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-   -   Utility: SageBanner (Upcoming Recordings Display) (http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49215)

EnterNoEscape 06-17-2010 11:02 AM

Utility: SageBanner (Upcoming Recordings Display)
 
First off I want to say I've always wanted to contribute something to the community. I have reasonably good programming skills with vb.net and have whipped up a lot of applications I've found helpful when working with SageTV and other "life challenges".

SageBanner was created to replace a Yahoo Widget for Beyond TV, BTV Ticker. It basically reads a few RSS feeds from the nielm's web interface (specifically upcoming recordings & extender info) and then displays them in a large and clear banner style display. The banner doesn't drag around the screen, it just has three settings: top, bottom and (above the) taskbar.

I have an 18" monitor in my living room that I put into a picture frame and the BTV Ticker was on the bottom of the screen when I used to use Beyond TV. Well SageTV didn't really have anything exactly the same. I know there's a Vista widget, but it really doesn't work the same way as this does, nor was it designed with the intention to be highly visible from 20 feet away. So I wrote my own application and this was the result.

Recently, I added a whole lot of configuration options with the intention of releasing it to the public. I know the layout probably could still use some work (I'm really not great with layouts.), but I hope this fulfills someone's wish who maybe has a computer case with a built in screen or something like what I have.

I uploaded some screen shots into the Downloads area and will eventually have some up on this thread as well. Please let me know what you think or if you think something could be better. I'm very open to suggestions, though sometimes I'm a little pressed on time, so don't expect too much.

The SageBanner application is available in the Downloads area. Also, when you first open the application, at a minimum, it needs your server address, plus username and password if you have one. To exit or change the configuration, simply right-click on the banner.

Brent 06-17-2010 11:31 AM

Nice! Any chance I could get you to post a few photos of your setup? Something that shows your TV along with the picture frame with the SageBanner displayed?

Thanks!

EnterNoEscape 06-17-2010 11:42 AM

That would not a problem. I had a feeling someone would like to see the exact context in a picture of the room. I'll get a photo up here soon enough.

EnterNoEscape 06-17-2010 04:05 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Here are two that hopefully put what I'm doing with this program into perspective. For anyone wondering, the display be being driven by an Itronix GoBook Max. They were on sale for $60 last year and I bought 10 of them. These things are designed to be submerged in water and thrown at concrete. Even with a 700MHz P3 and 128MB ram, they are perfect for being turned into picture frames and/or home automation devices. I run Ubuntu with Openbox on most of them. This one is running Windows XP with Yahoo Widgets.

It's perfectly just at the corner of your eye when watching TV making it easy to glance at, but not distracting. Plus I have it on an X10 appliance switch. The white box on below the TV is an IR X10 adapter so my URC MX-450 can turn it on and off with everything else.
http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/atta...6&d=1276810964

This is a bit blurry. I couldn't really get it to turn out quite right, but you get the basic idea.
http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/atta...7&d=1276810974

Brent 06-17-2010 04:11 PM

Perfect. Thanks for the pics - I might use them in a blog post about this add-on too.

First though I think I'll try to set this up with my HTPC and DIY Digital Photo Frame...

Did you make the DPF yourself or buy it? EDIT: Never mind - I read your response again and see you already answered that question.

infocus13 06-17-2010 05:50 PM

does this need a windows pc to run?

EnterNoEscape 06-17-2010 06:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dkatchalov (Post 431896)
does this need a windows pc to run?

Unfortunately yes because it's based on .net. I haven't attempted to run it with WINE on a Linux PC, but my past experience tells me it's not going to work because of the .net components. I've been contemplating a rewrite so I can make it platform agnostic, but that's not happening any time soon.

EnterNoEscape 06-17-2010 06:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brent (Post 431888)
Did you make the DPF yourself or buy it? EDIT: Never mind - I read your response again and see you already answered that question.

To clear up more about the origins of this picture frame, it was originally an 18" LCD screen with a hideous bezel. I took all the innards out and repositioned them inside a custom cut picture frame meant for thick canvases. It's about 2" deep and I mounted everything using hot glue. I chose hot glue because I wanted to be able to take it all apart if I ever needed to easily and I didn't have the tools at the time to create real custom mounts for the components. I haven't had a single part need repositioning or fall out and everything has been in the configuration for over 2 years.

What I was first doing with this frame is driving it with a USB to VGA adapter that was passed through to a virtual machine running under VMWare Server 2.0 on my server. This method would allow me as many screens as I had adapters. This was saving money on hardware and utilities since I was only running one computer for everything. In the end I scrapped this idea because the USB passing through would at times cause BSOD's when the server would be running processes that would peak the CPU. I've had the same problems with 3 different computers, so I'm reasonably certain it's a software issue.

The laptop is a reasonable compromise as I estimated it's costing me about $16.32 a year based on my Kill-A-Watt. I know they aren't perfect for measuring inductive current, but it's close enough and it would seem if anything they are a bit high on their readings.

You might have also noticed it's conveniently next to a closet. The power and VGA cable are routed right around the bend so most people don't even notice. It just looks like a nice clean frame.

mkanet 06-18-2010 09:40 AM

Thanks so much for contributing this addon! I am curious, how it would display on the screen when there are several upcoming recordings starting at the same time... for example, 7-8 shows or more starting at 8pm primetime. It's hard to tell from the picture if it can display all the shows that are about to start on one screen.

I have an old small LCD monitor that I'm not using which would be great for this kind of application if it can handle displaying multiple upcoming recordings. If it doesn't, perhaps you would consider adding that enhancement if its not too much work.

