Version 7 Public Beta Has Begun!
It's that time again to start the public beta process for a new version of SageTV.
We've been pretty busy over here for awhile and have a bunch of new things in V7 of SageTV. Let's start of with the list of the major new features for V7 of SageTV.
V7 New Features
New User Interface Design
We've redesigned the entire user interface for SageTV. There has been many complaints over the years about the UI looking dated; and we believe we've addressed those concerns. With the new animation system in V7 we're also able to put more 'bling' into the user interactions via reflections, 3D transformations and multiple levels of animations. We're still in the process of tweaking this; so user feedback is important in this area.
Online Plugin Repository with automated installation/removal of plugins from within the user interface
One of the most powerful features of SageTV is its developer community. With V7, using plugins and customizations for SageTV is a snap. From within the user interface, plugins can be installed and managed with ease. There's already a solid list of plugins; and this will grow quickly as developers outside of the private beta group now gain access to contributing to the list of plugins.
Support for automatic translation of XBMC skin.xml files into SageTV STVs
XBMC skin files can now be loaded into SageTV just like any SageTV STV .xml file. There are requirements for this to work properly; and those will be outlined elsewhere. There are also various limitations to this as well; while nearly all graphical capabilities should be functional, there are a few things that do not translate properly due to differences in design between SageTV and XBMC. Some of them can be corrected by STV developers with minor tweaks; but others require more effort. The main difference is that XBMC skins are just 'skins' and don't really define the functionality of the UI in all cases. SageTV STV files, on the other hand, do completely define the UI functionality in them. The translator will insert some of this default functionality, but not all of it. XBMC also has very limited PVR functionality, of which only a few XBMC skins support; so this area will also be lacking. This feature is more for demonstration purposes to show off what the V7 animation system can do and as a tool for creating a starting point for developers that want to convert an XBMC skin into a SageTV STV. It's not intended as a way to run an XBMC skin inside of SageTV and have the full functionality of SageTV available instantly (although with some XBMC skins, nearly the entire UI is usable, just some functionality is limited).
Seamless recording/playback transitions between shows when watching Live TV
If you've been using SageTV, then you know about the 'pause' that will occur when watching Live TV and one show ends and the next begins. This has been eliminated in V7 when playing back on SageTV Media Center or SageTVClient in Windows and also when playing back on a media extender regardless of the server platform. This is not supported when playing back with the Placeshifter or when playing back files that are being transcoded by the server, they are also not supported when viewing a tuner that uses the network encoder feature of SageTV (HDHomeRuns are NOT considered to be a network encoder).
DirectShow demux filter for handling MKV, MP4 and FLV media types
This enables playback of nearly all media types in Windows that are currently supported natively by the HD media extenders as well. Other file types such as FLAC, Ogg, Vorbis, etc. are also supported. Decoders will still need to be installed for any non-MPEG2 formats. (we heavily test against FFDShow and recommend that for covering all of the codec needs here)
New 'Effects' rendering system with support for more advanced and easier to use animations as well as 3D transformations (layers are no longer needed)
The animation system has been completely redone. 3D transformations are now possible which enable a whole new range of visual effects. (platforms w/out 3D support will approximate them as 2D transformations) There is also no longer any 3-layer limit to animations and creation of them with the Studio has been dramatically simplified.
Background image loading system allows for faster loading of thumbnails and other image resources w/out interfering with UI responsiveness
Parallel graphics loading now enables graphics to be loaded into SageTV without interfering with the rendering process; resulting in a more responsive and fluid user interface.
BDMV (BluRay) folder playback in SageTV Media Center & Client for Windows
The BDMV support that has been so popular on the HD media extenders now comes to the Windows versions of SageTVClient and SageTV Media Center (codecs need to be installed by the user)
Support for playback of ISO DVD & BDMV (BluRay) files on all platforms that support non-ISO playback (on Windows this requires the free application Virtual Clone Drive to be installed)
SageTV can now mount DVD and BluRay ISO files for playback. This is functional on all platforms; but the platform needs to support regular DVD or BDMV playback for this to be useful (i.e. all servers can now mount DVD/BluRay ISO files; but they would need to be played back on an HD extender or Windows SageTVClient; this feature does not imply additional platforms can playback BDMVs)
Automatic conversion of Favorite recordings
Favorites can now be modified to indicate that they should be transcoded to a target format when their recordings have been completed. Great for converting your favorite shows automatically for playback on your iPod, iPhone or other portable device.
