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-   -   Media Browser: Great alternative to DVD Library/My Movies/Movie Collector (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-home-theater-computers/1094009-media-browser-great-alternative-dvd-library-my-movies-movie-collector.html)

politby 12-09-2008 07:46 AM

This came up in the Xonar HDAV thread, for anyone who would like to have one single interface in Vista Media Center from which to catalog and access almost any form of locally stored video content, Media Browser is a fantastic plug in.

It has been mentioned deep down in at least one other thread, but it is such a great piece of software that I think it deserves more visible mention. Here are a couple of screenshots from my system:






Together with a couple of other useful applets, Salami's Movie Organizer and Media Scout which collect meta data for movies/TV shows, you can build a comprehensive, FAST movie/TV/video library in Vista Media Center.

No fancy database or client/server stuff, it just uses a local cache and metadata stored in the folder structure where the video files are kept. Did I mention it is FAST? If you have My Movies metadata, it will use that so no need to do new lookups.

There are other nice features such as the ability to display genre icons, user specified icons for folders, etc.

Works great with my ripped collection of DVDs, HD DVDs, recorded TV series and home videos. Try it out and post your results!

/politby

davdev 12-09-2008 08:01 AM

I've been using this program for months and I love it. It is by far the best VMC plug-in I have tried.

I see you have a bunch of Blu-Ray's listed. Last time I checked the program still didn't launch into PDVD or TMT, has that changed? I know they added support for Daemon tools, but from reading over at the greenbutton, people were still having problems with.

Are you using straight rips or have you converted to mkv? I was thinking about converting so I could still use this program, but if it is now running I won't need to.

politby 12-09-2008 08:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by davdev View Post

I've been using this program for months and I love it. It is by far the best VMC plug-in I have tried.

I see you have a bunch of Blu-Ray's listed. Last time I checked the program still didn't launch into PDVD or TMT, has that changed? I know they added support for Daemon tools, but from reading over at the greenbutton, people were still having problems with.

Are you using straight rips or have you converted to mkv? I was thinking about converting so I could still use this program, but if it is now running I won't need to.

All my HD DVD and (just a couple) BD rips are .mkv with flac audio. I haven't tried having Video Browser launch TMT or PDVD so I'm not sure but you may be right it won't. You could take a look in the forum to see if it's on the enhancement list.

It does launch the built in VMC DVD player (in my case I have ripped to folder structures).

bingobill 12-09-2008 08:06 AM

Thanks for this info, do you know if it will automatically mount ISOs the same way as My Movies does ?

As my BDs are ripped as ISOs this feature is a must for me.

ROBSCIX 12-09-2008 08:21 AM

Yes, thx for the info. I have been keeping all of my collection on optical media but with the price of gear these days the dedicated HTPC with a large storage array is calling my name. I have been looking for a great application like this to just point and click whatever media I would like to watch.

jkleslie 12-09-2008 08:33 AM

This plugin is undergoing massive development at the moment also. Many new features, nicer layout and automated metadata retrieval are some of the things being added/redesigned.

The Media Browser (they are changing the name) forums are here and I have a couple of posts on my blog (link in signature). My latest post has updated screenshots taken from the SVN builds and outlines some of the new additions and changes over the currently public beta.

I've tried every video manager plugin I could find and this one is just starting to run away from them all.

eklee 12-09-2008 08:43 AM

Thanks, this could be what I am waiting for... To me MyMovies is becoming a bloatware, I need something small and fast that can play MKV, DIVX, and VIDEO_TS.

By the way, it does play VIDEO_TS right? Right now I have to enable VMC's built-in DVD Library in order to play my ripped DVDs.

jagz 12-09-2008 09:30 AM

I assume TV episodes still need to be ripped with DVD Decrypter/AutoGK (or similar alternative) and renamed so as to be recognized by Video Browser?

I'm interested to see a screenshot of how it displays home videos.

davdev 12-09-2008 09:35 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by eklee View Post

Thanks, this could be what I am waiting for... To me MyMovies is becoming a bloatware, I need something small and fast that can play MKV, DIVX, and VIDEO_TS.

By the way, it does play VIDEO_TS right? Right now I have to enable VMC's built-in DVD Library in order to play my ripped DVDs.

Yes it plays TS. I have all my DVD's ripped that way. It also play's DVD ISO's.

hlkc 12-09-2008 09:59 AM

What a good looking interface! I've been using MM for few years now and have few following questions...

1) I have 500+ movies in my MM collection, do I have to sit down for a day or two to input all of them one by one? Is there a easy way such as just use MM db and import to this application?

2) When I install the MCE_Video_Browser_1_3_2_0.msi, nothing happens. What am I suppose to do next? What is salami's movie organizer and TVScout to do with this? Is there a place that can give me a high level how to put all this together? FAQ, Tutorial?

3) Can this application use VCD and launch/play BD and/or DVD iso in TMT?

Many thanks.

stanglx 12-09-2008 11:26 AM

Wow... Thanks for the creation of the forum... now I need to try another out..

taz291819 12-09-2008 12:22 PM

I ripped my BDs in folder structure, hopefully they can implement that and TMT playback. I'd definitely be willing to purchase a plugin that would offer those two things.

politby 12-09-2008 01:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by hlkc View Post

What a good looking interface! I've been using MM for few years now and have few following questions...

