Saturday, April 11, 2009

GeekTonic Week in Review: April 11

A smallish lineup of posts again this week, but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel from my work-life.  Thats good news for GeekTonic as I should begin ramping up the meaty content here with a lot more news, how-to's and other great content.  In case you missed anything from the past week, here is a summary of the past week's news and stories on GeekTonic.

Week In Review:

Stay tuned for more in-depth content for Media Gadget Fans at  If you’re in to the Twitter thing, be sure and follow me on twitter under the name GeekTonic.  Thanks for Reading GeekTonic!

MediaPortal HTPC Software Releases 1.0.1

MediaPortal, one of the more popular open-source and free HTPC software programs has released a new version.  The focus on this version is stability and useability - both very important to the success of MediaPortal and HTPC software in general.  This version includes an update feature that allows you to update from within the user interface of MediaPortal.

Highlights of the MediaPortal 1.0.0 release include:

TV guide:

  • Improvements concerning the speed of the TV guide
  • New group button which allows switching between TV channel groups more easily 


  • Support for analog TV cards has been improved a lot, TV experience should be much smoother now 


  • Animations of default skin feel a lot snappier
  • Scrolling text is displayed smoother
  • Subfolder navigation is much faster in certain circumstances
  • Pictures plugin is more responsive during DB additions
  • Better handling of network shares
  • Faster channel zapping  

Better error handling:

  • Users will receive an error message when video files don't play due to missing codecs
  • GPU recovery in Windows Vista will no longer hang the system
  • Better handling of system wake-ups from standby 


  • Configuration now remembers the removal of optical drives
  • Support for the DVD Navigator of PowerDVD 8
  • The previous limit of 20 shares was increased to 128 

Various others:

  • The Refreshrate Changer is now integrated into MP
  • Recordings can now be imported even if the channel does no longer exist
  • Better handling of skin changes from within the MP GUI
  • Subtitles can now be enabled / disabled from the GUI
  • Integrate non-linear (smart) stretching of 4:3->16:9
  • Automatic start of the TVService if necessary


For the complete changelog and installation instructions head over to the MediaPortal Website

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Media Gadget Showcase - Suresh's Home Theater and HTPC

The sixth submission for the GeekTonic Media Gadget Showcase Series is a Home Theater and HTPC setup by Suresh, a GeekTonic reader and HTPC enthusiast.  Read on for his great write-up with photos to share all about how he uses his HTPC and Converted an unfinished basement into a very nice, useful Home Theater Room.

NOTE:  This is a guest post by Suresh.  To read more about how to submit your photos and/or write-ups for the GeekTonic Media Gadget Showcase Series, read this.  Basic guidelines for writing and submitting a guest post at GeekTonic can be found here.



The entertainment area at my home primarily consists of my family room and my basement. The goal is to have the ability to watch the same programming at both the places with the same kind of interface.

Home Network

I have Verizon DSL for my internet and download needs. I have a Dlink Green 5 port Gigabit Ethernet switch attached to my DSL modem. I have cat 5e cable running from the switch to my family room HTPC and also my basement HTPC. I also have Cat 6 cable running to my office room upstairs. I do not have any issues watching SD or HD content that is stored in my main HTPC (family room) throughout my house as it is all wired. I avoid wireless connection when streaming video.


Family Room


  • Vizio 1080p 47inch LCD TV
  • Yamaha 5.1 Dolby digital/DTS receiver with Yamaha speakers and a powered sub-woofer
  • Direct TV H23-600 HD receiver box (HDMI) Straight to the TV
  • Nintendo Wii – primarily for my 3.5 year old son to play – connected to the Vizio (composite)
  • My main HTPC (Intel Based) which is the backbone of my home entertainment.
  • Harmony 880 (what a great device -J)

