Archive for September, 2013

Introducing TvTumbler

Well I’ve been promising this long enough – An XBMC Addon that will download TV Shows automatically.TvTumbler logo

I’ve actually been working on this on-and-off for a few months now, but I have so little free time these days, progress has been extremely slow.

The project pulls *very* heavily from my experience with Sickbeard. The target here is to put together a system that ‘just works’, and doesn’t require continuous tweaks as Sickbeard does. To this end, the plan is currently:

  • Only free, open, feeders (‘providers’ in SB terminology).
  • Multiple different types of sources: Currently only torrents are implemented, but I’ve put in the basics for other types also (e.g. Video-On-Demand sites, like iPlayer, Hulu, etc. and download sites like
  • An integrated torrent client. Using libtorrent in Gotham is proving quite difficult, so I’m relying on Transmission for now. I’ll fix this in time.
  • Low resource usage. Sickbeard did a *lot* of background downloading, refreshing, updating etc.. I have eliminated all of that here. There will be a small cost in terms of what we can display (e.g. banners and schedules and such), but I think it’s worth it. XBMC has many many addons which do a far better job of this kind of thing.
  • Take out much of the functionality that doesn’t-quite-work (or isn’t really needed) in Sickbeard: e.g. Season pack downloads. Backlog. Notifications. Metadata downloads. Mass updates. (Most) Post-Processing.
    (Note: I do plan to implement Backlog in the future, but using a very different technique. *cough* dns *cough* Everything else I’ve taken out is handled better by other XBMC addons)
  • Scraping. Anyone who uses my fork of sickbeard will know that I’ve removed any instance of it that I can. I’ll be completely avoiding it here.
  • Automatic fixing of ‘Scene’ numbering. Don’t get me wrong, Scene numbering is great, and it makes a *lot* more sense than numbering. But XBMC (for the most part) uses thetvdb numbering, so we’re stuck with it. The addon will automatically convert between the two.

If you’re curious, have a look at the github link above. You can even install it and try it out if you like.

Please note that this is currently Pre-Alpha. It has bad bugs (which will occasionally require a restart of XBMC to fix), and some significant missing functionality. Of course we are delighted when anyone tries this out, but for the present the target market is developers and people who don’t mind poking around in logs and code.

Installation Instructions:

  • Download the latest service.tvtumbler zip from
  • In XBMC: System → Settings → Addons → Install from zip file, and browse for the zip file you’ve just downloaded.
  • Install transmission (this is a temporary requirement until libtorrent is implemented). Set it up so that it puts completed downloads somewhere that XBMC can access them (this means a network share if it’s not running on the XBMC machine), and so that it stops seeding when it reaches a specific ratio (typically I recommend >1.1).
  • In the Addon settings → Feeders: Enable at least one.
  • In the Addon settings → Transmission: Enable it, and set all required settings. The Download Dir is where XMBC will look for completed downloads.
  • Open the Addon through either ‘Video Addons’ or ‘Programs’. Select the ‘Shows’ button, and follow some shows (use the context menu to select quality).
  • And read the notes here: they’re likely to be much more current than the above.

Please post any issues on the github issue tracker, and include an XBMC debug log.

Want to help out?

  • Can you code? Have a look at the XBMC code on github (especially the XBMC gui, this needs a lot of work), or perhaps the (soon to be released) web interface. If you can do either, the XBMC gui is the priority (as I have little or no XBMC gui experience, and I can do web in my sleep). But drop me a line before you do anything, as there are extensive dev changes afoot (the addon will soon be split into 3).
  • The system has ongoing maintenance and hosting costs (yes, there’s a considerable server component to this). All contributions are welcome. Bitcoin: 15Vh5ZiQpXuymRf46JAELnZPNbLaTKLduc.