2004 I've started to use VDR. At this time I had a small 24" Sony Trinitron TV-Set and I've played around with all kind of plugins and patches for my VDR. I was very pleased to be able to watch movies and hear my MP3 collection with it. Only the picture plugin, with which I wanted to look pictures from my digital camera wasn't really usable (until now). Too slow and too low-res. Then I slowly began to want more. I wanted my VDR to look a bit better and played around with different skins. The result was not bad, but I've been told those days, that VDR isn't really designed to have fancy graphics, the hardware isn't even capable of doing more than 256 colors, instead the functionality should be the scope to look at. So I was happy for a while with the text2skin skin and accepted the given facts of not being able to have a really good looking menu.
Almost over night TFT-TV-Sets became affordable and I bought one 30" TFT for about 1500€. I removed my old beloved Sony and put the new TFT on its place. The revolutionary thing about the new TV-Set wasn't its flatness, the really outstanding feature was its VGA plug. So I connected my PC to the new TV-Set and had a really nice KDE environment in my living-room, but to be honest, of no use so far. After a while I've managed to have a keyboard and a mouse in the living room and could use my VDR system as a surf-station. I also could start slide-shows and they really looked fantastic on this new 30" screen. An 5.1 amplifier for about 70€ should be my new test sound system, in order to evaluate, if it's feasible to use my PC as a stereo replacement. Well, it worked fine, I could use now all the medial capabilities of my PC in the living room. The only problem - I could, my wife couldn't.
So I began to integrate all the media applications like xmms, gwenview, mplayer, xine and so forth. The integration was restricted to teaching in all application to my remote control driven by lirc. One day I've managed to enable my wife to start a slide-show without me being at home. I was so proud and so happy. I believed myself to have reached the media-centric heaven. The truth was, it was actually unusable. I myself didn't remember all the keys on the remote anymore after we've been on vacation for two weeks. So I began to realize, that another solution must be found and I began to google around for media center applications, with MS-Windows also in my scope. For Windows there have been and are nice looking applications, but they all had one point in common, they all haven't been capable to handle DVB satellite cards, and this was a criterion since I would have had to abandon my VDR if I settle over to Windows. So at this point in time windows has got a 'no go' from me. The next months I concentrated myself on Linux, this was my personal medial Storm and Stress time. I've downloaded, compiled, patched and desperated a lot these days.
Finally I came up with nothing.
All applications I've found, have been either designed for analog cards like MythTV and/or the installation and configuration has been too hard, so I gave up to get it working. Or some applications have been at alpha-stage, and therefor almost unusable. What I was looking for, was an application that combines music, video and picture functionality without the overhead of an TV module. I had my VDR, and this application is as far as I know unbeaten. I couldn't believe that such an application shouldn't exist. Half a year later a friend of mine gave me a tip to google for MMSv2, and I couldn't believe my luck, this was exactly what I've been looking for, and this application claimed to exist already for more than three years. Shame on me - I really didn't find it.READ NEXT: MMS, first contact