My Movies 4 Pre Release Available, Now With Full TV Show Support

by Damian on March 1, 2011 · 19 comments

in Reviews

About a month ago I had posted about an announcement that individual TV show episode support was coming to My Movies, the popular plug in for Windows Media Center, as part of the My Movies 4 release. Well, today the wait is over for many anxious users as the My Movies 4 Pre Release has been released to all users who have 2,500 contribution points. Release to the general public is expected by the end of March. Let’s take a look under the hood to see what new

Files to Download:

Prep Work:

One requirement of My Movies is that your movies and TV shows be in a specific format. Each movie/TV show needs to be in its own folder (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/BDMV folder if a DVD/BluRay Rip)

TV Shows:

\\MyServer\TV Shows\Show Name\Season #

  • S##E## – Episode Name.mkv

You can also read up on some documentation regarding TV Show structure here.

Set Up:

Prior to installing My Movies 4 you should make a backup of your MyMovies database. Since I use the Windows Home Server Add-in this can be done by simply going into the MyMovies settings in the WHS console.

Once My Movies 4 is installed the first thing you should do is go into your Anti Virus software and configure it to not scan the “log.txt” file in “C:\ProgramData\My Movies”. If you do not do this it will take an extremely long time for My Movies 4 to process all your media (to give you a general idea before we discovered this issue it took My Movies nearly 4 hours to scan 25% of my TV Show library, once I added the exception to Microsoft Security Essentials it now takes less then 20 minutes to scan my entire library).

After My Movies has been installed open up Collection Management and go to File -> Import -> TV Folder Content and browse to the folder where all your TV Shows are stored (for me it is under \\MyServer\Videos\TV Shows). Once you select the folder Collection Management will begin processing your library.

Once the processing is complete you will see a notification box appear telling you how many shows were recognized, how many were imported, and if there were any issues.

If any of your episodes did not get picked up properly it may not be entirely clear which ones are the culprits. From Collection Management if you go to Help -> Debug -> Open Log Directory you should see a txt file called “NotFound.txt” which will list out all the episodes that were not added to the library.

With the TV Show library now processed you will see a list of all TV shows. You will see not only all seasons/episodes that you currently own but also the ones that you don’t own (these will be in a light gray font, and will not appear when you are in the Windows Media Center interface)

Each TV Show is broken up by season, and then within each season will be the individual TV shows

If by chance a TV show is imported incorrectly you can easily change this by assigning the correct TV show.

As you will see when we start looking at the WMC UI, there is a second My Movies strip added for TV Shows. In Collection Management if you go to Options -> Media Center Start Menu you can manage the My Movies strip, either merging Movies and TV Shows into one strip or keeping as two separate strips.

Windows Media Center:

With Collection Management set up, it is now time to head over to Windows Media Center and see what the final results are. When you open up Windows Media Center the first thing you will notice is that there is a new My Movies TV Series strip (of course unless you changed this in Collection Management beforehand)

When you first enter the TV Series library you should see a poster for each TV show in your library, along with a number in the upper right hand corner which denotes the numbers of episodes available.

One nice feature, in the menu options at the top of the screen is an option called “sections”. This allows you to navigate between the various My Movies strips without having to actually go back to the WMC main menu. This is especially handy when you are trying to navigate back and forth between your TV and Movie library.

As with the current My Movies, you will have several different views you can choose from. With the TV Series library there are three levels (A view of all TV Shows, Season List for selected TV Show, and Episode List for selected Season). Views are also applied at each level, so you can have a Covers view for all TV Shows, but when you drill down to the episodes you could have a list view.

Below are screenshots of the various views you can choose from:

List and Details:

Cover Strip:

Covers Rows and Details:

Covers Full Screen:

Covers Centered:

Covers and Details

View By Season:

Drilling Down to Individual Episodes

Episode Details:

Final Thoughts:

For my setup the biggest thing missing from My Movies which kept me from using was lack of TV Show support. However, with this addition in My Movies 4 I feel that My Movies is now a more well rounded Plug In and on par with Media Browser. If you don’t have a need for TV Show support then obviously this is a non event for you, but for those waiting for this it is well worth the wait. Keep in mind that this is a pre release, so there may still be some bugs to work out and some features that are still missing (such as user contributions, TV show metadata creation for platforms other then WMC, TV Show export for Dune, etc…). Also be aware that not all features are free. For a full list of features that require points please visit here. For further documentation on My Movies 4 see here.

Useful Links:

Update:

I completely forgot to mention the Windows Home Server side of My Movies 4. Here is what was posted in the latest My Movies newsletter regarding:

My Movies for Windows Home Server

Users of My Movies for Windows Home Server are likely wondering about what the progress is on this platform, in a time where Windows Home Server 2011 was released in a Release Candidate.

We have actually been working a long time on a Windows Home Server 2011 release prior to the Release Candidate, at the time where the drive extender was available – in the same week where the drive extender was removed from Windows Home Server 2011, and HP announced that they would not be selling Windows Home Server 2011 devices, we decided to halt our resource usage on the platform until it was clear if it was reliable that a usable product would ever reach the users.

With the Release Candidate, Microsoft have moved close enough to a final product for us to believe in it being wise to use the resources needed for it. At the time the release candidate was made available, we however moved all the resources to the My Movies 4 for Windows Media Center release.

This means that we are going to release My Movies for Windows Home Server 2011 once we again have the resources to make the changes needed after the removal of the drive extender. At the same time, we plan on extending both this version and the version for the original Windows Home Server product to include the TV series monitoring functionalities added by My Movies 4 for Windows Media Center.


