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Monday, November 28, 2011

Remote update - more tweaking

Ok so there were several things I wanted to add to my one button subtitle downloads etc.  If you have any cool remote tweaks you've done, post a comment below, would love to hear about them!

So I have been re-tweaking. 

For a while I mucked around with flircs, thinking this would be easier - allowing one to 1:1 map remote keys to xbmc keys to keep it all logically simple, but they don't quite work as advertised for me.  First of all, they won't respond to a Harony set to MCE keyboard mode so my dream of 1:1 was crushed...and you end up havign to use some other device in the Harmony software like some random TV remote.  Then it's quite programmable, but even then I have had numerous issues - weird repeat key type stuff etc. (and yes, I have played extensively with inter-key delays and remote repeats in the Harmony software).  I think the root cause is my plasma pumping out IR (as plasmas generally do) and the flirc is very responsive, so this leads to issuse.  I am nort blaming the flirc - Jason the desinger is very good and reponsive, but they were more hassle than anything else for me.

Anyway, so I re-visited my keymap.xml and the harmony software.  I only wanted to add/tweak a few more things so this was simplest for me.

Here's how I have my Harmony 650 and XBMC (Openelec Dharma) running:
  • I have set the 'ok' (select) button to operate pause/unpause when playing media.  This is how PC media players work (usually done with space or just a left click) and I am very used to it, so I find this a lot more sensible than the XBMC default which is to open the menu or something
  • I have the separate up/down arrow (not the main joypad) doing audio sync when playing video, so it's super easy to deal with any out of sync files
  • Those same buttons do zoom in/out during slideshows
  • I have programmed the 'exit' button to always stop media and exit, as opposed to just dropping out of full screen mode.  I have a separate 'fullscreen' explicit control in the programmable buttons.  It's not all that often I actually want to pop out of full screen mode when playing media and I think 'exit' should always exit, like escape on a PC
  • I have set the plus key (down near the number pad) to behave like the plus key on a Squeezebox remote - that is, add to playlist.  When inside a playlist, 0 deletes from well:
  • I have added a dedicated bank of programmable playlist buttons - go to playlist, add to playlist and remove from playlist.  God only knows when XBMC makes the playlist side of itself so hidden
  • Dedicated buttons for cycling through available subtitles, (on/sub1/sub2/etc./off) and also a single button to call the download subtitles add on
  • Dedicated buttons to switch audio tracks in files where there are more than one language, and to run through the XBMC zoom options for those odd files where the ratio is off or they are encoded with a black border or something
  • A global dedicated 'reload skin' button to make skin tweaking super easy (change xml, save, hit remote, check, repeat, rinse, etc...)
  • A bunch of dedicated buttons for audio on my amp
  • 'Record' takes a screenshot at all times
  • Note the 'E' button on the remote (next to the number pad) currently does nothing 
  • On the home screen, '1' cleans the video library, and '2' triggers an update of the video library
  • On the home screen. '4' cleans the music library (not implemented in Dharma yet), and '5' triggers an update of the music library
  • TO DO: Singles button to display lyrics in music, and another to direct downloads (use the same as 'subs' button maybe?). 
The remote, set this way, has very high WAF and general non technical users' acceptance - everything behaves logically and is labelled logically as per the remote buttons itself.  Pick up and go, and much more logical than some of the XBMC defaults (to me, anyway).

Here is my keymap.xml (goes in userdata/keymamps/)

And here are the corresponding Harmony mappings (remember my base device is a Microsoft MCE extender, remote repeats are 0, inter-key delay is zero) - basically the whole thing is a gross but simple & effective hack to use unused buttons for new uses in various sections of XBMC.

And the programmable buttons:


  1. Great post!

    I've done a few tweaks when it comes to quickly accessing newest movies, episodes and smart playlists. I also use the JumpSMS-function.

    Here is what's inside my keyboard-tag:

    ActivateWindow(myvideolibrary, special://videoplaylists/3D Filmer.xsp)

    And here is my Harmony settings:

    It's in Norwegian, but i am guessing people understands it. :)

  2. Yeah I can't use the MCE keyboard mode with mine as Openelec doesn't support this.

    The JumpSMS is all built in when sending the numbers though right? Works for me out of the box, or do you mean something else?

  3. JumpSMS is for quickly jumping to an excact letter in movie or tv show library. For example you press 3 once for the letter D, and twice for the letter E.

  4. Yep I know - it works with the default MCE mappings is what I meant.

  5. Hi Bossanova808,

    stumbled across your blog while 'googling' the net about how to get the most out of my harmony one ... Your entries seem to be a good 'finding' - thats what i was looking for !
    Unfortunately, your latest keymap is not available any longer :-(

    Any chance to re-up ?

    Thanks in advance,


  6. Here you go:

    That's where I left it before I switched to Windows....where I have gone lot further (it's easier there!)


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