The Toybox

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media server update: plex media server
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Recently, I started once again looking at the available Media Servers for easy watching of my media collection, which is something I now do every six months or so when I see once again Mediatomb hasn't been updated.

My most recent try at alternate servers: Plex - A Complete Media Solution

A very good tutorial for setup and use.

The Good:

The web interface is gorgeous, you can log into it from any computer on your LAN, and it streams over Roku. You can add channels to it--Colbert Report, Youtube--as well as your entire TV/Movie collection. After setting up your main containers--there are five: Movies, Television, Music, Photos, and Home Movies--you attach each to one or more folders, they scan inside, and the agents look up info on each from The Movie Database and TVDB with all the metadata your heart can possibly desire, editable, with collections that we might as well just call tagging and joyfully at that. It's awesome, is what I'm saying.

Media is available either on the LAN or outside it, and you can have friends and share your library. There's an Android app for it; basically, you can literally watch [personal profile] sisabet's Queer as Folk vids on your phone or table if you have a breakdown in the middle of a desert with good wifi and AAA hasn't shown up yet.

Works on Windows, OSX, and Linux.

The Bad:

This was made for Windows/OSX Operating Systems, and you can tell from the first; there is minimal flexibility, almost no ability to customize more than superficially, an extremely rigid hierarchy, and the user can't do much with the overall design and organization.

This is the guide to naming conventions for your files. No, really. All your files. Every goddamn one of them. You don't have to obey it to the letter, but the margin for difference is bizarre. I can't get entire seasons of Buffy in there for no reason I can figure out yet.

Not only that, the directory structure is internal to the program, not your organization, and you can't change it. There are four types: Music related, TV Shows - Three Level Hierarchy, Movies - One Level Hierarchy, and Home Movies, which you can do in a Three or One, but if you do the Three, the titles aren't the filenames but instead are named episode 1, episode 2.... You can't change this, there is no flexibility at all, and it's goddamn annoying.

Me Sulking:

1.) It would take me less time to learn Java and code my own media server--and get a doctorate in physics with my free time--than renaming all my media files--that's one and a half terabytes--to fit their specifications. I started actually sketching up a bash script to batch while I'm at work and nearly had a breakdown just doing the framing structure for it. For Mediatomb to show my files--ALL OF THEM--in a readable way in the right folders--and alphabetized--took me less than three hundred lines of javascript for the main function, four prototype string functions, and two short alphabetizing functions, and two random functions. I'd have to triple that for the bash just to get the names working in the exact way they want them to show up. Otherwise, some may show up and some may not.

2.) The force directory hierarchy was almost painfully annoying. I hate it.

3.) The ability of the user to customize it--and I'm not even talking about how I write the javascript sort function for mediatomb to organize my files, just basic level user input on structure--is almost non-existent.

OTOH, for movies or tv movies where you have a single level directory Movies-->MovieName, this is very workable. And if you're just starting your career at collecting media, this could work for you.

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/990407.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

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Have you looked into Apple TV?

If I had more apple products, I would, but I don't use any. However, my BFF is ALL APPLE, so she's been researching it a lot for her home. It looks pretty good.

Have you looked at http://www.therenamer.com/index.html ? This is not a simple google search and dump reply; I've used this in the past to rename media files. Though in only small batches, rather than the full amt that you are going to do.

Huh. Thank you! I'm actually kind of tempted to do it as a secondary media server. The interface is beautiful, it pulls from the movie database for metadata, and even if it feels limited to me, so far it's the best I've found at what it does and does very well.

Inspired by Plex, however, I did find how how to use ffmpeg to add metadata to my files (and have been experimenting with what metadata fields are accepted), which is only significant in that to do it, you have to have separate names for the input and output file. Combined with the open source IMDB to pull metadata through xml--if I can figure out how to work them all together--it might be worth it to do the mass-rename after all.

Thank you for teh link, seriously. After the ffmpeg worked so well--I was able to imbed season, episode name and number, and date at minimum--this might work if I do it in single-show batches and go slow.

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