »

Oh I have been using it for 3 years now and have modified it the best it can be.  I’ve spent countless hours trying to make it look the best I can.    Which is why I tried putting a request in for a face lift.   There is countless discussions on avsforums of people who agree that it’s dated and needs an update.  Because of MadVR switching to their Envy product JRiver is one of the most options out there for us DIY people and there is so much potential there with it.  I think most of us would like a cleaner interface such like a lot of the l
Hardware players are offering.  As I stated above I would gladly pay more for the software for it to be updated and I’m sure many others would as well. 

Sorry I’m not trying to be negative here.   The whole purpose was to suggest a refresh of the interface.

I think what Jim's pointing out is that several of the functional things you're looking for can be done right now.  You can create theater view categories that will display "4k Movies, Family Movies, Movies, Holiday Movies" and any other category you can think of.  You can also create a recently watched, or recently added, or continue watching view for any of those categories (I have a nice recently watched view that I use regularly to help remember what I've seen recently).  The only thing from your functional list that you can't easily do is add an alphabet (although it exists in standard view, just not in theater view), but that's because you can use the number keys on the remote control (or keyboard) to do the same thing. Try it and you'll see what I mean, although that interface is probably more intuitive for people who remember pre-smart phones :-)

So if all you want are those kinds of functions, you can mostly have it right now. I think the main thing you can't do is have multiple views coexisting on the same screen Netflix style.  But if it's the look that you're after that's a different story.
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ndgame

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2024, 08:56:28 am »

I get that and I have most of that setup to some point.   I am just not happy with the flow of it or how it works.   

Point I am trying to make and request is that it would be nice to have something newer looking.  If you look back at HTPC the GUI hasn't changed much since it came out and moving around and getting to these views isn't as easy or doesn't flow as easyly as some of the other players out there such as Plex, Zidoo, Zappati, Kaleidescap, Netflix, and other services.   

Yes I am aware I can make these adjust but it can't be done in HTPC while it is open.  It is very time consuming to make any adjustments to the interface.   It would also be nice to see a new interface that supports 2.35:1 scope screens like the other players do.

I don't use JRiver for any other reason than MadVR because honestly the Envy is way out of budget.  HTPC isn't something that my wife can walk down to the theater and click the on button on the Harmony remote and start watching a movie.  As matter of fact I was in Boston traveling 2 weeks ago and got a call a very frustrated version of her because she couldn't figure out how to watch a movie with her girlfriends.

So I would like to put a request in for a HTPC update to make it easy for people to use and understand.   My kids can open plex with out asking and just know how to watch a movie but that is not possible with HTPC. 
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eve

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2024, 04:20:38 pm »

You could use a different frontend and just have JRiver handle the actual file playback?
That's what I do.
When I was using Emby (I use a custom system now), I had a button injected into the various interfaces that would make an MCWS call that told JRiver to play the content. So if your UI is on the TV, I'd recommend just making a little helper that can take a playback request, get rid of the navigation / view UI (however you handle that is up to you obv), spawn or focus JRiver and then initiate the playback, after that you can handle things like ensuring the JRiver display window is full screen or whatever. For returning to the UI, I'm not sure if JRiver has an 'exit after playback' now but if not you could lazily poll the playback state and destruct JRiver when it's done or almost done. Then you just refocus your UI.

There's LOTS of options for like library navigation and, if you ask me, they're all pretty garbage (bad metadata, dated internals, poor scaling for expansive libraries etc) but people like them! Kodi, Plex, Emby, Jellyfin, etc
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ndgame

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2024, 05:45:07 pm »

I would love to try this.  Do you have any instructions on how to do this?

Thank You
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eve

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2024, 06:10:00 pm »

I would love to try this.  Do you have any instructions on how to do this?

Thank You

It's all going to depend on your setup and what your skills are. Are you using something like Plex right now?
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ndgame

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2024, 06:19:00 pm »

I’m a Microsoft Engineer by trade.  What I don’t do is program lol

I have a windows 10 machine dedicated to my theater with a Nvidia 3090. 

For the past few months I have been using it with MadVR installed with Video Processor.  The reason I switched back to JRiver was because I wanted the latest version of MadVR.  When using VP I could only use version 113. 

I do have a Plex server setup on my Unraid NAS and a Emby server setup as well.   These are dockers in Unraid.

