Grilo: better multimedia discovery in the living room

Some days ago, I talked about my current living-room setup. It is cool, since I'm reusing components I already have, but it's quite clear that it has some issues:

  • It won't extend well. If I ever want to browse my Flickr pictures, that won't be enough
    • The same goes for videos (Youtube, Vimeo,
    • And many other services out there
  • The TV supports part of the content, the XBoxsupports another part...
  • The UI for the UPnP clients is quite basic

TVs are no longer regular TVs: they are smart! (Think about the Panasonic Viera, Samsung Smart TVs, Philips SmartTV...). Many other devices have many different multimedia capabilities: some of them dedicated (Asus O!Play,Blusens Blubrain...) others are gaming devices that include these features (PS3, XBox...).

They solve different subsets of the problem: for example, providing Flickr, Youtube, Vimeo... applications, or having a better UPnP client, or even providing application markets so you get new apps for new services. But for that to happen, some developer has to provide the apps, maybe having to learn the API for a web service: none of these devices solve the need for a unified path, for a single experience, both from the developer and the user point of view.

With Grilo, you can get that. Grilo is a framework, developed and maintained by Igalia, focused on making media discovery and browsing easy for application developers. With it, you get

  • A single, high-level API that abstracts the differences among various media content providers, allowing application developers to integrate content from various services and sources easily.
  • A collection of plugins for accessing content from various media providers. Developers can share efforts and code by writing plugins for the framework that are application agnostic.
  • A flexible API that allows plugin developers to write plugins of various kinds.

Hardware vendors shipping their products with Grilo in their SDKs would expose to third party developers consistent APIs to access the different media providers. Developers targeting those platforms would only have to care about Grilo's API, since most popular media providers are already supported out of the box, and only if a service is very new (or less popular) they would have to write a plugin for it. One consequence for this is that developers will have more time to focus on what will let them differentiate from their competitors: the UI.

Users would finally get revolutionary experiences, where, for example, videos or pictures from different sources would be together, or where the application would be interactive and gesture-driven. Or anything you could imagine!

Check its official page in the GNOME project for all the details, its page at Igalia, or Grilo at Ohloh for past blog posts and other information. Also, if you come to Coruña for the GUADEC, don't hesitate to ask any igalian about it!