Is there a front-end that can do what I need? WMC can't do it. - AVS Forum
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Parts for my HTPC build are in transit. Meanwhile, I got WMC working on my Win8 laptop to see if it can do what I need but it can't. At least I couldn't find a way to get WMC to do it. Is there a different front-end that can do it?

WHAT I NEED TO DO:
I have a folder with many avi files in it. Each avi file is one episode of a Korean Drama. I need to set something up so my wife can play the dramas using a remote control, since she's not a computer person. While playing an episode, need to be able to skip to the next episode by pressing the "Next" button on the remote.

WINDOWS MEDIA CENTER CAN'T DO IT:
(The following is using the keyboard and mouse of the laptop, not a remote control. If the kbd and mouse can't do it, I figure a remote can't do it.)

I added the folder that contains all of the avi files, to WMC's movie library. I start playing the first avi file.
  • If I click the > icon, the video jumps ahead 30 seconds.
  • if I click the >> icon, the video fast forwards.
  • If I press ctrl+F on the keyboard, the video jumps ahead 30 seconds.

There is no way to jump to the next avi file that I can see.

ANOTHER FRONT-END?
Is there another front-end that can jump to the next avi file?

Thanks,
Skylark
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Old 09-19-2013, 01:12 AM
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Channel up for next episode in WMC
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staknhalo View Post

Channel up for next episode in WMC

Channel up doesn't work in the WMC for Windows 8 that I have. I just hear a chime sound. I don't see an option to set up a playlist for the avi files which is why "Channel Up" might not be working for me.

WMC can FF, Rewind, Jump 30 sec fwd and backward which VLC won't do, using the Sanoxy remote control. Now if I can just set up a playlist for avi files.

Thanks,
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:25 AM
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Add Media Browser to WMC.

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Old 09-19-2013, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

Add Media Browser to WMC.

I've done a ton of Googling but could not find if Media Browser would allow me to create a playlist of the avi files and then allow my wife to jump to the next avi file using a remote control. Have you done that particular scenario using Media Browser?

Thanks,
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:39 PM
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Jriver works exactly this way from the default view.

Play a video, and >>| selects the next episode. |<< selects the previous episode.


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Old 09-19-2013, 04:05 PM
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If you set up your folder structure properly Media Browser can give a great experience. There are lots of tutorials out there to help you along, I recommend Assassin's Guide.


TV show view


Season view


Season episode view


Individual episode view

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Old 09-19-2013, 05:13 PM
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Plex / XBMC / Mediabrowser / Mediaportal all have good remote control options built-in

It sounds like your requirements are too stringent on ease of use, and your build is more or less setup for failure based on caveats

Take a look at the TV Series views in each of those different frontends (example below). Each one can have tons of different episode views, but the only thing anyone ever using the remote needs to learn is up, down, left, right, enter, stop, pause, and back. I don't think that's too much for anyone. I've never had one person get confused about using those buttons. Move to the first episode and hit "enter." When it's done playing it goes back to the menu, or you can hit stop if you don't want to finish watching (just like any DVD/VCR/player). Then use the arrows to start the next one. Doesn't require a computer person at all.

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Old 09-19-2013, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

Jriver works exactly this way from the default view.

Play a video, and >>| selects the next episode. |<< selects the previous episode.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free

Hmm, Jriver costs $50. Too rich for my beginner's blood when I have so much to learn about different "free" software. If I can't find a freebie that works, I'll revisit Jriver.

Thanks for the suggestion,
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dropkick Murphy View Post

If you set up your folder structure properly Media Browser can give a great experience. There are lots of tutorials out there to help you along, I recommend Assassin's Guide.

Thanks for your suggestions. I was looking for Assassin's guide and discovered that there is a Media Browser thread here. I was searching that thread and found a link to playlists in MB.

http://community.mediabrowser.tv/permalinks/1003/what-are-movie-playlists-why-do-they-exist

So now I know there are movie playlists in MB so I'll install it and see if it works for me.

