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Media Center's feature that automatically resumes playback in certain files from where it was last left off is called "Bookmarking". Whenever you start playback of any file in Media Center's Library, the Bookmarking system follows a set of rules to decide whether to resume from a previous position:

  • If Options > General > Behavior > Resume playback using bookmarks is set to Automatic (the default), and...
  • If the file in question has the [Use Bookmarking] field (tag) set to Default (as opposed to explicitly set to Yes or No), and...
  • The [Media Type] of the file is Video -or- the [Media Type] is Audio and the [Media Sub Type] is Podcast or Audiobook, and...
  • If the [Media Type] is Video, the duration exceeds 15 minutes (so it excludes short videos such as Music Videos and other small clips)...

Then MC uses the stored [Bookmark] value to resume play from where it was last left off. When you stop playback of a file, MC saves the bookmark, which is basically just a count of the number of milliseconds from the beginning of the file, to the Library:

  • If playback ended within 96% of the end of the file, then the bookmark is cleared.
  • If the playback position was less than 60 seconds into the file, then the bookmark is cleared (unless it was a DVD which are always saved, I guess)
  • Otherwise, the current position is stored in the database record for the file.

The idea is that most longer Videos (such as TV Shows and Movies) as well as Audiobooks and Podcasts will auto-resume from where you left off whenever you play them. But short clips like music videos, and long songs like Alice's Restaurant and Echoes will not. When playback stops, it guesses that 96% played is pretty much "fully played" (leaving only the credits in many cases) so it clears the bookmark. Likewise, if you stop very close to the beginning of a file, that's close enough to the beginning to clear the bookmark.

You can modify this behavior on both a global and granular (per-file) scale.

First, you can globally change it by setting Options > General > Behavior > Resume playback using bookmarks. The default is Automatic as described above, but you can disable it entirely, or set it to ask what to do whenever it finds a Bookmark set for a file.

You can also change the [Use Bookmarking] tag for a particular file or set of files. If set to Yes, it will force files that otherwise wouldn't "trigger" the automatic rules above to either use or ignore bookmarking.

Please Note: For the [Bookmark] tag to get written to the database when playback stops, the copy of MC that was playing the file must have Read/Write access to the database. If MC is being used in a Client/Server situation and the client is in "read-only mode" for some reason (perhaps you don't have a Username/Password set in Options > Media Network, for example) then the client copy of MC won't be able to write the [Bookmark] tag to the Library permanently when playback ends. This will, in effect, cause Media Center to behave as though Bookmarks only persist until MC is closed and reopened.