Sunday, September 14, 2008

install and review of Yougle for VMC

One of the major things I wanted to do was integrate all my media as well as Internet TV like Joost, YouTube, Veoh, Brightcove, etc, into Vista Media Center. An industrious programmer from Australia has been working on such a program called Yougle ( that integrates a variety of online video sources, as well as audio sources (like Live365 Internet radio), picture sites (Flickr, of course) and animations. From my perspective, he hits the big one by getting YouTube working within VMC.

The install of the January 2008 build of the software was relatively painless (described in more detail below). Be aware that you will need to install ffdshow for some necessary codecs.

Update 9/17/2008
The install for the new WIP build seems to hang for about a minute or two on the initial timebar of the install. I then let it sit for those few minutes. The install then continues and installs normally. Not sure what the installer is doing at this point to be hanging like that. If you experience problems, perhaps just let the installer sit for a few minutes to see if that helps. FYI - My box is a P4, 3.2Ghz box w/2GB mem & 500GB SATA internal

Another caveat is that since I've installed TV Pack 2008 for VMC, I needed to fake the Yougle installer into thinking I was on an older version of Media Center. TV Pack changes the version (identity) of Media Center from 5.0 to 5.1. If you have TV Pack installed, the thread below shows the registry edit you'll need to make to get this working:

For video, I've explored YouTube, MSN Soapbox and South Park. Initially, I had some problems with YouTube videos hanging after the first couple of vids loaded. Reading some of the Yougle Forums, there is an "embedded" setting within Yougle. Switching to "embedded" seemed to fix the problem. Here is how to tell whether your videos are playing natively or embedded:

Update 9/18/2008
I also noticed that I lost my sound in Yougle/YouTube for the simple, silly reason that I inadvertantly pressed "mute" on the YouTube flash player. Stupid mistake, but it kept me busy troubleshooting for about 15 minutes.

Otherwise, YouTube and MSN are working as advertised. Which is great.

Update 9/17/2008
Actually, the most stable YouTube player option in Yougle is "YouTube Embedded w/ Minimize". I played around for a few hours last night without losing the YouTube player behind VMC. Awesome!

One drawback is that searching YouTube within Yougle doesn't seem to pull up the same results as a YouTube search executed within a browser. The search is based off of YouTube's RSS feeds. Unfortunately, when I used the search function, I couldn't find some of my favorite videos. The developer was kind enough to research this conundrum. Also, when I added South Park as a video source, none of the South Park videos played properly. Specifically, I waited and waited for the embedded player to move from the rotating timer icon to actually start playing the video, but this never happened. A similar thing also happened with the animations. I assume these problems aren't due to a slow Internet connection, as I am hard wired into a 6MB Comcast connection. I will explore these problems later.

For audio, Live365 is spotty at best. I could only tune in one out of ten stations that I tried. I tested various Internet radio stations after midnight on Monday morning, but I don't think the timeframe should have any impact. I will explore this more in-depth later.

For pictures, the Flickr integration is excellent. High resolution imagery from Flickr looks great on an HDTV.

In sum, Yougle isn't perfect, but it is a great start to be able to view YouTube vids in VMC. I'm psyched to start using this on an ongoing basis. Of course, I will update this thread with more information as I go through the discovery process.

Kudos to Push-a-Button for some fine work!

The install process is relatively simple:
1) install ffdshow
2) install Yougle

* if you've installed TV Pack 2008 for VMC, you'll need to make a registry tweak to get Yougle working
** note that support for 64-bit Vista is in test mode as of 9/15/2008:

Here's a bit more about the install process:
1) Install ffdshow
- I decided to install the latest stable release, from 12/01/2006
2) Download the older, more stable version of Yougle here:

or download the most recent Work In Progress from the Announcements section on the Forum:

I chose to download the more stable version for now.

ffdshow install process
Initial download of v.610 (20061201) here:

Click "Download"

Run Installer

Accept default directory for install

Accept default components

Select Start Menu folder

Select the default Additional Tasks

Select default speaker setup, unless you have something other than two channel stereo

Ready to Install!

Installed! Go ahead and click Finish

Yougle install process and registry edit needed with TV Pack 2008
Download page

Click Download

TV Pack 2008 error

Registry Key for TV Pack 2008..set Ident to 5.0

Once key is edited, restart Yougle it runs!

Select default directory for install

Vista may show a user account control error message like this Allow!

Yougle install runs and is finished rather quickly! Click finish.

Reset MediaCenter version back to 5.1 in regedit


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