HTPC Specs

  • Silver Stone LC17B case
  • Intel E6550 2.33 ghz processor / 4GB RAM on a MSI board with inbuilt HD audio – SPDIF out directly to my Yamaha receiver
  • Vista home premium & Mediaportal
  • EVGA 9600GT DDR3 512mb super clocked graphics card – DVI to HDMI to my Vizio
  • Hauppage 1800 Tuner – with OTA $10 antenna to get OTA HD and also connected via S-video to my Direct TV box.
  • Microsoft IR receiver and the IR transmitter stuck to the front of the Direct TV box.
  • LG Bluray Drive with Power DVD 7.3
  • Seagate 500gb drive with OS. WD 1TB green drive with movies, music and photos


I use both Vista MediaCenter and Mediaportal for my needs. After tinkering around with Mediaportal to get my DVR working and wasting a ton of time, I decided to stick with Vista MCE for my DVR needs as it is so easy. Microsoft has made such a wonderful product… it is just amazing. All you need to do it hookup the cables, put in your zip code, select your provider and viola…. EPG is downloaded automatically and everything is taken care within like 30mts. Nothing to beat Vista MCE in terms of DVR functionality, ease of setup and ease of use.

As far as my other media (DVD, movies in AVI, DIVX and XVID) – I primarily use Mediaportal for couple of reasons - the ability to remember a ton of movies at their last watched points and the ability to easily switch between codecs to watch any kind of video. All my DVD’s are direct rips from DVD’s that I own and they are all in VOB format at 100% quality. I still cannot believe that mediaportal is a free software. For people like me who use want to organize their movies, music photos and have a nice interface with customizable screens etc….mediaportal is the way to go.

For my bluray needs I use Power DVD 7.3 and the LG bluray drive. I have media browser installed in Vista MCE and it takes care of auto loading the Bluray ISO and firing up PowerDVD. I have a Quit PDVD button programmed in my Harmony which closes Power DVD and restores Vista MCE. We watch all our recorded TV through Vista MCE.


  • CCCP Codec pack with FFD Show and Haali Splitter
  • AC3 filter

Some Photos from Family room HTPC – Vizio 47 inch and Yamaha speakers



Silver Stone LC 17B with bluray drive





  • Panasonic AE7000U projector
  • 92 inch widescreen Elite Screen (retractable with remote)
  • Pioneer VSX815 Dolby digital/DTS receiver
  • Definitive 5.1 speakers with powered sub-woofer
  • Dish 811 HD receiver (bought on ebay and just used as a HD unscrambling box for OTA channels) – connected through component to projector (40ft)
  • Microsoft MCE remote. I have the Harmony also programmed to be used in the basement

HTPC Specs

  • Silver Stone LC10B case
  • AMD 64 X2 4000 2.1ghz processor on ASUS board with 2GB RAM
  • Windows XP & Mediaportal
  • EVGA 8600GT DDR3 512mb graphics card – DVI to HDMI to my Panny (40ft cable)
  • HP IR receiver
  • Lite-on DVD burner
  • SPDIF audio out to my receiver
  • Two IDE drives with all my personal data
  • 1 Samsung spin point 1TB drive that has a backup from my WD 1 TB in the main PC
  • I also have a WD 160Gb external drive that backs up my personal data


I use Mediaportal primarily in my basement. All the movies that I have in my family room HTPC are mapped through network folders in mediaportal and I get the same interface in both places. I also have a copy of PowerDVD running on this machine to watch Bluray movies. I am a big NFL fan and watch all the games in my basement on the big screen. I use the Dish HD box primarily during the NFL season to unscramble the OTA signals. I bought this box in ebay for around 100$ in 2005 and preferred that rather than getting it from dish and giving a 2 year commitment.

If there is a need to watch any of the Recorded TV from Vista Mce, I just use windows media player because of all the dvr-ms issues.


  • CCCP Codec pack with FFD Show and Haali Splitter
  • AC3 filter


A Still from Indian movie and Mediaportal MyVideos on my 92 inch screen in the basement




More on my Basement

We bought our house in early 2004 and the basement was unfinished. We decided to finish the basement ourselves and started the work in July 2005 and finished it in October 2005. It was me, my wife and a good friend who did most of the work. We got a professional to do the carpet install and the basic electric work. We did the rest of the job ourselves – framing, drywall, dry wall finishing, painting, false ceiling, home theater speaker wiring etc. It was a great experience. The total cost was around 5k for materials and labor (carpet and electric work included) and 5k for the electronics stuff (lamps, projector, Definitive speakers, harmony 880, media stand etc). It was a great investment and we have been enjoying the space for over three years now. The total finished area is around 660sq.ft. The distance between the screen and projector/seating area is around 18 feet. We added the reclining sofa in March 2007.

