Release 0.5.0b9: Surrounded by Sound - Plex Blog

Release 0.5.0b9: Surrounded by Sound

| 21 Jun 2008 | by 47 Comments

I dropped Anna off at the airport this morning; she’s on a two week trip to the mainland to visit family. Plus, it’s been raining all day. These two things conspired to keep me inside all day wrapping up the release. (That’s not entirely true, a couple of friends came over with a lot of beer and I spent the better part of the afternoon in an alcohol-induced stupor. But I digress.)

Here are the changes in this release (HTTP, torrent, source). I’m hoping that we can get this 0.5 release wrapped up and move on to the new and interesting things coming in 0.6. (Translation: please don’t report any more damn bugs for this version!) The next beta will be a release candidate.

  • NEW: AC3 encoding. This is a killer new feature that allows your receiver to play full surround sound from “unsupported” formats, like AAC and FLAC. My hat is off to Ryan Walklin who got it working in record time. I know, we’re supposed to be stabilizing things for 0.5 final, but this was just too damn cool not to work in. Go play some Apple Trailers and then throw your Apple TV out the window.
  • FIX: The infamous and incredibly annoying “CAPETag” bug, manifested by a crash in the middle of music playlists (randomly, of course).
  • FIX: GIF image loading was kind of broken. I’m surprised nobody noticed. I guess everyone’s pr0n collection has moved to JPEG? Boobs do look better in 24 bit color.
  • FIX: A crash with keyboard layouts (thanks to Enrique and Roman).
  • FIX: Text subtitles with more than two lines would have missing lines.
  • FIX and FIX: Lots of fixes to smart folders. We now run asynchronously and timeout after a while if nothing has been returned. Memory handling has been fixed (thanks, Enrique!) so it doesn’t crash when scanning a smart-folder-source to the library. And we respect the folders scope when executing the query.
  • FIX: Switching between full-screen and windowed mode has been fixed to return to the same windowed resolution.
  • FIX: Hugely reduced latency with controllers (XBox360/Apple Remote). The difference is unbelievable with the XBox360 controller, it should be indistinguishable from a wired controller at this point.
  • FIX: Crash when displaying SSA subtitles in some cases. Thanks to Bad Mr Frosty and Parag for helping me track this down!
  • FIX: Minor changes to the way we do vsync, not sure if it will improve things for people having trouble, but it won’t make things worse.
  • FIX: Revert the logarithmic volume change. Not sure if it’s a Mac thing or not, but it just made things really quiet for the majority of the volume range.
  • FIX: Crash on exit when exiting when a script is running.
  • FIX: Some erroneous references to /opt/local in the libraries we ship in Resources.
  • FIX: 187.avi was getting stacked with 300.mkv, and I can assure you that the latter really doesn’t play well after the former. Although, come to think of it, Samuel L Jackson yelling “This is motherfucking Sparta!” would be pretty awesome.
  • FIX: The XBMCHelper is now killed again when you disable it in the settings.
  • NEW: Enrique added support for CoreFoundation’s exception handling, so that we better log those sorts of errors.
  • FIX: Enrique fixed a few more memory leaks and built the latest libcdio to fix a crash.
  • NEW: (Bonus subtitle-lover’s feature) Rather than just being able to select the lowly Arial font (or whatever you tossed in the media/Fonts directory in your application package (and come on, who does that?) you can now pick from a large number of Apple-supplied fonts. Seen below is Georgia Bold. Please let me know if you have an answer to the question posed.


I also cherry-picked some fixes from the linuxport branch, most notably:

  • A crash opening context menus (yuvalt).
  • Crash in Python selecting list items (nice one, vulkanr!)
  • Better thread-safety in DLL trackers (charleydoes)
  • Fixes to AC3/DTS buffering (elupus)

With these changes plus the crash on exit from the list above, Python support should actually be pretty solid, or at least getting there!