Thanks,
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Plex / XBMC / Mediabrowser / Mediaportal all have good remote control options built-in

It sounds like your requirements are too stringent on ease of use, and your build is more or less setup for failure based on caveats

Take a look at the TV Series views in each of those different frontends (example below). Each one can have tons of different episode views, but the only thing anyone ever using the remote needs to learn is up, down, left, right, enter, stop, pause, and back. I don't think that's too much for anyone. I've never had one person get confused about using those buttons. Move to the first episode and hit "enter." When it's done playing it goes back to the menu, or you can hit stop if you don't want to finish watching (just like any DVD/VCR/player). Then use the arrows to start the next one. Doesn't require a computer person at all.

Hi Dark_Slayer,

Your suggestion sounds exactly like what my wife needs. Never thought about using the TV Series views to do the job. I'll check it out and see if it will do what my wife needs.

Thanks much!
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Plex / XBMC / Mediabrowser / Mediaportal all have good remote control options built-in

It sounds like your requirements are too stringent on ease of use, and your build is more or less setup for failure based on caveats

Take a look at the TV Series views in each of those different frontends (example below). Each one can have tons of different episode views, but the only thing anyone ever using the remote needs to learn is up, down, left, right, enter, stop, pause, and back. I don't think that's too much for anyone. I've never had one person get confused about using those buttons. Move to the first episode and hit "enter." When it's done playing it goes back to the menu, or you can hit stop if you don't want to finish watching (just like any DVD/VCR/player). Then use the arrows to start the next one. Doesn't require a computer person at all.

Checked out WMC. For TV, there are 2 options.
  1. Recorded TV
  2. Live TV setup

Since I don't have a tuner, Live TV setup won't work.
Since I don't have any recorded TV, nothing shows up. There are no options to browse for the avi movie files.

BTW, what file format is recorded TV saved in?

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Old 09-20-2013, 03:05 PM
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To keep it basic you could put them in the video files library. Recorded tv only shows wtv files in the recorded tv library.

What others have suggested is installing the plug in called media browser. It runs inside wmc and is a much prettier and feature rich library. That will give you powerful control over your episodes.

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Old 09-20-2013, 04:54 PM
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If I understand you correctly you may want to look at Recorded TV HD http://www.recordedtvhd.com/

It does an excellent job tagging shows automatically. You also have the ability to tag the show manually. After that it works just like a Tivo or an enhanced version of MCE. It is the program that I finally found that is wife approved. My wife loves to do TV marathons of a TV series and this fits the bill perfecty
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

To keep it basic you could put them in the video files library. Recorded tv only shows wtv files in the recorded tv library.

What others have suggested is installing the plug in called media browser. It runs inside wmc and is a much prettier and feature rich library. That will give you powerful control over your episodes.

Thanks for clarifying the suffix for recorded TV files and where they are stored. I had been Googling for that info and couldn't find it.

I'll download and install Media Browser and see how it works.

Thanks for your help,
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rmerikle View Post

If I understand you correctly you may want to look at Recorded TV HD http://www.recordedtvhd.com/

It does an excellent job tagging shows automatically. You also have the ability to tag the show manually. After that it works just like a Tivo or an enhanced version of MCE. It is the program that I finally found that is wife approved. My wife loves to do TV marathons of a TV series and this fits the bill perfecty

Actually I want my wife to be able to watch Korean Dramas that are in avi files. One file per episode. There could be 21 or more episodes per drama. Just watching an episode is easy to do but jumping to the next episode while watching an episode is what I couldn't get WMC to do. It does everything else fine except this one thing.

A suggestion was to use the TV series to do that but it appears that the files need to be in the "wtv" format for WMC to recognize them as recorded TV shows. So it seems that the TV series idea won't work for avi files.

I'll try the Media Browser plugin and see if it helps. Thanks,
Skylark
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:39 PM
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recorded tv hd is a similar plug in to media browser. you don't need wtv files for it - both of them are really just fancier library viewers with some more features.

