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Chowmain - Kodi Lite (XBMC) Driver for Control4

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Chowmain - Kodi Lite (XBMC) Driver for Control4

This driver is developed for the Kodi Entertainment Center (formerly known as XBMC). 

Kodi Entertainment Center is a software based media player that can be installed on Windows, MAC, Linux, Raspberry Pi and Android based platforms. Kodi offers a beautiful simple interface that enriches your playback experience. The Chowmain Kodi Lite driver enables us to integrate the Kodi Entertainment Center into the Control4 home automation system with seamless control and feedback. 

This is the most feature packed media player on Control4 to date providing the user with an enriched movie playback experience. See below for more details 

Features

  • IP based communications 
  • Transport controls 
  • Numerical buttons act as jump to percentage during video playback or SMS style quick navigation when in navigational modes. Number 0 in navigation mode will jump to the end of the list.  Number 1 in navigation mode will jump to the start of the list.
  • Support for PVR (Guide, Record, DVR, Channel Up, Channel Down buttons) 
  • Movie selection from Control4’s Navigator 
  • Import Movies from the Kodi library into Control4's library with meta data and cover art. Automatic update upon movie Kodi * library update notification. 
  • Automatic Room On (like the music bridge) on playback detection and automatic Room Off on screen saver activate. If the driver detects music it will only turn on your receiver (audio endpoint).  If it detects video it will also turn on your projector/tv (video endpoint).
  • 2 way feedback via the JSON API for play, pause, stop, screen saver active/deactive, Detected File Type, Video Aspect Ratio, Video Resolution, Video/Music/TV/Radio currently playing, Memory usage, CPU usage, CPU Frequency, System Total Space, System Uptime, System Temperature, Client Platform, Client Version & Client Name
  • Assignable buttons for non intuitive buttons 
  • Wake-on Lan functionality and Shutdown functionality can keep your Kodi setup power efficient. Can still select a movie from navigator and have it turn on the machine and play the movie upon start up. 
  • Power off options 
  • Ability to send custom messages to Kodi Entertainment Center via Kodi Notifications (similar to Control4 Announcements via Navigator). 
  • Audio End-Point assignment for line level volume up/down/mute functionality 
  • Video End-Point assignment 
  • Support for Android boxes (if XBMC app is closed it will launch upon ON command, also if XBMC exited by user you can navigate and control Android applications).
  • Ability to play any URL via Control4 programming.  This is useful for commercial systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this driver called KODI Lite?

Initially we wanted to make the best KODI driver around however as we kept working on it our aspirations just kept getting higher and higher. As such the development efforts and timeframe has expanded exponentially. To get the driver to market quickly we decided to make two drivers. KODI Lite and KODI Full. Kodi Lite is the (as of date) best media player driver on the market with exceptional features. Kodi Full however will be THE best media player driver ever on the market with full library navigation, live meta data, cover art and more. They will be both priced accordingly. Some people won't want all the features available in KODI Full so we've made KODI Lite which is priced to suit. 

Can you give us some examples of how we could use this driver?

  • Now with Android support you can purchase Android Set Top Boxes for under $200 that will provide you with the full XBMC experience and Android experience. Play games, surf the web and use XBMC.
  • Create the perfect cinema experience by dimming the lights down when a movie starts, ramp it back up when the movie ends or if the user pauses or stops the movie. Also automatically set the cinema to different modes based upon the movie aspect ratio.
  • Setup logic to change your LED lightings colour dependant on the movie name. If you're watching something set in the ocean set it to blue. If you're watching something set in the jungle set it to green or if you're watching something set in the desert set it to orange. 
  • It can be very disruptive while watching a movie to have navigator pop up and tell me that someone is at my front door or perhaps i have a new email or something. This driver provides the ability to send Kodi announcements. Like a Control4 Announcement this will pop up a custom message however in this case it will not interrupt the current Kodi activity. It will just pop up in the bottom right hand corner for a few seconds and then hide away.
  • This driver provides two way feedback on what media you're consuming and what the state of the media player is. It will tell you when the movie is playing, paused, stopped or if it is a movie, episode, song or unknown media type. This information is useful for customising your lighting and environment to suit your customer's requirements. 
  • The driver has the ability to automatically turn rooms on and off. Using this functionality you can essentially turn on your tv and receiver upon airplay or UPnP photos, video or music playback. If you leave the room for too long or fall asleep at the tv the driver will automatically turn the room off (all av devices off) upon detection of screensaver activation. 
  • Some projectors have the option of clearing out the black bars (masking) in movies. This driver reports back the aspect ratio of the video it is currently playing as a variable. Using this information we can automate these projection masking modes and as such make the user experience nicer. 
  • This driver has feedback on CPU usage, Memory usage and CPU temperature. This information is extremely important for maintaining the health of the hardware platform it is on. Using this information we can automate shutdowns so that no damage can occur on the device. 

