Kodi VBox TV Gateway PVR addon

README.md

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VBox Home TV Gateway PVR Client

This repository provides a Kodi PVR addon for interfacing with the VBox Communications XTi TV Gateway devices. This README serves as a quick overview of the functionality and architecture of the addon, to make it easier for others to possible contribute.

Build instructions

Linux

  1. git clone https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc.git
  2. git clone https://github.com/kodi-pvr/pvr.vbox.git
  3. cd pvr.vbox && mkdir build && cd build
  4. cmake -DADDONS_TO_BUILD=pvr.vbox -DADDON_SRC_PREFIX=../.. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=../../xbmc/kodi-build/addons -DPACKAGE_ZIP=1 ../../xbmc/cmake/addons
  5. make

Windows

These instructions may be outdated. I'm assuming here that you'll check out all source code into C:\Projects, you'll have to adjust that if you use another path.

  1. Check out the Kodi source from Github (C:\Projects\xbmc) and make sure you have Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 installed.
  2. Check out this repository (C:\Projects\pvr.vbox)
  3. This step has to be done once only. Go to C:\Projects\xbmc\project\cmake\addons\addons. You'll see there's a folder for each binary addon. In order to build your locally checked out copy of the addon instead of the version that is bundled with Kodi you'll need to open the file pvr.vbox/pvr.vbox.txt and change its contents to the following: pvr.vbox file://C:/Projects/pvr.vbox.
  4. Open a command prompt (or Powershell) and browse to C:\Projects\xbmc\tools\windows. From here, run prepare-binary-addons-dev.bat clean and then prepare-binary-addons-dev.bat pvr.vbox.
  5. Go to C:\Projects\xbmc\project\cmake\addons\build and open and build the kodi-addons.sln solution.
  6. The addon DLL is built and located in C:\Projects\xbmc\addons. If you run Kodi now from inside Visual Studio the addon will appear automatically under "System addons". If you don't want to bother compiling Kodi from source, install it as you normally would and copy the pvr.vbox into %APPDATA%\Kodi\addons.
  7. Run Kodi, configure and enable the addon, then enable Live TV.

Settings

This list contains some explanation for the non-obvious settings:

  • Connection: There are two tabs in the settings dialog with identical settings, which means you can configure your addon to contact the VBox TV Gateway using both its internal and external address/port. This is useful for e.g. a laptop which is not permanently inside your internal network. When the addon starts it first attempts to make a connection using the internal settings. If that fails, it will try the external settings instead. The addon restarts itself if the connection is lost so it will automatically switch back without having to restart Kodi.
    • HTTP and UPnP port: You'll only need to change these from their respective defaults if you wish to use a VBox TV Gateway over the Internet (i.e. the external connection settings tab) and you're using asymmetric port forwarding (e.g. port 8080 -> 80 and 12345 -> 55555). The HTTP port is used to communicate with the device while the UPnP port is used when streaming media.
  • Prefer external EPG over OTA: If a specific channel has guide data both from the VBox itself and from the external XMLTV file, this setting controls which guide data is used. Note that the external data is always used if the VBox doesn't provide any guide data for a specific channel.
  • Timeshift buffer path: The path where the timeshift buffer files should be stored when timeshifting is enabled. Make sure you have a reasonable amount of disk space available since the buffer will grow indefinitely until you stop watching or switch channels!

Using external XMLTV guide data

The addon supports specifying the path to an XMLTV file which will be used for guide data for channels that the VBox doesn't provide any EPG data for. You can also make the addon prefer the external guide data by enabling the Prefer external EPG over OTA checkbox in the settings (see above for possible caveats). For this feature to work, the addon needs a way to map channel names from the VBox with channel names in the XMLTV file.

When the addon starts, it looks for and loads channel name mappings from a file named channel_mappings.xml in the addon's data folder (userdata\addon_data\pvr.vbox). If this file doesn't exist it is created. The file has the following structure:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xmltvmap>
    <mapping vbox-name="Yle TV1" xmltv-name="Yle TV1"/>
    <mapping vbox-name="Yle TV2" xmltv-name="Yle TV2"/>
    <mapping vbox-name="MTV3 HD" xmltv-name=""/>
    <mapping vbox-name="Nelonen HD" xmltv-name=""/>
    ...
</xmltvmap>

When creating the default map, only channels which names match perfectly will be mapped automatically. The rest of the channel mappings are empty, like MTV3 HD and Nelonen HD in the example above. To map these to the correct channels, simply modify the file and restart Kodi.

Architecture

This addon has been built from the ground up using C++11. The main functionality is contained within the vbox namespace, the only file outside that is client.cpp which bridges the gap between the Kodi API and the API used by the main library class, vbox::VBox. The idea is to keep the addon code as decoupled from Kodi as possible.

The addon communicates with a VBox TV Gateway using the TV gateway's HTTP API. Since the structure of the responses vary a little bit, a factory is used to construct meaningful objects to represent the various responses. All response-related code is located under the vbox::response namespace.

The addon requires XMLTV parsing since that's the format the gateway provides EPG data over. The classes and utilities for handling this are kept separate under the xmltv namespace so that the code can potentially be reused.

The vbox::VBox class which client.cpp interfaces with is designed so that an exception of base type VBoxException (which is an extension of std::runtime_error) is thrown whenever ever a request fails. A request can fail for various reasons:

  • the request failed to execute, i.e. the backend was unavailable
  • the XML parsing failed, i.e. the response was invalid
  • the request succeeded but the response represented an error

Similar to the XMLTV code, the code for the timeshift buffer is fairly generic and lives in a separate timeshift namespace. Currently there is a base class for all buffers and two implementations, a FilesystemBuffer which buffers the data to a file on disc, and a DummyBuffer which just relays the read operations to the underlying input handle. This is required since Kodi uses a different code paths depending on whether clients handle input streams on their own or not, and we need this particular code path for other features like signal status handling to work.

Versioning

The addon follows semantic versioning. Each release is tagged with its respective version number. Since each release of Kodi requires a separate branch for the addon, the major version changes whenever the Kodi version changes. This means that versions 1.x.x are for Kodi v15, versions 2.x.x are for Kodi v16 and so on.

Useful links

License

The code is licensed under the GNU GPL version 2 license.