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Thread: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

  1. #1
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    Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    Hi Guys,

    Been using Ubuntu as my HTPC for a while now, just got a HTPC remote and am finding the standard Ubuntu theme far too small to be used from the couch.

    I tried using XMBC but the lack of proper web browser integration is a deal breaker and trying to get a browser to work via the advanced launcher makes it exit from full screen and sometimes breaks it all together.

    I was wondering if there was a theme or desktop environment for Ubuntu that has large icons, text and buttons which would be ideal for navigating from a distance. I've tried searching far and wide but have come up with nothing apart from the gnome tweak tool but thats not really a solution.

    Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    Ubuntu TV? Not really sure how to get it though... You could also go for an Android based solution, XBMC can now be run from Android, so if your HTPC can work with the Android x86 project, you could give it a go.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linus Torvalds
    "Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program."

  3. #3
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    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    Well the problem with android for an HTPC is the lack of flash player and being that almost all streaming web content is flash based it renders it kinda useless. I know you can still install flash but it really doesn't work very well if at all.

    I was hoping there was a theme or something that used large icons and was intended for HTPC's, kinda strange that there isnt.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    Flash? YouTube and Vimeo both use HTML5 by default now... Android also has native apps for them. Other sites could be supported from within XBMC actually, for example CollegeHumor. They have a pure Flash player but XBMC has a plugin for their site. Then YouTube is also supported, Vimeo and most popular sites. Take a look at the Video Add-ons inside XBMC. I just took a look and it's saying there are 199 Video Add-ons, most of which are plugins to watch streams from websites.

    EDIT: Found how to get Ubuntu TV installed
    Last edited by Lisiano; February 28th, 2013 at 12:17 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linus Torvalds
    "Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program."

  5. #5
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    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    Youtube? lol no, who cares about youtube? I mean online video streaming hosts are almost all flash, some are divx but not many.

    Unless XMBC can enable me to surf whatever sites I want then its really of no use to me.

    Was just hoping there was a theme for Ubuntu that was smilar to what a mobile device would have, large icons for fast 1 click navigation.

  6. #6
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    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    [RANT]
    1. You can't control flash elements using a remote. (Unless the remote has a DPad which controls the mouse)
    2. An HTPC is not intended to multi-task in a GUI environment.
    3. An HTPC is basically a media center, a box running something like XBMC or MythTV.
    4. XBMC contains a ton of plugins for different sites that offer podcasts, anime or TV shows.
    5. YouTube is the 3rd most visited website in the world (Based on Alexa ranking 2012), beaten only by Facebook (2nd) and Google (1st). So pretty much almost everyone cares about YouTube.
    6. YouTube operates as a "online video streaming host", it is available online, it offers videos, it offers them as streams, it hosts the said videos.
    7. Most hosts widely known have switched to HTML5 now.
    8. Most widely known podcasters have switched to HTML5 now.
    9. Porn hosts have started switching to HTML5 now.
    10. Illegal TV show and movie hosts continue to use flash.
    11. If you wish to surf websites, go grab a keyboard and a mouse. Preferably sit behind a monitor aswell.
    12. Practically, icons on mobile devices are smaller if we view them side by side with default Unity icons on a monitor running at native resolution.
    13. Pressing Alt+F1 enables keyboard navigation for Unity.

    [/RANT]
    Last edited by Lisiano; February 28th, 2013 at 02:35 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linus Torvalds
    "Most good programmers do programming not because they expect to get paid or get adulation by the public, but because it is fun to program."

  7. #7
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    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    What in the world are you talking about? An HTPC is just that, a PC hooked up to a home theater system used to playback video, music, surf web etc.

    HTPC remotes have gyro controlled pointer devices that allow you to point at the screen and function exactly as a mouse does. They also have a full quarty keyboard on them so you can easily switch between poitning and typing and provide you most of the functionality of a keyboard and mouse in a single handed wireless package.

