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Media Companion

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 A basic "How to"

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PostSubject: A basic "How to"   A basic "How to" Icon_minitimeFri Feb 13, 2009 6:36 am

(I wrote this for another site so I figured I would post it here as well.)

If you have your xbox chipped and connected to your computer read on...

Xbox1 can take care of DVDRips, TV shows and music using XBMC. Download this here, I use the 8.10 stable build but you can get the latest build if you like, usually just small feature adds or bug fixes.

Get the MediaStream skin and install it into your skin folder.

Download Media Companion and install to your server, be sure to got to the Announcements section of the forum to ensure you are getting the latest build.

Cataloguing your movies and tv shows will be a pain (it took me 2 days and I only have ~350 movies). It's all automated but a lot of the movies folders/files will be in the wrong format, incorrectly scraped etc, so you have to manually tell it what movie it is or change your folder/file name.
A few tips:
- Delete all your Sample folders.
- Delete all your CD1 and CD2 folders. Yes this means manually moving the media files out and into the parent dir.
- The only folder you should have inside the movies dir is Subs
- Get rid of tags like PROPER, LIMITED, REAL etc. Media Companion uses the folder name to search imdb. It stops its search terms when it sees tags like DVDRip, DVDSCR etc. Anything before that will be included in the search terms
- Having the year in the folder name will stuff things up search wise but I prefer to have that, up to you.
- Use TMDb for posters
- If you dont use Unpacker, start now. Make sure you select "Clean up archive files after extraction" in settings. Scan your parent media folders and it will unrar everything for you and delete your .rars. Same as winrar but quicker and easier.

Media Companion simply finds a poster and data about your movie. It creates a folder.jpg and .tbn so that you have a poster to identify your movie. It also creates an .nfo with XML data in it from imdb that has info about your movie. XBMC reads these natively and as a priority to searching the net for info.

You will then get something like this...
A basic "How to" 67544thumberror
The first .nfo is the scene .nfo and untouched.
The .tbn is the thumbnail which, atm, is incorrectly named as it should have -cd1 at the end of its name. This is a stacking issue that is in the process of being amended so by the time you are doing this you wont have to worry about it. A checkbox in Media Companion will resolve this for now.
Media Companion builds a new .nfo with XML data in it.
The cd2 is ignored as XBMC stacks two cd movies.
Fanart is an option that I no longer use as the massive images needed for 720p output slows the xbox down when scrolling.

You can then enable the library feature on XBMC and scan your network folders by 'setting content'. Instead of trying to contact imdb for info and fucking up, it will simply read the info from your hdd that you have put there using Media Companion. It stores all the information in its own database so no writing to the server hdd. This now means you can search your movies via genre, actor, year, imdb rating etc.

If you have a HD tv you will need to convert your xbox to an NTSC version using Enigmah-X and enable 720p mode and buy HD cables from ebay. This gives you crisp edgs in the menu and a much better picture when watching DVDRips. We just started downloading BRRips and BDRips and they look spectacular on XBMC.
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PostSubject: Re: A basic "How to"   A basic "How to" Icon_minitimeFri Feb 13, 2009 2:48 pm

I think you are being a bit unfair to Media Companion
The program is designed for people who store their movies in the following manner :-

Root\Movie3.avi etc
Root\Movie3\moviefile cd1.avi
Root\Movie3\moviefile cd2.avi etc

In the preferences you can set the option to use the folder name for the IMDB search, with this option set the folder name will be used instead of the filename eg,
will search IMDB for "300"

Media Companion can use three methods to find the correct movie on IMDB.
The most accurate is to include an .nfo file that contains the IMDB ID :-
Enable the option "During Scan For New Movies, Try To Find IMDB ID In An Available .nfo" in the general preferences. If a .nfo file is found then MC will look for a IMDB ID within that file.
moviefile.dvdrip.nfo (This can be a scene .nfo file, the IMDB ID will be grabbed from here)
This method is 100% accurate

The second most accurate method is to use the year in the folder or filename eg.
\300 (2006).avi
\300 (2006)\whatever title.avi (If using folder names)
Both will search IMDB for "300", and try to match the year aswell.
Anything after the year is ignored, so "300 (2006)-dvdrip-dutchsubs-ac3-xvid.avi" would still search for 300 and match 2006 to the year
This method is about 98% accurate

The 3rd, and least accurate search is to use the movietitle alone as the search paramater, eg.
\300\moviefilename.avi (If using folder names)
This would search IMDB for "300" and is about 80% accurate.

