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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While we are waiting for DVDLab to answer all our hopes and prayers, I have come up with a DVD Archiving method that so far (I'm watching a HQ recording of Stargate SG-1 from a DVD now) seems to work pretty well. Here is what I do.


1) Create a temporary directory for preping the DVD. (I'll use "C:\\StargateDVD" for my example.

2) Copy DVArchive to "C:\\StargateDVD".

3) Create a subdirectory for your Replay files. (i.e. "C:\\StargateDVD\\Videos"

4) Copy Replay files to C:\\StargateDVD\\Videos".

5) Run DVArchive from "C:\\StargateDVD" directory, and configure to use "C:\\StargateDVD\\Videos" as it's 'local guides' and 'import' paths. (we will come back to these).

6) Import your programs into DVArchive.

7) Set the server name to a description that is good for the shows on the disk. ("Stargate")

...At this time you should have a working copy of DVArchive customized for the specific show(s)...

8) Close DVArchive.

9) Open the new 'DVArchive.xml' in a text editor. (I used WordPad)

10) Do a search and replace for your tempory directory in 'DVArchive.xml'. (i.e Replace all "C:\\StargateDVD" with "\\" and all "C:\\StargateDVD\\Videos" with "\\Videos")

11) Copy the attached files into "C:\\StargateDVD"

12) Optional. Copy custom icon to "C:\\StargateDVD" "named autorun.ico"

13) Use your favorite DVD data burning application to burn all files to the root of a DVD.

14) Close all applications.


Now, whenever you want to watch a perticular movie, just stick the disk in the DVD drive. The disk specific copy of DVArchive will load with listings of what is on that disk. You know can play your recording with all the features of your ReplayTV.


Cons:

1) DVDs can only be viewed by people with ReplayTV, or on PC.

2) Computer must be turned on for DVD to be used.

3) DVArchive must be shut down manually when done.

4) Occasion breakup on playback. (I had one slight skip on a 1 hour HQ recording. This should be less likely on lower bitrate playback.)


Pros:

1) Simple to set up.

2) Quick to set up.

3) Preserves ability to return recording to hard drive for use in regular DVArchive.

4) No loss quality due to file manipulation.

5) Comercial Advance

6) Standard Quality 30 minute programs should fit on CD.

6) Nothing else to buy. (except DVDs of course:) )


Obviously we are all waiting for DVDLab to work with the broken ReplayTV files so that we can make permenent archives that work with standard DVD players, but in the mean time, and for personal use, this should be an fine solution.

 

dvatodvd.zip 0.419921875k . file
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Belial6
While we are waiting for DVDLab to answer all our hopes and prayers, I have come up with a DVD Archiving method that so far (I'm watching a HQ recording of Stargate SG-1 from a DVD now) seems to work pretty well.
A few comments


1) Editing DVArchive.xml can be bad for your health. If you want to do this, please make sure you have a backup in case things go badly.


2) DVA isn't going to be too happy about having shows it cannot find the files for (e.g. when the shows files are not on the currently mounted DVD). More importantly, if you view DVAs list of shows from your ReplayTV, it'll show things that cannot be played and will probably make your RTV a bit unhappy (it shouldn't crash, but it's probably not a great thing for the family to try to play what is listed and have it fail).


That said, this should work. An alternative way to do this that doesn't involve directly editing the DVArchiuve.xml file is to go to the Storage tab of the DVA properties dialog and add a new directory that is your DVD drive. Mark the directory as READ ONLY and DVA will never try to write files there.


If your DVD is, say, on drive E: (assuming windows), then just put the files you are archiving into a E:\\ and add "E:\\" as a read-only storage directory for DVA.


When DVA needs to fetch the shows file, it'll check the all the places that are listed in the Storage areas, including your DVD, for the file and serve it up without a problem if it's there.


NOTE: There are requests for this sort of thing out there, but as of yet, I've not formalized a plan for supporting it. The simplist method to add support would be what I just outlined and add an option to attempt to validate each shows files existed before publishing them to the RTV. A more complex method involves archiving, cataloging and know which DVD each show is on and auto-prompting for that DVD when it needs to be played. Please don't expect to see either in V2.1 though :)


Best of luck!
 

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i'd like to see some DVDA action :D.



sturmie
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Gary.


Actually the intent of the DVD customization is to have 'DVArchive.xml' file that ONLY lists the programs on the disk. That way it has no interference with the full functioning version that we all run. One of the cons that I missed was that the DVDized copy couldn't be run on the same PC as your full DVArchive install (At least not at the same time) because DVArchive does not support multiple instances of itself.


