Moovida Assay

I had never given this HTPC software a try before but I decided to do it yesterday night. Moovida is another interesting project but it never quite got the traction of many other HTPC software. The Linux platform is still heavily dominated by MythTV although I think that it is a little dated by now. I decided to give Moovida a spin on my new LCD TV and pulled the packages from the experimental Debian repository.

It was the first time that I had pulled anything in from experimental and I had to learn how to do it. At first, I merely did a apt-get -t experimental install moovida but it kept complaining about dependency issues. Then, I looked around and found out that experimental does not have a complete set of packages and I needed to add in unstable packages too. After doing that, I got Moovida to install easily. Then, it was merely a process of configuration and playing around with it.

I immediately tested out its online streaming capabilities. I managed to pull in music from various online services and also from my own local iTunes server. One thing that I noticed immediately was that Moovida automagically pulls in album covers and all from the Internet. So, the playlist had nice little pictures attached to them.

Then, I decided to test out video streaming and visited TED instead. I managed to watch the latest TED video on development around the world. On my 512k ADSL connection, it was mostly watchable. It had a discernible lag about once a minute when it was busy buffering but it was otherwise enjoyable. Again, Moovida would pull in thumbnails from the Internet when browsing for videos where available. I guess that it is time to upgrade my line to 1Mbps.

So far so good.

Then, I faced some problems. I have yet to figure out how to configure the local media. While it could pick up my daap music files, it had trouble connecting to my upnp media server. So, it was not able to pick out local videos and images that I shared. There are some error messages on the console so I think that this is merely a configuration problem. I might try mounting them as NFS/CIFS and see if that will work, tonight.

All in all, I think that Moovida is an excellent media player application, even if it lacks the powerful PVR capabilities of MythTV or Freevo. However, the VIA platform that I had it running on was a little slow. Even at 800×600, there was some jerkiness in the TED video. I guess that a combination of live streaming and playback is a little too taxing for the little bugger. I will probably migrate it over to an old AMD laptop of mine to see if that helps matters.

Anyhow, this is just a little thing because I fully intend to purchase a PS3 soon. Once that is done, the PS3 will probably play the role of a HTPC instead. But temporarily, I will have Moovida to play around with. Then again, Moovida/XBMC might still have a role to play at home simply because they can support more video formats and various nifty online streaming capabilities.

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Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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