Before Picture (L shaped basement)



After Picture





Before Picture



After Picture (the door on the left has access to the heat and water unit). The door on the right is

for access to storage area.






About Suresh:  Suresh lives in in the Baltimore area with his wife and son (3.5 years old).  He moved to the US from India in 1997 and has been in the Washington DC – Baltimore area ever since. His family loves traveling and has visited most of the States in the US and many countries. As far as our TV/movie watching needs…"we are not that much in to TV. We watch stuff like dateline, 20/20 and a lot of travel channel and HGTV. That is how we got hooked into finishing our own basement (more on that in the following pages). I decided to build a HTPC in late 2007 and started reading avsforums, TGB etc. I have been hooked on to these sites and blogs like GeekTonic and digital lifestyle ever since."  Thanks to Suresh for sharing his media setup.

Read more about Suresh's HTPC and Home Theater on his blog.


If you'd like to have your setup or media gadgets highlighted, and want a chance to win some spending cash via gift certificate read the guidelines for submission here.  We're looking for things as simple as a few photos of your favorite media-related gadgets or as elaborate as the the HTPC setup outlined above or any of our past features like:

Either way, join in on the GeekTonic flickr group and upload your media gadget photos!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Final Episodes of Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money Arrive this Summer

ABC has announced when they will air the final episodes of three popular TV shows they terminated earlier this season.  All three of them have some loose ends to tie up so while the announcement is a bit bittersweet, its nice to know the network will at least air those final episodes for the fans.

Here's the planned schedule (all times Eastern):

  • Pushing Daisies - May 30 10pm, June 6 10pm and June 13 10pm
  • Eli Stone - June 20 10pm, June 27 10pm, July 4th 10pm and July 11th 10pm
  • Dirty, Sexy, Money - July 18 10pm, July 25 10pm, August 1 10pm and August 8 10pm


It's not as good as getting your favorite show renewed, but it is something...



I'm still working on the full, Summer TV schedule - should be finished and on GeekTonic next week.

Is Windows 7 Release Candidate on BitTorrent?

There are reports that the Release Candidate (7077) is available for your downloading pleasure on BitTorrent already.  So if you're very brave and can't wait another month (it's presumed to arrive May 2009) head to the wild world of torrents and get your Windows 7 (7077).


via NeoWin and Lifehacker

Deal of the Day - Seagate 1TB $80

If you're looking for additional internal storage for your computer, Amazon has a good one:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1 TB SATA 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Hard Drive ST31000333AS $79.99 with Free Shipping!


Thanks to Ryan for the tip!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Media Center Show Hits #200

As a HTPC enthusiast, I'm always looking for great content about Home Theater PCs.  One of my favorite podcasts is Ian Dixon's Digital Lifestyle Media Center Show.  His focus is exclusively Microsoft Media Center but even if you use a different HTPC software product you can learn a lot from Ian's podcasts.  This past week he produced show number 200 which is pretty amazing.

In the show Ian interviews Charlie Owen, Ed Bott and Chris Lanier for what runs out to be a great conversation about Media Center's past and future as well as several other HTPC related topics.  Congratulations to Ian for hitting the 200 mark - keep up the great work!

