Gathering Metadata in WHS with Metabrowser

by Damian on October 9, 2009 · 72 comments

in Guides

One of the motivations of storing your movie/TV collection on your WHS is to play back on a TV with a snazzy looking UI that says WOW. There are many different media center programs out there that can help you achieve this, but the one underlying piece of data that is needed regardless of the program you use is metadata/fanart. Today I thought I would look at setting up WHS to automatically retrieve metadata with a free program called Metabrowser (to be used in WMC primarily with Media Browserbut also can be used for the default WMC DVD Library). Media Browser is a free (for now) plugin for Media Center that provides an alternative UI in WMC to view your digital media. Although Media Browser does provide for automatic metadata retrieval, I prefer to have more control over this, which is where Metabrowser comes into play. Also, having multiple HTPCs throughout my house, it does not make sense to have Media Browser pulling in metadata individually on each HTPC, Metabrowser will allow me to centralize this with WHS. Metabrowser utilizes TheTVDB.com and themoviedb.org, which are open databases completely driven by users, to gather metadata.

Files to Download:

Prep Work:

The first part to getting accurate retrieval of metadata is making sure you name your media files correctly. All movies/TV shows should be named as close as possible to the actual name of the movie/TV show. If you are unsure what the exact name is you can just search for the name on a variety of sites like Amazon.com, IMDB.com, etc.

The second part (and best practice) to getting accurate retrieval of metadata is to have each movie/TV show in its own folder (once again named as close as possible  to the original). If for whatever reason you have all your movies under one folder you can use the File2Folder Script provided by Jon over at theHTPC.net which will automatically move all your movies into a folder of the same name. The folder structure I follow for my movies/TV shows is as follows:

Movies:

\\MyServer\Videos\MovieName

  • MovieName.mkv (or the Video_TS folder if a DVD Rip)

TV Shows:

\\MyServer\TV Shows\Show Name\Season X

  • SXXEXX – Episode Name.mkv

Three other optional downloads I noted above are MediaInfo, ImagesByName, and Movie Thumbnailer (I will provide details on how these downloads are used during setup). MediaInfo provides a detailed description of the characteristics of a video file (information on audio/vide tracks, etc…). To get this working with Metabrowser you will need to download “MediaInfo.dll” and place in the C:\Windows\System32 folder in WHS. ImagesByName consists of over 4,000 images of Actors/Directors that Metabrowser will use to display the appropriate actor images for each movie/TV show. If you plan on using this feature simply place the ImagesByName folder in a central folder on your WHS (I have it saved under my \\MyServer\Videos\Fanart folder). Movie Thumbnailer is used to extract thumbnails of TV episodes if none are found on TVDb. Download the file and save somewhere on your WHS.

Installation:

This part is pretty basic. Download the metabrowser.msi file and save to a shared folder. RDP into WHS, copy the msi file to the desktop, right click on the file and unblock, and then double click on the file to install. It should take no more then a minute for Metabrowser to install, you will have the option during installation to have Metabrowser available to everyone who accesses the computer or just yourself.

InstallSetup

Setting Up Metabrowser:

When you first open up Metabrowser you will be taken to main screen. There is a web browser on the right hand side which directs you to the main Metabrowser website. The column on the left hand side is where all your movies/TV shows will appear (obviously this is blank for now). At the bottom left of the screen will be an “Options” button which will need to be selected to set up Metabrowser.

 

Initial HomePage

The first tab “General” is where most of the setup will be handled. Here you can add multiple locations if your video collection spans across several different folders/drives. There are several additional options to choose from:

  • Search Options - This tells Metabrowser what folders/extensions to look for. Odds are no changes will need to be made to the default settings. If you need to add an extension make sure you place the “.” right before (i.e. wtv was not included in the list of valid extensions, so to add I had to enter ;.wtv).
  • ImagesByName - If you plan on using ImagesByName you can now point Metabrowser to the Folder Location where this is stored.
  • Cache – Metabrowser will store temporary files as it gathers metadata. Here you can delete all temporary files stored or have Metabrowser rebuild the list
  • Folder Monitoring – although not necessary, since Metabrowser is being set up to run as maintenance free as possible, checking “Use FileSystemWatcher”  will ensure that as you add media to your WHS Metabrowser will automatically scan and pull in metadata without your interaction. These is also the option if you are working with Samba shares and if you want Metabrowser to scan for any missing metadata.
  • System – You can enable Metabrowser to start on system setup, as well as determine if it should be minimized

Options-General Completed

The next tab is “Movies” where you can set up any options specific to how your movie collection is handled

  • Movies – you can specify whether you want Metabrowser to search TMDb based on the local or original title.
  • DVD Library – if you would like to create DvdId XmL files (used by WMC’s default video library) select this option. W7/Vista’s built in DVD Library stores all metadata on the DVDInfoCache folder. You are going to want to change this to have W7/Vista point to the shared DVDInfoCache folder that we will create in WHS. For instructions on how to do this (this will have to be done for each PC that you are looking to use this data for), check out instructions here.
  • Movie Renaming – if you want Metabrowser to rename you Movie Folder and/or the movie file itself based on the folder/movie pattern you specify.
  • Movie Display Format – if you want additional details to appear in the Media List on the main Metabrowser UI, you can specify here.

