Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Media Browser Beta 11: New Vanilla Theme Facelift

by @ 6:15 am on March 23rd, 2009 in media browser, movie library, plugins with 7 Comments

Media Browser 11 The latest update to Media Browser, the popular movie library add-on for Windows Media Center, gives the plug-in a bit of a facelift. Though not enabled by default a new theme has been added to the options inside Media Browser. If you haven’t tried this wonderful program yet now is the perfect time to do so. Download the latest version of Media Browser from mediabrowser.tv’s forums.

enter

Once you’ve got a copy of the latest version of Media Browser installed you will need to enable the new theme from inside the plug-in. At this point the configuration program included with Media Browser is fairly slim but hopefully at some point it will include more configuration options outside of Media Center. Instead, open up Media Browser inside Media Center’s Extras Library then click the small wrench icon to open the configuration then Navigate to the themes section and select Vanilla from the Visual Themes.

enable_vanilla

Once you’ve got your theme set to Vanilla you’ll notice a drastic difference in Media Browser’s appearance. This new theme adds quite a bit to the visual style of Media Browser’s various view options. All the view styles have been converted over to the new Vanilla theme including a new view specifically for Vanilla called Strip. Most of the options from the default Media Browser theme are available through the wrench icon in the Vanilla theme, however, to have access to the wrench from folder views you will need to enable it from the config options under Vanilla.

view_options

Under the new Vanilla theme, fan art is a much more prominent feature of each view. You will immediately notice that, while the default theme kept fan art fairly low key, this new theme displays fan art as a full screen background to each view. Though some of the views are much better suited to this new style than others such as the recently introduced Coverflow view.

coverflow

To have access to the sort and filter functions you will once again need to have the wrench icon displayed on each view. This can be somewhat distracting depending on the view style though it is apparent that consideration was taken to custom tailor the wrench placement for each view. Once you have the icon displayed clicking it will bring up the options for sorting and filtering the current view.

config

This new theme definitely adds a lot of flair to the Media Browser interface and is a welcome addition to the default package. There are a few issues with the theme that I would like to see addressed, however. Adding a better integrated method of accessing the sort and filter options being first on the list. Secondly, on certain views the selection box contains a blue background which can be distracting. This is of course done due to the fan art backgrounds and to increase readability of the title, though simply shading the box with a semi-transparent dark background may be better suited to the theme.

posterview

The new Vanilla theme, included as the main feature in the eleventh beta release of Media Browser, is a definite win for Media Browser users. The slick new interface and prominent fan art placement adds much to the cool-factor of Media Browser. The few minor issues with this new theme are easily overlooked in favor of the hot new look and shouldn’t turn off many users of the plug-in. Be sure to go download Media Browser and give it a try if you haven’t already!

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7 Comments


Anonymous
Comment #231 from Anonymous [Reply]

Just Plain awesome!

Websites do not get any better than this.

I spent 3 months trying to find 7 media centre hacks and gave up 7 aafter not finding info to use ffdshow codecs etc. Then one day I stumble across this site.

Joy, joy, joy.

Plain and simple layout, tutorials even a monkey like me could follow and more info, help and references I could ever want to turn 7 into the media center it should be.

All I can really say is Bravo, bloody good website.

Keep up with the good work,

Your friend,

Joall

Comment left March 25, 2009 at 5:16 am Permanent Link

MHealy
Comment #232 from MHealy [Reply]

Thanks! I had quite a bit of trouble sifting through forums and such looking for plug-ins and hacks for Media Center as well. I just figured I’d document what I found so I could find it easier next time. Always glad to hear someone else benefited from my work as well!

Comment left March 25, 2009 at 6:10 am Permanent Link

ken
Comment #230 from ken [Reply]

Agree ! I’m amazed how everything is so up to date here !
Thanks

Comment left March 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm Permanent Link

Super Fish
Comment #6656 from Super Fish [Reply]

Downloaded and installed Media Browser version 2.1.1.0, which is the latest. I don’t see a “Vanilla” theme listed.

Comment left January 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm Permanent Link

foo76
Comment #6880 from foo76 [Reply]

I can’t seem to get the wrench icon to appear when I enable Vanilla. I’ve tried setting this in the theme options but still no luck. Anyone know how to fix this?

Comment left January 22, 2010 at 6:29 am Permanent Link

g b
Comment #6891 from g b [Reply]

@foo76

I’m going on memory here as I am away from my HTPC, but have you tried pressing the “up” arrow? I’m sure this brings up the same options as the wrench- the options should appear at top of screen. I may be wrong, but worth a try!

Comment left January 22, 2010 at 9:27 am Permanent Link

foo76
Comment #6906 from foo76 [Reply]

Excellent, “up” arrow didn’t work but “down” arrow did. Thanks for your help.

Comment left January 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm Permanent Link

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