For our July “Staff Pick” Project of the Month, we selected MediaPortal, an app that turns your PC into a very advanced MediaCenter / HTPC. The team behind the project shared some thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.
SourceForge (SF): What made you start this?
MediaPortal Team (MT): MediaPortal was born in 2003 as a Windows port of XBMC (now Kodi). These days we can only guess the motivation behind it was to provide an open source alternative to Windows Media Center.
SF: Has the original vision been achieved?
MT: Absolutely, we achieved the original vision and so much more. MediaPortal is the de facto standard for 10 foot experience on Windows.
SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?
MT: People wanting to replace all the consumer electronics boxes under their TV with just the one Microsoft Windows machine. The idea is that rather than having a DVR, a dedicated gaming console, optical media players or other media boxes you just have one Windows machine that does all that for you. You could even get rid of your cumbersome A/V receiver if you wanted too. Today’s systems like the famous Sonos PlayBar will let you do just that. MediaPortal brings everything together from live TV, to movies, to music, photo slide shows. MediaPortal enables users to make the most of their sophisticated TV sets notably by delivering 4K UHD and 3D content in such a convenient way.
SF: What core need does MediaPortal fulfill?
MT: At the core of MediaPortal is the live TV, time shifting and recording functionalities, quite simply it’s the best DVR out there. You also get movie and music management functionalities and so much more through our vibrant community of plug-in developers, notably giving you access to all sorts of online video and music services.
SF: How can we get the most out of using MediaPortal?
MT: Get involved with the community. Share your ideas, software and hardware projects on our forums, publish your own plug-in or even contribute to the core code base. Thus you will yourself forge the future of this great project.
SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?
MT: We have a really strong team of passionate and friendly individuals who manage to come together release after release and year after year, to deliver an extraordinary product. The key to MediaPortal success is the openness, the attention to detail and the dedicated staff forming this fantastic community.
SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases helps build up your community of users?
MT: Definitely, in fact it’s the key to a stable product and user satisfaction.
SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?
MT: It’s really hard for us to tell. This project has been running since 2003 and most of the original staff is long gone already. That’s probably the greatest strength of Team MediaPortal: it’s ability to renew itself both at the technology level and at the human level.
SF: What helped make that happen?
MT: Team MediaPortal was able to renew itself thanks to staff dedicated to the maintenance and betterment of our online facilities.
SF: How has SourceForge and its tools helped your project reach that success?
MT: SourceForge is an essential part of MediaPortal’s online presence. It helps give this project better visibility drawing users and potential contributors to our community.
SF: What is the next big thing for MediaPortal?
MT: Team MediaPortal’s major projects are MP1, MP2 and our TV service. We are continually working toward improving those products.
We are notably working toward adding MadVR support to MP1.
MP2 is making the final run toward its first golden release.
TV service is also getting a most anticipated new release following some major refactoring.
SF: How long do you think that will take?
MT: As long as it needs to.
MP1 is usually getting 3 to 4 releases a year.
MP2 should be starting a regular release schedule this year too.
The TV service (which is currently distributed as part of our MP client) should also be getting its own release schedule from next year.
SF: Do you have the resources you need to make that happen?
MT: Not quite, so anyone is welcome to join the community to help make it happen faster.
Good projects are always looking for talented contributors.
SF: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently for MediaPortal?
MT: Well we are doing it all over again with MP2, it delivers a much improved architecture enabling great functionalities such as Picture In Picture (PIP) also called MultiView.
SF: Is there anything else we should know?
MT: We are working on better BD-J support and MadVR rendering.
We would like to support HbbTV and other great features but we would need to staff up to make it happen.
It would be fantastic if we could strike up deals with content providers to implement their DRM policies and officially support them.
Be able to run MediaPortal on ReactOS would be great too, though we don’t have the resources to make it happen yet.