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Monitoring Folders with My Movies
When using My Movies to index movie content on your hard drives or network drives, from now referred to as storage device, My Movies folder monitoring can be used to automatically let your movie collection match the content of your storage device, by letting folder monitoring add and remove the titles in your collection based on changes on the devices.
In short this means that you for most part can sit back and let My Movies automatically index your collection on initial installations, but also let it automatically keep itself updated when changes occur on your storage devices, such as titles being added or removed.
Folder monitoring is a background process running whenever Media Center is open on the host machine.
Folder monitoring indexes your collection based either disc identification numbers, or the name of the folder your movie titles are in, and automatically loads meta-data from the My Movies Web service from this folder name, and for the country you are in, or the country you have configured.
When indexing a folder, My Movies loads data from the My Movies Web service either a disc identification number, or on a best match scenario – and as a folder name is not a unique identifier in any way, there can be several results of titles that match a folder name, or in some situations, the title in question is not known by the Web service. This means that although the My Movies Web service in general is very good at guessing the correct title, it may not always be able to return the correct title.
Because of this, My Movies folder monitoring can operate in three different operation modes to suit the need the individual user has. You should read and understand these operating modes to find the one that suits you best before enabling folder monitoring.
Strict operating mode
Strict operating mode is the default operating mode for folder monitoring when enabled. In this operating mode, titles is automatically added and removed without any confirmation needed, but the titles located on the Web service must be identified by a disc identification number, or fully match the name of the folder.
This means that titles are always added to your collection when found, but meta-data is only added to the titles if the Web service holds a title that matches your folder name exactly.
This means that if you have a folder with a small difference in the name versus the title on the Web service, the title will be added to your collection without meta-data – this could be a miss-spell on your folder name, or a different way of writing a title.
An example could be a folder named “Matrix – Reloaded”, which would result in a title without meta-data if the title on the Web service is named “The Matrix Reloaded” – the name of your folder is a close match, but it is not a complete accurate match, causing the strict operating mode to add the title without meta-data, as it is not certain that this is your title.
Strict operating mode is for the users who want their collection automatically indexed, but rather would have meta-data added only for the titles that the folder monitoring service is completely sure to be correct, than risk a title being added incorrect.
With strict operating mode, users should expect to manually use “Change Data” to from either inside Media Center, or from the Collection Management program to attach meta-data to titles that folder monitoring was unsure of. How many percent of your titles this would be depends on the accuracy of your folder names as well as the data population on the Web service for your country.
Loose operating mode
Loose operating mode is similar to strict operating mode, and automatically adds and removes titles based on changes on your storage devices.
Loose differs from strict operating mode when indexing added titles – where strict operating mode requires an exact match on the folder name, loose operating mode searches the My Movies Web service for a result based on the folder name, and always adds meta-data based on the best result it comes up with.
Generally, the My Movies Web service is very good at guessing, with a multiple level search priority based on free text ranking, but you can not always be certain that the correct meta-data is added to all of your titles.
In our example from above, with a folder named “Matrix – Reloaded”, the Web service search index would with much accuracy return the title “The Matrix Reloaded”, as the words in the title matches the words in the folder name very good – even if there is a miss-spelling in the folder name, the Web service will in most situations be able to return the correct result.
However, in another example, if your folder is named “Matrix 2” where the Web service knows either “The Matrix” or “The Matrix Reloaded”, the title may be added with meta-data from “The Matrix”, even though you by your folder naming meant it to be “The Matrix Reloaded”. This is a situation where loose operating mode accepts the Web services best guess, resulting in meta-data being added for all titles, but with some incorrect additions.
How many incorrect additions loose operation mode gives in percentage also depends on how accurate your folder naming is, as well as the data population on the Web service for your country.
Loose operating mode is for the users who want meta-data for all their titles in their collection, and rather would have a couple of incorrect additions, than no meta-data being added.
With loose operating mode, users should expect to once in a while go through the titles added by folder monitoring, and check that they are added correct – for titles that are not added correct, “Change data” from within Media Center or from the Collection Mangement program can be used to change the title to the correct entry.
Confirmative operating mode
Confirmative operating mode is identical to the loose operating mode, with the one difference that you are required to confirm each found title.
When folder monitoring locates one or more added folder(s) with video content, it will raise a question within Media Center, asking if you would like to confirm the results found now or later. If you choose later, the titles will not be added until next time you start Media Center, where you again will be asked to confirm titles now or later.
The confirmation dialog will tell you the name of the folder it located a movie in, and tell you the name of the title it located, and which country this title is from. If you confirm the title, it will be added to your collection with the data located – if you cannot confirm the found data, it will be added to your title without data, similar to what strict mode does.
As with strict mode, for titles that are added without data, you can use the “Change Data” feature from within Media Center or the Collection Management program to add data to the title.
If you consider yourself a user that is very strict about the content and the data of your movie collection, and do not accept any minor flaws at all, you should consider disabling folder monitoring in general, and instead manually add and remove titles in your collection from the Collection Management program, giving you full control over what is being added and what isn’t.
