It’s been a long time coming. I have had Brian Binnerup’s MyMovies on my PC for months and am finally getting around to using it. I plan on doing a series of articles on the various platforms for Mymovies in the coming weeks.
Here are some things I’ll be covering:
- Intro to MyMovies, Install, Settings, and Ripping DVD’s
- Adding your pre-existing collection to MyMovies
- PC Client
- Media Center
- MyMovies vs. other comparable products
Why would you want MyMovies on your WHS? I would describe MyMovies as a movie collection and management software but I think it’s best to let Brian describe it:
My Movies for Microsoft Media Center 2005, Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate is the ultimate movie collection management and playback tool. With My Movies you are able to index your movies with automatically downloaded data from the My Movies WebService, and then browse movies, actors, directors and much more. You can share your movie database to multiple clients, and configure each client to its own parental control limitation which requires a pin # to view the full collection.
My Movies is available in more than 10 different languages. With My Movies you can experience your movie collection in a way you never thought possible, filtregering your collection by genres, actors, directors, MPAA parental level and much more. My Movies can even help you copy your DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-ray’s to hard drive storage for easy playback!
The best place to start in getting a full appreciation for the Windows Home Server portion is the website itself. Every single function of the the WHS Add-In is covered in depth here. If you are thinking about trying it out I highly recommend you read through this page.
There is also no shortage of reviews for this product so I feel obliged to let you know of a few that I have read in preparation for this review.
- A media center reviewers perspective. This is a good article from CW-Kid.
- WeGotServed Review from James Quintin – It’s a short write-up but a good place to start.
The MyMovies suite of programs consists of the following:
- Server (can be your PC) – In both 32 and 64 bit
- Client (PC’s in your network) – In both 32 and 64 bit
- Windows Home Server – As an Add-In
- DVD Library Connector – This is for operation with Windows Media Center
Installation and Settings
In this article I will be focusing on the WHS Add-In. It installs like all other Add-Ins so I won’t bore you with those screenshots and details. Once installed it will download and install a SQL Server in order to function as it’s database. You will want to ensure this is running in order to proceed.
You will find 4 new tabs in your Settings menu as well as 3 new tabs on the top of your console.
The settings can overwhelm you quickly with it’s many options so lets get started with them. There are a couple options you need to choose in order to get the Add-In fully functional.
1. The first thing you will need to do is get a user account at the MyMovies website. In the first Settings tab you will be asked for the login. In this same tab you need to indicate what country your are in as well. (login and register see end of post)
2. Under the Disc Copier tab you will want to enable the Disc Copy Service if you plan on using MyMovies to rip DVD’s.
3. Under the Monitor tab you need to enable the Monitor Service and choose a shared folder for MyMovies to “monitor.” MyMovies will watch this folder for any new rips or movies you copy into it. This will be useful later on and I’ll go over ripping and monitoring in detail.
4. If you plan on ripping audio CD’s you will want to start the Music Copier Service under the Disc Copier tab.
(I’m also not going to bore you with endless installation and configuration screen shots. These four steps sum up the basic configuration and you should have no problem enabling these one by one. More information on the install can be found on the MyMovies WiKi.)
These are the only steps you need to perform to get the Add-In functional. There are MANY more configuration options but we will go over those when we come to them in the review.
The reason I wanted to review MyMovies in the first place was for it’s ability to rip DVD’s directly to Windows Home Server and for it’s ability to add meta data to each movie folder.
This is a good spot to remind you(more of a CYA for me) that copying DVD’s is illegal in some countries. For this review I will be making a single copy of my kids DVD’s much like one would do in order to archive the original disc so they are not damaged. It’s also illegal in the US to circumvent any copy protection mechanism on a DVD. Please be responsible.
First you will need to choose a format to archive your DVD to. The MyMovies website sums it up best.
Your movies can be copied to either VIDEO_TS formats for DVD’s, ISO format for DVD or Blu-ray, or an Media Center Extender compatible MPEG-2 format for DVD’s, or you can copy both to a VIDEO_TS format as well as an MPEG-2 format for DVD’s, allowing the full VIDEO_TS structure to be played on the main Media Center, and the MPEG-2 file on your Media Center Extender.
Why choose one format over the other? The Video_TS format will basically make a complete copy of the DVD menus and movie. It will also preserve the audio on the disk. If you want the “out of the box” DVD experience with your movies this is the choice for you. You will need a player that will play this structure however. Media Center Extenders will not.
The MPEG option will only grab the movie portion and it will mux down to two-channel stereo. It will play on Extenders as well as most other players. The movie will also start instantly with this option so it’s good for the kids.
Go back to settings in your WHS console and click the MyMovies Disc Copier tab.
In this tab you choose the format that best suits you and the location to put the archived DVD. The dropdown box will show your WHS shares.
That is all you have to do. I assume you have a DVD reader on your WHS so insert your DVD and MyMovies will automatically start working.
If you are ripping to MPEG2 expect a decent quality rip as shown in this properties screen of a test rip.
The Add-In will notify you via the WHS network status icon in your tray when it is done with the rip or if there was a problem with it. There is an option to eject the disk when it’s completed so you are ready for your next DVD.
If you choose the combination of Video_TS folder and MPEG2 file it will first rip to the TS folder and then transcode that data to the MPEG file. You can insert another DVD while the latter is happening.
You may be thinking that you already have a method that you prefer when it comes to ripping and archiving DVD’s. That’s Ok. If you are starting a large collection you can use your method as well as MyMovies on the WHS to double your efforts. If you don’t want to rip via WHS you will want to catch the next article on how to add existing collections to your WHS MyMovies database.
News and Updates to this review
MyMovies 3 Pre-release due out to users with 2500 points or more on September 1st.
Points and Donations – Some features of MyMovies are locked until you earn points or donate.
What I would like to see in a future MyMovies.
This may be asking for a lot but I would like to see the ability to transcode movies to a portable format. I realize this is a management Add-In but it already rips DVD’s and CD’s so why not? I would like a portable movie folder managed by MyMovies so I can sync my Zune to it!
Stay tuned for further writings on this Add-In. Here again, is the plan I have for covering it.