Media Center Show - Three Wise Men: Episode 200

Easily Change SageTV Registry Settings with GUI Tool

Andy, known by many as the current developer of “DVRMS Toolbox“ has created a new tool for SageTV.  SageTV Registry Settings is a simple, but useful GUI application that allows you to view and change each of the registry settings used by SageTV.  You can hover your mouse over each setting to get a short explanation of what the setting does (as a tool tip).
Below I’ve included three screenshots of the SageTV Registry Settings tool along with a short description of what settings you can access using it.  Warning:  These descriptions are going to get a little “techie”…
SageTV Registry Settings 1

The first tab labeled “Sage” includes the following settings:

  • Show Console Window – enables the DOS Console Window
  • Max Java Heap - Specifies the maximum heap size to use for the JVM in megabytes. If it's zero then SageTV will use its default.  Java Heap is an important setting for SageTV.  In laymans terms, the Java Heap setting determines how much system memory SageTV will use up. The default is 256MB, but if you are using one or more extenders or have much album art, you’ll want to dial that up a bit.  512MB is very common and some even go higher.  Read more about the setting in this SageTV forum thread.
  • DirecTV Serial BaudRate - Specifies the baud rate to use for the DirecTV Serial connection (not set by default, which causes autodetection)
  • DirecTV CmdSet - Specifies which command set (old or new) to use for the DirecTV serial connection. 0 is old, 1 is new (not set by default, which causes autodetection
  • DirecTV Serial Fast Channel Changes - Bitmask for modifying how DirecTV serial commands are sent. 1 uses fast channel changes (it doesn't send each individual key); 2 ignores replies from the receiver; 4 disables sending of the extra 0xd byte at the end of the command (default is unset, which disables all these features)

SageTV Registry Settings 2

The second tab is labeled “DirectShow”

  • Custom Demux Guide - Specify a custom demux filter by the filter's GUID
  • SD Capture Rate - Specifies the scale factor for bitrate when SD content is detected on the HDPVR input. The value is divided by 10 before being applied; the default is 25 which scales down by a factor of 2.5
  • Enable Standard File Playback - EnableStandardFilePlayback" default="1" name="Enable Standard File Playback" description="If set then SageTVClient will try to playback files from the server by using local filesystem paths if they exist instead of streaming from the server. default is 1
  • Top Field First - Controls field ordering when using software encoding; defaults to 1
  • Use Larger Buffers For Network Capture - Enables optimizations that help with network encoding file transfers by using much larger packet sizes (off by default, 1 enables it) - The Large Buffers For Network Capture setting only applies to network encoders (not the HDHR). It affects buffering on the output from the directshow capture device before it is sent to the network. Many capture devices output in 2K chunks; and that's not optimal for network transfers; so that option buffers them up and sends them as larger chunks (64k).  This setting would need to be made on the machine running the network encoder.
  • Prefer AC3Filter - Switches to using AC3Filter for the audio decoder even if the SageTV Audio Decoder is selected (on by default)
  • Color Velocity - Adjusts the speed the colors change for the default music visualization (default is 1)
  • Velocity - Adjusts the speed the position changes for the default music visualization (default is 1)

SageTV Registry Settings 3

The last tab is labeled “Renderer” and includes the following Settings:

  • EVR Frame Drop Threshold - Specified how many frames late an EVR sample can be without being dropped; default is 2
  • Number of EVR Input Pins - Specifies the number of input pins on the EVR filter. Default is unset which corresponds to 1 on XP and 3 on Vista or higher.
  • Number of EVR Buffers - Specifies the number of frame buffers that EVR should use for display (default is 2)
  • EVR Uses PC Color Space - If set to 1, then the hint for using the 0-255 color range instead of 16-235 will be used when configuring the EVR (Default is 0)
  • Allow CC for VMR9 - Specifies if VMR9 should add additional input pins to enable CC and subpicture display, default is 1 (which means use extra pins)
  • YUV Mixing - Enables YUVMixing mode for VMR9 (default is on)
Andy built the tool so new settings could easily be added using the xml settings file.  A great tool that you probably won’t use frequently, but it’s crazy-easy to use and very useful for those times you might need to tweak a registry setting for SageTV.