Options-Movies

Options-Movies1

The following tab is “TV Shows” where you can set up any options specific to how your tv show collection is handled

  • TVDb – Specify what language Metabrowser should be looking for when referencing TVDb
  • Movie Thumbnailer – if you downloaded the movie thumbnailer files, point Metabrowser to the location
  • Search Options – specify the folder names that Metabrowser will consider valid
  • Episode Renaming and Sorting – if you want Metabrowser to rename your TV show episodes based on the pattern you specify. I usually rip my TV show box set dvds to my desktop PC, ripping each episode individually. As long as I name each episode with a name that Metabrowser can idenify, when I copy the episode over to WHS Metabrowser will automatically rename (i.e. if I know the episode I am ripping is Season 2, Episode 2, I will just name the file S02E02. When I copy it over to the appropriate folder in WHS Metabrowser will rename it to ShowName – S02E02 – EpisodeName). Also, there is an “Episode DropBox” option. If you have all your episodes (regardless of show) in a central folder, you can specify this folder to be monitored by Metabrowser as well as a destination folder. Metabrowser will automatically create folders, move the episode to the folder, download all metadata, images, and rename the episode filename. I have not used the “Episode DropBox” option since I prefer to handle this manually, but a very interesting concept.

Options-TV

Options-TV1

The final tab is “Advanced”. Really not a whole lot here, you can specify how many seconds you want Metabrowser to wait before reattempting to rename an episode (in case the file is in use) and also choose to have all metadata saved hidden. Once done simply click the save button at the bottom right and you will be taken back to the main Metabrowser UI.

Options-Advanced

Managing Your Media:

If this is the first time adding your media, the Media List will appear blank. Simply press the “Refresh List” button at the bottom left and all your media should appear within a few minutes. The media list should be sorted alphabetically, broken out between Movies and TV. From what I can tell there are a few different color codes that will let you know the status of the metadata/art for each movie (keep in mind, this is just based on my observation):

  • If a file is all green this means all metadata is complete and all fanart has been assigned.
  • If a file is black it means that all fanart is complete and most metadata is complete with possibly a few fields missing (although there are times when everything is complete and it still shows up black so go figure).
  • If the file is red with two red dots next to it it means that there is no metadata/fanart.
  • The red dots signify if images are missing (either episode, folder, or background image)

Now, if you have folder monitoring set up with MetaBrowser once a new movie is set up all metadata/fanart should be grabbed. However, to walk through an example, I shut off folder monitoring and added a new movie (X Men Wolverine). There are a few Movie Options to choose from in the upper right hand corner of the UI, I prefer to keep “Replace only missing MetaData” and “Auto Save” checked.

X-Men Origins Wolverine shows in all red with red dots signifying no metadata/fanart

New Movie No Data

With the title highlighted, click the “Fetch Movie Metadata” button. A pop-up will appear which will allow you to select the movie to choose from TMDb.

New Movie No Data - Movie Search

Once the metadata is downloaded from TMDb you should see a poster and backdrop count which signifies how many posters and backdrops are available to choose from. Select each count and a pop-up will appear to choose the fanart of your liking (you can only choose one poster but can choose multiple backdrops)

New Movie No Data b

New Movie No Data c

With posters and backdrops now selected, and all metadata that was available now imported you should have all the information you need. You can manually edit the metadata information to your liking or go with what was pulled down from TMDb. You can now also see the Movie Actor Images and MediaInfo that we had downloaded and set up earlier.

New Movie No Data d

New Movie No Data e

TV Shows are handled nearly identical as movies. The only major differences is that the Media List structure will break out further by Season, you can also download a banner along with posters/backdrops, and you can download an image for each episode (if no image is available this is where Movie Thumbnailer comes into play)

TV Shows a

TV Shows b

You can also apply custom filters to the Media List.

Custom Filter

With your newly created metadata you should have a nice looking UI in WMC waiting for you (screenshot of Media Browser)

MediaBrowser1

Final Thoughts:

With Metabrowser set up every time you add a new movie/tv show to your monitored folders all metadata/fanart will be gathered with no effort on your part. I have been using Metabrowser as my metadata tool for Media Browser for quite some time now and have been very happy with it. I currently let Metabrowser in WHS handle all the automatic metadata retrieval. I also have Metabrowser installed on my PC. Instead of having to RDP in to WHS every time I want to look over the metadata, I use Metabrowser on my PC to review (shutting off the monitoring features here). If you are using Media Browser or the default WMC DVD Library I would definitely recommend you take a look at Metabrowser as a way to manage your metadata/fanarat.

