Chameleon MediaCenter

Industry News & Views

Less than a month after CMC v3.2, we’re happy to announce that CMC v3.3 is ready for your enjoyment.

CMC v3.3 is primarily a polish and bug fix release. With about 13 usability enhancements and nearly 20 important bug fixes, CMC v3.3 and CME v1.4 should run better than ever.

While most of these bug fixes are addressing minor issues, probably the most important bug fix is for the CMC new version check. Apparently CMC has been failing to check for updates on some machines because a DLL path wasn’t properly defined, something we accidentally broke in a code cleanup over a year ago. If you disabled CMC new version checks due to error messages, we encourage you to try again with v3.3 as now the issue is hopefully resolved.

Another important bug fix is related to running multiple instances of CMC simultaneously. CMC should only run one instance, and if you attempt to run a second instance it should be prevented. While this was working in older CMC versions, the last several releases have been broken, allowing for multiple instances of CMC to run at the same time. Not only is this fixed in CMC v3.3, it is better than ever, as launching CMC a 2nd time should immediately bring the first instance back to focus. This is perfect in cases where CMC has lost focus (i.e. a Windows pop-up notification stole focus away now and you can’t control CMC) – simply press the remote button you configured to launch CMC and voila, CMC is focused again and you didn’t have to break out the keyboard.

But v3.3 isn’t all about bug fixes and a paint touch-up, there are lots of new features as well, among them a few new features that deserve a special mention.

One new feature is automatically dismounting ISO’s when you close CMC. This new feature is optional, and works only for Virtual CloneDrive (VCD) users. Previously if you mounted an ISO to watch, it stayed mounted until you rebooted, manually dismounted it, or mounted another ISO in its place. Now when you close CMC, any ISO mounted to the configured VCD drive letter will be automatically dismounted. This can help NAS servers spin down hard drives by freeing up connection streams.

Another new feature is that all external Media Players, like PowerDVD, MPC, JRiver, and more, can be configured as an External Link. Previously you could only open external players by playing media, or manually configuring a custom External Link to open one. With CMC v3.3, you can easily assign pre-configured External Links to easily launch any of the supported players without having to play media.

The last notable new feature is a new version check and updater for AnyDVD. If you are an AnyDVD user, CMC can optionally check if a new version is available. If an update exists, CMC will display the changelog, and optionally download and begin the update for you. The best part of this new feature is that now you don’t have to break out the keyboard just to install frequent AnyDVD updates, as even the few install prompts during a normal AnyDVD install can be handled with a standard remote control.

To read up on all the new features, improvements, and bug fixes, head over to the Downloads page for the full changelog.

CMC v3.3 is a free upgrade for all users. For current users, if you’ve granted firewall access then CMC will let you auto-update to the new version the next time you run your current version (assuming your PC wasn’t affected by that new version check bug we just fixed for v3.3). Otherwise, you can manually download the new version.

CMC v3.2 is now available, and includes some great new features and tons of bug fixes! CLICK HERE to read the full What’s New post, or read on to get the overview.

Probably my favorite new feature are Hotkeys that allow you to jump around inside CMC and perform common actions very quickly with a single button press. If you have a programmable remote, you can add your favorites to any available buttons you may have.

These Hotkeys can even be used to launch External Links, including Win10 Apps like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Ring, Steam, and new with v3.2, SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun. This turns CMC into a true HTPC hub, connecting all your various HTPC apps together and allowing you to quickly switch to any app with the touch of a button.

See Hotkey details here: Getting Started, section 10) Advanced Universal Remote Programming – CMC Hotkeys

The main focus for v3.2 was on improving the Music Library, and it is better than ever. To start things off, we added SmartSync changes-only syncing capability to make importing changes to your music collection as quick as possible. Next we added support for multiple Genres and Artist per song. We also gave CMC the capability to extract embedded artwork from your music files if the folder.jpg image is missing.

But that’s not all, we also created a brand new feature: Music Genre Mapping. If your music collection is anything like mine, you have way too many music genres. But changing your music genres per song or album takes a lot of work, and permanently alters your files, which isn’t a good idea. Instead, the Music Genre Mapper allows you to easily map any genre to any other genre (i.e. map Classic Rock, Rock Hits, and Live Rock to be included with Rock). This mapping is non-destructive – none of your metadata is changed. Plus, you can easily toggle Genre Mapping on/off to instantly revert back to original genre assignments or show mapped genres as you desire.

One important bug fix for the Music Library is related to playing genres. Previously, playing a genre would play all songs of every album that contained at least one song that matched the selected genre. When playing a genre with v3.2, CMC now will only add songs that match the selected genre to the Now Playing playlist. Combined with the new Music Genre Mapping feature, playing music by genre has never been better or easier.

The Music Library also got some important bug fixes, so if you’ve had trouble with previous versions of CMC’s Music Library, definitely give v3.2 another try.

Even though the primary focus for v3.2 was the Music Library, the Movie Library wasn’t ignored and has some important updates. We’ve added support for PotPlayer, which is a free media player that is extremely popular in Korea. If you’ve never used PotPlayer before, you may want to give it a try, it’s surprisingly good.