You don't have to worry about shows that are not on the DVD because they would also not be in the customized xml file.


Since you read this Gary. There are two enhancements I would like to request that would make this process a lot simpler...


1) The ability to turn off varifying the validity of a filepath. The only reason I modify the xml file is so that I can have file directories of "\\" by doing this, DVArchive no longer cares what drive it is on. It becomes self referencing. So, if I throw the DVD into a different computer with a different drive letter, it still works. It also removes the need to manually edit the xml file.


2) All the xml backup to be disabled. Right now the batch file that is included in the file attchment above, does a copy of the xml file to the systems %TEMP% directory and then launches DVArchive with the %TEMP% directory specified as the xml files location. This works, but is a bit kludgy. If the xml backup option could be set to 0, we wouldn't need to copy the file.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, Since your already thinking about it, here is what I was thinking....


Instead of trying to give a list of all DVDs on the Replay, you could have a complementary app that when launched by the autorun would try to contact a currently running DVArchive on the same IP address. This would let the app knowit was on the same computer. If it recieved a response from the same IP address, it could then look at it's current directory, and report to the currently running DVA all information at add the DVD shows to the list. You would want DVA to periodically look for a file on the DVD so that if the DVD is ejected, DVA would know to remove the DVD programs from the listing.


If there is no response from a currently running copy of DVArchive, then a trimmed down copy of DVArchive that finds it's xml file in the same directory as it is lauched from, and has no functionality beyond serving up the files that are on the DVD. This would also need to check for the existance of a file periodically so that it can shut itself down if the DVD is removed.


This setup would work perticulary well if DVA had a "Build DVD" button, that would let you pick the programs you want on the DVD, then would create a directory were it would copy the RTV files, the DVD version of DVA, and create an xml file that applied only to the specified RTV files.


The benefit of this is that if you grab your DVD and head over to your pals house who also has a ReplayTV, you just toss the disk in his computer, and your ready to go. This also removes the need to manage the listings if you erase/lose/destroy your DVD.


There are a lot more specifics that I've thought about, but I'm sure I've babbled long enough.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gduprey
1) Editing DVArchive.xml can be bad for your health. If you want to do this, please make sure you have a backup in case things go badly.


That said, this should work. An alternative way to do this that doesn't involve directly editing the DVArchiuve.xml file is to go to the Storage tab of the DVA properties dialog and add a new directory that is your DVD drive. Mark the directory as READ ONLY and DVA will never try to write files there.


If your DVD is, say, on drive E: (assuming windows), then just put the files you are archiving into a E:\\ and add "E:\\" as a read-only storage directory for DVA.
Okay, I was trying this from memory, and apparently my memory wasn't doing well...


I burned the .mpg and .ndx to a DVD. I set the DVD drive as a read-only storage device and could play the file from a Replay, CA and all. Then I got the idea stuck in my head that I had to delete the reference (on DVArchive) to the show that was now only on the DVD. Don't ask me why. So now I can't play it and I can't import it. I'm guessing one of those scary backups is what I need? I know where they are, I just don't want to screw things up more than I already have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The key here is NOT to use your DVA setup that is for your main install. To fix this...


1) Copy the DVArchive directory to another location. DO NOT delete the current install. You don't want to touch that.


2) In the DVArchive COPY you can rename one of the xml back-up files to DVArchive.xml.


3) Go back to the original entry in this thread, and resetup for a new DVD burn.


The removal of the show from your full DVA install is ok, but you have to make the DVD customized version for buring on the DVD with the show.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Belial6
The key here is NOT to use your DVA setup that is for your main install.
Actually, in V2.1, you should be able to use a single DVA installation as I've added some (limited) support for having offline archives.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gduprey
Actually, in V2.1, you should be able to use a single DVA installation as I've added some (limited) support for having offline archives.
Right, that's what I was trying to do, but once I deleted the reference to these episodes from DVA, I can no longer "see" them; they are no longer listed on the menu (of course, since I deleted them...). Should I copy back an archive of the .xml?


Belial6 - I didn't understand what you were saying to do. I have a DVD burned already with the .mpg and .ndx files. I just want DVA to recognize them again when I put the DVD in the computer's drive (which is properly set up as read only storage).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gduprey


If your DVD is, say, on drive E: (assuming windows), then just put the files you are archiving into a E:\\ and add "E:\\" as a read-only storage directory for DVA.
When I try to do this I get the following error message from DVA:

"DVArchive doesn't have full read/write permissions for the path you typed in."