Additional Information / Dates To Remember:

  • Media Browser is scheduled to release the next version (as well as hopefully give details on the new pay model) on Oct 22. If you are so inclined you can test out some of the SVN builds, more info here
  • MyMovies, an alternative to Media Browser/Metabrowser is scheduled to release MyMovies3 on October 22. I hope to have a post written up prior to the public release (I have been testing the pre release but thought it would make more sense to do a review as we get close to the public release)
  • Windows 7 RTM available to the general public on Oct 22 (see a pattern with this date???)
  • Both TMDb and TVDb rely on user contributions of metadata/fanart. If there is a movie/tv show in your collection that does not show up on the site, please register and contribute data.




Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 71 comments }

Land Master October 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Damian,

I don’t know how you find the time to prepare such concise and informative blog posts with your work on Shawshank and all. Honestly I didn’t even have the time to read it all but skimmed through it and will definitely be returning for a closer inspection.

I’m hoping to be able to use this method with my current HTPC’s which are a little “different” than most. I run a “patched” Apple TV and a Mac Mini. Truthfully I’m a rookie but I have both of these units running XBMC and the database query built into it does a great job, specifically with TV shows, which is what the Wife and I view most.

The problem is each unit maintains its own DB so if a show is marked as “watched” in the Bedroom it is still showing as “un-watched” in the TV room. Not that big of deal (obviously since it has been this way for over a year), but I always felt there should be a way to consolidate DB’s. I also get tired of each machine querying all the time and especially hate when I “fix” something in one room and have to fix it again.

I’m sure upon closer review that this blog will help solve my issues. If not I’m sure it will get the train rolling down the right track. AND….. if not….then I will just review your other posts about HTPC’s and take it from there.

Bottom line….Thanks for all you do around here!!

Damian October 10, 2009 at 5:44 am

Land Master,

Thanks for the kind words. The writeup looks a lot more complicated then it really is. I could have easily just said “Install program, point to video collection, check folder monitor, and that is it”!!! I wanted to show what all the available choices are, whether the user uses them or not. I just try to do some writing during lunch at work, before I leave for work in the am, and after the family goes to sleep, makes things interesting!!!

That is one of the problems with XBMC is the reliance on its own database, so it is not efficient when runnning on multiple HTPCs. I have had some issues with the XBMC scraper as well, where I will have all the fanart yet it insists on pulling up its own.

Metabrowser is not compatible with XBMC as XBMC uses its own naming convention for fanart and metadata. There are a couple different solutions I can think of. You can install a metadata program (Like Media Companion or Media Info Plus which were designed specifically for XBMC) on your WHS which should hopefully generate the metadata for all your XBMC HTPCs. Or you could try YAMMM (http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/p/73390/359121.aspx#359121) which appears like it is a windows app but you could set it up for XBMC as well.

As far as the watched/unwatched, I am not sure if there is an easy way to link up the XBMC dbs. It has actually been discussed on the XBMC forums, here is a link that has some info (http://xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=56416&highlight=central+database).

I just installed W7 RTM on my desktop PC so I haven’t had a chance to get all the programs I was using installed, but once I have some time I will get XBMC set up.

Also, on my blog I am doing an XBMC skin spotlight if that is of any interest (http://dbone1026.blogspot.com/search/label/XBMC). I have gotten a little behind but with Shawshank up and running hopefully I can pick this back up.

Land Master October 10, 2009 at 1:06 pm

And the assistance continues!!! You’re a Cool Cat Damian.

PS. I just now read your “About Author” section and we have eerily similar desires with regard to “Media”. Difference being I just dream about it and you seem to dream about it AND make it happen.

Oh…and it’s got to be the Bears and the Cubs…..

Going to check out your Blog…Thanks Again!!

Mike October 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Very timely information for me as I am at crossroads as to what to do with my DVDs. I have had a WHS since soon after they came out and really love it. I am a type A person and have gone digital with most of my life, all of my papers (bills, manuals, anything else important) are scanned to PDF and saved on my WHS. My music is on my WHS and accessed by a Sonos music system. My photos are on my WHS. I recently converted all of my DV tapes to digital and they are stored on the WHS, the next step is my DVDs. Currently I have a Sony 400 disc DVD player which is controlled by My Movies on a Windows Media Center PC, this is really over kill for us as the HTPC is really used for nothing else besides controlling the DVD Jukebox. I have been reading the MSS forum for some time and stopped in to ask a few questions and came upon your article, which again was very timely.

What I would like to do is this, first of all get away from the HTPC and Sony DVD jukebox. In reality of the almost 400 discs in the jukebox my kids only watch 20 to 30 on a regular basis, those I would rip to a server. The others would be put into a binder to be watched the old fashion way…put them manually into the player.

My current want list would be this:

1. A way to index all of my video, those that are ripped to the server and those that are not. I would prefer to do this on the WHS. Your solution above may work for this but I am not sure if it will index title that aren’t stored on the server.

2. A simple set top box that could play my dvd rips, home video, and pictures with a cool interface. Internet access would be a plus. (apple tv?)

3. Using this box I would like to be able to see a list of all of my DVDs and upon selecting play it would either play or let me know it was an offline title, from there I could put it in and play (I use my PS3 for this).

Any suggestions?

Damian October 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm

@ Landmaster – ouch Cubs. I guess you feel my pain being a Mets fan. And we swapped QBs!!!

