Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Media Center in the Living Room: Part 5 "Live TV"

I was listening to the Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Public Radio, but wanted to actually see some of it.
The last time I watched a live political event (the Presidential Inauguration) I did so on Hulu using my laptop.
This time, I wanted to watch from the living room using the xbmc box.
Unfortunately, the Hulu stand-alone application isn't available for linux, and I haven't figured out how to control the web version using the remote.

So we'll see what can be done using xbmc.
I've been using Navi-X for a few weeks to watch podcasts, and I knew they had streaming sources, so I poked around in their directory.

Turns out, there's quite a few streaming video sources in the Navi-X directory. I was surprised to see rtsp streams from so many broadcasters. Turns out they just have unprotected streams and someone posted links on a forum. I have no idea if the broadcasters approve the direct viewing of these streams.

Here's my results for the news broadcasts:
Low-res, bad audio: C-SPAN.
VHS-quality viewing:BBC World News Service, MSNBC.
Great image, good audio: CNN Live, Fox News Channel.

My crappy box was able to play all of these streams just fine.

Fox had the best presentation, but had a tendency to break for commercial or commentary whenever a Democrat had the floor.

There is one serious downside to Navi-X for me. It does not use the xbmc "skin" system. The monitor I use as a TV is pretty small for the job, so I use a large font to make it readable across the room. Navi-X uses a smaller font and is very hard for me read.

XBMC with Navi-X isn't as slick as slick as Boxee (which is based on XMBC), but it's been a lot more stable for me.

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1 comment:

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