When I was using the PC as a Video Processor I ran everything through it with a capture card installed.
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eve

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2024, 06:34:16 pm »

I’m a Microsoft Engineer by trade.  What I don’t do is program lol

I have a windows 10 machine dedicated to my theater with a Nvidia 3090. 

For the past few months I have been using it with MadVR installed with Video Processor.  The reason I switched back to JRiver was because I wanted the latest version of MadVR.  When using VP I could only use version 113. 

I do have a Plex server setup on my Unraid NAS and a Emby server setup as well.   These are dockers in Unraid.

When I was using the PC as a Video Processor I ran everything through it with a capture card installed.

Okay rad. I'm more of a programmer now than I used to be but, I got this early stuff setup long before I was competent.

To get started like with the least amount of effort, you're gonna want to make a 'button' for the Emby / Plex web ui. You'll do this with a user script which injects a button and runs a function. I can see if I still have my code (haven't used emby or whatever for movies in a long time) but I'll explain what you do. You can in theory do this entirely in a browser, I found it easier to spin up a helper service (since I needed the focus / window control on the target playback systems anyways)

On a page for say a movie in Emby or Plex, you're gonna want to get the id of the media item, then you're gonna issue a request to the Emby/Plex api to get information about that id, from that response, you get the file path, so you can now transform that path as needed (since you may be accessing it over SMB or the docker may see different paths internally)  to send to JRiver with an MCWS request. You find a place to inject your button (I just did it next to the other play / resume buttons) and then when you click it, it can run your function.

Since I often have multiple versions of a movie and every film has an IMDB id, when I would request the specific item by ID, i'd pull the IMDB from it, and query for THAT within my library, giving me all the versions of said movie, then id sort them (largest, and then if the top matches are relatively similar in size, I pick the newest).

That's the most simple way to handle it. For a full 'experience' you'll want an application on target systems that can handle spawning and destructing JRiver plus whatever UI you want to use and managing the focus between them.
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fiske

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2024, 08:09:06 am »

I do agree that it would be very nice to have an overhaul of the user interface.
It looks dated compared to others.
The inside work is fantastic.
Just my 2cent
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tzr916

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2024, 03:47:40 pm »

Sorry I assumed everyone kinda knew what the newer interfaces look like.   I’m really requesting a whole face lift on HTPC...
...the basis would be to catch up with other players.  I would gladly pay a higher price of JRiver for it to be updated.
+1
It's been asked for over and over, when every new release cycle comes around. Unfortunately, I wouldn't expect a complete overhaul in this lifetime. I think the closest we will ever get is the addition of Custom Tooltips for casual users (like me) who can't program their way out of a brown bag:
https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,137456.0.html
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atreides

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2024, 09:36:15 pm »

I use a user created theme exclusively in order to get the appearance to be more modern.  As a user, I don't want to spend 100+ hours learning XML tweaks and making icon sets to theme JRiver, I just think that part of the product design should be keeping up with modern design aesthetics.  Many of the included skins should probably be retired.
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JimH

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2024, 01:39:46 am »

You're spinning your wheels unless you can be more specific without using "modern" or "dated".

Asking for a complete re-write is also pointless.

Or giving another program as an example of what you want.

If we did a major overhaul, we'd probably upset half our customer base.

So, make just one specific suggestion that would improve the experience. 
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Gedeon

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2024, 10:45:16 am »

Create a new web remote interface beyond cpanel. With the mid-term goal to replicate through it most media management and audio playing available features in the standard interface.
- Selecting, sorting and creating lists
- Editing metadata,
- Control Zones,
- Edit DSP chain,
- Allow skin change,

Just take a look at Emby, Gerbera, Plex, Jellyfin.. HEOS mobile interface... Not everything must be available the first iteration. Just plan the development in several stages.

Most media servers/players in the market have left aside the native interfaces, and have developed web management interfaces. Even qBittorrent and eMule have pretty functional web interface years ago.
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eve

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2024, 12:58:45 pm »

Create a new web remote interface beyond cpanel. With the mid-term goal to replicate through it most media management and audio playing available features in the standard interface.
- Selecting, sorting and creating lists
- Editing metadata,
- Control Zones,
- Edit DSP chain,
- Allow skin change,

Just take a look at Emby, Gerbera, Plex, Jellyfin.. HEOS mobile interface... Not everything must be available the first iteration. Just plan the development in several stages.