1) I have 500+ movies in my MM collection, do I have to sit down for a day or two to input all of them one by one? Is there a easy way such as just use MM db and import to this application?

2) When I install the MCE_Video_Browser_1_3_2_0.msi, nothing happens. What am I suppose to do next? What is salami's movie organizer and TVScout to do with this? Is there a place that can give me a high level how to put all this together? FAQ, Tutorial?

3) Can this application use VCD and launch/play BD and/or DVD iso in TMT?

Many thanks.

If the installation went through OK you should have a "Video Browser" tile in the Pictures & Videos strip in Vista Media Center.

Video Browser looks for content by traversing your \\Videos folder. Any locations found there will be monitored. In my case, I have everything stored on my WHS as follows:

\\\\server\\Movies
\\\\server\\Home Videos
\\\\server\\TV Series

Each of these locations has a shortcut placed in the \\Videos folder. Each of the folders will be shown as a folder in the main Video Browser screen, if you place an icon in the form of a "folder.jpg" at the root of the folder, that icon is shown in the main screen as well.

Video Browser will index all supported video files, build its cache in Program Data\\Video Browser and read any metadata placed in the content folders. If there is My Movies metadata there already it will use that.

Point Salami's Movie Organizer at the root (in my example, \\Videos), and it will go look for metadata in every folder where it finds supported video files. If metadata is present, it will display it, including what it finds at imdb.com for each movie:



When metadata is missing it will display a red icon and then let you search at imdb.com for information, select and save it as metadata. If you don't like the cover art at IMDB you can replace it with your own as a folder.jpg.

TVscout works in a similar way but for TV shows.

The current version of Video Browser is AFAIK unable to launch an external player, it will only use VMC's own player.

Hope this helps

/politby

tman247 12-09-2008 01:31 PM

I will also whole heartedly recommend video browser. Absolutely brilliant plugin. I stopped using MM after it went client/server. Who wants to use SQLE just to manage a movie database!

Download SMO and TVS as well, and you'll never look back. I backup most of my BR to 1080P flac/mkv, I just need to work out how to get these files to use EVR when launched in VB!

hlkc 12-09-2008 01:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by politby View Post

If the installation went through OK you should have a "Video Browser" tile in the TV & Movies strip in Vista Media Center.

Video Browser looks for content by traversing your \\Videos folder. Any locations found there will be monitored. In my case, I have everything stored on my WHS as follows:

\\\\server\\Movies
\\\\server\\Home Videos
\\\\server\\TV Series

Each of these locations has a shortcut placed in the \\Videos folder. Each of the folders will be shown as a folder in the main Video Browser screen, if you place an icon in the form of a "folder.jpg" at the root of the folder, that icon is shown in the main screen as well.

Video Browser will index all supported video files, build its cache in Program Data\\Video Browser and read any metadata placed in the content folders. If there is My Movies metadata there already it will use that.

Point Salami's Movie Organizer at the root (in my example, \\Videos), and it will go look for metadata in every folder where it finds supported video files. If metadata is present, it will display it, including what it finds at imdb.com for each movie:



When metadata is missing it will display a red icon and then let you search at imdb.com for information, select and save it as metadata. If you don't like the cover art at IMDB you can replace it with your own as a folder.jpg.

TVscout works in a similar way but for TV shows.

The current version of Video Browser is AFAIK unable to launch an external player, it will only use VMC's own player.

Hope this helps

/politby

Many thanks! I noticed you have some BDs and HDVDs. In your case, how do you take advantage of this program to play those titles?

politby 12-09-2008 01:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jagz View Post

I assume TV episodes still need to be ripped with DVD Decrypter/AutoGK (or similar alternative) and renamed so as to be recognized by Video Browser?

I'm interested to see a screenshot of how it displays home videos.

Unfortunately it only displays a generic film reel icon, it does not generate thumbnails from the actual video file. To get an actual icon you would have to keep each video file in its own folder and place a folder.jpg in there.

/politby

politby 12-09-2008 01:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by hlkc View Post

Many thanks! I noticed you have some BDs and HDVDs. In your case, how do you take advantage of this program to play those titles?

I rip them to .mkv files with flac audio and original VC-1/H.264 video. It seems to be able to play anything recognized by Vista as a video file - so you need to have made the registry changes to make it understand .mkv extensions and you need a matroska splitter and the required codecs.

Derek K. 12-09-2008 01:52 PM

it looks good, but how does it handle extenders? mm will automatically stream the correct file to an extender if it is available. does video browser do this?

davdev 12-09-2008 04:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by politby View Post

Unfortunately it only displays a generic film reel icon, it does not generate thumbnails from the actual video file. To get an actual icon you would have to keep each video file in its own folder and place a folder.jpg in there.

