Selecting the Right UI
Selecting the Best User Interface (UI)
The LinuxMCE UI was designed to be viewed from 10' on a basic television. There are currently three versions of the UI, and the selection depends greatly in the type of video card you currently have.
There is a method to determine if your card will support the UI2. To learn more take a look at Graphics Test to learn if you can run the newest UI. For more detailed look at the visual differences between UI's click HERE
Most basic UI, if you can load Kubuntu and you have any graphics this UI will work. There are no special effects and requires no special drivers. The menus are full screen. When you start media your media becomes full screen. If you need to do something with your media, like change chapters, the media shrinks to a corner of the screen so the rest of the screen shows your media options. And if you need to return to the main menu to do something else, like adjust the lights, your media is hidden while the main menu appears full screen.
Lighter weight OpenGL based version of the newest UI. This requires a video card that currently supports OpenGL and XDamage uses masks to overlay the media behind the menus.
UI2 with alpha blending
In this case your media is always first and foremost, and the media is always full-screen. If you're not watching any media, LinuxMCE downloads the 'most interesting' photos from flickr.com and presents smooth sliding, cross-fading gallery art as your media. With UI2 your media never shrinks and never disappears. Rather, if you want to bring up the main menu or make some adjustments to your media, LinuxMCE's GUI fades into and out of your media, known as alpha blending. The new UI also includes a 3D media browser showing all the media in your house on the sides of a 3D cube which you can rotate to find what you're interested in.
Unfortunately very few video card manufacturers have the necessary composite extensions in their Linux drivers. At this moment the only video hardware we have confirmed UI2 works with are the nVidia 6xxx and 7xxx series; preferably a 7xxx with at least 128MB RAM.
An often over looked issue with regards to which UI to choose deals with how you will be controlling the UI. Currently there are a few ways: