One of my favourite Windows Media Center alternatives is Media Portal and they have just released 1.16.0 Pre Release. This build now supports BD-J which means you can access bonus content on Blu-ray discs directly from the app. It has a new madVR high quality DirectShow video renderer which tries to process the video at the highest quality playback rates.
There is also a new Ares skin, improved TV support, improved remote TV client support and better TV audio support. This release is well worth checking out, more info on the Media Portal Blog.
Highlights of this release
MediaPortal now supports BD-J
Blu-ray Disc Java (BD-J) allows bonus content on Blu-ray discs to be far more sophisticated than bonus content provided by standard DVD. This includes network access, picture-in-picture and access to expanded local storage. You need to install Java to use this feature.
madVR (requires manual installation)
madVR is a high quality DirectShow video renderer, designed as a no-compromise approach, which tries to achieve the best possible video playback quality.
Wiki link: http://wiki.team-mediaportal.com/1_MEDIAPORTAL_1/0_What’s_New/1.g.x/Adding_support_for_madVR_as_high_quality_video_renderer
An amazing new skin from the designer of Apollo giving you 25 home buttons to configure exactly how you like.
Rename labels, change images, swap out plugins and configure hyperlink parameters all within the home screen.
Support and a button image template can be found in one of the following threads:
TV engine now supports broadcasts with HEVC/H.265 video e.g. DVB-T2 HD in Germany
For remote TV clients, a major update of the underlying RTSP client/server code to improve the speed of live TV channel changes, live & recorded seeking (skip steps) performance and IPTV reliability.
Live TV playback performs smooth matching of broadcast and PC stream rates, to reduce playback ‘pauses’ in some circumstances.
Better TV audio support (more AAC formats supported and other reliabilty improvements)
Separate settings for DVD and BD external players
Improved Wake On LAN support.
HID remote handler now supports multiple profiles
This makes it easier for users to customize their remote control experience.
Ian Dixon is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), founder of TheDigitalLifestyle.com tech site and producer of the weekly The Digital Lifestyle Show podcast. Ian has been writing and talking about Windows for over 10 years and has over 20 years in IT as an IT Manager. Ian has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook and over 4 million views on his YouTube channel.