While Media Center has no trouble playing back your ripped movies, videos and music there has been no love lost in the between it and TV series DVDs. The Media Browser plug-in for Media Center eases the situation a bit adding support for TV series’ within the plug-in interface. Once it’s in there, however, it still lacks metadata in most cases making it no better than the default video section.
Luckily for those of us with plenty of TV series DVDs there is a simple program to help alleviate the situation. MediaScout will go through the television series folders and track down the metadata for each series and season. Backdrops and posters will be pulled down along with episode information and life will be good again.
The first step to TV series bliss is to download and extract MediaScout somewhere onto your hard drive. Opening up the program by running “MediaScoutGUI.exe” and going to the settings panel we can see some of the options available. The ability to choose the folder where the television series videos are stored, season folder name and what metadata to pull down off the internet. On the right there is even an option to rename the files once episode metadata is found.
One important item of note is that each video filename must contain a season and episode identifier. It can be anywhere in the filename but must be in the format S00E00 for best results. For example, the first show of the second season would need “S02E01” in the filename. This helps MediaScout find the appropriate metadata info for any particular episode. Videos without this information will lack quite a bit of extra metadata content.
To start fetching the data open the “TV” tab at the top and select “Browse” to choose your TV series location. You can choose to either do one series at a time or a whole directory full of different series’. If the directory contains many different series’ they will need to be in a directory structure with the series name on each folder. The box to enable batch processing beneath the browse input will also need checked. Once you have your directory selected simply press “Fetch Data”.
If MediaScout comes across a series title it doesn’t recognize it will prompt you to choose a series from a list. The program will also list the results in the box at the bottom with episodes that are unable to be properly retrieved marked in red for easy identification. Typically these just have a problem with the season/episode tag in the filename.
As long as your directories are setup correctly and each filename has a season/episode tag MediaScout should be able to get plenty of metadata for each series. You can easily check some of the metadata retrieved by MediaScout in the Manage TV tab or simply opening up MediaBrowser in Media Center.
Using the poster and new cover flow views in Media Browser won’t display most of the extra episode information picked up by MediaScout. The thumb and detail views do, however, display the episode description and name quite nicely. With a little bit of elbow work your television series setup can rival even the best of movie collection setups with MediaScout and Media Browser.
While you’re expanding Media Center’s capabilities why not add Weather and Shoutcast Radio, too!