New Pan/Zoom style slideshow transition effects
The slideshow now has an option that'll pan/zoom pictures during display for a nice visual effect. Some platforms will only do the pan effect due to rendering system limitations on those platforms.
Windows Placeshifter uses DirectX 3D rendering now instead of OpenGL
We've updated the Windows placeshifter to use the same 3D technology in SageTV Media Center and SageTVClient making it much more compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7.
SageTV recordings now have their full metadata embedded into the file
Files recorded by SageTV now have their complete metadata information embedded into them which enables the reimporting of transferred recordings to be problem-free.
Removed the need for formatting disks with 64k clusters in order to get optimal disk performance on Windows
Previously, we had recommended formatting Windows disks with 64k clusters in order to get optimal recording performance. This is no longer needed due to optimizations in the Windows capture system.
Support for loading TrueType font (.ttf) files directly using FreeType
Font files can now be distributed with STV/STVI customizations and then loaded directly by SageTV. It no longer relies specifically on fonts installed into the operating system (although they can still be used as before).
Significant performance increases for HD200/HD100
We've updated the rendering code on the HD media extenders to be compatible with the new animation system. These two working together offer significant performance increases to UI navigation on the HD media extenders.
Support for DVB radio channels
Unlike music channels in US cable TV systems, DVB music stations have no video. This required special updates in order for this to function properly; and now it does.
Windows 7 compatability
We've tested Version 7 of SageTV to be compatible with Version 7 of Windows. Prior versions of SageTV did function on Windows 7, but now its official.
Lots of new API calls and Widget options in the SageTV Studio
Studio and plugin developers have a whole bunch of new tools at their disposal. More information will be provided on this later; the API documentation online has already been updated at http://download.sage.tv/api/ and the full package is available at http://download.sage.tv/api/doc.zip
Enhancements to workaround Hauppauge HDPVR instabilities on Windows
While doing other optimizations to the capture system on Windows we learned something about what causes the HDPVR to lockup on many users. We've worked around this problem (it wasn't a bug in SageTV) and testing so far indicates it to be much more reliable than in the past (most testers have reported that lockups no longer occur w/ the device).
Various other optimizations and bug fixes
There's lots of other little things that will be pointed out in the detailed release notes. We have been working on this for quite awhile and feel V7 is the best version yet of SageTV.
VERY IMPORTANT!!! UPGRADE PRICING
Some licenses will require an upgrade fee to function in Version 7. Here's the rules:
1. Mac and Linux licenses do NOT require an upgrade fee
2. Placeshifter and Media Extender licenses do NOT require an upgrade fee
3. SageTVClient licenses do NOT require an upgrade fee
4. SageTV Media Center for Windows licenses purchased on or after Dec. 1st, 2009 do NOT require an upgrade fee
5. There is a 21 day free trial of SageTV Media Center on Windows for those who do not fall into the above categories or who are new users of SageTV
6. Upgrade licenses for SageTV Media Center on Windows are $39.99 and are valid with any prior license for SageTV Media Center for Windows.
Upgrade licenses for SageTV Media Center on Windows can be purchased here: http://store.sagetv.com/mm5/merchant...tegory_Code=SS
The reason we require upgrade licenses during the beta period is that we do not want to have to put an expiration date in the software to ensure users who are required to pay the upgrade fee end up paying it. The expiration date would mean some users would be forced to install a new version even if they are happy with the beta version and don't want to change it. This has always been our beta testing policy.
Buying V7 Licenses
If you're going to buy a regular license for SageTV and think that you'll benefit by waiting to buy a V7 license instead of the current V6 license in the store; there's no need to wait. V6 licenses that are purchased now will have all the same benefits as a V7 licensed purchased once V7 is fully released.
New Plugin System
For regular users; the new plugin system can be utilized by going into Setup->SageTV Plugin in the user interface. For developers; you'll want to know much more. We have documentation available on the new plugin system and it can be found here:
V7 Beta Downloads
The latest versions of the V7 beta downloads can be accessed from here:
We do not currently have Mac versions of V7 available; and do not have target dates for them yet. The V6 placeshifter for the Mac will function when connected to a V7 server.
SageTVClient V6 is NOT able to connect to a V7 server, and a v7 client cannot connect to a v6 server.
Over time we'll be moving some of the posts from the private forum that explain various new features in V7 into the public areas to help in answering questions. We know there will be lots of questions regarding new features and we will do our best to answer them.
Thanks for everyone's interest and support over the years. Our beta testers are one of the greatest things about this community and we value all of your feedback. If you have any issues w/ Version 7, please use our bug report form located here:
Founder of SageTV
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