Don’t hesitate to contact me on the comments section or email if you have any questions/comments

Damian October 10, 2009 at 4:34 pm

@Mike,

Hmmmm…. lets see what I can answer:

1) MyMovies probably would be your best bet since with collection manager you can assign online/offline movies. With most other programs (like Metabrowser) you cannot add offline content. The only way I could think you could do this is to create an “Offline” folder in your videos shared folder and create empty folders/files for each offline movie.

2-3) There are a lot of different options, each with pros and cons. Probably the best soultion that integrates fully with WHS would be the SageTV HD200 (see here – http://dbone1026.blogspot.com/2009/03/sagetv-hd200-inital-review-and-setup.html and here – http://dbone1026.blogspot.com/2009/08/sagetv-sagemoviewall-smw-version-4.html for some ideas). I personally don’t like AppleTV, you will not be able to play back your ripped DVDs unless you encode them or do some hacking (I own an AppleTV). Some other options would be a low powered SFF HTPC (Ion Build), Xtreamer, Popcorn Hour A-110, etc…

ALSO, I have a sneaky suspicion there might be two media player reviews coming on this site within the next week (HINT HINT)

Don’t know if I gave you answers or just more questions, but feel free to let me know if you have any other thoughts.

Mike October 11, 2009 at 4:42 am

Thanks for the answers, that does help. The SageTv looks really cool. Do you know much about it, can it be a plug and play solution or is it more of a hobby?

Mike

Damian October 11, 2009 at 4:52 am

@ Mike,

SageTV is a legitamit alternative to WMC and there is a large community of users. I have SageTV (http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/). I always suggest that a Windows user try to get the most out of WMC first since it is included in Windows (I think SageTV Media Center runs at around $79). I have had SageTV for over a year, but to be honestly I use it sparingly. My biggest complaints revolve around a somwhat outdated UI and rather involved processes (not difficult, but using a plugin is not as simple as running an installer). SageTV is the only program out there that has full integration with WHS though (WMC is not part of WHS). YOu can download the SageTV software for a 21 day trial if you are interested to see how it works.

Mike October 12, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for the info about SageTV, I have been doing a lot of reading in regards to STV and it is very interesting to me.

Mike

Gnaph October 12, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Hi Damian,

I’m following the tutorial that you put together and I can’t seem to get metabrowser to look into subfolders under the D:\shares\videos. It seems to only find videos at that top level. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Gnaph

Damian October 12, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Hi Gnaph,

Try specifying the actual subfolder, see if that works. For instance, under my Videos folder I have 2 subfolders, Movies and Movies HD. I set each one of these up in Metabrowser:

\\SERVER\Videos\Movies
\\SERVER\Videos\Movies HD

Gnaph October 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Thanks for the quick response. I’m just getting started with my WHS so I’m trying to sort out the best way to sort my data before I fill it up.

metabrowser has no problem finding the movies in the subfolders when I point directly to them; however, I don’t want to have to point to a new subfolder each time I add a new movie. This is what would happen if I used the advice about folder structure (a new sub folder for each movie) in your post.

So, do you recommend placing all of your movie files into one common folder? I suppose the answer to that question lies in how one accesses those movies.

Thanks for your help.

G

DamianP October 13, 2009 at 5:32 am

@ Gnaph,

You don’t have to link every time you set up a movie. How is your structure currently? When I mentioned subfolders it is only because I have additional folders in my Videos where I group my movies (Movies folder and Movies HD folder) so I am not linking to specific movie folders. If you keep all your movies in the base Videos folder you should be fine (with each movie being in its own folder). Let me know what your folder structure is and what are the file formats of your videos

Gnaph October 13, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Damian,

Thanks again for the quick response. I’m anxious to establish my data structure so I can start loading it up with my media!

Here is an example of how my videos are being stored:

D:\shares\Videos\The International\The International.mp4

When I add the folder “D:\shares\Videos” to metabrowser only the videos in that top-level folder show up. The video files located in the sub-folders do not show up. I don’t have much on my server yet, so there is no problem making changes.

I have also tried:

\\ServerName\Videos

with no luck. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks again,

G

Damian October 13, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Very odd, lets try this as a test. In y our videos folder add another folder called anything, maybe “My Movies”. Now throw all your movie folders into this My Movies” folder, and point metabrowser to this. What happens now?

\\ServerName\Videos\My Movies

Damian October 13, 2009 at 7:09 pm

@ Gnaph,

I just thought again about your last comment, you said you had videos in the top level Videos folder? This could be causing the problem as if you recall every video needs to be in its own folder. My guess is Metabrowser is thinking that the folder “Video” is the main folder for these stray videos and thus ignoring any sub folders. Either try what I suggested or move any stray videos into their own folder and see what happens

Gnaph October 13, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Damian,

You are a scholar and a gentleman. As soon as I removed the stray video metbrowser immediately recognized the subfolders and identified all of the movies.

Thanks!