/politby

TVScout will get Metadata and thumbnails for individual episodes, as long as they are in the TVDB. I believe the individual files also need to be converted from a vob to something along the lines of an avi or mkv (note this is only to get the metadata to automatically update, it will play back Vob's just fine). It also needs to be named and placed in a folder in a way that the TVDB knows what it is. Something along the lines of:

Chuck\\Season 1\\Chuck.S01E02.avi
or
BigBangTheory\\Season 2\\Bigbandtheory.S02E01.avi

S= Season
E = Episode #

TVscout can then rename the file to the proper episode title.

davdev 12-09-2008 04:32 PM

Here is the thread from the greenbutton:
http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/thread/219061.aspx

Chalupacabra 12-10-2008 09:00 AM

Does this hijack folders the way MM does? Last time I installed MM it replaced all the folder.jpg images I had placed in my TS Folders with pictures of completely random DVDs (my collection is from multiple countries), so I had to go back and replace every image again. While the metadata in my movies is nice, I NEVER use it, I just want to have a convenient interface for selecting DVDs. Currently I'm using the VMC DVD Gallery, but this looks like it could be a reasonable replacement.

Still not sure about MKV/FLAC for BD though. I like having my menus, options and extras.

Zagor 12-10-2008 09:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalupacabra View Post

Does this hijack folders the way MM does? Last time I installed MM it replaced all the folder.jpg images I had placed in my TS Folders with pictures of completely random DVDs (my collection is from multiple countries), so I had to go back and replace every image again. While the metadata in my movies is nice, I NEVER use it, I just want to have a convenient interface for selecting DVDs. Currently I'm using the VMC DVD Gallery, but this looks like it could be a reasonable replacement.

Still not sure about MKV/FLAC for BD though. I like having my menus, options and extras.

No, it will not touch anything in the folders. You have to run a separate program (TV Scout for example) to retrieve the metadata and images.

jkleslie 12-10-2008 09:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jagz View Post

I assume TV episodes still need to be ripped with DVD Decrypter/AutoGK (or similar alternative) and renamed so as to be recognized by Video Browser?

I'm interested to see a screenshot of how it displays home videos.

The current SVN will generate thumbnails for episodes that do not have one theTVDB.com. It also has automatic metadata retrieval built in.

It will still be up to you to rename your episodes conforming to a supported regex convention, however. I don't think that will be a big deal as it will probably support nearly everything that is common.

politby 12-10-2008 09:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zagor View Post

No, it will not touch anything in the folders. You have to run a separate program (TV Scout for example) to retrieve the metadata and images.

Correct. If you do run Salami's Movie Organizer, it will replace the folder.jpg when you hit "Save movie data" unless you clear the "Cover Source URL" field just above the retrieved cover image.

mkedda 12-12-2008 06:59 AM

I have a situation where my Movies will play an mkv but video browser will not. how could that be ?

it plays some mkv's, so i know it is not a mkv issue.

thanks

davdev 12-12-2008 08:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkedda View Post

I have a situation where my Movies will play an mkv but video browser will not. how could that be ?

it plays some mkv's, so i know it is not a mkv issue.

thanks

Can you play the mkv is Media Player?

How far down is the file nested? Meaining is the MKV held is a folder than is 3 or 4 subfolders down from the main directory?

mkedda 12-12-2008 09:03 AM

thanks for the help davdev!

Yes, I can play the MKV in Media Center (via the Videos option or the My Movies option) or Media Player. The file is a cloverfield sample mkv found somewhere on this forum. It is stored in D:\\Cloverfield\\Colverfield.mkv

Quote:


Can you play the mkv is Media Player?

How far down is the file nested? Meaining is the MKV held is a folder than is 3 or 4 subfolders down from the main directory?


taz291819 12-12-2008 04:47 PM

Hmm, Video Browser works fine, but Movie Organizer crashes whenever I select get info from imdb. It'll bring up the imdb page, and a second or two later, it crashes.

Vista 32-bit Ultimate.

Also, how did you get your titles to layout horizontally? Mine are vertical.

EDIT:
Got the horizontal layout fixed, I was using an older version of Video Browser. Movie Organizer still crashes though.

Another problem, I can't get chapters or FF/RW to work with mkv's. I installed a VMC plugin called Media Center Control (or something like that), which is supposed to offer FF/RW for mkv's, but it was a no go (installed the latest FFDSHOW also).

Tulli 12-15-2008 05:14 PM

Thanks a lot to politby for letting us know about this product. I have been playing with it in the past few days, both in Vista x32 and Vista x64 and managed to make it work 100% in both systems.

I had to manually modify the VideoBrowser.config file in c:\\Program Data\\VideoBrowser (check "Show hidden files and folders" in Folder Options of Windows Explorer) to suit it to my needs and resolve some unwanted crashes during testing (by cleaning the PlayState dir). Specifically I had to disable automatic playlist which didn't work well with the directory structure of my movies collection, and for global default settings.

All in all this program is a keeper. It's neat and simple. I absolutely recommend it and look forward for new upgrades.

BTW all my files are in .mkv format.

stanglx 12-15-2008 05:36 PM

The only issue I have it does not support Virtual CloneDrive... which is much better the Daemon tools... MyMovies supports Virtual CloneDrive.. so why doesnt this?


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