My sincere thanks to our community, you are all awesome. Almost 450 users on the forum, over 2000 posts, simply brilliant. We’re getting top-notch bug reports, and people are being really helpful and friendly.

Without further ado, your Barkley.


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47 Comments so far

  1. flashpaul June 21st, 2008 11:45 pm

    Great work Elan and all the team

    Can’t wait to try this release out

  2. MadHyena June 22nd, 2008 12:12 am


  3. Víctor Pimentel June 22nd, 2008 1:37 am

    Thanks for another gratefully release :)

    One little bug in the update process is that you have to kill XBMCHelper in order to replace the package (otherwise Leopard tell you that file is in use). I know how to do it, but the regular mac folk doesn’t have to know that…

  4. danii June 22nd, 2008 2:56 am

    Hello and thank u for the best media center out there !!
    i just have a question, is it just me that are slow or is there so far no support for dvd playback?, when i insert a cd of some kind i works like a charm, but when the dvd is inserted nothing happens, exept for dvd busy/ and its ts catalog appers on the top of the list in films, but i cannot play it? should it not appear like the cd and adds an play icon beside the favorite icon?


  5. Chris June 22nd, 2008 4:16 am

    Thank you for your hard work.

  6. John June 22nd, 2008 4:40 am

    Danii — DVD playback hasn’t been implemented yet. My understanding is that it’s on Elan and Team’s radar for upcoming releases (check the timeline on the right sidebar).

    Thanks for continued hard work!


  7. name required June 22nd, 2008 5:38 am

    is the “xbox360 remote” the dvd remote or the [game] controller?

    i’d love to get the dvd remote working as the apple remote is a bit limited. not so keen on the game controller though. what about my old xbox (v1) dvd remote?

  8. TheDoctorWho June 22nd, 2008 5:53 am

    have you guys picked a name for osxbmc yet? I think like Barkley’s media center the most of the suggestions so far but I also really like the names without “media center” in them

  9. bartdesign June 22nd, 2008 6:08 am

    It keeps getting better, thanks for all the effort guys.

  10. Caro June 22nd, 2008 7:45 am

    As a long time XBMC user I’d like to thank everyone involved in this project. I’m getting a mini mac now, that’s for sure. :)

  11. danii June 22nd, 2008 10:27 am

    thats wonderful!! that i´m not slow :), the new future ac3 decoding in music playing, i have navigated around now in the program without no good results, flac/ apple losseless,mp3. Im from sweden i may have been misunderstanding the new features?
    in the text it says encoding not decoding? Is the new feature for us to play an flac stereo file and with it i comes a manipulated ac3 signal to the receiver? have i got i right?

  12. iordonez June 22nd, 2008 10:56 am

    @danii The new feature is so that you can play FLAC 5.1 or AAC 5.1 and it will come out an AC3 5.1 stream. Stereo streams will stay stereo.

  13. Buster June 22nd, 2008 12:20 pm

    As usual, awsome work!

    I was playing around with my new Logitech DiNovo Mini yesterday in b8 and noticed it was not as snappy as i wanted it. Now in b9 it´s a lot better!

  14. madmax June 22nd, 2008 12:24 pm

    Hi “name”,

    I just posted how to get the old xbox remote working using a adapter and some free/sharesoftware…works great!

  15. madmax June 22nd, 2008 12:27 pm

    Hi Elan,

    thanks again for all your work…just asking this because I saw all the “fixes” for subtitles..2 questions…

    1.) nor matter what I change in my config subtitles are always using the same font/color/size ? how do I get osxbmc to use what I choose ?
    2.) I have at least 2 movies which for fine with there subtiles in VLC, but don’t work in OSXBMC ? Can I help to get this fixed ?

    thanks a lot…

  16. elan June 22nd, 2008 3:20 pm

    @Víctor Pimentel: We’ll fix that issue in 0.5 or 0.6.

    @TheDoctorWho: We have a few names that we’re deciding between. Stay tuned.

