JRiver Media Center

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JRiver Media Center
Developer(s) JRiver
Initial release 1998; 19 years ago (1998)
Written in C++
Operating system Windows, Linux, and OS X
Available in
Type Media player
License Proprietary
Website www.jriver.com

JRiver Media Center is a multimedia application that allows the user to play and organize various types of media on a computer running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.

JRiver Media Center is a "jukebox"-style media player, like iTunes, which usually uses most of the screen to display a potentially very large library of files.

Regular (usually daily beta) builds are posted on the Media Center Interact forum implementing requested features and fixing reported bugs. The forum has an active user community, with more than 25,000 users as of 2011.

Also available for JRiver Media Center are an Audioscrobbler plugin, and G-Force, a popular visualisation.

It can also rip and burn CDs. Media Center also supports static and dynamic playlists.

Library system[edit]

JRiver Media Center organizes files using Media Libraries, these are effective databases. Media Center can support multiple libraries.

Information relating to media is imported into the library including meta data for media files and the path to the media files. The media files themselves are not contained in the database, but cataloged within the libraries.

Version 12 of JRiver Media Center added support for auto-importing of media, whereby JRiver Media Center continually watches designated directories for changes in media. If a new file is dropped into the directory, JRiver Media Center will add the file to its library. Each library can contain any type of media, video, audio, images etc.

View schemes[edit]

View Schemes are the main way to browse through files in Media Center. Views can be created which help users see different parts of their library; these are effectively the same as database views. They are based on using metadata as criterion for creating a filtered list of files.

The view system is very powerful and fully customizable. For example, a view could be made which shows only audio files in MP3 format which are longer than 3 minutes, or images taken in Africa in the year 2006.

For ease of use, several default views exist which show files of a specified type only, including: audio, images, or video.

Various view items, or panes, can be aligned to the top, left, right, or moved in drop-down menus, that can be used to further filter results. For example, one of the default views, artist/album, allows selecting a specific artist or album, or both, and shows files from that album or artist only.

Once a view is created, it is automatically saved in the library and can be opened in the various user interfaces, and searched using a real-time search box. The searches are very customizable, possible on any field or tag in the library.

Playlists[edit]

JRiver Media Center allows the creation of playlists. It also can export playlists as M3U, M3U8, ASX, MPL, CSV.

Smartlists[edit]

Smartlists are similar to playlists except that rather than selecting a list of songs, the list is governed by a set of rules. For example, a smartlist might take every video file which was produced in 1994. Smartlists can be based on Playlists. They are defined using an expression language. Media Center provides a wizard style dialogue box to simplify creating these.

An added benefit of a smartlist over a basic playlist is that a smartlist is dynamic; it will update itself whenever new files that meet its criteria are added to the library. For example, one could create a smartlist to show all tracks with the genre tagged as Indie Rock. If a new album were added to Media Center's library that had the Indie Rock genre tag, Media Center would automatically add those files to the smartlist.

User interfaces[edit]

JRiver Media Center provides four different user interfaces for use in different situations. Each user interface is skinnable.

Standard view[edit]

Standard view combined with a third-party skin

Through the default Media Center UI for desktop environment the user is exposed to all of the core multimedia features, such as:

Standard view occupies a large amount of screen space, can be viewed in either full screen or as a window mode, and it consists of the following components:

  • Tree: allow for hierarchical navigation between different views of the Media Library
  • Action Window: provides quick access to common tasks, such as ripping/burning
  • Header: presents the playback controls and options for selected track
  • Playing Now: displays current playlist items
  • Panes/Thumbnails: aid in simple point and click media browsing
  • Tagging panes: allows tagging media files

Theater view[edit]

Theater view in Media Center

While the Standard and Mini views are designed to be used in front of a desktop or laptop computers, Media Center includes an additional 10-foot user interface called the "Theater view".

This is made to work on a large screen, such as a television, projector or large computer screen. The interface is made to work in a 10-foot mode, i.e. from a living room sofa using remote controls, rather than the conventional mouse and keyboard.

As of JRiver Media Center 12, Theatre view relies on Microsoft's DirectX graphics engine. With this, Media Center uses 3D and 2D Animation to create a more visually appealing interface, which more nearly resembles that of a digital recording box, or DVD player.

The Theater view doesn't provide the editing interfaces of Standard view, but instead provides much more accessible access to the different views of the library. All the buttons in Theater view are large, and tend to move to different pages to display different information.

Theater view also provides access to the weather, news websites and RSS feeds.

Mini view[edit]

Mini view is similar to that of Winamp. It's designed to take up minimal screen space while still providing access to basic controls. Mini view skins are different from the other UI skins seen in Media Center in that they can employ JavaScript to make them more dynamic. Mini views are far more flexible than the other types of skins, allowing Media Center to take various shapes and forms using transparency effects.

Networking[edit]

JRiver Media Center provides network access to its libraries using different server plugins.