Download and read more about SageTV Registry Settings
Discussion Welcome at this SageTV Forum Thread

via Andy VT’s Blog

Your SageTV now Tweets Too - Introducing SageTweet

Twitter LogoThis past February, I was browsing one of my favorite Digital Media Blogs, ZatzNotFunny! and reading an article about making the TiVo tweet.  That article got me thinking and I posted a request for a similar twitter app for the HTPC software I use at my home, SageTV.  I'm not sure if Derek ever saw that post or was just inspired to create this app on his own, but either way I'm really happy with the result.  SageTV now has its own cool Twitter app that enables your SageTV devices to "tweet" their status on Twitter.
Currently you SageTweet allows you to connect your SageTV server to twitter and report what is recording, when to expect your next scheduled recording and alerts you to when your server is running out of disk space.  This version is an early beta version with future enhancements planned including lots of UI polish as well as the ability to tweet additional alerts such as recording conflicts etc.  You can also connect any of your extenders (SageTV Client PC's Included) which can tweet what shows are being watched. 

Using SageTweet

I've been using SageTweet for the last few days and have found it pretty useful.    First I set up a unique twitter account just for my SageTV HTPC.  You can see what kind of info SageTweet gives you by checking out my HTPC's twitter account at GeekTonicHTPC.  Once I had the twitter account set up, I then followed that twitter account from my main GeekTonic twitter account.  This way I see that info about my SageTV HTPC in my twitter "feeds".  Here's what the tweets looks like on Twitter:
 SageTwitter 6
I gave Adam over at Entertainment 2.0 a little "trouble" over his Windows 7 Media Center tweets (similar twitter functionality using Media Center Health Monitor) because of some daytime programming (my HTPC tends to record those silly soap operas also by the way thanks to the wife) so I can understand how some might not want to share every little detail about their HTPC's behaviors.  If this is a concern, you could "protect" your HTPC's twitter account so that only you could see it.  I'll keep mine exposed for now to continue the testing - so far it's only been some spammier accounts following it so I doubt it will be an issue anyway.

Installation of SageTweet 

  1. Download latest version of SageTweet (currently at the SageTV-Addons Page on Google Code
  2. Extract and install in your SageTV\SageTV folder
  3. If you don't already have the SageTV Jetty plugin installed, follow these instructions to install SageTV Jetty (NOTE: SageTV Jetty is also used in several other apps including the SageTV Mobile app.)
  4. Open up a web browser and navigate to http://SERVERNAME:8080/sagetweet/ (Replace SERVERNAME with your servers IP address or servername.)  Also note that the port (I used 8080) should match the port you set for Jetty in step 3.
  5. Next you'll see the simple SageTweet GUI as shown below:

This first screen-shot shows the SageTweet Server settings:

In the current beta version, you can set your server to tweet (or not to tweet) and tell it when and what to tweet.

This next screen-shot is the SageTV Client Settings page:

This page is where you tell it which clients you want tweeting by putting in the client ID (you'll find these in the SageTV\SageTV\Clients\ directory) and tell it which twitter account to tweet.  Hypothetically, each server and individual SageTV client could have its own twitter accounts.  I set all of mine to go to the same Twitter account.

This 3rd Party SageTV application was developed by Derek Battams and uses Twitter4J (is a Java Library for the Twitter API) and Jetty to make things work.  Derek is the mastermind behind a few other SageTV apps that I've been eyeing for a while and hope to report on more in future articles.  This app is highly recommended for SageTV users.  It's pretty easy to set up and if you're a twitter user, quite useful as well.

For more SageTV information on GeekTonic, be sure and check out the GeekTonic Ultimate Guide to SageTV with lots of links, reviews, 3rd party app write-ups and more.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

TV Premieres: What To Watch April 5 - 11

Week 14 of the Winter/Spring 2009 TV Season has arrived.  Probably the longest list of new shows we've seen in a while so read on for all of the details.
       Harpers Island Cast
                           Harper's Island Premieres Thursday on CBS


Premieres and Returning Shows For this Week:

Sunday 04/05/2009

  • The 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards (8pm on CBS - avail in HD) -
  • The Tudors (9pm on Showtime - avail in HD) - Season 3 or the Tudors arrives on Showtime.  I've been catching up on this show thanks to Netflix and it's pretty good.  But I don't do the whole paid cable TV channel thing so I'll have to wait until this season is released to DVD.
  • In Treatment (10pm on HBO - avail in HD) - The season 2 premier for In Treatment arrives tonight on HBO