What hardware will this work on??
This will work on any hardware that KODI supports (Windows, OSX, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android) running XBMC version 12 (Frodo) & 13 (Gotham) and KODI version 14 (Helix). Currently we prefer some of the higher end Android boxes as it is a more cleaner solution than the others. 

Why do you only support OS 2.6 and above?
OS 2.6 offers a superior security encryption algorithm and a new and improved driver format. We have decided to only utilise this new format to ensure that the integrity of this driver is not compremised and that we can provide the best dealer/user experience available. 

Do you offer showroom discounts?
We offer a 10% discount to dealers who want to use this driver in their showroom. Please contact our distributor Houselogix to arrange for this. 

How do I find out more information about the driver?
Please see the links below for more information about the driver. 

Chowmain Website

Download Installation Guide

How do I buy the driver?
This driver is developed by Chowmain software & apps and is distributed and supported by Houselogix, Inc. 

Download Driver / Purchase Licence

Who do i contact for technical support?
This driver is developed by Chowmain software & apps and is distributed and supported by Houselogix, Inc. 

Support

Do you provide trial licences?
All Chowmain drivers for Control4 come with a 48 hour trial. This is activated once you add the driver to the project. No additional steps are necessary. 

kodi.png 

kodi+2.jpeg 

plex.png 

kodi+5.jpeg

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I have been testing this driver for Alan for the last few days - its the best XBMC/Kodi driver.  HANDS DOWN.  Only Alan could rewrite his old Recluse driver and make it even better.  Some key features for me:

-Reconnect after reboot without having to shut the room off and back on

-Auto off/on when sensing audio/video

 

If you are using any other drivers for XBMC this is worth the upgrade.

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Very nice driver! Left to do: Find the best hardware for building a rock solid XBMC player that can be sold to customers without getting service call. Any suggestion?

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Very nice driver! Left to do: Find the best hardware for building a rock solid XBMC player that can be sold to customers without getting service call. Any suggestion?

I bought one of these for my projector

http://www.tronsmart.com/products/android-tv-box/tronsmart-draco-aw80-meta.html

Been running since Monday without turning off. Seems pretty good so far. Will let you know how it goes as time goes by.

Comes rooted as well so can install LANmote for android control using the kodi driver.

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Hi

 

This looks in fact very interesting so that I may ditch my Mediaportal setup with IR control.

 

Just a couple of Questions:

 

1) Can the driver pull metadata to C4 if KODI is using XBMB3C as media source?

 

2a) What kind of buttons can be assigned to Kodi commands - all buttons on SR250, or just "a couple"?

2b) Do I need Composer Pro and therefore a dealer to changes commands for specific buttons or can that be done via Composer HE ?

3) Is TV / PVR integration complete? (i.e. manage recordings, changing channel lists, easy bring up channel list while viewing to avoid goping into EPG all the time)

4) what is the msrp recommendation to dealers for the pricing to customers? (or a price range just to know what we are talking about here)

 

5) What will the Pro version most likely offer?

 

thx for response

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That was quick thx.

 

I assume to assign commands to a colored button I do not need a dealer, but for DVR * and # I do need my dealer - correct?

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Ok the dealer to install that thing is just fine. I just don't want to call my dealer every time I change the"#" button to something else until I definitively know how I like it.

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1) I'm not sure though I don't think so. I haven't tried this xbmb3c before but as it is an add on I don't think it will. The driver imports the xbmc library only. If the addon does not inject movies into the xbmc library it won't work. If it does it should work. I would test this out first using our trial licence prior to purchase to be sure.