I use media browser personally. both of them will use the names of the file folders and files themselves to try finding info on the tv show. you can create this info if it doesn't autopopulate.

here are a few screen shots from my system

season selection screen


episode selection screen


episode info screen


if all this seems too much you CAN add your avi files in wmc's video library. they will appear like this

navigate to the video library


I keep documentaries in here. the file title is what will appear.

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Old 09-20-2013, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

recorded tv hd is a similar plug in to media browser. you don't need wtv files for it - both of them are really just fancier library viewers with some more features.

I use media browser personally. both of them will use the names of the file folders and files themselves to try finding info on the tv show. you can create this info if it doesn't autopopulate.

here are a few screen shots from my system

(..... images not shown again to save bandwidth .....)

Hi Pittsoccer33,

Thanks for taking the time to help and for posting all of those sample pictures. I'll follow up on the info you provided and see what I can come up with.

Much appreciated,
Skylark
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Skylark View Post

Thanks for clarifying the suffix for recorded TV files and where they are stored. I had been Googling for that info and couldn't find it.

I'll download and install Media Browser and see how it works.

Thanks for your help,
Skylark

Installed Media Browser and it seems to do the exact same thing when viewing avi files as WMC does. I can play an avi file but then the buttons on the Sanoxy remote control do the same thing as when the avi file is played in WMC.

WHAT I'VE FOUND SO FAR:

VLC:
- Can make a playlist of the avi files.
- Can jump to next avi file by pressing the (>>|) button on the remote control.
- Pressing the (>>) button on the remote control does nothing so no fast forward or reverse.

WMC (playing avi files):
- Cannot find a way to make a playlist of the avi files.
- Pressing the (>>) button on the remote control fast forwards and (<<) fast reverses.
- Pressing the (>>|) button on the remote control jumps 30 seconds.
- No way to jump to next avi file in the folder.
- Tried putting 2 avi files in C:\Users\Public\Recorded TV but WMC's "Recorded TV" option does not see the avi files.

WMC (playing ripped DVDs in VIDEO_TS folders):
- Easy to navigate.
- Pressing the (>>) button on the remote control fast forwards and (<<) fast reverses.
- Pressing the (>>|) button on the remote control jumps to the next chapter (.vob file) on the DVD disc which is good.
- When playing the last chapter on a disc, the (>>|) button does nothing. So must stop playback and navigate to the next disc. (The drama has 7 discs with 3 episodes per disc.)
- Very usable for my wife and she can navigate to the next disc easily so not a problem.

WMC + Media Browser:
- Different user interface but otherwise acts the same as WMC.

CONCLUSIONS SO FAR:
Media Browser seems to act like WMC when playing an avi file. I think this is understandable since it probably uses WMC's video playback engine and appears to be just a different user interface application.

If anyone knows how to make a movie playlist in WMC, please post the instructions. Without a playlist, I don't think WMC can ever jump to the next avi file.

Thanks,
Skylark
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:08 PM
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Couldn't she just hit stop then select the next one in the directory?

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Old 09-21-2013, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Couldn't she just hit stop then select the next one in the directory?
Bill

Yes. Using WMC she could press "Stop" and navigate to the next avi file. But since she's used to VLC playing episodes in its playlist one after the other automatically, and now with the Sanoxy remote she'll be able to jump to the next episode by pressing (>>|) on the remote, (thus bypassing the preview of the next episode that occurs at the end of each episode), I hoped that WMC could do that also.

It seems that having a video playlist and being able to jump to the next file in the playlist would be such a basic action, that it's strange that that capability isn't in WMC. I'm just hoping that the capability does exist but that I just don't know how to set it up since this is the first time I'm using WMC.

If WMC can't do it, I'll just have her use VLC, though she'll not be able to fast forward or fast reverse using it. Being able to play episodes automatically via a play list is more important to her. She can spend hours watching her dramas...wink.gif

Thanks,
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Old 09-21-2013, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylark View Post


It seems that having a video playlist and being able to jump to the next file in the playlist would be such a basic action, that it's strange that that capability isn't in WMC.