Monday 04/06/2009

  • NCAA Basketball Championship (9pm on CBS - avail in HD) - North Carolina takes on Michigan State in the NCAA championship.  I'll be pulling for Michigan State because I like the style of basketball they play and I never cheer for Roy Williams...
  • Surviving Suburbia (9:30pm on ABC - avail in HD) - A new comedy series on ABC focuses on a father, his wife and their two children.  Their normal life is disrupted by new, next-door neighbors that turn their suburban life upside down.  If you like Bob Saget, this might appeal to you.


Tuesday 04/07/2009

  • Rescue Me (10pm on FX - avail in HD) The season 5 premiere of Rescue Me arrives on FX
  • Deadliest Warrior (10pm on SpikeTV) - War-mongers from different times and places are pitted against each other in computer-rendered battles.  Hmm.


Wednesday 04/08/2009

  • The Unusuals (10pm on ABC - avail in HD) A new cop drama arrives on ABC.  I'll have a difficult time forgetting that one of my favorites from this past season (Life on Mars) was canceled and this show is in essence replacing it.  This is being billed as a "comedic procedural" - we'll call it a cop show with some comedy mixed in.  I don't know what to expect with this one, but I'll record it and if I get time check it out.


Thursday 04/09/2009

  • Parks and Recreation (8:30pm on NBC - avail in HD) - If you've missed the thousand or so commercials touting this show I'd be surprised.  But any "Office" or Amy Poehler fans will want to check this one out.  It's been billed as an "the Office" spinoff and while I'm not sure I love the storyline, if anyone can pull this off its probably Amy Poehler.  I'll be checking it out to see how they do.
  • Harper's Island (10pm on CBS - avail in HD) - CBS premiers this new show billed as a "horror-inspired murder mystery drama."  A group of friends and family meet to celebrate a wedding on an island outside of Seattle.  The island is famous for a series of unexplained murders and everyone seems to get more involved in the mystery than they expected.  This is on my record and watch later list.
  • Southland (10pm on NBS - avail in HD) - NBC brings us a new drama focused on the lives of police officers from LA.  You can check the pilot episode out now on Hulu if you want.
  • Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire (10pm on Comedy) - The Comedy channel brings us a new comedy series with a very long name.  It has some Monty Python and Princess Bride feel to it - follow Krod and his freedom fighters as they fight evil and try to save the world.  It better be funny because it sounds almost to dumb to endure for me.


That’s it for this week.  Stay tuned for a few more premieres which you’ll find on GeekTonic this coming Sunday morning and each week on Sundays.  New shows still on the way including: "State of the Union" (Showtime), "Prison Break" Spring Premier on Fox, "Sit Down, Shut Up" on Fox, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" on USA, and "In Plain Sight" on USA.  After that we'll be into the Summer seasons - I'm working on the Summer TV Premiere List that should be ready in the next few weeks.


Click Here If You Would Like to Get a Weekly E-mail for GeekTonic TV Premieres & News

SageMC 3rd Party App Releases 6.3.9 – FanArt Improvements and More

SageMC, the very popular replacement User Interface for the SageTV HTPC software has a new release that includes many improvements and a few new features.  At first glance the changelog might not sound exciting, but it doesn’t take long to realize there are some very nice improvements built in to this version.

(NOTE: If you're new to SageMC, read the GeekTonic SageMC primer for more info.)

Most of the changes included in this version of SageMC are related to FanArt – I’ll go into the details of those changes below.  A decision was made to re-work the way FanArt worked and along with these changes, the developers of SageMC, BatchMetaTools and the alternative TV and Movie Info Screens all worked together on these changes so all related plugins and add-ons will utilize the new FanArt features the same way.



