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bialio 04-23-2013 10:17 AM

Phoenix 2 Information Thread
Phoenix 2

As we approach a private and then public beta of P2, here's a high level overview.

Phoenix 2 (P2) started as an effort on my part to update the weather on the original Phoenix release, and do a few minor tweaks to the UI. I quickly determined that given how the last few years have gone, my time to work on Phoenix is limited, and I needed to simplify it. Thus, from the ashes, P2 was born.

A lot of stuff has been removed from P2 that you might have liked in the original release. In order to support P2 in the future, as well as add new features as appropriate, this is a sacrifice that had to be made. P2 and Phoenix will coexist easily on the same system - so if there is something you really liked in the original release that didn't make the P2 cut - stay with Phoenix.

Simplifying the UI had some benefits of course. Features were hit and miss between all of the UMB variants in the original release. Same thing for the Landing Zones - there were so many of them adding a feature required touching a lot of screens and implementing, in a lot of cases, the same thing over and over again. And that didn't happen ;).

Landing Zone
There is a single landing zone in P2, although you can switch between two 'navigation' modes. Horizontal (the default) is very similar to the old Metro landing zone. Vertical is similar to the default UI's navigation.

Weather (current conditions and 4 day at most forecast) is shown on the landing zone only.

The global options menu from the original release is gone. So there is a SETTINGS menu in the landing zone now that has quite a bit of admin or setup related items.

The Landing Zone menu has been updated to allow up to 3 levels of menus. The top most level has to be a MENU (as opposed to a menu ITEM) but submenus are supported at the second level. You can see an example of this in the SETTINGS menu.

Options Menus
The Option menu in P2 slides out from the right side, shifting the current screen to the left to make room.

The first option in the options menu is 'Customize this screen' - this contains the settings you can use for UI changes relative to the current screen. Weather / Fanart Backgrounds, navigation modes, EPG display options (rows, columns, etc).

If a media item (music or video) has focus when options is pressed, you get a section of playback controls and other controls to do on that item (archive, watched, delete, metadata, fanart management, etc).

In the Landing Zone there are some general settings that you can access from the options menu also - weather configuration, global UI options, etc.

Media Browser
There is only one media browser, and it is list based. It is most similar to Inline UMB from the first release. Banners are displayed when appropriate (for folders containing a TV show), and then posters for individual items.

In the media browser there is a section of the options menu for Sorting, Filtering, Grouping. These are sticky, so when you come back to a view it will still be sorted / grouped how you left it last. Filtering is NOT sticky, so if you filter a view down to only UNWATCHED items, the next time you come back to that view it will not still have that filter applied.

Quick Navigation in the media browser is using the 'Starts With Alpha' method - you select a letter and the list is filtered down to items starting with that letter. This is somewhat intelligent in that it tries to pick the right metadata field to do the filter on - Show Title, Episode Title, Artist, Album, etc depending on the context.

Music browsing is now incorporated into the one and only media browser. There isn't a second or different experience for browsing music.

There are two types of playlists supported in P2.

Audio : this is the basic audio playlist that SageTV core supports. You can add tracks, entire albums, or entire folders (ie multiple albums) into a new playlist or an existing playlist. When browsing playlists you can start Shuffle, Start from the beginning, or start from a particular track. Re-arranging the order of the playlist, or deleting items from the playlist, is NOT currently supported. You can tweak audio playlists in the default UI if you want to.

Video : Selecting 'Play' or pressing play on a folder that has video files queues them all up into a video playlist to be played back to back. These playlists can't be saved. Channel UP/Down on the remote advances to the next/previous item in the video play list.

Mixed playlists (supported in the SageTV core) are not supported in P2. I have no clue what will happen if you tried to play one.

Items Still Under Development
  • uPNP support
  • Customized Photo Screen Saver
  • Support for 3rd party apps to put a text message on the screen (Caller ID for instance)
  • More robust Auto Comskip

Enormous 04-23-2013 10:25 AM

This forum needs a "Thanks" button! Been following your updates on G+. Getting excited for the release!

Thanks for all of your hard work.

Naylia 04-25-2013 04:06 PM

Looking forward to playing with this!

OneOfMany 04-25-2013 04:52 PM

Can't wait to put this version on! :goodjob:


PiX64 04-27-2013 03:45 PM

So far, LOVE IT!