I disagree. Why would you play something just to stop in the middle of it and skip to the next episode? Some kind of programmable remote macro that would include stopping the file, navigating to the next episode, and then playing it would do that.

Playing in sequence one after another makes sense, which is possible thru Media Browser and I imagine most front end defaults



But it really seems you want to create a video file playlist like a music play list, and I wish I knew how to help you accomplish that.

JRiver evolved from music software. That's something Im unfamiliar with that might have the capability as was noted before.

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Old 09-21-2013, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylark View Post

WMC (playing avi files):
- Cannot find a way to make a playlist of the avi files.

Here you go: http://w7videoplaylist.codeplex.com/
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Old 09-22-2013, 03:36 AM
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Alright Skylark, there is a pretty simple way to do this if you want to go through a little setup effort

I don't know how to do this in anything other than XBMC (I've used other stuff, but not primarily and I don't know if it all works the same way)

You need to create a TV Series for each Korean miniseries you have. Programs like MCM and Ember can help you with this, but it's honestly easier to do it yourself for a series that isn't perfectly outlined in IMDB or TheTVDB

Series Name (make it unique to know which one she is watching)
- Season Folder is unecessary unless multiple collections have the same series name

Dump all the avi files into separate folders this way (which they probably already are, so it's a matter of ensuring you have unique folder names)
If they are ordered numerically then you should be finished. If not, add some numeric order

You'll want to add the series to XBMC under "Videos" on the main menu (if your first time through). You should tell it they are TV Shows, but it probably won't scrape any artwork

There is a setting in Videos->Library->Flatten TV Series (if only one season) that you want turned on

After you have a TV Series setup, you can scroll through each one from "TV Shows" on the main menu. Instead of using "Enter" (or "Ok" etc) on the remote to look at each episode within the series, you can just click "play." Every episode will play in order, and if you skip next the following episode will play. If you are using a WMC remote, this will be the chapter skip. If you are programming a remote with keyboard shortcuts, then "Ctrl+F" is what you'll need.

If your avi files contain chapters this will skip through all the chapters instead frown.gif Probably should have mentioned that in the first place. I don't imagine the files you are talking about have chapter bookmarks. If there aren't any chapter bookmarks, then "Ctrl+F" or the chapter skip on a WMC remote will play the next file until all are played. If you let them play, then all will play continuously once through
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:38 PM
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I don't know how you're displaying your videos, but since you mentioned VLC I assume you have your PC directly connected to your display?

If so, couldn't you just use Windows Media Player? That can do playlists.

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Old 09-22-2013, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

I disagree. Why would you play something just to stop in the middle of it and skip to the next episode?

The reason for jumping to the next episode is because the Korean Dramas were originally a TV series. At the end of each episode, they would play previews of what's in the next episode which would be shown a week later. ..... Now we have all of the episodes in avi files. At the end of an episode, my wife doesn't want to watch the previews of what's in the next episode since the previews act as spoilers. So she prefers to bypass the previews and just jump to the beginning of the next episode.
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Quote:
Some kind of programmable remote macro that would include stopping the file, navigating to the next episode, and then playing it would do that.

Playing in sequence one after another makes sense, which is possible thru Media Browser and I imagine most front end defaults


That image you posted taught me a lot. I didn't know about that Media Browser configuration screen. Enabling "Treat multiple files as a single movie" does enable playback of the avi files with the ability to jump to the next episode. That's what I've been looking for.

Unfortunately, I'm experiencing problems using that option to play the drama avi files:

1. I add the folder that contains the avi files to MB.
........ D:\Video\My love by my side\My.love.by.my.side 01.avi
(I put three avi files plus associated srt subtitle files in the folder for testing.)

2. When I start WMC and click on "Media Browser", a message pops up saying:
"WARNING: Item My love by my side is resolving to a movie. All root level items must be folders. Check that this item isn't being mistaken because it is a folder with only a couple items and you have the playlist functionality enabled."
..... I don't understand why this message pops up since the avi files are in a sub-folder of the "Video" folder.