    @madmax: If you have SSA subtitles, the style/size is defined and can’t (currently) be changed. With text subtitles, you can make edits to size/font. With DVD subtitles, since they’re bitmapped, they’re ugly and non-editable. I think I got that right, if not bmfrosty will correct me. In terms of (2), please head to the forums to discuss and upload samples for us to have a look at.

  17. madmax June 22nd, 2008 3:47 pm

    hmm, sorry for the lack of knowledge…The files I have are avi’s and they have extra directory which holds a .idx and a .sub ? are those SSA ?

  18. bmfrosty June 22nd, 2008 7:02 pm


    those are dvdsub – or vobsubs – your choice. They are basically 4 color rle images that are muxed in with a DVD’s PS.


    Libass seems to have functions to support style overrides, but they’re not implemented in the XBMC variants yet. It might also be possible to do something like changing the font style around when loading the SSA/ASS file, but before passing it along to libass, like to homogenize the fonts and border style, but keep the positioning, but it would be….uhm…. funky.

  19. perez June 22nd, 2008 8:41 pm

    I love reading the releases. Great job!

  20. hippojay June 23rd, 2008 4:40 am

    Just to add, this release is looking pretty good. Been using it quite a bit the last few days to watch some stuff and it’s been without issues. Also, now i’ve finally got round to setting up my universal remote, I think it’ll past “wife acceptance testing” with ease.

    I’ll give it a hammering over the next week to try and find some bugs for you to fix :-)

  21. Dean June 23rd, 2008 7:41 am

    Elan, what do you shoot with? I like the DOF in your shots

  22. Dave June 23rd, 2008 8:16 am

    I agree. Those Barkley shots are artistically/technically awesome.

    (I’m sure this OSXBMC thing is pretty good too.) :)

  23. Stephan June 23rd, 2008 10:10 am

    The Barkley shot is awesome. I too like the DOF and esp. the colors in this one. HighRes? Please?

    And great work on OSXBMC… keep it up.

  24. bietiekay June 24th, 2008 12:51 pm

    great work! If I’d wish something it would be a keyboard shortcut to switch between fullscreen and windowed…. that would be soooo great

  25. elan June 24th, 2008 1:12 pm

    @bietiekay: Your wish has been granted. Try the (backslash) key.

  26. nicolash June 24th, 2008 2:01 pm

    Dean: according to exif tags of the shot (1310.jpg):
    Model |Canon EOS 40D

  27. elan June 24th, 2008 2:05 pm

    @Dean, Stephan, Dave: Thanks for the kind words!!!

    Canon 40D body + Canon 17-55mm lens. ISO 400, 1/2500 @ f/4

  28. Steve Wells June 24th, 2008 10:21 pm

    Seriously, fantastic work. I really didn’t like the Leopard FrontRow, and this app is to the Mac Mini what the original XBMC is to the Xbox IMO. Great stuff, thanks very much!

  29. g4S June 25th, 2008 2:33 am

    Thank you for the new release but I need a little help with it.
    Something wrong with different .avi movies. Some of them playing a little bit faster (picture and sound both). It looks like I pushed the forward button.
    In previous beta everything was fine.
    Pls help.

  30. sigalakos June 25th, 2008 9:31 am

    @g4S That’s weird. I just watched an MP4 H.264 movie and audio/video was playing a bit faster as well! Something like 1.3x faster.. Another movie encoded the same way, played fine. What’s up with that?

  31. JeZZ June 25th, 2008 10:17 pm

    Excellent work! I (and lots of friends of mine) are really pleased with everything you do. Every process you make is closely followed and makes us smile a bit more! This makes our apple mini’s excellent devices for vide/audio/picture media! I loved xbmc on my xbox but this is even better … looking forward to an ‘apple like’ interface instead of the xbox .. but that is just a minor detail. The ability to play almost everything and with excellent results is remarkable!
    I (and a assume many others) are extremely pleased with all the work you put into this project and every step you (and your friends) are making to create the ulimate solution for turning an apple in a brilliant media device!