There are also several very nice non-FanArt-related improvements in this version of SageMC including:

  • SageTV core subtitle support – A Recent SageTV software update added built-in support for subtitles and this version of the SageMC add-on now supports those subtitles as well.
  • Capture frame from video (not DVDs) as fan art background – While viewing a TV Show or video, hit the option button on your remote control and select “Capture Frame as Fan Art”.  This will save that screen-shot as a FanArt backgroud for that show/video.
  •  SageMC ScreenCapture as Fanart

    • Sort video library by Date Added (media file time stamp) – This was my number one request for the developers of the SageMC add-on.  Probably the last thing I missed from the DVDLibrary add-on for the now extinct Snapstream BeyondMedia.  Now you can view your movies by Genre, Groups, File System, All Videos, and Date Added! Maybe it was just me, but the ability to view your movies by the most recently added was a very useful feature for those with very large movie libraries.  Thanks to Mike (MeInMaui) for adding this for us – I personally REALLY appreciate it!

    SageMC Movies Sorted by Date Added

  • Intelligent Sorting Option Added to Recorded TV screen – “Intelligent Sort” is a recorded TV sort available on the default SageTV and now has been added to SageMC by request.  When you choose Intelligent Sort, the list will be sorted by SageTV’s recording priority. Manual recordings are listed before Favorites, then Intelligent Recordings and live TV, followed by watched shows, with shows marked as Don’t Like listed last. Within each of those sections, the newer recordings are listed first. The Reversed form of this style simply reverses the sort order.
  • Change: Made Compress option in Send To menu available to all transcodable video files.
  • Added: Version check for phoenix.jar
  • Fix - Storage device popup now obeys the setting in "ui/notify_on_new_drive".
  • Fix: Recorded TV list not filling in completely, leaving gaps.
  • Fix: Dock menu style menu item did not revert to unfocused size when dock lost focus.
  • Fix: DVD Profiler searches included music with same title as video.
  • Fix: Menu graphic display order issues
  • Fix: Video OSD Info Panel would sometimes take up full screen. Limited size to top 30% of screen.


    The Fanart Features built-in to SageMC have been changed and improved upon significantly.  Updates Include:

      • Fanart background utilizes a new API called the Phoenix API.
      • Fanart now is required to be stored in a central “fanart” folder (can no longer store fanart with media file).  This central fanart folder uses the following hierarchy:










      • If multiple fan art backgrounds are available, the background will cycle between them with user defined period. Transitions are animated (fade).
      • TV series banner is shown in TV subgroup screen, if available.
      • Fan art can be displayed for non-recorded TV Airings.   This means that if you have fanart for a given show, you will see that fanart as you browse the Program Guide.  You can also download fanart right from the program guide
      • Fan art displayed when item selected in Recent/Upcoming recordings widgets on Main Menu.
      • Context sensitive Fan art can be displayed in Guide, My TV, Recorded TV, and Archived TV screens when ‘Context Sensitive Fan Art’ is enabled under Global Display settings. Feature can be separately disabled in the Guide under the EPG screen specific settings.
      • If Movie and TV cover art are not found in the default locations, posters will be used from the central fan art folder (if available).
      • Fix: Disable context sensitive fan art in My TV and Recorded TV screens.
      • Change: Shaded menu options now are Fan art Only (default), Always, and Never. (Choose Always for use with busy backgrounds where reading the text may become difficult.)


    • SageTV 6.x
    • Java 1.6
    • Good heart condition as this add-on is so awesome it could cause heart attacks due to excitement factor under certain conditions (jk)

    Download the update here, and the full install package here.


    • shut down the Sage UI
    • extract all files in this package into your SageTV folder (eg. E:\Video\SageTV\SageTV). Make sure to extract with preserving the directory structure, and overwrite older files if necessary
    • start Sage up again
    • load SageMC_169.xml in Setup/Advanced/Load Application Package from the default STV
    • configure SageMC specific settings (there are tons of them) to your liking, this can be done from the "Settings/SageMC" menu

    For automated downloading of fan art, use stuckless' Batch Metadata Importer. This utility will automatically store the fan art in the correct locations.  I’ll have a complete post about Batch Metadata Importer and FanArt very soon. 


    Read More About SageMC 6.3.9 in this Forum Thread