3. That popup times out and the display does not list all of the episodes. It only shows the play control icons. When I play the episode, the + and - icons are enabled, at the left of the VCR controls, which do let me jump to the next episode.

4. But the playback of the 45 minute avi files is very bad. The image freezes but the sound keeps going. When I click in the playback progress bar, playback might be ok but audio is out of sync.

I'm going to give up on Media Browser for now and start on my HTPC build. (I've been testing on my Win8 laptop up to now.)
.
.
Quote:
But it really seems you want to create a video file playlist like a music play list, and I wish I knew how to help you accomplish that.

JRiver evolved from music software. That's something Im unfamiliar with that might have the capability as was noted before.

Thanks for your input,
Skylark
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Puwaha View Post

Here you go: http://w7videoplaylist.codeplex.com/

I tried that W7 video playlist software. However, when I navigate to the playlist in WMC, it only shows the folder name with no clue as to how many files are in the playlist. There's no way to start playback on any file except the first file. When playback of the first avi file is started, there's no way to jump to the next avi file. I click at the end of the first avi file and playback does automatically continue with the second avi file so the playlist does work in that regard.

So this software won't do what my wife needs.

Thanks much for helping,
Skylark
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Old 09-22-2013, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Alright Skylark, there is a pretty simple way to do this if you want to go through a little setup effort

I don't know how to do this in anything other than XBMC (I've used other stuff, but not primarily and I don't know if it all works the same way)

You need to create a TV Series for each Korean miniseries you have. Programs like MCM and Ember can help you with this, but it's honestly easier to do it yourself for a series that isn't perfectly outlined in IMDB or TheTVDB

Series Name (make it unique to know which one she is watching)
- Season Folder is unecessary unless multiple collections have the same series name

Dump all the avi files into separate folders this way (which they probably already are, so it's a matter of ensuring you have unique folder names)
If they are ordered numerically then you should be finished. If not, add some numeric order

You'll want to add the series to XBMC under "Videos" on the main menu (if your first time through). You should tell it they are TV Shows, but it probably won't scrape any artwork

There is a setting in Videos->Library->Flatten TV Series (if only one season) that you want turned on

After you have a TV Series setup, you can scroll through each one from "TV Shows" on the main menu. Instead of using "Enter" (or "Ok" etc) on the remote to look at each episode within the series, you can just click "play." Every episode will play in order, and if you skip next the following episode will play. If you are using a WMC remote, this will be the chapter skip. If you are programming a remote with keyboard shortcuts, then "Ctrl+F" is what you'll need.

If your avi files contain chapters this will skip through all the chapters instead frown.gif Probably should have mentioned that in the first place. I don't imagine the files you are talking about have chapter bookmarks. If there aren't any chapter bookmarks, then "Ctrl+F" or the chapter skip on a WMC remote will play the next file until all are played. If you let them play, then all will play continuously once through

Dark Slayer,

Thanks much for taking the time to key in all of that data. I'm going to stop playing with software on my laptop now and start building our HTPC. After it's up and running, I'll revisit your post.

Thanks,
Skylark
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leebo View Post

I don't know how you're displaying your videos, but since you mentioned VLC I assume you have your PC directly connected to your display?

If so, couldn't you just use Windows Media Player? That can do playlists.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4

The HTPC I build will be directly connected to the HDTV set using a HDMI cable. I've been playing videos that way up to now using my Win8 laptop.

For testing avi file playback, I've just been using the laptop's screen since I know the HDMI output just duplicates the laptop's screen.

I tried WMP using a playlist and it does jump to the next episode in the playlist just fine. Exactly like VLC can do. However, subtitles were not displayed like they are using VLC. I'll have to learn how to enable subtitle playback using WMP. Also, the audio is a little delayed so lip sync is slight off. Lip sync is perfect using VLC.

Thanks,
Skylark
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:30 PM
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These frontends would work the way you want if your wife would simply hit stop at the end of the show instead of Skip/Next. Hitting stop will put her at the screen to simply select the next episode, before seeing previews of the next episode.
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