Sat Radio - MusicLobby Integration

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Sat Radio - MusicLobby Integration

Postby ronsatter » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:05 pm

Hi Folks,

With all the iPhone buzz on the forum, I feel strange posting my latest ML project. It's so "old school".

For those of us who are still in the other ML world, I offer this design concept. These scenes are the "Music" module of a larger suite called "San Francisco". More to come as I re-do other modules.

The intent of this module is to integrate the function and look of both MusicLobby and SatRadio plugins. To conserve space and illustrate the flow of these scenes with each other, I put together these composite shots. Hopefully, you'll get the general idea.

Fig 1: Startup
1. Welcome.jpg

The floating panel is a multi-function control panel for the active music source on the client PC. This is a separate scene which is dedicated to the top-most layer. It always occupies this area on every scene, which keeps it available at all times. The upper area of the panel shows which of three available music sources is currently active on the client PC. The sources are "Music", "XM Online" and "XM Radio. Touching any of the source labels, switches the view in the panel to the selected source ... and sets the source as "Active" on the client PC. Think of it a s a convenient mini tuner and control panel. Notice that the active source lable is in white and has three sub menu choices dedicated to the active source. Source "Music" has "Browse" "Search" and "Playlist" menu options. Each source has unique menu options, depending on what is most commonly used for that source. Finally, selecting the "Cover Art" will display the "Now Playing" center panel as shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2: Active Source
2. Active Source.jpg

This is where the active source "Now Playing" artist/album info is displayed, including current song lyrics (requires MLLyrics) and extra goodies like "Artist Bio" and "Similar Artists" (requires MLDMR and subscription). Higlighted buttons in the lower panel indicate what extra info is available.

Note the lower section of the "Now Playing" panel. It displays the three music sources, indicates the active source on the client PC and allows the user to change sources by selecting cover art (as shown in Fig 4). This section updates dynamically when artist info changes on any of the three music sources. Also, a server rule updates the upper panel area with every song change. Real-time visuals with all three music sources. One of my favorite scenes.

Fig 3: Artist Extra Info
3. Artist Bio Similar Search.jpg

This is a composite shot of three separate scenes. Inserts 1 and 2 show the "Artist Bio" and "Similar Artist" info. The extra info is displayed in the right vertical panel above the control panel. It slides up from bottom screen from under the control panel when appropriate buttons are selected. Insert 3 shows the "Artist Lookup" feature available from the "Similar Artists" panel. Selecting artist cover art will search your local music server (using MLMusicLobby search commands) to locate and display any albums by the queried artist. Here the user can view and/or listen to the found albums, using MLMusicLobby and the "Music" source. This lookup works across all three music sources, ie current artists from "XM Online" or "XM Radio" channels can be queried and displayed if available on your local server.

Fig 4: Multi Source Switching
5. Multi Source Control.jpg

This is a composite shot of five separate scenes. Insert 1 shows the "XM Radio" Channel Guide with the display filter set to "Favorites". The example shows setting the "XM Radio" music source to Channel 7.

Insert 2 shows the Channel Guide display filter changed to the "Pop" genre, using the "Genre Filter" panel above the control panel. Selecting a genre filter updates the Channel Guide to display channels in the selected genre. I love this feature too. It saves time when browsing the guide.

Insert 3, 4 and 5 show how the "Now Playing" and "Control" panels update when any music source cover art is selected. The newly selected music source becomes active on the client PC with the appropriate "Control" panel switched and floating. Navigation to other scenes will leave the active music source "Control" panel displayed for easy access.

Fig 5: Album Browser
4. Album Browser.jpg

This is a compostie shot of four separate scenes. I designed a different layout for MusicLobby album browsing. I found it tedious to change back and forth between the "Album Browse" and "Selected Artist" scenes, so I created this "multi-view" approach. I placed the album browser in the lower section of the selected artist scene. This allows instant viewing of any selected artist/album by selecting the cover art in the browser section. The alpha slider jumps the browser to the selected character, and the scroll arrows advance the browser by increments of 5 thumbs in either direction. I set the scroll arrow buttons to "Repeat" to speed up the horizontal viewing. This makes browsing faster and more efficient ... especially when you are browsing albums to build a playlist. Mo betta! 8)

Fig 6: Multi Album Search
6.Multi Album Search.jpg

This is a compostie shot of five separate scenes. In keeping with the "multi-view" approach, I designed an alternate MusicLobby search scene for Artist Multiple Albums. Insert 1 shows the MusicLobby search scene with the search filter set to "Artist" and a text query of the letter "B". The search results list displays the first 5 artists matching the query ... of which "Bee Gees" is selected ... resulting in the "multiple albums" scene shown in insert 2. The "Similar Artist" lookup search referenced in Fig 3 quite often will display this scene.

Here is where the "multi-view" design is helpful. The upper portion of the "Search" panel displays the listed multiple albums, augmented with cover art thumbs of those albums in the lower section of the panel. The thumbs are easier for the user to identify than a list of choices. Another advantage of this "multi-view" format is easy album viewing of the search results. Inserts 3,4 and 5 show this. Notice that the search results remain accessible while viewing any selected result. Mo betta! 8)

Fig 7: Genre Artist Search
7. Genre Artist Search.jpg

This modified MusicLobby "Search" scene employs a couple of new features not available in the default 0019 scenes. When filtering searches by "Genre", "Style" or "Tone" ... viewing the search results can be cumbersome with the default scenes. I found it difficult to navigate between "Style" or "Tone" groups and step back to the previous filter group level. Major pia! #-o So I created a new sub-filter called "Group" which is controled by the use of MLCycleStates plugin.

The top area of the "Search" scene provides a summary of the filter choices for the current search. When a filter "Group" is part of the search, as is the case with "Genre","Style" and "Tone" filters, the user can quickly cycle through the groups using the mini browse direction arrows. The best part is that the results change dynamically as the "Group" filter is changed.

In this illustration, the search filter is set to "Genre" by choosing it from the "Filter Select" panel. This dynamically displays the first genre group "Big Band" and the resulting Artists fitting the filter.

At this point, the user may elect to:

1. Play all the artists included in the group
2. Play all songs by an artist in the list
3. View albums by an artist in the list

Again, this streamlined process helps immensely when building playlists on the fly. An added feature is the ability to return to the same place in the filter list if you decide to view an artist's albums. Mo betta! 8)

PS. This requires creating some "marker" variables to take a snapshot of the filter settings and "reset" them behind the scenes before return. I'll post how I do this in another post.

Fig 8: Style Group Play
9. Style Group Play.jpg

This is a compostie shot of three separate scenes. Insert 1 shows setting the search filter to "Style" with the "Group" set to "Album Rock". Insert 2 shows the play options for the style group. Insert 3 shows the resulting "Now Playing" panel with the current artist info.

It's that easy ... well, maybe not that easy. :roll: As usual, always will to answer questions.

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If it ain't broke ... don't fix it!

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Re: Sat Radio - MusicLobby Integration

Postby DaveB » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:40 pm

Great job and no worries. I still see room for an in wall screen in the main area. I see where wireless tablets like the iPad or iPhone will take over the theater areas, exterior control and bedside control. I do think that the days of a hard mounted screen in multiple locations in the home are nearly over.

My solution is this:

It is really the best of both worlds.

Dave Bruner

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