I think this might have something to do with NTFS permissions on root directories, but I'm not sure what I need to do to make it work. OS is W2K. Any suggestions?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by crossword
When I try to do this I get the following error message from DVA:

"DVArchive doesn't have full read/write permissions for the path you typed in."
Well, that sounds like a bug. If the directory is read only, then it should only do a read test. I'll take a look at it later on tonight.
 

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Just a small note:


When you give this DVD to your friends who own RTVs, remember that you are "distributing" DVArchive on the DVD and should do so according to the license. Basically, that means you should be including the sourcecode.


Of course, you won't be giving your DVD to anyone, right? ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gduprey
Well, that sounds like a bug. If the directory is read only, then it should only do a read test. I'll take a look at it later on tonight.
OK. I appreciate any help you can provide. FWIW, in case there's something else going on (OS, file system, and/or removable drive issues), on the W2K (NTFS file system) computer, the error appears only on the CD and DVD drives, not on the ZIP (fat file system) drive. I can't test the XP computer (also NTFS) because the DVA GUI will not launch.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by crossword
OK. I appreciate any help you can provide. FWIW, in case there's something else going on (OS, file system, and/or removable drive issues), on the W2K (NTFS file system) computer, the error appears only on the CD and DVD drives, not on the ZIP (fat file system) drive. I can't test the XP computer (also NTFS) because the DVA GUI will not launch.
Which makes sense - the CD and DVD are inherently read-only devices while a zip is read/write.


Fixed this in DVA V2.1. If a storage area is marked as read-only, DVA will only check to make sure it can read it. If it's not read-only, then DVA will check read/write permission.
 

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Actually, both the CD and DVD drives are recorders, not just readers, so could that mean there still might be something else going on besides the bug that you fixed?


I guess I can test that myself when 2.1 is released. :D :D
 

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CD and DVD being viewed at RO makes sense to me.


The only chance you'd have were this wouldn't be true is a +RW CD that's configured like a floppy. But, that's still a stretch to believe that, and I'm not sure how the OS handles these discs.


Beside the method mentioned above you can't just write to a CD-R or DVD+-R(W) with OS write calls and that's why it should be viewed as RO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Gary, I know you've been looking into making DVA act as a catalog for offline files stored on DVD, but would making an app that sits on the DVD that will register the contents of that DVD to DVA when inserted, and remove itself from DVA when removed, a feature that you would consider?


Keeping a list of every show I have on DVD viewable from DVA all the time isn't all that important to me, and if I have a lot, may become problematic. While being able to just drop a DVD into the drive, have it automatically viewable from the ReplayTV, even if I was at a friends house who also has DVA+RTV, would be a very cool feature.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Belial6
Gary, I know you've been looking into making DVA act as a catalog for offline files stored on DVD, but would making an app that sits on the DVD that will register the contents of that DVD to DVA when inserted, and remove itself from DVA when removed, a feature that you would consider?


Keeping a list of every show I have on DVD viewable from DVA all the time isn't all that important to me, and if I have a lot, may become problematic. While being able to just drop a DVD into the drive, have it automatically viewable from the ReplayTV, even if I was at a friends house who also has DVA+RTV, would be a very cool feature.
Howdy,


Anything is possible :)


Seriously - I'll entertain any enhancement request, though I do ask folks register them in the DVArchive RFE pages over on the sourceforge site so I don't have to keep track of them myself.


Whether it'll get worked on sooner or later is a point open to more debate. I've spec this sort of thing out before and to do it "right" will take a moderate amount of development. What I put in for V2.1 was reasonably easy, though imperfect under the beleif that something, even imperfect, is better than nothing.


In terms of what gets developed when, well, to be honest, things that intrigue me or things I have a direct need for usually get to the top. That doesn't mean you can't grab the source and start working in the enhancement too (well, the source is offline at the moment, but it'll be back when 2.1 is released). Enlightened self interest is often what drives these projects.


That said, it definatly would not happen for V2.1 as that release is pretty much frozen right now (feature wise).. I'll keep a watch on the requests for these things (when all else is equal, I tend to work on things that have the most requests/interest). So if folks are interested, they should post comments to the RFE (once it's created) with their thoughts. That always helps in assessing "what is next".
 
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