We’ve also added support for M2TS video files. These files are typically used to encode video for Blu-ray discs, though some users like to extract these files out and play them directly. Note that CMC v3.2 will only import M2TS files that are not in a BDMV folder, as that represents a Blu-ray Folder and is still treated as a full disc.

One of our users had a great idea to allow custom backgrounds for each Media Type, and CMC v3.2 delivers. You can now have a custom background for each Media Type filter: All Media Types, Movies, TV Series, Music, Documentaries, and Other Media Types. With custom backgrounds you can tell at a glance what Media Type filter is currently applied. TIP: you need to switch to each Media Type to be able to change the background for it.

Speaking of Media Types, CME users can now enjoy faster browsing of TV Series when using the default CMC Cover Profile with the Box Set views. In previous versions, these perspective covers were created on the fly in CMC, a process that noticeably slowed down navigation. CME v1.3 (included with CMC v3.2) will now create pre-rendered boxset.png images that allow CMC to quickly load the images for instant display and faster TV Series browsing.

That’s not the only change for CME v1.3 – for the first time ever, CME exports stand-alone TV Series (which are TV Series that do not have a DVD/Blu-ray title assigned as a parent). This is perfect for users that have TV Series Episodes as converted media, which are assigned in My Movies Collection Management to each episode’s file location. CMC has also been updated to show these discless stand-alone TV Series, which will display using the new enhanced TV Series / Seasons views.

Besides these and other great new features, CMC v3.2 has 16 important bug fixes – the most ever in a single release – helping make this the best CMC release yet. Check out the Downloads page for the full changelog.

CMC v3.2 is a free upgrade for all users. For current users, if you’ve granted firewall access then CMC will let you auto-update to the new version the next time you run your current version, otherwise you can download the new version manually.

In an effort to improve the Chameleon MediaCenter new user experience, we have completely revamped the CMC website from the ground up. Yes, it looks similar, but trust us, this website is all new.

While the old static site was decent, it required a high level of effort to make even the simplest of content changes, having been designed with a tool that is no longer supported by the publisher. Worse, lately it had become obvious that new users trying out CMC for the first time were not having a good experience, due in part to the information on the old website not keeping up with the fast pace of development for CMC. Finally we decided the problems were too big, we needed to scrap the old website and start over.

This new site is much easier for us to maintain, which will allow for us to provide fresher content and up-to-date tutorials. While it has been a lot of hard work to stand up a new site, we feel that providing better support to CMC users like you is worth the effort.

We’ve replaced the old ‘How-To’ section with the new ‘Getting Started‘ section, which has been rewritten to provide a clear path for new users to achieve nirvana with CMC. Even if you are a long-time user of CMC, we recommend you give it a good read through as it might reveal some new features you hadn’t discovered on your own.

Also new is this ‘Industry News & Views’ section, which will provide us a blogging platform to deliver content relevant to HTPC users like you.

There might still be a few rough edges on the new site, plus the occasional typo. If you see anything that looks wrong, or have any ideas on how we can further improve the new site, please let us know.

CMC v3.1 brings some major enhancements that introduce some notable missing features, and now CMC is mostly feature complete the WMC+My Movies capabilities.

The first thing you’ll notice is a new startup splashscreen, which should make the startup less jarring.  Though if you prefer not to have the new splashscreen, it can be easily disabled.

The biggest improvement in v3.1 is a fully reworked My Movies syncing routine.  The changes are all under the covers, but they result in significantly faster Full Syncs and SmartSyncs, and a LOT of SmartSync bugs have been fixed so you shouldn’t have to do a Full Sync as often anymore.  While the speed improvements are quite nice, the code changes are actually laying the groundwork for even bigger improvements to syncing your My Movies collection in the future.

You can now jump through your titles with your number pad or keyboard using more than 1 letter, and the letters you have entered show on-screen.  Similarly, you can now use your number pad to perform text entry on the Real-Time Search panel, so you no longer have to pull out your keyboard to search by Title, Synopsis, Actor, Director, Writer and/or Producer.

You can finally play Movie Trailers from the movie details screen.  If the trailer is available the “Trailer” text will turn white when you select it, or gray if no trailer is available.  Trailers will open using MPC-BE (so this must be installed).  Helpful Tips: If some trailers don’t play but just open to a blank screen, make sure your MPC installation is fully up to date.  Also, you will have to do a full export of your entire collection with CME v1.2 to export the YouTube Trailer ID’s.

A popular request to support DNA files (Do Not Add) to exclude directories from importing into CMC is now available in v3.1.  Just create an empty text file named “CMC.dna” (capatalization is not important) in any folder you want excluded, and CMC will skip that folder and all subdirectories inside of it.

If you have offline titles stored away in boxes/organizers, if you log their location in My Movies (Personal Data > Location) then CMC v3.1 will now display this location info when you go to play the title.

A lot of attention was also paid to fixing memory leaks and other bugs, making CMC v3.1 the best Chameleon MediaCenter yet.

Check out the Downloads page for more details.  And for a nice write-up of What’s New, check out this forum post:  CMC v3.1 & CME v1.2 – Here’s What’s New!

CMC v3.1 is a free upgrade for all users.  For current users, CMC will let you auto-update to the new version the next time you run your current version.