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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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