XBMC Live TV / PVR – DVBLogic’s DVBLink – Part2

In Part 1 we looked at the DVBLink Server “back-end” in Part 2 we will look at the Official XBMC add-on for DVBLink aka the “front-end”.

There are actually two XBMC add-ons as far as I can tell, one is an official XBMC add-on from DVBLogic the second is a 3rd Party add-on. There are major differences between the two XBMC add-ons for DVBLink and how they work, I recommend you try both and decide which one you want to use.

Official XBMC add-on for DVBLink

The official add-on can be found on this wiki page. There is a download link to a .zip file, below are the instructions from DVBLogic.

Xbmc addon guide.jpg

DVBLink Client for XBMC can be downloaded free of charge from our website [1]

After downloading, unzip the folder contents to c:\program files\xbmc\addons (on Windows) or to ~/.xbmc/addons (on Linux).

The DVBLink Client for XBMC appears under Programs menu of XBMC.

Installing the add-on

I simply installed the add-on in XBMC by using the Install add-on from ZIP file option.

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The add-on can then be found under the Programs area of XBMC (Note I am currently using the default XBMC skin Confluence).

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Bring up the context menu (C key on keyboard) and select Add-on settings

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If you installed DVBLink server on the same machine as your XBMC install you can leave the Server Address as localhost, however if you installed DVBLink Server on to your WHS or NAS change this and enter the IP address of your WHS or NAS.

If you specified a user name and password in the DVBLink Server configuration webpage in the settings area as discussed in Part 1 then you need to enter those same login details here.

Click OK to save your changes.

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The official XBMC add-on for DVBLink is a stand alone Program add-on where as the 3rd Party add-on is a PVR Client, the differences will become more clear when you see the 3rd Party add-on covered in Part 3.

Launching the Program add-on

For now to launch the official XBMC add-on for DVBLink from the Programs area of XBMC simply select the DVBLink Client entry from the list.

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DVBLink Client add-on User Interface

You will then see a screen like this one, the UI is blue and is similar to Windows Media Center.

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If you push up arrow on the remote control or keyboard TV Recordings is the first menu item.

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As you can see I only have one Recorded TV show currently. DVBLink records TV shows in the .TS file format in case you were wondering!

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If I select Add recording, I have options to add a manual recording or select from the TV guide

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If I select the TV guide option it brings up this screen, which isn’t actually the TV guide its just a help page that tells you: Adding recording from TV guide. Please select a program from the guide and press “Record” button. If you select the Go to button you are then taken to the EPG proper.

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TV Guide – Displays Now and Next

I am not sure about this, the guide only seems to show now and next. I can’t scroll forward in time anymore that that. I have confirmed with DVBLogic and this is expected behaviour which is a little disappointing, would be nice if you can look forward in time more.

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If I click enter on a show it is buffered and then starts to play /stream from the tuner in the WHS.

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If I press i on the keyboard (Info) whilst I have a TV show highlighted in the EPG, you see a page like this, here I can select to Play / Record / Series Record.

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If I press i on the keyboard (Info) or just select OK whilst highlighting a channel in the EPG….

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, I am taken to a screen like this one, that lists programs on this particular channel.

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If I scroll down to the very bottom of this program list the guide data goes all the way up to the 13/06/2013 its the 06/06/2013 today. So extend guide data is available for individual channels, just not in the main EPG view!

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You can also access the TV Guide from the main menu

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The next menu item is Live TV, if I select this it just plays the last TV channel I was watching.

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Whilst a TV show is playing if I bring up the context menu (C on the keyboard) it looks like this and displays a channel list. I can then select another channel from the list and it starts playing that channel.

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Search

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Keyword Search

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Categories

I selected Movie and nothing gets displayed, I then selected some other categories Documentary and Comedy and again no items were displayed.

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Some other Categories did work like Music and Kids

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I believe the guide data obtained from the DVB stream is not great for information like genres / categories. I am currently using DVBLink’s in-built eit scanner.

It has been recommended to use something like Digiguide EPG loader or EPG Collector for a richer set of guide data. This would improve the categories in the add-on.

Summary

As you can see the official DVBLink add-on for XBMC isn’t too bad, its functional. It’s certainly not as advanced as Windows MCE but I never expected it would be. It is however a stand alone XBMC Program add-on and as such does not integrate fully with the XBMC Live TV / PVR stuff unlike the 3rd Party add-on which I will cover in Part 3.

Pros:-

  • Easy to install and setup
  • Clean looking UI similar to Windows MCE.
  • Functional and supports series recording

Cons:-

  • Is a XBMC Program add-on and not a XBMC PVR Client
  • You will always get this blue UI and it won’t blend in with your XBMC skin like Aeon
  • Main EPG view only shows Now and Next – although you can get extended guide data by selecting individual channels
About the author cw-kid:
Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP

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