(Now have you got any tips for managing my music data structure? I know, I know, not related to your original post, but I thought I’d try)

Damian October 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm

For my music, I have structured as follows:

Shared/Music/ArtistName/AlbumName

That seems to work best for me. I use MediaMonkey as my music player on my PC, but Media Browser will also have a music plugin that I am currently testing out (http://www.craigthomas.co.za/)

diehard November 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm

I’m running metabrowser as a service & am running the HP 2.5 update on my EX47x. My issue is that metabrowser grabs the files from the dropbox folder and drops it into the Videos folder, but before it has a chance to rename it, HP Video Converter grabs it & starts to transcode it, now the file is opened & metabrowser can not rename it until the encoding is finished. Once it does get renamed, Video Conversion starts again. Now I have 2 mq files in the Converted Videos folder.

Do you have a solution ? I was wordering if there could be a way to set a delay to Video Conversion, this way metabrowser could rename the file before Video Conversion grabs it.

Alex Kuretz November 7, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Damian, I followed this guide and got it working well on my WHS. I’ve only started with a small portion of my content as I need to reorganize it, but the dozen or so movies I’ve done so far came out great. Thanks for this tutorial, I’m moving on to setting up Media Browser next.

Damian November 8, 2009 at 4:42 am

Great to hear Alex. I know the guide seems a little wordy and intimidating, but it really isn’t that bad. Since I wrote the guide I have not had to go back into metabrowser on my WHS machine once. I have metabrowser also installed on my desktop pc so I will go in there once in a while just to check over my collection, but that is it.

@ Diehard – I have never used HP’s Video Conversion software. Hopefully someone else knows if there is a way to put a delay on the conversion.

Alex Kuretz November 9, 2009 at 9:17 am

Indeed, the length and detail of the guide could make it seem harder than it really is, I only spent a couple hours on it this weekend and have metabrowser running on my WHS and Media Browser running on the HTPC. It’s working great, very appealing eye-candy, and much simpler for the wife to use.

The longest and hardest part for me is reorganizing my media to work better with what the tools expect.

popcorn November 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Thanks for this great guide.
I followed it completely and have my meta at it’s full potential.

I started converting all my .mkv HD movies to wtv for compatability on the Xbox 360. They play great as a wtv, but when I replaced the .mkv with the .wtv in metabrowser, it really, really caused a major delay. I know that the .wtv can’t be read by MediaInfo.dll, so I pulled it out of the Windows/System 32 directory and all is back to normal.

Kinda sucks I can’t see mediaInfo within metabrowser, but at least I got this great app working with .wtv movies.

cheers

DamianP November 27, 2009 at 8:42 am

@ popcorn,

Great to hear you have everything working and thanks for pointing out issues with wtv. I actually do the opposite and convert my recorded wtv files to mkv (I don’t use my Xbox360 as an extender)

Jason November 28, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Hi there, new the HP media Center community. Just got my shiny new ex495 + Sans digital storage = 16TB of awesomeness. It’s taking me FOREVER to get everything I have on drives.

Using BETA 09.02.09

1) I installed Meta browser on the server itself, it “sees” all my movies, but non of them “automatically” get populated with any data. They all start out red, with two red dots. I have to under each one manually “fetch movie” and then add specific artwork one at a time.

2) None of the movies are picking up the MPAA Rating, Movie Type, or Aspect Ratio for some reason … I have no idea what that is about.

3) Some/many of the images look corrupted for some reason

4) I also setup the actor data, but many actors don’t load for some reason (even after I click “download actor images”), actors that should appear (Micheal J. Fox, or Julia Roberts for example)… what’s up with that??

5) I see in your photo a bunch of green items, you mention these are the “completed” items. I can’t seem to get any of mine green …

6) Is there a way to have MetaData do this for all my movies at once? I don’t mind going back and adding one or changing images around from a “default” but setting up the 500+ movies I have is going to take forever…

Also on a side note, I have been making EVERYTHING into MKVs (both dvd & Blu-ray rips)… I don’t know if this is bad or not … planning on using either HTPC or popcorn hour (if it ever get’s worked out) but I haven’t committed to anything just yet. Any suggestions for me? I don’t want loss of quality, but I do want to strip out the junk (just movie, AND chapters) … I’m hoping MKV’s for everything is fine …

Lots’ of questions, thanks in advance for any assistance.

Jason November 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Sorry again, found some answers and thought I’d share.

1) Found The process all button, but since I had checked the ability to rename folders and files, this really messed a lot of movies up. Unfortunately while downloading images, most of them seem to get corrupted, not sure why, but most of the data is getting sorted out.

2) I found out this is a problem with MetaBrowser, and there is a fix located here: http://themetabrowser.com/2009/11/13/fix-mpaa-aspect-ratio-fetching/

3) Still not sure why this is happening, however I think it is because my connection to where the images are located keeps timing out??

4) I guess this is due to a poorly incomplete list? I don’t understand why this data isn’t pulled from IMDB (which is much more populated).

5) Once all the data is in, it is going green … so that’s another one solved.

6) I still haven’t figured this out. I just want it to grab the first poster and background image and I can customize it later. I think this is how it was intended, but all the images just come back corrupted so it doesn’t work for me.