Media Companion will also try to clean filenames using the following :-
cd1, cd.1, cd_1, cd 1, cd-1
and the same as above but replacing cd with - dvd, part, disk and pt
ac3, divx, xvid, dvdrip, directors cut, special edition, screener, telesync, telecine, director's cut, r5, ts, fs, ws, r5, bluray, 720, 1024, fullscreen, widescreen and dvdscr, are also looked for.
in addition to the above if the year is located in brackets () or [] then this is used to crop the filename/foldername

if one of the above terms is found then the filename is cut to the leftmost location. eg.
the dark knight-720-ws-dvdrip-xvid.avi
will clean thje filename to "the dark knight"

In addition to all of the above, Files with "sample" or "trailer" in the filename are ignored.

Fanart can be too much for the XBox, but using the Media Companion preference to resize fanart to 960x540 allows fanart to be used ok.

You are the first person that i've ever heard from that puts each cd for a movie in a seperate folder, it's really not necessary to do this, by all means put your trailer and sample in a seperate folder, as long as the filename contains "trailer" or "sample" they will be ignored, but there is no possible way to cater for every possible method of storing media files. Even then, as long as you follow the above rules then only cd1 will be scraped. eg.
\300\300 (2006) cd1\moviefile cd1.avi (If using folder names)
300\cd1\300 (2006) cd1.avi
would scrape the correct info
filenames containing cd2, cd.2, cd_2, cd 2, cd-2
and the same as above but replacing cd with - dvd, part, disk and pt, and filenames containing "trailer" and "sample" are ignored
The only issue would be on playback, cd1, and cd2 would not be linked. I dont know how XBMC would deal with this but I suspect it would be the same.

If you use the above rules then using a 10meg connection it should take between 10 & 15 seconds to scrape each movie, including fanart and poster. If the wrong movie is scraped then it takes about a minute to change to the correct movie and select yourself an appropriate poster and fanart.

Ultimately, if you have fanart and posters enabled it should take about 75 minutes to scrape 300 movies.
If you follow the diverse rules above then you should need to rescrape a small proportion of the movies scraped

Do you have a problem with Media Companion, before posting a bug then please check you have the very latest version of Media Companion
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PostSubject: Re: A basic "How to"   A basic "How to" Icon_minitimeSun Feb 15, 2009 3:55 pm

I assumed that the majority of the program's users downloaded scene releases. This would mean that their folder names would have all the standard scene tags in them and in the case of a 2 CD release, multiple folders (CD1, CD2, Sample and Subs) in which rars would be found. Most of these users would not want to remove these tags as it is an easy way to identify the quality of the media, the format and the source (eg. in the case of a PROPER being released). Most years in these folder names are not in brackets, if at all present.

What I said about the scraping ability is due to experience where when I had a folder with the movie name followed by the year and then, say, DVDRip etc etc, I would not get a hit from IMDb. When removing the year and everything after that I got a match (not a direct one, but the right movie was always at the top of the search results).

300.2006.RETAIL.DVDRip.XviD-FLAiTE\CD1\Lots of rar's that contain the moviefile-cd1.avi
300.2006.RETAIL.DVDRip.XviD-FLAiTE\CD2\Lots of rar's that contain the moviefile-cd2.avi
300.2006.RETAIL.DVDRip.XviD-FLAiTE\Subs\Rar of the sub files

This is the standard format in which most people download their movies in where the source in the scene. Even though it has the word RETAIL in it, simply searching 300.2006 on imdb returns irrelevant results. I will admit I have not checked the 'scan available .info' option, and I will when I scan next time.

It may have been fixed since I first started using your app, but I would constantly get MC giving me search results for Sample and CD1 from IMDb. The only way I could fix it was by removing those folders from the movie directory. Moving the unrared files out of the CD1 and CD2 folders and deleting the Sample folder isnt necessary but does help with navigation, and cleans/orders everything up so even if it is not totally necessary for MC, it still helps create a more managable media collection.

Thanks for the extended reply. Ultimately I don't believe scene users are your target market which is fine. My spiel above hopefully may help a few make the appropriate adjustments to get the most out of your program.

Keep at it as every new version you release solves more issues and makes it an even better application, thanks again.
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PostSubject: Re: A basic "How to"   A basic "How to" Icon_minitimeSun Feb 15, 2009 5:26 pm

If the naming convention is standard for all scene releases, then a regex can be developed for finding the movie titles with relative accuracy. The regex can include key words like "retail," "proper," and "cd#." I have to build my own regex to get my anime TV shows becuase I didn't want to change the file names for a lot of the same reasons you'd rather not change your file names.
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