Hacking Windows 7 Media Center

Using Starkcovers in the Default Movie Library

by @ 9:00 am on July 11th, 2009 in metadata, movie library with 5 Comments

starkcovers Starkcovers are a beautiful addition to Media Browser’s coverflow and poster views but what if you’re a user of the default movie library in Windows 7 Media Center? Well, by default the native movie library will only load folder.jpg covers and Starkcovers creates .png files. So what we’ll need to do is convert those .png files and also clear the cover art cache.

To get started, you’ll need to follow the basic guide to using Starkcovers and create custom covers for your movie collection. You’ll also need to download a copy of the free software BIMP Lite. This is the software we’re going to use to batch convert those .png images into .jpg files.

before bimp

After running StarkCovers on your movie collection you’ll notice that the built-in movie library no longer displays your movie covers. This is because the program has converted your former folder.jpg files into folder.png, which is fine for Media Browser. To get those covers back in the default library though let’s open up BIMP Lite.

First open up the Images menu at the top and check the Recurse Subdirectories option, otherwise it’s going to be a long day of selecting movie folders one by one. Next select the root folder containing your movies and covers and you’ll see BIMP load up your image on the right. Press the button below the listing to deselect all the images.

select options

We only want to alter those folder.png images so right-click the image list and choose Select > PNG. In most cases the only images that will be selected are the folder.png images but do a quick double check to be sure. Most fan art and background images are saved as .jpg.

output settings

Next check that your output settings are set to not resize the images, output a jpg format in the same folder as it currently resides and set the quality to 100 so we get the highest quality image possible. Also, double check that the Prefix input box is empty (which is isn’t in the screenshot above). Then hit the Start button.

finished product

That’s it! Just relaunch your Windows 7 Media Center and your built-in movie library should now be sporting those classy StarkCovers.


Comment #2086 from SpinEcho [Reply]

Great tip! However, found that Select=>PNG didn’t work, but Unselct=>JPG did!!!!

Comment left July 11, 2009 at 12:06 pm Permanent Link

Comment #2090 from MSBOB [Reply]

You shouldn’t have to convert the images, simply changing the extension should do the trick (and probably allow you to avoid that fugly black box around the image you created converting to jpg and losing png transparancy).

Comment left July 11, 2009 at 10:48 pm Permanent Link

@Reply #2092 from SpinEcho [Reply]

MSBOB: Great tip! I couldn’t help noticing that UGLY! black border.
So how to batch change over 300 .png to .jpg?

Comment left July 12, 2009 at 3:41 am Permanent Link

@Reply #2295 from Joe [Reply]

Hmm, I’ve tried it this way and it works great in Media Center, but it makes my 360 have issues. Anyone else have this working on the extender?

Comment left July 26, 2009 at 2:12 am Permanent Link

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