In some situations, within your monitored areas are folders that you do not want folder monitoring to add data for. In this situation you can create an empty file within the folder called “mymovies.dna” (A do not add file).
When folder monitoring locates a folder with a “mymovies.dna” file, the folder will be ignored.
Data stored in folders
When a title is added to your collection by folder monitoring, or when manually added or edited from the Collection Management program, the data of the title is added to a “mymovies.xml” file located in the folder along with the title covers.
These files allow folder monitoring to ensure that the exact same data is being picked up if multiple clients monitor the same shared storage area on a network server. It also means that if you on one client edit the title data from the Collection Management program, or use “Change Data” to change the title data, folder monitoring on all clients monitoring the same area will automatically pick up the change.
By doing this, folder monitoring and the “mymovies.xml” files makes an alternative way of operating in multiple zones.
If the case that you lose your movie collection database, and does not have a backup, the “mymovies.xml” file also means that you can fresh import from a previous monitored area, and all the data will be picked up as you had them previously.
For this process to operate, folder monitoring must be granted write access to the monitored folders.
Since folder monitoring mainly operates by locating titles by folder names, it is important to name your folders as accurate as possible. This means that you should check the spelling of the words in the folder names, and ensure that they accurately comply with the name of the movie title the folder contains.
If you would like to more information to the folder name than just the title, you should add this information to your folders within “[“, “]” characters, such as “Matrix Reloaded [576p, 2007]”, as the text within the “[“, “]” characters will be removed before searching for the title.
Examples of good and bad folder names are:
Good folder names for the title “The Matrix Reloaded”:
“The Matrix Reloaded” as this is the exact title name.
“Matrix Reloaded” as this is very near to the exact title.
Bad folder names for the title “The Matrix Reloaded”:
“Matrix 2”, as it may be seen as the matrix, movie number two, however it is not the title of the movie.
“MatrixReloaded” as the missing space in the title causes this to be seen as one word, and not two, resulting in no matches.
“Matrix Reload”, as the misspelling of “Reload” causes an incorrect identification.
Good folder names for the title “The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King”:
“The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King” as this is the exact title name.
“The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King” as this is very near to the exact title.
Bad folder names for the title “The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King”:
“LOTR – Return of the King”, as LOTR is short for the actual name, it will not match the words of the title on the service.
“Return of the King, Widescreen, 2003” as the information “Widescreen” and “2003” should be put in “[“, “]” characters for the monitoring not to confuse them as part of the title.
Folders monitoring goes through monitored folders, and when a folder with valid video content is found, that is not already in the database, an identification process starts to best match a data title to the folder. When valid data is found, the title is added to the collection, or the user is asked to confirm the title, depending on the operating mode, and the identification process stops.
Common for all searches is that your country location is used to locate local data, as per the setting in the Collection Management program's "Configure", "Language and Country" section, by default set to the "Location" of the "Regional and Language Options" in your Windows Control Panel.
If you in the Collection Management program's "Configure", "Language and Country" section configured to add data from United States or United Kingdom if no local data is found, each step in the identification process will first search for data from your local country, then from United States, and last from United Kingdom.
The identification process will operate in the following order:
1. The directory is checked for a "dvdid.xml" file, containing a unique disc id (See section about dvdid.xml files). If a valid dvdid.xml file is found, the monitoring searches the WebService for a title with this disc id.
2. If the directory contains a valid VIDEO_TS folder structure, containing the required IFO files, an "Online Disc Id" is calculated (See section about online discs ids), based on the movie structure, and monitoring searches the WebService for a title with this "Online Disc Id", which the WebService converts to an actual "Disc Id" before searching.
3. The folder name is used to search for the title on the WebService, which makes it important to use accurate folder names. If the folder name contains information with a section with the following characters "[", "]" this information is removed from the title before searching.
Online Disc Ids
One of the unique features of folder monitoring that you will not find in any other product is the ability to uniquely identify VIDEO_TS folder structures even after they have already been backed up to storage.
Default Disc Id’s as the ones contributed to the Collection Management program can only be used to identify original discs before they are backed up to storage, as the id changes in the process. Folder monitoring is able to analyse a VIDEO_TS folder structure, and calculate a unique id number, called “Online Disc Id”, which is based on the actual movie content.
This special disc id remains the same, even after the disc have been backed up to storage, and even remains the same if the backup is a “movie only” backup where extra material, audio tracks, subtitles or similar have been removed. In most situations, it even remains the same if the disc has been further compressed.
When folder monitoring searches the WebService for an “Online Disc Id”, the WebService is able to transfer the “Online Disc Id” to an actual “Disc Id” as the ones contributed to the WebService from the Collection Management program, and by doing that locate the correct title.
Media Center’s own “DVD library” uses DvdId.xml files located in folders to uniquely identify titles by the Disc Id in the file.
Folder monitoring will, if a DvdId.xml file is located in the folder use this file to search for a disc id on the Webservice.
Adding DvdId.xml files to your folders is a manual process, and since the purpose of folder monitoring is to awoid most manual work, these files are only recommended for users who already have them located in their systems.
More details and a resource for DvdId.xml files can be found at http://www.dvdxml.com.
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