Another look at TunerFree MCE

Another look at TunerFree MCE

TunerFree MCE is a great Windows Media Center add-in for UK and US IP TV. Native Media Center is sorely lacking IP TV Content and TunerFree MCE has long been one of the best ways of adding online TV like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Channel 5 content, plus Hulu for US users. An updated version of the TunerFree MCE user interface has been out for a while now, but I wanted to take another look and perhaps if your not currently using this free add-in you might want to check it out. Of course donations are welcome and once a donation has been made you will receive a license to remove the start-up messages.

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The new TunerFree MCE user interface is very slick and much like Media Center itself with the up / down left / right pivot menus.

BBC

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ITV

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Channel 4

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Channel 5

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Favourites – Will automatically track and add in the TV Shows you have been watching the most. Online favourites are produced by all users of Tuner Free and what people are watching the most.

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Search – You can easily search for the TV Show you are looking for.

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Search for top gear

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Settings – There are various settings you can configure I wont cover them now, the Update now option allows you to manually force an update which will update TV Show content, however TunerFree MCE should automatically update itself periodically in the background as well.

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Help displays the remote control functions.

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You can play the Live TV Channels which are all Flash based as well as all the catch-up TV shows. In the case of the BBC channels allot of the catch-up programs are WMV streams which means the video plays natively in Media Center and Media Center Extenders, with all the regular transport controls etc.

Some of the BBC shows are Flash based however for example BBC HD. How TunerFree MCE handles content that is Flash based is to launch the TV Show on the Channels webpage. The webpage is embedded within Media Center

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BBC One Live (Flash) – If your HTPC has regular screen resolutions like 720p and 1080p the TunerFree MCE program has some auto mouse moves that will start the flash video playing and then make it go full screen. This works most of the time, but some times I need to use a mouse if things don’t quite work as expected. The Logitech TouchMouse iOS app is quite handy for controlling the mouse on the HTPC via my iPOD Touch.

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BBC Two Programs

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If you select a TV show you then see a nicely designed page with the TV show background image and each episode is listed for playback. Each episode has its own image and short synopsis.

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BBC Radio is also available for streaming

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My children like watching the CBBC and Cbeebies channels on their Linksys DMA extender and small wall mounted HDTV in their bedroom.

Overall I really like the new user interface and its a good improvement over previous versions of TunerFree MCE. With Microsoft neglecting Media Center development and media content in favour of the XBOX 360 dashboard, its great that Milliesoft are able to give use an excellent add-in for Windows Media Center and IP TV.

You can download TunerFree MCE here and please don’t forget to make a donation if you find the software useful.

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11 thoughts on “Another look at TunerFree MCE

  1. I’m surprised of the praise, last time I tried it was before xmas and I found it completely hit or miss as to whether things would play, much the same as the experience I’ve always had with the product.

    Often you select an episode, you’re then see a webpage with the episode and it either magically plays or just sits there on a webpage doing nothing. As there isn’t a proper api for a lot of these channels I guess the developer has to make scripts that ‘do things with the mouse’ like ‘move mouse to here, double click’.. so I guess when these people modify the website things go wrong.

    IPTV is something media center is sorely missing, msn tv is ok… it’s reliable and integrated which is important to me in the lounge. Boxee is great, annoying that you have to exit media center but along with the mce launcher it works well and there is quite a bit of content, I would say the youtube app on boxee gets the most use. Revision tv plugin for mce, it’s reliable and integrated plus they have some pretty good shows.

    I’ve never tried the tunerfree mce creators lovefilm addin, something I’d be happy to purchase if it was reliable.

    Any other IPTV plugins worth checking out? Reliability for me is key.. that impotent feeling when something goes wrong on a media center pc in the lounge when showing people is something I want to avoid.

  2. Hi

    Yes I agree embedding wepages in to Media Center is not the best solution but its currently the only solution for some flash based video pages. The mouse movements can be hit and miss you do really need a mouse app or HTPC keyboard / mouse to use TunerFree MCE.

    TV Catchup have a decent MCE add-in but is for live TV streams only, they play better in MCE however and are not based around webpages.
    http://plugins.tvcatchup.com/~mce/

    There is a very nice BBC iPlayer add-in for MCE that only uses the WMV streams so no wepages here.
    http://code.google.com/p/mce-media-core/downloads/list

    Kylo Browser is not an MCE add-in but is quite a good web browser for TV’s
    http://kylo.tv/

    SecondRunTV is American but might work in the UK? Not tried it for a long time
    http://www.secondrun.tv/

    MacroTube for You Tube and more
    http://code.google.com/p/macrotube-providers/

  3. sorry to make all these separate posts.

    macrotube – youtube, comes up with a video error when attempting play videos ‘this video is either no longe available or unplayable for techincal reasons

    iplayer plug – thought this was going to be great until play a vide oand it just sits on “buffering 0%”. What was interesting was when I collapsed the window with the mouse to check something on the desktop the video started playing. Then when i opened another video while still in window mode it sat on “buffering 0%” till i maximised the window. Tried on 2 different machines with the same results.

    Oh why can’t stuff just work with media center. I think mymovies is the only reliable thing i’ve ever installed.

  4. BBC iplayer addin seems ok for me just started playing film 2012 on BBC 1 ok.

    You are getting errors with macrotube because you need to download two new XML files for YouTube and YouTube HD and put them in the macrotube programdata folder somewhere search on the thegreenbutton.tv should tell you what to do or I can check on my htpc later.

  5. for iplayer, hm, maybe it’s my slow ass 1Mb connection that is not doing something.

    I had a look but couldn’t find what i wanted on tgb.

    Also.. does macrotube give funny search results, i seem to search for generic things and get back random videos.

  6. 1MB ? You might not have much fun streaming TV on such a slow connection, I had a faster connection when I lived on a coconut island in Thailand! Fibre is best Virgin Media or BT Infinity I currently have a 37MBPS connection.

    I used the BBC iPlayer add-in last night and played several TV Shows with no problems or buffering etc.

    I’ve written you a small blog post about how to install and fix Macrotube.

    https://thedigitallifestyle.com/w/index.php/2012/01/13/how-to-install-fix-macrotube-for-mce/

  7. Must be the connnection then. I got 2Mb/s in bangkok… until the evening when it seems the whole coutnry comes online, haha.

    Must just be my conncetion then, it is strange the collapse window/maximise window fix.

  8. I was getting about the same 2MB in Isaan and think I had 3MB when we lived on Koh Samui.
    So you in Thailand now or the UK? Watching BBC iPlayer was hit and miss with VPNs, Sometimes it worked great and I could watch my favourite shows other times it didn’t work for weeks. Think the BBC now have a paid for, international iPlayer? That wasn’t out when I lived abroad

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