Sorry for the long list of questions, and then answers … I’m a total noob.

Damian November 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Jason,

Real sorry it has taken so long to respond, been busy driving the family around.

1 & 3 & 6) Can you explain further what you mean by corrupted, bad images, distorted?

2) Thanks for posting the link for the fix, I knew it was a porblem but wasn’t sure if there was a fix yet

4) The reason why themoviedb is used is because it is open source. If you scrape data from IMBD “technically” you need to have a license to do so. So right now only some actor inages are showing (Michael J Fox is not showing)? I just checked my setup and i have no problem seeing Michael J Fox as well as many other. Where are all your actor images stored?

5) glad to hear. Every once in a while I cannot get green although all data is populated, but about 99% of the time it works.

Please don’t hesitate to ask any other questions, I am sure we can get everything up and running as you hope.

Jason November 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hi Damian,

No problem, it was a holiday weekend after all.

The images thing is a real problem. Basically, it attempts to download, then “does” but at least 75% of the images it downloads are only partially complete. The top portion will look right, but then there is a section of scan-lines in a million colors and goes to a solid color. It’s very random. Sometimes the preview will show the whole image, but when downloaded it will only show 1/4 or 1/2 or 3/4 before the scan-lines appear, sometimes it works, and sometimes even the preview looks corrupted (I’d upload examples, but there is now way to do so here). My biggest problem is I have to go back into each folder review and delete the actual images one at a time. I wish MetaData would just not download them if it isn’t a complete download.

I am using the ImagesByName download you posted in the top of the post. I inserted the folders themselves into C:\program files\MetaBrowser\ImagesByName and then setup the appropriate linking within the options. The strange thing is when I click “download actors” it thinks, skips some big name actors, and downloads others. I couldn’t quite figure it out.

Alex Kuretz November 30, 2009 at 11:41 am

Jason, I’ve not seen the corrupt images issue, but I do see that occasionally it doesn’t have images for some actors that surprises me. I’ve not investigated that issue very much.

DamianP November 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm

@ Jason,

That is odd, I have never had an issue with corrupt images as you mention, it almost sounds as if your connection gets lost during the download. The one issue that I found interesting that I just encountered was that my AV software picked up about 3-4 images as having viruses. I read over on the MediaBrowser forum and other people had the same problem, so it appears that some images that TMDB/TVDB had contained a virus. Whether done intentionally or not, I am glad I threw Avast on my WHS. I will dig around and let you know if I see anything else regarding the corrupt image issue..

Jason November 30, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Thanks guys. I guess it must be my connection. After downloading an image (a corrupt one) it will only be between 1K-200K or so, which obviously implies it did not download correctly. My issue is that most other sites I have connection to fine, but for some reason http://www.themoviedb.org goes EXTREMELY slow for me (even when just browsing the site). I still have no idea what’s up with the images. I can see Julia Roberts photo on the website, but it won’t download on my computer … pissn me off…

I’m having the same issue with Avira Antivirus. It keeps detecting images as viruses … I have no idea how that is even possible since a jpg should not be able to carry a virus … but hey …

Damian December 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

Hey Jason. I just happened t o be on the metabrowser forum and saw other users noted the same issue with the corrupted images, the thought is it is a connection issue:

http://www.mediabrowser.tv/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4355

Anon January 8, 2010 at 7:38 am

JPEGs can (could) indeed carry viruses, but the exploit is from way back in 2004, most (not all) systems would be patched/immune to this now. See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/15/windows_jpeg_bug/

Rogers February 22, 2010 at 5:16 am

Hi, I just bought a WHS and would like to have this fancy features in. Should I install this plug-ins on the server or on the clients (notebook, desktop)?

Thank you in advance.

Damian February 22, 2010 at 5:32 am

@ Rogers,

If you are talking about using Metabrowser to gather your metadata then it is really up to you whether you install on your WHS or client. WIth my setup I have metabrowser installed on my WHS and it automatically monitors/gathers data when new files are added.

Rogers February 22, 2010 at 5:38 am

Thanks for the prompt answer!
Whatever it is installed, Media Browser should point to it, right? So would be better to be at the WHS.. thus Media Browser would be installed on the WHS as well. Am I right? How do I create the Media Browser link on my client WMC?

Damian February 22, 2010 at 5:52 am

Media Browser gets installed on the same client as WMC. All Metabrowser does is create the metadata/art and save it in each folder of your movies, which will be stored on your WHS. WMC/MediaBrowser can then access your shared video folders and display. Hope this makes sense, let me know.

Cheers
Damian

Rogers February 22, 2010 at 6:03 am

So it uses NFS instead of DLNA streaming right..

Anyway, thank you for your answers, I have the picture now.

