Revision 23 as of 2006-05-25 12:31:56

Clear message


Ubuntu should integrate a powerful and fully integrated Media Center.


One of the crucial stakes of future desktop PC is its ability to bring the convergence for all media available at home : TV, movies, music and pictures, but also Radio, News (RSS...), Video On Demand, Music on Demand... And all of this available with a "Powered by Ubuntu" remote control.

This is an essential issue if Ubuntu wants to be a popular OS.

Use cases

- A user installs a "Ubuntu Media Center" distribution. Media Center packages are installed automatically, configuration is done during the system installation process : media files places (movies, music...), hardware configuration (TV tuner, remote control...). When the system boots, the Media Center is automatically launched (To be defined : maybe two different entries in Grub can be used to launch directly the media center or not).

- A user launch a "Ubuntu Media Center Live CD".

- A user has a standard Ubuntu installed. He wants to move to "Ubuntu Media Center" : additional packages are installed and configuration is done after package installation.



Although there is many existing projects, we will develop ubuntu-media-center from scratch in order to provide a fully integrated software easy to install, configure and use.

Development should follow these steps

  • Writing of the complete design of ubuntu-media-center
  • ["Media Center Artwork"].
  • Media center screen designer. A software used to design screens for the media center. The designer generates XML files which are parsed by the media-center-kernel to display the screen.
  • Implementation of the Media Center control panel. Settings will be defined in the project specification. The development of the control panel includes the definition of a settings file and an API to retreive these settings.
  • ["Media Center kernel"]. This includes the display management, an API for extension modules, keyboard, mouse and remote controle management, themes management and extension modules management.
  • Implementation of extension modules. The first release of ubuntu-media-center should provide mandatory modules : TV, Radio, Music and Video. Each module is described in a separated specification and has to respect the API defined in the project specification.
  • Implementation of the "Ubuntu Media Center" installation disc. The installation will be quiet different from the standard one: the remote control has to be configured during installation in order to be fully fonctional at the first launch. Settings available in the control panel should be configured during installation.


What we need :

  • A good remote control:
    • We could design a new remote control and study the possibility to manufacture it. This option ensure that the remote controle will be the best one for ubuntu-media-center. (To be discussed)
    • Additionnaly, we have to support a lot of existing remote controls (those who are supported by lirc at least) and provide a mean to easily configure it to work the best with ubuntu-media-center.
  • media-center-control-panel: a control panel in the gnome System menu used to configure the media center : media file places, remote control...
  • media-center-kernel: the kernel for our system manages the display, themes, colors, bitmaps, user interaction (remote control, keyboard, mouse, maybe touchscreen), initialization, de-initializations...
  • media-center modules: each feature is part of one module independant from the kernel. Mandatory modules are TV, Radio, Movies and Music. Additional modules can be developped: RSS reader, integrated web browser, Video-on-Demand...

Once the API of the kernel is perfectly defined, it is easy to develop modules in parallel.


Data preservation and migration

Outstanding issues

You can add here your proper feature request :

  • Video player. Syndicated content, movies and entertainment comes in all ranges of video formats. There is no player that handles all of them, and in some cases (wmv, mpeg4 etc) you have to try several players to find one that plays it well -- the default handler is not always good enough. [When a media player is not good enough, it's not usable at all. No one watches a whole movie if the image is flickering or the sound is 1 sec async.] -- Engla


  • VLC is a good all around media player. It plays most formats I've encountered. There is also a server component for streaming content to other hosts (on the internet, or on your internal network). See http://www.videolan.org/vlc/features.html for a list of support codecs. -- MatthewIsaacs DateTime(2006-04-29T03:26:43Z)

  • I would like to see something that has a half-decent playlist component. Something I love about WinAmp on Windows is the ability to right-click and append files to the playlist straight from Windows Explorer without disturbing anything that's playing. It's also possible to just drag them in. I reckon it should be possible to do that on Ubuntu too to maximise usability. -- AlanRae DateTime(2006-05-02T21:26:05Z)

  • Although a special remote control would be nice a lot of remote controls can already be used on Ubuntu (through LIRC) -- WaltherZwart

  • I suggest looking at elisa: "Elisa is an open-source Media-Center developed in Python, moreover it heavily relies on the Gstreamer multimedia framework and uses OpenGL API so as to take full advantage of nowadays graphical hardware." https://core.fluendo.com/elisa/trac -- ["sklp"] DateTime(2006-05-25T12:31:00Z)

BoF agenda and discussion