New on-screen media browser with smaller font - possible?

TonyC

Member
Hello, I've just got a HDR-FOXT2 after many years of using a Topfield TF5800. Not quite got round to installing Custom Firmware on it yet - will do so in a few days once I am confident it won't quickly fail (like my first one did...)

One thing that leaps out at me as a big backward step from the Toppy to the HDR-FOXT2 is the gigantic font used for the media list. This means you get very few programs on one screen (6?) whereas the Toppy, even though designed for older, non-HD TVs, used a much smaller font that allowed about 20 programs on one screen.

I saw a discussion that said it isn't possible to "hack" the existing media browser in order to use a smaller font. But could it be possible to write a complete new media browser - something like the Web-If media browser but displayed on the local TV rather than a remote computer - with different fonts? I'm something of a newbie here of course, but I guess you'd need to:
a) Read the hard disc (let's assume this is only for playing local content not DLNA stuff)
b) Display the listing on screen
c) Use remote control to navigate
d) Start playback of the selected program
I guess (a) is trivially easy, based on what other CF packages can do, but I don't know if (b), (c) or (d) are easy, or even possible. (Worst case, maybe you wouldn't actually start the playback, you'd have to go back to the standard media list having at least found the program you want)
Does any of this sound possible? Is the Custom Portal perhaps the place to do it?

Feel free to produce a mocking list of reasons why this is clearly a stupid idea :)
 

Brian

Administrator
Staff member
One thing that leaps out at me as a big backward step from the Toppy to the HDR-FOXT2 is the gigantic font used for the media list. This means you get very few programs on one screen (6?) whereas the Toppy, even though designed for older, non-HD TVs, used a much smaller font that allowed about 20 programs on one screen.
I agree that the HDR-FOX T2 has a larger font for its media list than the Toppy, and only displays 5 programmes on one screen, whilst the Toppy displays 10 programmes on one screen.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
a) Read the hard disc (let's assume this is only for playing local content not DLNA stuff)
b) Display the listing on screen
c) Use remote control to navigate
d) Start playback of the selected program
I guess (a) is trivially easy, based on what other CF packages can do, but I don't know if (b), (c) or (d) are easy, or even possible. (Worst case, maybe you wouldn't actually start the playback, you'd have to go back to the standard media list having at least found the program you want)
Does any of this sound possible? Is the Custom Portal perhaps the place to do it?

Feel free to produce a mocking list of reasons why this is clearly a stupid idea :)
It's not a stupid idea, just very difficult bordering on impossible.

The only means we have to put anything on screen and interact with it is through the built-in web browser, so your hunch about the custom portal is correct. The new firmware 1.03.06 includes a new browser implementation, so there are experiments going on with the new capabilities and the custom portals for the old and new implementations are not compatible with each other. It does not seem unreasonable that a version of the WebIF could be displayed via the browser, maybe the existing Mobile skin, but that just leads to the next problem...

The operation of the 'Fox can be controlled by injecting spoofed RC command codes (no other means to influence the operation of the unit has been found). However, this is done "blind" so to start playing a particular recording it would be necessary to know precisely where one is in the menu structure to start with and precisely what sequence of key codes is required to start playback of the recording in question, and the 'Fox must not glitch on any of them.

The alternative is playback through the browser, and the 'Fox has far too little processor grunt to do that in software, and neither do we have access to the sound channel. The current experiments with sending Internet streams to the internal hardware could potentially yield some useful results though.

What it boils down to is whether you have the skills, time, and motivation to explore. In my view the difficulties are so great that my time would be better spent elsewhere (not that I have the skills), and the existing Custom Firmware facilities are more than adequate (particularly the media browsing capabilities of the WebIF through the convenience of a tablet). There are also several tools in the CF to help with classifying and filing recordings in a folder structure (see packages flatten and sweeper) which make recordings easier to find anyway.
 
OP
T

TonyC

Member
Thanks for all that.

The operation of the 'Fox can be controlled by injecting spoofed RC command codes (no other means to influence the operation of the unit has been found).
That does seem like a show-stopper. I wasn't sure what "hooks" the Custom Firmware introduced.

What it boils down to is whether you have the skills, time, and motivation to explore. In my view the difficulties are so great that my time would be better spent elsewhere (not that I have the skills), and the existing Custom Firmware facilities are more than adequate (particularly the media browsing capabilities of the WebIF through the convenience of a tablet).
I do have some C skills, but I suspect it would take me hundreds of hours to get to grips with the problem and come up with anything useful (even assuming this is at all possible, given the difficulties mentioned.) As you say the WebIf media browser already gives much of the desired functionality.

There are also several tools in the CF to help with classifying and filing recordings in a folder structure (see packages flatten and sweeper) which make recordings easier to find anyway.
Agree, the ability to have folders is one thing that makes the 'Fox (and indeed the Toppy) far more useable than most PVRs when you have a lot of files to deal with.

Off topic: thanks to all responsible for the Custom Firmware, I've installed it now and it is very impressive.
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
I do have some C skills, but I suspect it would take me hundreds of hours to get to grips with the problem and come up with anything useful (even assuming this is at all possible, given the difficulties mentioned.)
I wouldn't bother if I were you. Most of it is impossible and your estimate of time is probably reasonable.
Nor will you get much help from anybody here unless you are one of the "in" people.
 

ChrisDaniels

Well-Known Member
It could be done by writing a new media browser that works in the custom portal.
Or even getting the webif working on it. The problem is navigation with the remote.
If that problem can be overcome (which it can with a bit if work) then the whole webif can be displayed locally and customized to the nth degree.

Maybe even the media list button on the remote could be remapped so that it launches this new portal page?
 

Border

Member
The operation of the 'Fox can be controlled by injecting spoofed RC command codes (no other means to influence the operation of the unit has been found). However, this is done "blind" so to start playing a particular recording it would be necessary to know precisely where one is in the menu structure to start with and precisely what sequence of key codes is required to start playback of the recording in question, and the 'Fox must not glitch on any of them.
It would be good if selecting a recording on the webif could then get the box to play it.

However, this is done "blind" so to start playing a particular recording it would be necessary to know precisely where one is in the menu structure to start with

One way to get to the top of the media selection list would be using a macro, spoofing commands from the remote control. It would be very basic but could work from what I've tried.

I tried a macro with the ir package selecting

{back} {back} {back} {back} {back} {media} {blue} {right} {right} {OK} {blue} {left} {left} {OK}

and it ends up at the top folder of the media list most times. ( I accept that this is not ideal but is it better than nothing?).

Try it out with just pressing the keys in that sequence from the remote.

If there was a pause selection in the ir macro I would put one in after the the first {OK} as sometimes depending where you start in the menu structure the {blue} press afterwards may come too fast.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
If there was a pause selection in the ir macro I would put one in after the the first {OK} as sometimes depending where you start in the menu structure the {blue} press afterwards may come too fast.

There are pauses available in the macros - when you hit "record new macro" an additional row of buttons appears on the virtual remote immediately below the colour buttons.
 
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