DVD Library in Media Center

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Revision as of 09:47, 28 January 2007 by Oshogg (talk | contribs) (ISO file)

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This article describes how to use MC12 to manage DVD library collection. This article describes how to import, manage and playback DVDs in MC library. It also describes how you can watch these DVDs on multiple computers on the network.

How to extract DVDs to your hard drive

If you are here, you probably already know how to extract DVDs to your hard drive. If you do not, there are helpful sites on the internet that can help. There are primarily two ways you can extract a DVD to hard drive: as a single .iso file or as a VIDEO_TS directory with multiple files in that directory. MC12 supports and can playback DVDs extracted in either format.

Playback on local computer

First, ensure that you can playback your extracted DVDs on a computer with direct (i.e. non-network) access to hard drive with extracted DVDs. Both methods of extracting DVDs require different steps.

VIDEO_TS folder

Just import the VIDEO_TS folder into your MC library. This should import a .ifo file named VIDEO_TS in the VIDEO_TS directory. Just double-clicking on this file should start DVD playback. Due to the simplicity of this method, this is what I would recommend if you haven't already extracted your DVDs. You can assign covert art for the movie to the .ifo file and it would look nice in the theater view or album thumbnails view.

ISO file

It is slightly more work to playback ISO files in MC.

  • Download and install Virtual clone Drive software - it is free.
  • Enable shell integration feature of virtual clone drive.
  • Open the folder that contains the .iso file in Windows Explorer. Make sure that when you double-click on .iso file it is mounted on your virtual drive. If shell integration is enabled in virtual clone drive then the file should mount on virtual drive upon double clicking it in windows explorer.
  • Drag and drop the .iso file or the folder that contains .iso files to MC window. Or, right click on the folder containing .iso file and click on Media Center -> Import (assuming that the shell integration feature of MC is enabled). MC will import all the .iso files in its library.
  • These .iso files are visible under Documents in MC. Double click on the .iso file inside MC. This should mount the file on the virtual drive. You can set-up MC to start playing DVD automatically in full-screen mode (Display View) when DVD is inserted. If you have setup MC this way, DVD should also start playing in full-screen mode when you double click the .iso file inside MC.
  • The .iso files can also show up under Video in Theater View. To do this, change the Video view scheme to include both Video and Documents data type.

Unfortunately, you can not assign covert art to .ISO files as of current MC12 version (12.0.154).

Playing DVDs on remote computer

MC12 has powerful Library Server features which provides capability to share your music, video and images between multiple computers on your network. Library Server works very well for different types of media over a variety of network infrastructure. However, Library Server does not work with DVDs extracted on your hard drive Library Server. If you are interested in using MC12 to manage your DVD library collection, it is possible using network shares.

Set up a network share for the directory that contains the media files. Make sure that the network share is mounted on the same drive letter (say H:) on all computers. On the computer that has local access to the hard drive containing your media directory (say C:\Media), you can mount it as H: by creating a .BAT file that contains:

   SUBST H: C:\Media

Set a link to this .BAT file in the Startup folder so it is executed every time when computer is started.

Create the media library on the local computer in terms of H: and not C:\Media. That way you can use the same library in multiple computers.

Synchronizing MC library across multiple computers

TBD: This section will describe how to synchronize MC library across multiple computers using the "Shared Library" feature of MC12.

Shared Library

If you are TBD: Describe the option where both Media files and MC Library reside on a network share.

Pros of this method:

  • Tags can be edited by any machine on the network. The first machine to open the library has the read-write access to the Library.
  • All machines always have the same library. Nothing needs to be done to keep the machines in sync.
  • Play counts from all machines are combined (Can someone edit this page and confirm this?)

Cons of this method:

  • Putting library on a network share may not be practical if the network share is on a slow network.

Shared Media but different Libraries

TBD: Describe the option where Media files reside on a network share. Libraries reside on a local hard drive (in identical location) on both computers.

Pros of this method:

  • Works on slow networks such as wireless networks.

Cons of this method:

  • Manually have to sync the libraries every so often.
  • Only one machine should be editing tags if all libraries are supposed to maintain identical structure.
  • Play counts from different machines are not combined together.

TBD: Describe how thumbnails database can be synchronized between different machines.