Is it possible to reuse my vfs and menus I created?

bialio 04-27-2013 03:47 PM

Vfs yes, should be automatic. Menus will have to be recreated.

bialio 04-27-2013 04:29 PM

Interesting Stats :

Phoenix STV - size 10.8 MB
SageTV v7 STV - size 12.9 MB
Gemstone STV - size 17.3 MB

Phoenix 2 STV - size 1.65 MB !!!!

For the amount of stuff it still does, I'm amazed at how small the actual code turned out to be....

stuckless 04-27-2013 05:27 PM


Originally Posted by bialio (Post 551755)
Interesting Stats :

Phoenix 2 STV - size 1.65 MB !!!!

For the amount of stuff it still does, I'm amazed at how small the actual code turned out to be....


jusjoken 04-27-2013 07:28 PM


Originally Posted by bialio (Post 551755)
Interesting Stats :

Phoenix STV - size 10.8 MB
SageTV v7 STV - size 12.9 MB
Gemstone STV - size 17.3 MB

Phoenix 2 STV - size 1.65 MB !!!!

For the amount of stuff it still does, I'm amazed at how small the actual code turned out to be....

It will be nice to see user feedback on it's responsiveness given the small size....


PiX64 04-27-2013 08:09 PM

This thing is ridiculously fast. I was concerned about the lack of options available (meaning only 1 main "Media Browser") but I have to say it is smoking fast on my hd300s as well as my hd200s. I also have to say that i no longer am concerend with the lack of customizing...for me the way you have it configured is simple, usable, and head and shoulders above the way i had phoneix 1 configured :-D

So far everything is working great, and as snappy if not snappier than the default v7 ui!

way to go guys this is awesome.

I am compiling a list of little things i notice which are minor tweaks, and certainly features you just haven't tackled yet. when i say features i mean (for example i was using the onscreen keyboard and i got to the left side hit left and it "backed" out of keyboard)

overall though, outstanding :clap::clap:

Evil_Attorney 04-28-2013 02:13 PM

I agree, very fast and looks good. I'm compiling a list of little things too.

OneOfMany 04-29-2013 06:24 PM

PC Client. No extenders.

Just did the setup, and things appear to be going smoothly. Love the setup menus. So far very intuitive. Will keep notes on anything we come across.

Grant :goodjob:

bialio 05-06-2013 09:33 AM

P2 release 102
We'll be pushing out one more update for private beta testers in the near future, here's the changes:
  • Search Functionality added
  • External playback (via Fuzzy's WatchExternally plugin) support added. This is supported for both DVD and BluRay. If you don't have Fuzzy's plugin installed enabling external playback does nothing.
  • Added the timebar to the Detailed Info screens - this basically adds the watched amount & comskip info to this screen.
  • Fixed 'Resume or start from beginning' prompt when starting a show that is already partially watched.
  • DVD and BluRay playback options implemented in the OSD option menu.
  • Added a type of background for the music playback 'Pictures' - which basically does a slideshow of your imported pictures while music is playing.
  • New Screensaver
  • uPnP views

Most of the bugs mentioned in the P2 Issues thread have been addressed as well.

After this private beta release we'll go into open beta.

Naylia 05-06-2013 10:52 AM

Can you use the uPnP views to create a better browsing experience for PlayOn?

bialio 05-06-2013 10:55 AM


wrems 05-06-2013 07:58 PM

New screensaver? BTW, P2 is awesome!! Looking forward to those uPnP views too.:D

Naylia 05-07-2013 12:12 PM


sacrament055 05-07-2013 07:52 PM

Does UPNP views require the playon plugin or is it independent of that?

stuckless 05-08-2013 06:48 AM


Originally Posted by sacrament055 (Post 552098)
Does UPNP views require the playon plugin or is it independent of that?

The UPnP support in Phoenix does not require any additional plugins (ie, the Playon Plugin is not required).

The UPnP support also doesn't require Play-on, but it does require a UPnP Server, such as Playon, so that Phoenix can communicate with it and stream videos. Native UPnP support is extemely beta, so don't expect perfection out of the gate :)

To use UPnP it is recommended that your use new P2 ui (stv), and you will also need to enable UPnP Client support. Enabling the UPnP Client support will require a restart. Also, you should not enable UPnP server support, since that is still being developed.

Naylia 05-12-2013 03:59 PM

Anyway I can get in on the private beta? Wife is out of town for the week so it's a good opportunity for me to spend messing with my setup.

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