2a) see the installation guide linked in the first post for a list of all button mappings

2b) I haven't used composer he for years (for about 5 years now) so I'm not sure. If you can access the properties of a driver (should be under monitoring from memory) then yes.

3) pvr control is mapped to record, channel up, channel down. The guide and DVR buttons can be mapped to the pvr screen. Unfortunately xbmc cannot jump to sub menus. We (and a lot of other developers) have asked for this but not sure if it'll make the kodi 14 release.

4) houselogix doesn't actually have a spot for MSRP pricing as such we don't have this for consumers. Having said that though personally I feel that if you should not pay in excess of $180usd for the driver. Note that this does not include installation costs.

Hi

This looks in fact very interesting so that I may ditch my Mediaportal setup with IR control.

Just a couple of Questions:

1) Can the driver pull metadata to C4 if KODI is using XBMB3C as media source?

2a) What kind of buttons can be assigned to Kodi commands - all buttons on SR250, or just "a couple"?

2b) Do I need Composer Pro and therefore a dealer to changes commands for specific buttons or can that be done via Composer HE ?

3) Is TV / PVR integration complete? (i.e. manage recordings, changing channel lists, easy bring up channel list while viewing to avoid goping into EPG all the time)

4) what is the msrp recommendation to dealers for the pricing to customers? (or a price range just to know what we are talking about here)

5) What will the Pro version most likely offer?

thx for response

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Hi thx for the answers.

 

Price range seems ok for me. Testing period of 2d is quite short for such a complex setup, 1w or 2w are much better suited - just my opinion, maybe you devs consider it.

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@alanchow

 

Hi

 

I have been testing the driver a little bit today. It works pretty well, installation time remotly less than 30min if customer has all the necessary data and does prepare Kodi by itself (which is easy thx to the installation instruction above)

 

The driver works flawlessly and leaves a very good overall impression.

 

Here is some feedback after testing the new driver a little bit:

 

The mapping of custom buttons incl. * and # is possible with HE version, the driver menu is visible. - perfect!

 

1) One major function is missing which needs to be available for assignment in custom buttons: Aspect ratio / Zoom - keyboard shortcut is "z" – there are still many movies, esp. old ones where detection od aspect ratio is just wrong.

 

2) The Guide and DVR button are mapped to "Channel list" (PVR_MENU) under Live TV at Kodi. None of the buttons or available functions lead to the real programm guide the "epg" - keybaord shortcut "e"

 

3) When doing a search (movie or anything else) the virtual keyboards pops up on the screen. However I am missing the ability to use the number buttons to type like SMS/T9 – is that possible?

 

4) Direct links to (Jump_To_): “recordings”, Live TV

 

5) In Live TV, when watching a channel and no OSD is shown, the “select” button on SR250 does nothing. Do you think it is possible to bind that to PVR_MENU ? (that is what 99% of satellite receivers show when pressing “ok”).

In the driver it is visible what your are currently watching so the driver should be aware of the section you are in (live tv, movies etc…). So maybe it can be set to PVR_MENU via “if current source is live TV then button select -> PVR MENU else enter” – just some random idea that popped up in my mind

 

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Thanks for the feedback.  I hope you're enjoying the driver.  Notes below.

  1. The VIDEO_MODE configurable option for any button is what you're looking for.  This will cycle between the different video modes.
  2. Unfortunately the JSON-RPC doesn't have sub menu's in its window navigation.  They are aware of it and are looking at implementing it however it has not made Kodi 14 unfortunately.  Hopefully next year we'll get sub menu's (including recorded shows, guide, etc).
  3. Unfortunately we cannot detect if the virtual keyboard has popped up.  There is no notification from Kodi that this has happened.  As such we cannot do this elegantly.  Personally i type faster using the virtual keyboard than sms style typing.
  4. As per answer 2
  5. There are issues with changing the button configuration whilst in live tv mode.  Should you enter the PVR_MENU (or any other menu for that fact) we will not be able to detect that we are navigating and as such the select button (a pretty important button) will jump to PVR_MENU.

@alanchow

 

Hi

 

I have been testing the driver a little bit today. It works pretty well, installation time remotly less than 30min if customer has all the necessary data and does prepare Kodi by itself (which is easy thx to the installation instruction above)

 

The driver works flawlessly and leaves a very good overall impression.