Most media servers/players in the market have left aside the native interfaces, and have developed web management interfaces. Even qBittorrent and eMule have pretty functional web interface years ago.

Bit of a can of worms though. New web-ui based movie / video media item navigation? Absolutely. They did Spotlight, it's not out of the question to do a limited UI for this stuff.
You want to deal with like music, editing tags.... man that's a pretty complex interface to implement when we're talking about what JRiver offers already. It's FAR more in depth than most media library software. I think if any web interface was sufficiently comprehensive that you'd be stuck with a lot of users with questions that end up with an answer of 'oh that's only available in the desktop application'. It's going to weirdly fragment things.

There are absolutely things I'd like to see get a web UI or at least MCWS calls for like DSP studio settings and JRVR's full config but I'm not holding my breath.


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mattkhan

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2024, 01:00:07 pm »

Extending panel to incorporate significantly enhanced playback controls, such as dsp, makes loads of sense

The current UI for this is really weak (eg no preview of the response) and quite obtuse so this would be a significant improvement imv

However management UI beyond something basic? Metadata etc, does it have an audience? That sounds like a major overhaul for people who already buy MC and use standard UI (grudgingly perhaps but still use it)
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mattkhan

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2024, 01:02:48 pm »

To be clear, I am biased as I wrote my own UI for dsp etc but that's still a desktop app because doing that in html and doing it nicely is really a load of work and means loads of compromises (yes I can build.web UI myself also but chose not to in this case).
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eve

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2024, 03:21:12 pm »

To be clear, I am biased as I wrote my own UI for dsp etc but that's still a desktop app because doing that in html and doing it nicely is really a load of work and means loads of compromises (yes I can build.web UI myself also but chose not to in this case).

Yeah a full DSP interface with elegant user interaction with a web-ui is a relatively difficult task.
Honestly even implementing something like JRiver's pane based navigation with infinite scrolling and sorting isn't exactly a walk in the park (It can be done with AG-Grid or Tanstack Table though).
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mattkhan

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2024, 03:34:11 pm »

Yeah a full DSP interface with elegant user interaction with a web-ui is a relatively difficult task.
Honestly even implementing something like JRiver's pane based navigation with infinite scrolling and sorting isn't exactly a walk in the park (It can be done with AG-Grid or Tanstack Table though).
Panel is/was a good start. In my experience, it works well for the features it has and performance is solid. It should be a good base to build on if that's the direction they want to go (but for sure would take some effort)
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eve

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2024, 03:44:15 pm »

Panel is/was a good start. In my experience, it works well for the features it has and performance is solid. It should be a good base to build on if that's the direction they want to go (but for sure would take some effort)

If you expand panel too much, there's an... 'expectation' that features will be available across interfaces and that gets complex really quickly.




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eve

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2024, 03:51:07 pm »

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eve

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2024, 03:53:13 pm »

-
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apgood

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Re: HTPC Interface
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2024, 06:43:55 pm »

You're spinning your wheels unless you can be more specific without using "modern" or "dated".

Asking for a complete re-write is also pointless.

Or giving another program as an example of what you want.

If we did a major overhaul, we'd probably upset half our customer base.

So, make just one specific suggestion that would improve the experience.

Can you at least change the default Theatre View skin from the current default to something with a cleaner look similar to xplain's Rapier Fusion theme? 
Even changing the background pictures to something less busy and more neutral coloured might help.

Basically you want the default to be either a showcase of all that the power available, basically a showcase of what can be done, or a simple and neutral UI / interface that anyone can use and will appeal to the widest possible user base to when they download for a trial.

Personally I'd make the simple and neutral the default and then have the 2nd as an alternative within the confines of what can be done with a default install.

I think the current default creates a barrier to adoption of JRiver Media Center.  From what I have read across multiple forums is the look of Theatre View (likely the first impression) is a definite factor in people not adopting JRiver Media Center.  Even a few non-coding tweaks to the default Theme would improve this.

edit:  By simple and neutral I mean things like backgrounds that are in neutral tones and not too busy (e.g. something like the logo and menu headings on the JRiver Website index page).  It might be considered a bit boring but less like to leave a negative impression than the current default backgrounds, which while artistic in nature are not the type of thing that your average home theatre enthusiast would have as a Theatre View background image.  My guess it is that it is first thing people want to change. 


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