    An HTPC is most certainly ment to multi task and is capable of doing everything a standard PC is (because its a PC!) it just needs an interface that is easy to use at a distance similar to what mobile devices use, similar to XMBC but they really dropped the ball with the lack of web surfing capability rendering it pretty useless for me.

    I dont care about pod casts or youtube, who gathers their family around for an evening to watch a podcast or youtube?

    All I was wondering was if there was a theme for Ubuntu that replaced the side buttons with large icons that go across the screen which you can easily click from a distance and included a method for easy application switching that was oriented around the mouse (perhaps a slide out task bar).

    Come on man.
    Last edited by Usrname; February 28th, 2013 at 04:54 AM.

  8. #8
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    Xubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Usrname View Post
    What in the world are you talking about? An HTPC is just that, a PC hooked up to a home theater system used to playback video, music, surf web etc.

    [...]

    All I was wondering was if there was a theme for Ubuntu that replaced the side buttons with large icons that go across the screen which you can easily click from a distance and included a method for easy application switching that was oriented around the mouse (perhaps a slide out task bar).

    Come on man.
    I agree with you. I'm typing this on my tv while lying on my couch listening to the news. I've asked this question many times without much of a response. Nonetheless, here's what I do:

    1. Gnome Shell is the best DE I've found for my HTPC. Why? Because you can scale it to your television. Install gnome shell and the gnome shell advanced settings tool. You can use the slider in the latter to globally scale the entire DE to your television. Add extensions to increase functionality.

    2. In firefox, use the no squint plugin which allows you to globally zoom (i.e. scale) all webpages.

    3. You can still install and run xbmc when desired. Just launch it from gnome shell.

    I've been using Gnome Shell on my htpc for a quite a while now and it works well for me without much hassle.

    Don't listen to the purists, use what works best for you. If I simply wanted an xbmc only configuation, I'd save my money and get a basic streaming device but I much prefer to have an htpc with wireless keyboard and mouse for navigating media, browsing, networking and other tasks. Heck, this thing doubles as my home server.

  9. #9
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    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    Quote Originally Posted by drawkcab View Post
    I agree with you. I'm typing this on my tv while lying on my couch listening to the news. I've asked this question many times without much of a response. Nonetheless, here's what I do:

    1. Gnome Shell is the best DE I've found for my HTPC. Why? Because you can scale it to your television. Install gnome shell and the gnome shell advanced settings tool. You can use the slider in the latter to globally scale the entire DE to your television. Add extensions to increase functionality.

    2. In firefox, use the no squint plugin which allows you to globally zoom (i.e. scale) all webpages.

    3. You can still install and run xbmc when desired. Just launch it from gnome shell.

    I've been using Gnome Shell on my htpc for a quite a while now and it works well for me without much hassle.

    Don't listen to the purists, use what works best for you. If I simply wanted an xbmc only configuation, I'd save my money and get a basic streaming device but I much prefer to have an htpc with wireless keyboard and mouse for navigating media, browsing, networking and other tasks. Heck, this thing doubles as my home server.
    Thanks drawkcab, I appreciate the tip, I actually just discovered NoSquint the other day and it really helps with web browsing although I wish the firefox buttons and address bar were a bit bigger.

    Ill definitely look into gnome shell, I'm really surprised that no one has made a theme for ubuntu that is designed for this application yet, hopefully someone eventually will.

    Is this it here:
    https://live.gnome.org/GnomeShell
    ?

    Also, when I searched for it there were alot of google images that showed various themes, is there a community or themes designed specifically for it?
    Last edited by Usrname; February 28th, 2013 at 06:40 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Beans
    393
    Distro
    Xubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Is there a theme or environment that works for an HTPC?

    You can download and install gnome shell and the advanced settings (gnome tweak) tool directly from the software center. Just log into it from the greeter.

    Here is where you get your extensions:

    https://extensions.gnome.org/

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