 

Here is some feedback after testing the new driver a little bit:

 

The mapping of custom buttons incl. * and # is possible with HE version, the driver menu is visible. - perfect!

 

1) One major function is missing which needs to be available for assignment in custom buttons: Aspect ratio / Zoom - keyboard shortcut is "z" – there are still many movies, esp. old ones where detection od aspect ratio is just wrong.

 

2) The Guide and DVR button are mapped to "Channel list" (PVR_MENU) under Live TV at Kodi. None of the buttons or available functions lead to the real programm guide the "epg" - keybaord shortcut "e"

 

3) When doing a search (movie or anything else) the virtual keyboards pops up on the screen. However I am missing the ability to use the number buttons to type like SMS/T9 – is that possible?

 

4) Direct links to (Jump_To_): “recordings”, Live TV

 

5) In Live TV, when watching a channel and no OSD is shown, the “select” button on SR250 does nothing. Do you think it is possible to bind that to PVR_MENU ? (that is what 99% of satellite receivers show when pressing “ok”).

In the driver it is visible what your are currently watching so the driver should be aware of the section you are in (live tv, movies etc…). So maybe it can be set to PVR_MENU via “if current source is live TV then button select -> PVR MENU else enter” – just some random idea that popped up in my mind

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So good news.  Turns out there are some hidden API commands which i just guessed that will allow you to jump to the recording and guide windows.  I'll implement these in along with a few other mapped buttons people have been asking for since the initial release.  Will probably do some testing and update it in the coming days.

 

 

Thanks for the feedback.  I hope you're enjoying the driver.  Notes below.

  1. The VIDEO_MODE configurable option for any button is what you're looking for.  This will cycle between the different video modes.
  2. Unfortunately the JSON-RPC doesn't have sub menu's in its window navigation.  They are aware of it and are looking at implementing it however it has not made Kodi 14 unfortunately.  Hopefully next year we'll get sub menu's (including recorded shows, guide, etc).
  3. Unfortunately we cannot detect if the virtual keyboard has popped up.  There is no notification from Kodi that this has happened.  As such we cannot do this elegantly.  Personally i type faster using the virtual keyboard than sms style typing.
  4. As per answer 2
  5. There are issues with changing the button configuration whilst in live tv mode.  Should you enter the PVR_MENU (or any other menu for that fact) we will not be able to detect that we are navigating and as such the select button (a pretty important button) will jump to PVR_MENU.

 

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Testing is complete.  This is a pretty minor update but an important one.  Have uploaded the driver to the houselogix site.  If you have the houselogix auto-update it will automatically update the driver.  Note a restart is needed once it is updated to see the new commands in the dropdown boxes.

 

Version #20141215 - 15-DEC-2014
  • System will only perform an automated scan when it detects at least one new movie rather than when a scan has finished (there are times when a scheduled scan returns no new movies)
  • Added CODEC_INFO configurable button as per request
  • Found undocumented Window Activation links to tv/radio recordings, tv/radio guide and tv/radio search.  Added as configurable button as per request and mapped as default for logical buttons.

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Hey Alan does this address the issue in the past I talked to you about regarding the profile page. If you have multiple profiles and you try to switch profiles, it doesn't respond to c4 commands from the profile screen.

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Hey Alan does this address the issue in the past I talked to you about regarding the profile page. If you have multiple profiles and you try to switch profiles, it doesn't respond to c4 commands from the profile screen.

I remember that one. The driver communicates in the same method so probably not. Though they may have fixed the bug in kodi 14. So I'd try the new version first.

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Ok.  Well I still plan on getting this new one, sounds great.  So this was some of that stuff awhile back you were teasing us with regarding xbmc, well at least when you release the full version.

Looks great.

 

Regarding the "high end" android box.  Can you give a quick recommendation (what you use) so I don't have to sift through posts on xbmc/kodi forum.  Yes I'm lazy.

Would be nice to have a low heat and reliable box in my equipment room for a change. :)

 

Thanks again for everything you do.

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Ok.  Well I still plan on getting this new one, sounds great.  So this was some of that stuff awhile back you were teasing us with regarding xbmc, well at least when you release the full version.

Looks great.