Damian February 22, 2010 at 6:05 am

It doesn’t use DLNA streaming. Basically your client PC will see your WHS shared drives as network drives, so in WMC/MediaBrowser you just need to point to the UNC path (i.e. \\YourServerName\Videos)

Comp1962 February 27, 2010 at 12:44 am

Damian ~ I just put Metabrowser on my new server. Its way better then My Movie Monitor that I had running on the EX470. I may have something set wrong or over looked something. All the Actors Pictures are in my Main Video Directory how can I get them put in their own directory. I must of missed something but I just do not see it right now. Anyway in the mean time I moved another drive to the new server so I can set my videos for duplication so the new server will be busy for a while but let me tell you this much the CPU load on the new server with demigrator running only hit like 40% and the thing was not even breaking a sweat but then I do not know which processor was being impacted but its nice very nice. Now everything is shaping up and its time to test the movie stream while demigrater is running too.

Comp1962 February 27, 2010 at 3:32 am

Damian ~ Nevermind I figured out the setting for actors and straightend it out. Also the new server streams extremly well even with demigrator running. I think people who do drugs do so just to stay up all nite long playing with their servers. This media stuff is just way to addicting.

Damian February 27, 2010 at 4:50 am

@ Comp1962,

Great to hear you got it working. It is addicting, why do you think Tiger is in rehab!!!

Cheers
Damian

Jayson February 28, 2010 at 3:16 am

Hey Damian, Is there a way to get meta browser to run as a service so i don’t have to have a RDP session logged in on my WHS machine? Right now i have to have an active RDP session on my WHS machine so the app can run in the tray otherwise it closes the app as soon as i log off.

Damian February 28, 2010 at 4:43 am

@ Jayson,

I am sure there is a way but to be honest I have never tried. Instead of logging out of WHS I just close out (hit the little x on the toolbar at the top of the screen). This keeps my session open and all my programs such as metabrowser running. I also have metabrowser set to run at startup, so if for whatever reason I need to reboot it will start automatically. Doing it this way I never have a problem with Metabrowser being active. Let me know if this helps.

Cheers
Damian

Pradeep September 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm

I know this might sound like a really stupid question. But, I am not sure how to install this metabrowser. I have downloaded it and copied it to a shared folder on my WHS. When you say, remote into my WHS and copy the file to the desktop, I am not sure I followed that. I have launched the WHS Console from my desktop and I go to the Shared Folders tab. From here I can click on open on one of the shared folders. When I click on install, it wants to install the metabrowser on my desktop and not on my WHS. How do I get it to install on my WHS?

Thanks,
Pradeep

Pradeep September 19, 2010 at 12:45 am

Damian,
Never mind, I figured out what you were referring to as RDP into the server. I had never done this till now.

However, I have a couple of other questions. I just downloaded the trial version of Metabrowser. I also looked at your other post where you have a preview of 2.0. However, when I go to settings to set up my metabrowser, I do not see several of the options that you have shown in your screen shots. For instance, the Locals, Fetchers and Savers tabs all say ‘No Plugins’. It looks like the DVD Library Metadata saver is important as I was planning on accessing this using my Windows Media Center. Not sure if this is just a limitation of the trial version or if I did not install something correctly. Also, I looked at the other posted that you pointed to here “Sharing DvdInfoCache”. The very 1st point there says

1.Create a single DvdInfoCache folder where all of the DVD info files will be stored. (e.g. \\Server\Disk1\DvdInfoCache )

If I install metabrowser and use it to create metadata, where is this single folder created where all DVD info files will be stored. Will this be my \\Myhomeserver\Videos\ folder? or is this something else?

Thanks again for all the great posts that you have been posting.

Damian September 19, 2010 at 5:53 am

Pradeep,

For the plugins, you may need to update metabrowser. I think if you look in the bottom right of the screen you should see an “update” button. Click on it and see if that does the trick (it tripped me up at first as well).

As far as the DVDInfoCache location, it could be anywhere, but you want it ideally to be in a location that can be shared (such as your server). You can create a “DVDInfoCache” folder if you want under your Videos folder

Pradeep September 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Okay, I thought that the DVDInfoCache was a folder created by Metabrowser and that metabrowser used that folder to store all the information. May be, I did not udnerstand that correctly.

Yes, I hit the update button and now I do see the plugins.

Thanks again.

Damian September 20, 2010 at 4:40 am

DVDInfoCache is what the default WMC library uses. If you want to use your own instead of relying on W7 you need to create your own folder of which then Metabrowser will populate. Since I don’t use the default WMC library this is not a big deal

Pradeep September 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Thank you. How do I indicate metabrowser to populate all the metadata in this folder that I create (DVDInfoCache). I thought metabroser created the metadata in each of the movie folders. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

Damian September 21, 2010 at 8:36 am

DVDInfoCache is different, this is for WMCs use. If you look at this writeup towards the top you will see the screen where in metabrowser you point it to the DVDInfoCache folder and the check box to enable

Pradeep October 9, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I am back with a couple of additional questions. I installed metabrowser (trial version), but it does not look like it is fetching the data for me. Not sure if my trial period is over or if I have not set up something correctly. I have followed every step in the guide. So far, I am only testing on some TV shows (24). But I have only red dots next to them. Even when I click on fetch, it looks like it fetches some generic information about the series, but nothing specific or no backdrops or pictures or anything like that. Any troubleshooting tips are appreciated. I am using TVDB for everything like posters, backdrops etc. I have also installed images by name on the WHS, but I am not sure if I got it right

Damian October 10, 2010 at 10:22 am

How is your structure? Do you have a main TV SHows folder, and then each show has its own Folder (with a SEASON folder underneath containing all episodes)? I assume you have individual episodes and not in DVD format? Also, do you have the plugins installed to do the fetching?

