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Friday, 10 January 2014

New XBMC add-on – Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver

After switching from MCE to XBMC one thing I really missed was the MCE photo screensaver, as I would use that to view our family photos whilst listening to music.

There is a new XBMC add-on being developed called Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver which somewhat fills this gap and its certainly a sterling attempt!

The add-on has not been released in to the official XBMC repository as yet but you can find the forum thread for it here and there is a .zip file you can download and install in XBMC.

Just so you know what I am talking about the developer @Sphere has done a nice demo video:

There are several modes in which the screensaver can run in.
At the moment the add-on itself includes five complete unique looking modes:
  • TableDrop
    Should look like dropping images to a table as seen from above.
  • StarWars
    Good old star wars intro text effect
  • RandomZoomIn
    I like fireworks...
  • AppleTVLike
    Effect of images flying through the screen from the bottom to the top, at different depth levels.
  • GridSwitch
    A grid of images, with random switching new images, one by one.
These are screenshots from my HTPC running the screensaver:











You can also in the screensaver add-on settings, set it to Random so then each time the screensaver is launched you will see one of the five modes. I think the AppleTVLike is my favourite one!
The screensaver as of version 0.10 can now also be launched as a Program add-on which was my feature request. And I will explain why you would want this.

Whilst listening to music and in order to have the screensaver automatically launched by XBMC after so many minutes, the default is 3 minutes, you would have to go in to XBMC Settings – Appearance – ScreenSaver and you would have to turn OFF the option: Use Visualization if playing audio.


This would mean that when playing music the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver would always be launched and you would lose your skins Music Visualization feature.

Here is the Aeon MQ5 skins music playback fullscreen / visualization, which I like and want to see by default!


So by making the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver also launchable as an XBMC Program add-on we can have the best of both worlds. What I have done is left the “Use Visualization if playing audio” setting turned on.
Then in the Program add-ons area I highlighted the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver addon and selected to add it to favourites.

(Don’t worry about the white square there is just no add-on icon been made as yet.)


Bring up the context menu and select Add to favourites.


Then using the Aeon MQ5 menu customization feature I was able to add this favourite to my Pictures sub-menu. (was renamed from Images)


So now on my Pictures menu on the sub-menu I have an option to manually launch the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver.


This means when I am playing music by default the Aeon MQ5 playback fullscreen / visualization will kick in. But if I want to view our family photos whilst listening to music instead, I would go to the Pictures sub-menu and launch the Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver. Currently to exit the screensaver when launched in this manner, I think you have to either press Escape or Stop, Backspace still doesn’t appear to be working for me.

The Multi SlideShow ScreenSaver is easy to configure, in the add-on settings under Mode you can choose the default mode the screensaver should be launched into or you can choose Random.



And then under Image Source, you just point it to the folder path where you photos are stored.


Or if you prefer you can have your media library artwork being displayed instead. For example you can change the source to Movie and the Property to Fanart to have your Movie fanart images displayed in the screensaver


Movie Fanart:


Albums Fanart:


Note: There doesn't appear to be an option to display TV Show fanart.


This is the best photo screensaver for XBMC in my opinion and if you have been missing the MCE photo screensaver this could make you feel a whole lot happier!

Highly recommended add-on!

UPDATE: I've just noticed after launching the screensaver from the XBMC Programs add-on list, after a period of time my screen becomes dimmed. See screen shot below, not sure how to stop this from happening at the moment, will report back.

So looks like there are still some issues to sort out.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

IP Security CAM image in XBMC using “Security CAM Overlay” add-on

Firstly its the 1st of Jan 2014 today, so happy New Year to all my blog readers, hope you had a good one last night!

Now down to business..

There is a new XBMC add-on being developed called “Security CAM Overlay”. This is a script that can be used to display IP security camera images in XBMC, I am using XBMC Frodo V12.2 just so you know. This is ideal for doorbell scenes where the CAM image can be displayed in XBMC for a set number of seconds and then it automatically disappears again.

The current version of Security CAM Overlay is version 0.0.4 which can be found on this forum post here. There is no official forum page for this add-on currently and its not in any repositories, so keep an eye out on that forum thread for any new updates being put out. UPDATE: The add-on thread can be found here.

Installation is simple, just download the file and install it as a Zip in XBMC add-ons area. Once installed the add-on will be listed in your Program add-ons list


Right click the add-on and select Add-on Settings


Under the Camera section, in the Image URL field enter the URL of the JPG image of your IP camera and in the username and password fields enter those details to access the camera etc.

The Image URL will vary depending on the type of IP camera you are using, refer to your manufacturers product guides for the correct URL to be used.


Under the Behaviour section, you can specify things like the image size to be displayed, image refresh interval, enable auto close and how many seconds the image should stay on screen for. Select OK to save your settings once happy.


To test its working from the Program add-ons list simply select the Security CAM Overlay and click OK / Enter.

Your IP cameras image should then slide in as an overlay in the right hand side of the XBMC UI. I am using a cheap China dome camera and its currently dark so not the best images in these screen shots etc. After 15 seconds of whatever you have set it as, the image will then slide away and disappear again.


Home Automation

Now to integrate this in to your Home Automation system, we can use a HTTP JSON call to initiate the Security CAM Overlay add-on.

To test you can just use a web browser on your workstation and enter a command like the one below in to the address bar and hit enter
The IP address being the static IP address of your XBMC PC and the port number being the WebServer port number of XBMC, the default being port 80.

You first may need to turn on the WebServer and adjust the port number in the XBMC Settings –> Network –> WebServer


If it works then the IP cameras image will then be displayed in XBMC.

For integrate in to Micasaverde VERA which is my Home Automation system I used this command in my doorbell scene in the LUUP code tab for example.

   1: luup.inet.wget("{"jsonrpc":"2.0","method":"Addons.ExecuteAddon","params":{"addonid":"script.securitycam"},"id":"1"}}")
Now when someone presses my Z-Wave enabled doorbell the IP Camera image is popped up in XBMC!



Fantastic XBMC script which I am very happy has now been released as an easy to install and setup add-on. Highly recommended!

See the Update / Part 2 here