Getting your movie collection into order, especially when you’ve got a rather large one, can be quite the chore. Each movie needs to have it’s own folder, cover art and synopsis information. Getting these to cooperate with Media Center’s native AMG information grabbing can be equally tricky. These tips can get you on your way to a great looking movie collection inside Media Center’s native Movie Library as well as the popular movie plug-in Media Browser.
Get some structure
The first step to getting your collection into shape is to get your folder structure together. If all your movies are just clumped into a single folder there’s a simple .bat file that can get things into top shape. Just download this movie organizing .bat file and place it in your movie folder. It will take the filenames of your movies (and any extra subtitle or similar files), create a directory with the same name and place all the files inside.
Find cover art and details
Finding cover art and synopsis information for each of your movies is going to be slightly trickier. There are several tools which can assist in getting the proper files downloaded, though many of them don’t quite work as well as they did in Vista Media Center.
The first such tool, DVD Library Manager, works fairly well for retrieving cover art and even editing the details of each movie. DVD Library Manager can automatically retrieve movie information from Amazon or IMDB, including the ability to save cover art as a folder.jpg file to each movie’s folder. This handy little tool can save quite a bit of time but the xml files created aren’t compatible with all features of Media Center, such as AMG information retrieval.
To get the most out of the native Movie Library you will need to use a resource like DVDXml.com. Sign up for DVDXml.com to be able to search for and download Movie Library compatible XML files for each of your movies. Downloading one of these XML and placing it in each movie’s folder will allow Media Center to automatically retrieve cover art and movie details, including AMG information. Though this method does produce better results in the native Movie Library it does not allow you to edit the details. Choosing the right solution for you, or a combination, is key to getting the best of your collection.
Extra tips for Media Browser
For those of us using Media Browser for our movie collections there are a few additional steps we can take to beef up our collection’s display. For instance, add actor images to the movie actors display inside Media Browser using ImagesByName and the collection of images already compiled by the group on Google Code. Go even farther and add encoding information to Media Browser by using the MediaInfo project and adding the right .dll to your Windows system directory.
While you’re at it you may also want to take a look at your TV series collection inside of Media Browser. Take a look at MediaScout, this handy program will help you retrieve all your series information in one easy to use application. Recent build of MediaScout even add support for movie collections, though it’s not as beefy as some other options.
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Once you’ve gone through these steps you should be well on your way to having a more enjoyable movie collection on your Media Center. Restart Media Center to find your newly organized movie collection along with cover art and synopsis information. Media Browser users of course will have a few added features over the native Movie Library. Either way you go you’re movie library will be looking good from now on.
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