HTPC DIY enthusiasts should check out the latest version of MediaPortal.
Yes, MediaPortal fans can now download the MediaPortal 2 Alpha 1 autumn release which recently went live. The new software promises to be significantly more stable than the MediaPortal 2 summer release from several months back.
Fatures and improvements include:
* News Plugin
* Party Music Player
* New movie layout (Reflexion)
* VideoBackground (Reflexion) (Check video below!)
* Improved readability in content area (Reflexion)
* New background (RisingSkin)
* Style rework (RisingSkin)
* New features and improvements
* Reading metadata from nfo files
* Support for movie collections
* MovieThumbnailer creates thumbnails for videos where windows shell method fail (based on ffmpeg)
* Added password control to SkinEngine
* Added render events and statistics renderer plugin (F10 to enable stats, F11 toggle render strategies)
* Online lookups (series, movies, weather) don't block MP2 when no network connection is available
* Videoplayer now support dvr-ms and wtv format
* Extended and fixed Fanart service
However, considering this is still beta software, it might not be entirely ready to be the only operating system you run on your media center computer.
Fortunately, a much more stable version known as MediaPortal 1.3.0 is currently in final beta testing. There is still no firm launch date for the roll out of version 1.3.0, at least in terms of general availability. There's also no indication of when version 2.0 of the software might leave the alpha stage and enter beta.
In the meantime, HTPC enthusiasts may also want to check out the first beta version of XBMC 12.0, also known as Frodo.
The latest iteration of XBMC is currently available for Windows, OS X and Ubuntu. The beta software can also be installed on a jailbroken Apple TV, iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Although we don't have an exact date, support for Android is expected relatively soon, hopefully long before 12.0 exits beta.