Application Spotlight: MediaPortal

As some of you may already know, I have been slowly building a MediaCenter PC which is connected to my HI-FI, Network and Plasma TV. The main use of the machine to date has been a dockingcharging station for our iPod Shulle’s, Kat’s iPhone and my HTC Diamond. Boasting a massive ammount of MP3’s and Movies.

As it get’s little use I couldn’t bring myself to spend £80+ on Vista Home Premium so I could use the media center aspect. So it’s still running Windows XP Service Pack 3. 

All though all of the music and movies are indexed in iTunes (for obvious reasons) I have been constantly on the hunt for something to turn the machine from a PC to a proper media center. 

During my daily trawls on the net I managed to stumble accross MediaPortal. Which seems to be serving my needs perfectly.

What is MediaPortal?

mediaportalMediaPortal is an Open Source application ideal for turning your PC in a very advanced Multi-Media Center / HTPC. MediaPortal allows you to listen to your favorite music & radio, watch your video’s and DVD’s, view, schedule and record live TV and much more.

As Open Source software licensed under the GNU/GPL agreement, you get MediaPortal for free. This means anyone can contribute to MediaPortal or customize for their own needs!

MediaPortal is built on the Microsoft .NET framework using C# and currently has a growing international community of over 60,000 users. 

MediaPortal Features



  • Create your own skins, or choose one of the available skins!
  • MediaPortal can easily be extended with extra plugins
  • You decide which keys you want to use for which actions
  • Internal support for several remote control (streamzap, MCE, redeye, winlirc, hauppauge, FireDTV)
  • Windowed and fullscreen support


MediaPortal TV

  • Supports analog TV, DVB-C, DVB-T, DVB-S and ATSC
  • HDTV and AC3 support
  • Support for multiple tuners
  • Record, watch, and timeshift Live TV
  • Advanced recording scheduler:
    – Record once
    – Record now
    – Daily o Weekly
    – Weekdays (Mon-Fri)
    – Every time a program appears on this TV channel
  • Timeshifting,Watch, Pause, Rewind, FF, RW Live TV
  • Advanced recording management:
    – Handle conflicts
    – Set recording priorities
    – Quality settings / recording
    – Transcode to WMD, XVID or MPG
    – Diskmanagement auto deletes old and/or watched recordings
  • TVGuide:
    – Grab DVB-EPG & MHW-EPG directly for DVB
    – Supports XMLTV
    – Colors for genres
  • TV Guide search
  • TV Channel grouping
  • Supports over > 10000 channels
  • Auto channel tuning
  • Normal OSD (On Screen Display during movies/tv)
  • Special ZAP OSD (Shows description of what is playing currently on TV)
  • Support for Teletext
  • Standby control to put your HTPC sleeping. It will awake when there a recording needs to start

My Video / MyDVD

MediaPortal Video/DVD

  • Play any movie your PC has a codec for (divx, mpeg, matroska,…)
  • All your movies will be stored in MediaPortal’s video database
  • View your movies by actors, genres, year, title
  • Sort your movies by actors, genres, year, rating
  • Automatically retrieves video art & info from IMDB
  • Stacking/unstacking if your movie consists of multiple files
  • Internal DVD player with menu’s (you can also use an external DVD player)
  • On Screen Display (OSD) for: Pause, Rewind, FastForward, Stop, Mute, Bookmarks, Switching Audio Streams/Subtitle languages…
  • Resume from playback on next play

My Pictures 


  • Watch your pictures/photos
  • Slideshow support with nice transitions
  • Zoom in/out, rotate pictures (rotation is remembered next time)
  • Pause, previous/next picture
  • Delete picture(s)
  • Background music, either songs from my music, or radio from my radio
  • Auto thumbnail generation
  • Sort in Name, Date, Size
  • View in List, Icon or Big Icon display
  • Ken Burns effect slideshow
  • Filmstrip view

My Music


  • View your music by artists, albums, genres, top100 or plain songs
  • Sort your music in many ways like tracks, genre, filesize, artists, album,…
  • Use visualisations from Windows ?Media Player 10
  • Load, create & save playlists (.m3u, .pls, .b4u)
  • Automaticlly gets album art & info for all your albums
  • Automaticlly gets artist art & info for all your artists
  • View by list, icons, and big icons
  • Shuffle, repeat, FF, RW, pause,…
  • Music ratings
  • Favorites
  • Party shuffle mode
  • Search music for specific songs
  • Display all your favorite songs in one screen
  • Utilize Winamp, Foobar or iTunes plugins for music playback

My Radio


  • Listen to your favorite radio stations (FM, DVB or internet stream)
  • Auto tuning (FM)
  • Logo’s for each radio station (manual process)
  • Supply a friendly name for each radio station
  • Internet radio station streaming (ASX or Shoutcast)
  • Support for external radio tuner applications
  • Auto start listening to your selected radio station when MediaPortal starts


My weather


  • Show the latest weather information
  • Support for multiple cities
  • Current temperature, 3 Day Forecast
  • Temperature (in degrees C/F)
  • UV Index, Humity (%), Wind (mph/kph), etc
  • Support for live images from internet, like:
    – Satellite images
    – Temperature images
    – UV Index images
    – Winds images
    – Humidity images
    – Precipitation images

More features!


  • Launching external programs like:
    – Games
    – Emulators
    – Email application
    – Internet Browser
    – IRC client
  • Burner let’s you burn all type of files and folders directly to CD-DVD from within the MediaPortal interface
  • Showing RSS news feeds
  • Read and send mail within MediaPortal
  • Monitor computer hardware:
    – CPU temperature
    – Motherboard Temperature
    – Hard disk Temperature
    – Used Memory
    – Used Virtual Memory
  • Allow the PC automatically go to standby/hibernation and wakes it when there is a scheduled recording! Just like a real VCR!
  • Has different alarm features
  • You can even play included games like Tetris or Sudoku!


This only a small list of plugins & features that MediaPortal offers.
You can also
view a complete list of plugins.

You can download MediaPortal for free over at the MediaPortal site, or use this link:

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