Rygel; replacing MediaTomb?

I’ve ranted about overlays leaving notes about Gnome overlay I had to fight with that because of Rygel which reportedly needed the new (testing) version of Gtk+.

Now, my interest in Rygel is so that we can rid of MediaTomb in Portage; I added it myself, when I tried to make use of my PlayStation 3 for streaming video (mostly anime and Real Time with Bill Maher). It actually never worked as well as I itnended for very long; it needed proper transcode support, and what was there was incomplete. Also, the code itself was messy and hacky, with commented-out code still there, and bundled libraries. When I replaced my Samsung TV with a Sony Bravia last year, I was also hoping MediaTomb worked with that (because it actually supports UPnP by itself alone), but that wasn’t the case.

At any rate, with MediaTomb failing to keep up with releases, cleanup code, and so on so forth, I gave up vastly on the UPnP idea; even using the XBMC instance on my AppleTV, the best seems to be using Samba instead. This until a couple of weeks ago when I started worrying about my bedroom’s media outlets. I have three UPnP-enabled devices (Bravia TV, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360), but I use an always-on AppleTV to play my stuff; that really wounds like a waste.

Even more so given that the AppleTV doesn’t really play Full HD content, not with XBMC at least; and my hopes for it to become useful, actually trusting in Apple’s declaration that they would have brought TV series to the iTunes Store in Europe vanished quite a long time ago. And to reinforce the fact that I made a totally shitty deal when I bought this AppleTV, rumors have that the new version of it will be a totally different product, cheaper and with no on-board storage… now I can guess the reason for that; as I said I stream my video from my main storage (Yamato itself), but I actually am glad that the AppleTV I have has 160GB storage so I can keep a copy of my photos, and of all the music I have, in lossless format (ALAC).

At any rate, I wanted to give UPnP/PlayStation 3 another chance; and the current way to do that is using Rygel, developed by the Gnome community and tied to GStreamer (even though I have a number of personal reserves against it). Now, thankfully, most of the needed code was already around in Portage, and Petteri had a partial ebuild for an older Rygel version, so I spent a night trying to work it out. It needs the GUPnP stack that is developed together with it obviously, and it relies on Vala for a big part of it including the GUI.

The “stable’ version is from quite a long time ago; and if you know software enough, you know that ”stable” means “unmaintained” when its release version ends with a “.0”. So I went for the development series, 0.7. And updating the dependencies, it turned out to need Gtk+ 2.21, with all the related trouble. Funnily, Arun notified me that the configure.ac script actually outright lies, it requires 2.21 just because it can, but it does not need it, and works fine with 2.20; I haven’t had much time to update the ebuilds so that they ignore the dependency, but I was able to test it for a little while with 2.21.

I’m sincerely not excessively impressed with it; of course it works definitely better than MediaTomb, and I guess that UPnP/DLNA are messed up enough that they have trouble to actually get them working properly, but… it seems like for the European version of the Bravia TV they always transcode to mpeg2/mp3 (which I’ll tell you, is crappy quality; the TV can do DVB-T HD out of the box, I guess it has support for decoding H.264/AAC), and even the PlayStation3 has trouble identifying some files, even when they should play correctly on local storage; and PS3 is declared to be their platform of choice.

The interface itself is quite difficult to work on, it has no way to monitor the scan status; it also only index files if the extension is one of those they recognize and…. funnily enough they recognize .mp4 files but not .m4v files, which are just the same thing; rename the latter to the former, and voiltà, it works… so you got a possible bug there. I haven’t reported it but on IRC, where I was suggested to check the config files that… are quite a bit messed up.

I’ll fix up in tree some ebuilds for Rygel at some point this weekend if I can get the time to, it’s still a pretty good replacement for MediaTomb, it’s just something I’d probably use rather than XBMC-over-Samba.

Of course this is still not solving my problem with video playback; especially since it does not work with softsub that are overly common with J-Drama…