Create your own TV channel in XBMC

OK so you have setup XBMC and managed to scan all of your content into your library – great! However, one of the questions that frequently comes up in the XBMC forums is how can i setup my own TV channel using content in the library.

There are several ways you could accomplish this, but the easiest way to do this is to use the Smart Playlists functionality in XBMC. Smart playlists are playlists which use a set of rules to limit the results from the databases. This way you can limit the select items to match a set of predefined criteria which you have set.

In this example we will create a TV channel, which will be built using a combination of smart playlists.

What you will need:

  1. A working installation of XBMC on your chosen platform.
  2. Content scanned into your library within XBMC.
  3. A list of your favourite tv shows.
  4. About 30mins to get it all working.

For this example, I will be using the default XBMC skin, Confluence, however this should work with any skin.

First up we will create some smart playlists.

  • A smart playlist for all unwatched tv episodes.
  • A smart playlist for all of our favourite shows that haven’t been watched in the past 4 weeks.
  • A smart playlist that combines all of the above.
  • Test your myTV Channel 1 works.

Creating the Unwatched TV Episode smart playlist
Add a new playlist

Create the first rule, we want all unwatched episodes (play count is less than 1)

Make sure when you create the smart playlists, that you set the type to Episode. Set Limit to 100 items, Order by Random and name the playlist Unwatched TV Episodes. Your finished smart playlist should look like this:

Creating the Favourite Shows smart playlist
Lets add another smart playlist for all of our favourite tv show episodes that haven’t been watched in the last 4 weeks. The process is the same as last time, make sure your set “Items must match one or more rules” and Order By to Random. Call your your finished smart playlist “Favourite Shows – Not watched in last 4 weeks”, your finished playlist should look like this:

Combining everything into a single smart playlist
We now need to combine the two smart playlists we have just created into a single smart playlist that will be used for the virtual TV channel. Create a new smart playlist and make sure it looks like the following example and call it “myTV Channel 1″. Make sure that you set “Items must match all of the rules”.

Checkout your new “myTV Channel 1″ playlist to make sure it works. It should list a selection of shows.

OK so we now have a smart playlist we can use for a channel. It’s a start, however its not easily accessible for your typical user. We could add it as a favourite, its better but its still not great.

Add The Channel To Your XBMC Main Menu
How about we make it accessible from the main Confluence home screen – you don’t get much more user friendly than that! To do this you are going to have to get your hands a little dirty and add a few lines to the skin’s xml file. Depending on your platform linux / osx / atv / windows the location of the files you need to edit will vary.

This section will be added soon!

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