    Many thanks!


  32. Noel June 26th, 2008 12:37 am

    Hi Elan,
    Awesome work…now important topic…..much as I love the pics of Barkley I’ve got to ask who’s the hot bikini chick in the background of the pic ;)

    Love your work


  33. elan June 26th, 2008 3:18 pm

    @Noel: That’s my wife :)

  34. Alex June 26th, 2008 10:27 pm

    Oops, Noel. Bad boy! :)

  35. kainen June 28th, 2008 12:20 am

    I have noticed the bug with some .avi files playing faster too… like 1.5 times the speed theyre supposed to be played at.

  36. kainen June 28th, 2008 12:21 am

    … it wasn’t there in the previous resease I used btw

  37. elan June 28th, 2008 8:11 am

    @kainen: Thanks for verifying that it is a regression. It will be fixed in the next beta (or here:

  38. Danii June 29th, 2008 8:37 am

    Hello again, thó i cannot start a new tread in feature Requests, i maybe could do it here, i have been using itunes for playing music before i heard of xbmc for mac in my livingrrom, now to my problem, i´d like xbmc to find all my album cover art like the itunes does, maybe a thought to change the server where xbmc get´s it´s album cover art? or maybe i can do it my self??? if so please help me with a great server, and a can confirm that also some of my videos now plays unsync with the audio. But the album cover art problem is much more prio ;) have a great sunday, and may germany win today.

  39. beto77 June 29th, 2008 1:49 pm

    no, SPAIN won!! Yeahh :P

    By the way, I was wondering, DVR functionality is planned?, or some kind of eye tv implementation or something, because I use it very often and I have to constantly switch between eye tv and osxbmc
    Thanks for everything, and Spain euro champion 2008! :D

  40. Eric L Pheterson June 29th, 2008 7:27 pm

    I don’t know you, but thanks so much!

    Some dude in a forum pointed me in your direction and I’m pleased to let you know that you’re in charge of –the only– program that allows my macbook to play 1080p without a hitch.

    I thank you kindly and look forward to whatever is up your sleeve.

  41. Andrew June 30th, 2008 10:07 am

    I’d like to thank you guys for making such a wicked piece of software. The only software that allows my MacBook to play 1080p. You’re a life saver! I’ll donate if you make it so you can tell OSXBMC to apply full screen to an extended screen, example an HD tv. At the moment I have to clamshell my MacBook to get it to work properly. Unless there’s something I’m missing?

    Anyway, Keep it up! You rock!

  42. elan June 30th, 2008 10:10 am

    @beto77: I was happy to see Spain won, since I lived there for four years growing up :)

    @Eric: Thanks for the kind words!

    @Andrew: Thank you! Go to Settings -> Appearance -> Screen and go through the modes until you find one that reads “Full Screen #2″ or something like that.

  43. Andy July 1st, 2008 2:59 pm

    Hey madmax,

    Are you using the original xbox remote as your primary remote for xbmc for os x? If so, does it behave exactly as it does on the regular xbox (latency, buttons). I’m asking because every time I use my xbox xbmc it feels much more substantial (I know this sounds funny) than either the apple remote or my harmony 880.

  44. elan July 1st, 2008 3:02 pm

    @Andy: I know what you mean with the Apple Remote. With the latest fixes in b9, the wireless XBox360 controller feels quite good, indistinguishable (to me, at least) from the wired controller/XBox in terms of latency.

  45. Andy July 2nd, 2008 3:39 am

    @ elan: Cool. I can’t over state how much nicer this project is to use compared to front row, even with the apple remote’s functionality as it is.

    I know there are bigger fish to fry, but plug n’ play usb-> xbox1 dvd remote for xbmc for os x would be killer.

  46. kainen July 2nd, 2008 6:49 am

    elan: No problem, glad I could help :)

    Do you have any idea of when you’re going to release the next version?

  47. man peeing his pants July 18th, 2009 10:13 am

    any updates coming ?

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