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


{ 18 comments }

Vassilis March 1, 2011 at 6:28 am

MyMovies is about two years behind….too late now

Pete March 1, 2011 at 7:18 am

Two years behind what?

Ricardo March 1, 2011 at 8:29 am

I think MyMovies is the best add-on for media center specially if you started with it and now have thousand in the library. The different view options are great. Personally it has been a great experience using MyMovies.

Vassilis March 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

Behind MediaBrowser and TV shows support.

Damian March 1, 2011 at 8:59 am

The way I look at it, the more options for the user the better. Since TV Show support is critical for me Media Browser was really the only choice with WMC (i.e. I want one plugin to manage both TV Shows and Movies). Now that My Movies has added support this gives a legitimate alternative to Media Browser. Both plugins have their pros and cons, but the more choices the better.

Vassilis March 1, 2011 at 10:02 am

Of course for a newcomer on 7MC. But for someone that allready is using Mediabrowser there is no way he will make the change to MyMovies now. There goes the “too late”

Damian March 1, 2011 at 10:25 am

I am not sure I understand. It is very easy to switch from MediaBrowser to MyMovies, and there is no reason why you couldn’t actually run both. I also know a few people (including myself) who have been frustrated with performance/stability issues with Media Browser. Each persons situation will vary, but I wouldn’t necessarily assume that just because someone is using Media Browser they will never look elsewhere

Marc M October 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

It isn’t that they will NEVER look elsewhere but it’s the fact that those already using Media Browser have their meta data already set up.

Does My Movies automatically use Media Browsers meta data to identify shows for import into My Movies? I didn’t see where it did when I last looked at My Movies.

If not, why? Same with the TV series. Why should I rely on my folder/naming structure for My Movies to recognize it when there is already meta data in there.

Again, if this has changed, or I missed it, then that’s great but last I checked, it solely used your services for identification.

If all my files are already there, migrating from one to the other should be instantaneous, 1 click, done, but it doesn’t seem to be that way.

Damian October 12, 2012 at 4:33 am

I don’t believe so, My Movies does not look at any other metadata, it will look at/generate its own

SeaRay33 March 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

Good write-up Damian. MM’s TV show support looks like an update I can and will use. Thanks for the advanced info on the MM add-in.

Mike McManus March 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Great writeup Damian (as always). Sounds fantastic in “pre-release” form – should be great in final public release. Have they indicated how long before the functionality for export to Dune and other streamers is available (specifically for the TV show functionality)? I ask because I have been anxious to move to My Movies, but I have no use for WMC add-in support – I need the Dune export feature.

Damian March 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Hey Mike,

My understanding Dune support should be available at Public Release (which I believe is scheduled for end of March). This actually isn’t a bad thing as it will give almost a month for any bugs to be worked out in the mean time. I am sure we will see it in the pre release at some point before public release, so I will definitely give a heads up once I see

Mike McManus March 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Great – thanks! I kinda assumed they were working through bugs with you guys, just didn’t know how long it might take to get streamer export support out there. I was just browsing the MM4 forum and saw that they plan to eventually support tv series when ripped as a disc (i.e., not episode level files). That’s great news for a friend of mine who is only doing disc-rips of his series at this point.

Damian March 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Don’t forget that My Movies already supports TV Shows ripped as a disc. The only difference is that currently it will show up in the Movies section, not TV section. I know probably not the ideal solution, but it does hit some middle ground. Tell your friend to get with the program and rip to individual episodes :-)

raaj April 18, 2011 at 12:36 am

Hi Damian,

I feel that the default display interface of My Movies is too plain jane, and that Media Browser’s ability to present gorgeous backdrops for the movies, and the plug-in architecture adds so much character to the entire 7MC experience. However, I feel the metadata service of My Movies is superior to the Media Browser Configurator, but almost a $100 for people to have access to the best features of My Movies is a big problem for me. I am not sure how long it’ll take for a new user like me to accumulate 2500 points when most of my collection consists of recent vintage hollywood fare, most of which already have metadata on the My Movies webservice.

I hope Media Browser could allow use of the My Movies metadata database. I hope My Movies 4 learns from Media Browser and introduces more opportunities to customize the presentation layer inside MCE.

Damian April 18, 2011 at 8:01 am

Hi raaj,

Media Browser definitely has the sexiness when it comes to the UI. I think the intention of My Movies is to really keep it having the same feel as WMC, where Media Browser is almost like a completely separate UI that just happens to launch from WMC.

I doubt you will ever see Media Browser using My Movies metadata database. In essence Media Browser and My Movies are direct competitors, and the My Movies database is the big selling point/advantage over Media Browser. Plus, I know the My Movies developers have issues with the fact that Media Browser uses mymovies.xml, which was meant to be specific to My Movies

Marc M October 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

Media Center Master is what makes Media Browser, at this time for me at least, better.

I don’t use Media Browsers meta data collector, there is no need to , just let Media Center Master do it. It auto scans, has downloading capabilities, fle renaming, etc.

If My Movies truly wants to compete then it needs to have two options, auto detect the series/movies using existing meta data and the ability to turn off the online service and just use meta data generated by other sources.

This of course won’t happen because of the business model… sadly.

It’s a good product but it just doesn’t come close, at least to me, to a media browser/media center master (both of which are free)… well media center master has a “paid” mode but unless you want the auto download features, you don’t have to pay for at all, the meta data collection works 100% for free.

pmcd July 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Very nice article. I installed the WHS addon and the client on my HTPC. What is a bit confusing is how to edit metadata from the client PC. Fixing mistakes using the WHS console apps is not quite as flexible. My Movies is a really neat program but it’s a bit complicated at first.

Philip

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