Pradeep October 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Yes, that is how I have it. Under the Shared folders in WHS, I have my TV shows as follows:
\\MyWHS\TV Shows\24\Season 5\24.S05E01.vob.
Will this not work for VOB files? I had also put an MKV file in the same folder and had named it slightly differently 24.S05.E01.mkv. I deleted the MKV’s since I am unable to play them using XBOX 360.
I have downloaded the Shark007 codecs, but it is still not working on my xBOX 360, as I was using recommended settings.
About installing the plugins, I see the fetchers in the list of values, but I have not gone into each one of them and configured anything. For instance, when I click on IMDB, it is asking me for an MPAA pattern. Not sure if this is required for this to work and if yes, what I should give here.

Pradeep October 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Oh, and how do I keep the metabrowser running in the background when I close out my RDP window. It looks like it automatically closes every time I close my RDP window. Am I doing something wrong or is there a setup to check to make sure that it is running when I close my RDP window for my WHS.

Damian October 10, 2010 at 3:23 pm

How do you close out of your RDP session? Are you actually logging out? When I exit I just hit the little x at the top middle of the screen, this keeps everything running. I also have metabrowser checked off in the setting to start up when Windows starts up

Damian October 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Individual vob files may be your issue. I had originally tried individual files a while back but I couldn’t get them recognized or played back in WMC. So when you had the mkv in it didn’t work either?

Pradeep October 11, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Yes, I just close out my rdp window by clicking the little x. I do not log out. I thought I had checked metabrowser to start when windows starts up, but I am not sure. I thought I will check now, but I am now getting a message that my trial user has expired. I thought you had mentioned that you still have the free version. Is there a different free version that I can download besides the trial version?

diehard October 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I have the same issue. I usually have to go back in RDP and tweek the results. Sometimes it doesn’t catch an episode image or didn’t rename the file. Some times the images are not available for a few day, but that is because the metadata is just not available yet. I stayed with the free version. It’s less complicated. I have also tried Media Scout which is the out TV Scout and has recently seen some development and is still free. http://tvscout.codeplex.com/

Damian October 10, 2010 at 10:21 am

I have the free version still installed on my WHS doing all the work. I would say about 95% of the time it correctly renames my tv shows, but every once in a while it skips (no clue why).

diehard October 10, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I used the same setup as I did to get the utorrent addin working, a combination of anyserviceinstaller.exe and RootKitTools.

Pradeep October 12, 2010 at 9:52 am

In the prep section, I see how you have your folder structured. When I try to create MKV’s out of my DVD’s using DVDFAB, it also creates 2 additional files for each episode (.idx and .sub). Should I copy these files also into the same directory where I have my MKV or should I just ignore/delete these files, if I am trying to play these using an HTPC. I am planning on using Media Browser with MPC-HC.

Damian October 12, 2010 at 9:55 am

You can get the free version here:

http://themetabrowser.com/downloads/metabrowserSetup_BETA_09.02.09.msi

It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of v2 but I find it works for its intended purpose

Those files (idx and sub) are subtitle files. Do you need subtitles?

Pradeep October 12, 2010 at 11:33 am

Yes, I think it will be nice to have subtitles, once in a while. Also, it is needed when wife or parents are watching. Thanks for the other link for metabrowser. I will try that out.

Damian October 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Do you know why the subtitles were not put into the mkv itself, did you specifically want them to be external files?

Pradeep October 12, 2010 at 10:40 pm

No, I just put the DVD into DVDFAB, selected the DVD to mobile option, picked MKV and clicked start. I think there are different MKV profiles out there and I just used the default one (generic mkv h264 aac). Not sure if I had to pick a different profile for including subtitles in the same mkv file.

Pradeep October 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I installed this beta version and it looks like it is working fine now. I am able to get the metadata for my 24 files that I had. It worked on both vob and mkv files. Only thing is it does not seem to be doing automatically. I have to click on each one and select process this item or something like that and then it processes it. I am wondering if there is some other way to say ‘process all’.

Damian October 13, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I have folder monitoring enabled which brings in all the metadata when a new movie/TV show is added. Also, if you have a movie selected there is a “Process All Movies” option which is what you are looking for.

Pradeep October 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

Yes, found this option. I was able to retrieve metadata for most of my existing files. I will have to test to see how this works when I add a new file.

Thanks a log again.

DeeD November 18, 2010 at 7:49 am

thanks so much Damian, without you i would be having major issues trying to sort out all this, also just started with trying to get all meta data for movies etc, thanks for taking the time to do this

Damian November 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

Great to hear everything is working out. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions.

Comments are closed, visit the forums to continue the discussion.

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