Library server
Library server allows JRiver Media Center to share its active library with up to five client machines. This is designed for situations where a server machine with large resources is set up in one area, and clients such as laptops with smaller resources can access media elsewhere.
TiVo server
JRiver Media Center supports TiVo's Home Media option, allowing TiVo to stream video and audio.
UPnP and DLNA servers

Web services integration[edit]

Plugins[edit]

JRiver Media Center uses COM support to provide access to its SDK library. This allows plugins to be written in a wide variety of languages including:

A variety of plugins can be developed for specific components and purposes:

  • Theater view plugins: allows creating extensions to Theater view
  • Interface plugins: provide interface extensions for Standard view
  • DSP plugins: allows directly manipulating sound processing
  • Display plugins: allow creation of different visualizations
  • Input plugins: can be used to add new formats to Media Center, which are not supported naively

It is also possible to create "Track Info" visualizations that are created in HTML to display information about the currently playing Media. These can be extended further using the various web languages around such as JavaScript.

A full list of available plugins can be found in the Accessories section of the official website (link).

Media formats[edit]

JRiver Media Center supports a wide range file formats among audio files, video files, photos and documents. A full lists of supported formats can be found on the JRiver Media Center wiki; (supported audio formats, supported video formats, and supported image formats). DirectShow is supported, allowing the playing of any video or audio format for which a DirectShow Filter is available, and installed.

Supported hardware[edit]

Scheduler[edit]

JRiver Media Center provides a scheduling tool which allows playing/recording of media at certain times.

Media Jukebox[edit]

JRiver Media Center's predecessor was named JRiver Media Jukebox, until the rebranding to JRiver Media Center for version 9. In November 2007, J. River released Media Jukebox 12, a stripped down version of JRiver Media Center 12, which is available to download for free, compared to JRiver Media Center's price of $49.98. JRiver Media Jukebox includes most of the audio features of Media Center; the image and video functions are removed. The last version of JRiver Media Jukebox was version 14.0.166. However, the version 14 removed several features previously available for free (specifically CD and cover art lookup) and now only available in the Media Center product. As such many still use the older free version of JRiver Media Jukebox 12.0.534.

Version history[edit]

Major version Latest version Initial Release Significant changes
9.0[1] May 5, 2003
  • Initial Media Center Release. Was Media Jukebox previously.
10.0 Apr 9, 2004
  • Improved Action Window
  • ThunderStorm skin
  • Media Mode Buttons
  • Streamlined Tree
  • 3D Visualizations[2]
11.0[3] Jul 18, 2005
  • Split Views
  • Faster database
  • Theater View enhancements
  • New Image Editor
  • Audible integration
  • UPnP support
  • Video CD playback
  • Multi-channel support (5.1, 7.1, etc.) for WAV and WMA files
12.0.151[4] 12.0.534 Jan 23, 2007
  • New "Display View"
  • Search & Sort speedups
  • New tag system
  • Background (auto) import and folder watching
  • DirectShow controls
  • Display Action Window
  • New look[5]
13.0.113[4] 13.0.172 Jan 28, 2009
  • New Theater View
  • Skin
  • TV Recording was rebuilt
  • Cover art auto lookup
  • See reference for detailed list[6]
14.0.46[4] 14.0.161 Aug 7, 2009
  • Native support of DirectShow
  • Headphone DSP
  • Improved tagging
  • Surround Sound output
  • Room Correction
  • Photoshop(psd) support
  • Video tagging
  • Hulu integration
  • general speedups[7]
15.0.35[4] 15.0.174 May 5, 2010
  • WebRemote
  • Portable Settings
  • Kernel Streaming
  • Cover View[8][9]
16.0.75[4] 16.0.176 Apr 28, 2011
  • Netflix integration
  • Play Doctor
  • Intelligent Search
  • Set Top Box support
  • Play From Play To
  • Relational DB Fields
  • madVR Video Renderer[10][11]
17.0.22[4] 17.0.189 Apr 10, 2012
  • Super Audio CD ISO playback
  • Gapless iTunes encoded MP3 playback
  • Resample by sample rate
  • Red October Improvements
  • Commercial skipping[12]
18.0.78[4] 18.0.212 Nov 27, 2012
  • Video to Audio conversion
  • ZoneSwitch
  • Multi-drive ripping for BD and DVD
  • AIFF and ALAC encoding
  • Desktop background slideshow
  • Red October HQ
  • Windows 8 support[13]
19.0.32[4] 19.0.163 Aug 30, 2013
  • Native CD Art Display
  • TV EPG download scheduling
  • User accounts
  • RAW image support
  • Real-time DSD output and improved volume leveling[14]
20.0.10 20.0.132 Aug 28, 2014
21.0.5 21.0.90 Sep 11, 2015
22.0.15 22.0.97 Aug 5, 2016
23.0.? Summer 2017

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]