Thanks again for the great contribution.
-M

EnterNoEscape 06-18-2010 10:11 AM

1 Attachment(s)
It actually cycles through upcoming shows with a specified interval in seconds between shows. It is artificially limited the amount of upcoming recordings it will cycle through by a modifiable setting. It doesn't count things that are currently recording as an upcoming show, so it will always show everything that's recording plus the number of upcoming shows you specified. Also as a note, because it's not obvious, you can change the background of the banner and it's opacity if you desire as well as the color of everything. Here's a screen shot of the configuration panel to give people an idea of what can be done.

http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/atta...1&d=1276877434

mkanet 06-18-2010 11:16 AM

Thanks for the quick reply. I actually meant upcoming shows starting at the same time, nothing to do with currently recording shows.

Sorry, if I'm being dense, but, if I set "limit upcoming recordings", would it show multiple shows that are about to start on the same screen? Typically, I have multiple shows/tuners that kick off recording at the same time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by EnterNoEscape (Post 431999)
It actually cycles through upcoming shows with a specified interval in seconds between shows. It is artificially limited the amount of upcoming recordings it will cycle through by a modifiable setting. It doesn't count things that are currently recording as an upcoming show, so it will always show everything that's recording plus the number of upcoming shows you specified. Also as a note, because it's not obvious, you can change the background of the banner and it's opacity if you desire as well as the color of everything. Here's a screen shot of the configuration panel to give people an idea of what can be done.

http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/atta...1&d=1276877434


gplasky 06-18-2010 11:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mkanet (Post 432013)
Thanks for the quick reply. I actually meant upcoming shows starting at the same time, nothing to do with currently recording shows.


Quote:

Originally Posted by EnterNoEscape (Post 431999)
It actually cycles through upcoming shows with a specified interval in seconds between shows.

Each upcoming show stays on screen for the x number of seconds you set it for. You won't see a list of upcoming shows. Think of it like the CNN headlines at the bottom of your TV screen.

Gerry

EnterNoEscape 06-18-2010 01:10 PM

What Gerry said. It only displays one show at a time for x amount of seconds for visibility reasons. If it showed the whole list, I'm not sure I could still read it from a distance or if i kept the same size and let it increase the banner size. The upcoming recordings are being pulled from the http://server:port/sage/RecordingSchedule XML link, so you will always get more than just what you would see if you were to look at the homepage.

Sometimes I get a little twisty with my words and need an interpreter. I apologize for any confusion I may have caused. :D

Bill1426 06-19-2010 05:12 AM

Great program.. Can you get it to work with BTV also ??

EnterNoEscape 06-20-2010 06:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill1426 (Post 432119)
Can you get it to work with BTV also ??

It probably could work with BTV since it just parses an XML file, but it's really not my intended focus for this program. Also if I recall, they determine dates by how many seconds we are from some date in the 1980's. I never really figured out how to add a huge amount of seconds in .net without it freaking out on me. Java didn't have any issue with it interestingly enough. If time permits, I do in the distant future intend to make a Java port of this program so it can be used in Linux with no fuss and I will look at this again to see if it's practical to make it support multiple PVR software with web interfaces.

Right now I'm really just looking for people's opinions of the overall program and if they can give me any suggestions on what can be improved.

As an alternative, in my first post, there's a link to BTV Ticker. It worked really well for me back when I used BTV. Personally I think it looks better than my program and can serve as the same purpose.

EnterNoEscape 07-04-2010 10:56 AM

The more I played with this the more I noticed a few things that could be improved, so I fixed them. Since I was in there, I made a few additions that make sense at least to me as well. To upgrade simply replace the old EXE with the new one. Your old settings should port right over. Happy 4th of July!
  • Fixed:
    • Grabbing the XML for extenders from the webserver. (It only worked for me because my MAC address was in there. I have a feeling many didn't even know this was a supposed to be a feature.)
    • The upcoming favorites wouldn't take into account if the favorite was manually set to start early.
    • Recording progress bar wouldn't take into account if the favorite is set to finish late. (Note: There is currently no way to get this info from a manual recording. The info is nowhere in the XML.)
    • Logic for DVD and Bluray so the title contains only the movie title and not "VIDEO_TS" or "BDMV".
  • Changes:
    • Made a few changes to the configuration screen because it was getting a bit crowded. This isn't my strong suite, so if anyone has specific suggestions on how to better organize this, I'm open to suggestions.
  • Added:
    • Logic to determine if you're listening to music or playing a video on the extenders and display the info more appropriately.
    • The ability not only to create a list of your extender MAC addresses, but to give them friendly names and have the option to display it in place of the channel, category, rating or status.

EnterNoEscape 07-12-2010 11:09 AM

I'm assuming no comments is a good thing as this might imply no one is having any trouble. This release allows you to use the External Status Monitor plugin which can be installed from the repository and improves the graphics a bit.

1.2 (7-12-2010)
  • Fixed:
    • The info for the next screen is loaded in the background. This should remove any strange pauses.
  • Changed:
    • Cleaned up a lot of code to create consistent output from either the web server or External Status Monitor.
    • Web server info is merged with ESM info if ESM is enabled and available.
  • Added:
    • Support for External Status Monitor plugin to get a little more info about what clients are doing. If you are running this anywhere other than on the server, you will need to change the "Listener IP Address" to 0.0.0.0.
    • Populate button that uses the ESM output to auto-populate the clients list.
    • 3D effect for the progress bars. I feel this makes it look a little more polished. This can be disabled if you don't like it.
    • Fade in/out effect for text. This also can be disabled.


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