 

Regarding the "high end" android box.  Can you give a quick recommendation (what you use) so I don't have to sift through posts on xbmc/kodi forum.  Yes I'm lazy.

Would be nice to have a low heat and reliable box in my equipment room for a change. :)

 

Thanks again for everything you do.

 

Yeah this 'LITE' driver is the most advanced media player driver on the market to date.  I teased the 'FULL' version of the driver which will be even better though it won't be available for a while.

 

The android box i purchased is a tronsmart draco AW80.  Have thrown 1080p mkv's at it without any issues.  Box has been up since i installed it on monday last week and has been rock solid.

 

Supposidly the box does 4k as well though i haven't tested it.

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Three things...

 

1) You need to make a youtube video that shows someone putting the driver through its paces.  This *sounds* like it is really cool.  People like to buy things that *look* really cool.

2) What is performance like?  I'm just a little paranoid.  In a previous house, I had some performance issues using the 'native' media management to browse my music collection.  So, what sort of lag is there if I want to browse through my movie library of 700 movies/tv series?

3) Any issues with SPMC?  I'm currently running this: http://spmc.semperpax.com/ on an OpenHour Chameleon.  It runs like a champ.  For those who don't know, SPMC is a 'fork' of the XBMC code with some tweaks targeted towards the chip that is in the Chameleon (also in other devices, I'm sure, but the Chameleon is the only one I am familiar with).  It isn't integrated inty my C4 system, but the blu-ray player that I was using to bring Netflix into the living room just died and I need a replacement and I'm thinking about going a different direction altogether.

 

Thanks

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Three things...

 

1) You need to make a youtube video that shows someone putting the driver through its paces.  This *sounds* like it is really cool.  People like to buy things that *look* really cool.

2) What is performance like?  I'm just a little paranoid.  In a previous house, I had some performance issues using the 'native' media management to browse my music collection.  So, what sort of lag is there if I want to browse through my movie library of 700 movies/tv series?

3) Any issues with SPMC?  I'm currently running this: http://spmc.semperpax.com/ on an OpenHour Chameleon.  It runs like a champ.  For those who don't know, SPMC is a 'fork' of the XBMC code with some tweaks targeted towards the chip that is in the Chameleon (also in other devices, I'm sure, but the Chameleon is the only one I am familiar with).  It isn't integrated inty my C4 system, but the blu-ray player that I was using to bring Netflix into the living room just died and I need a replacement and I'm thinking about going a different direction altogether.

 

Thanks

 

Hey there.  Answers below

 

  1. Due to limited resources we have chosen not to make youtube videos of our products.  We would rather spend those resources developing more cool drivers and applications to enhance the Control4 home automation platform.
  2. I have been developing Control4 XBMC/Kodi drivers since 2006.  This is my 6th iteration of the driver over the years (and across multiple companies i've worked for) and as such its stupidly quick (try for yourself using our free 48 hour trial).  You may have had performance issues using older controllers as well.  The current generation of Control4 controllers capable of running OS 2.6 will run it just fine.  700 movies will import in about 30 minutes on a HC250.  On a HC1000 we imported about 1000 movies in 15 minutes.  Note that the driver does not import TV series as Control4's media management does not have the capability of showing TV series.
  3. During our beta testing two of our beta testers were using SPMC.  Worked fine with them.

In the past two weeks of release this driver has quickly soared to become our top selling driver dwarfing sales of every other driver in the period.  Many CI manufacturers have chose to utilise our driver to distribute with their custom XBMC/Kodi boxes for use with Control4.

 

Use the built in trial licence to see if you like our driver.  If you like it after you try it out buy a licence for it.  So far we've been getting extremely positive feedback from everyone.  Quite a few have been saying that its the best media player integration in Control4 to date.

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Thanks for the quick reply.  Yes, I was using the '300' controller when I was having performance problems with my music collection.  My new house has a '250' and if nothing else, the performance of browsing my music collection is insanely faster.  I assume that as well as importing quickly, the experience of browsing via genre/name/whatever is fairly quick.

 

Do you know, is installing this something that can be done remotely?  I was happy with the group that recently completed my home install, but for something like this, I would prefer to work with someone who has some experience.  Can I do all the manual labor of plugging in my cables/etc. and then let someone have remote access to my system to install the driver and do any other programming?  Anyone you would recommend?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

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