This is the second article in my ongoing MyMovies review. If you missed the first one you might want to take a look at it here. In the first article I do over installing the Windows Home Server Add-In and ripping DVD’s to your collection. Here is the breakdown of articles again.
Intro to MyMovies, Install, Settings, and Ripping DVD's
- Adding your pre-existing collection to MyMovies
- PC Client
- MyMovies on Media Center
- MyMovies vs. other comparable products
- I’m going to add two articles to this list. The first addition is going to cover a new release of MyMovies. Look for that article in September 2009. The second will be an article covering ripping, software, methods, etc. I’ve already had a few messages asking questions about it so I’ll do what I can to cover this broad topic. I’ll include everything I can think of! If you have a particular method of ripping or a favorite software please contact me and I’ll include it.
First a word on Points
This article will cover the PC client version of MyMovies but If you have ever researched MyMovies you may have run across a mention of “points.” What are points and why do I need them? Well, points in the MyMovies world are what you need to unlock the ripping service for the WHS Add-In and the PC client. The PC Client is what you use to gain points. If you would like more info on what features require points check here. You can also request a trial of 2500 points for 21 days. That gives you full access to all features.
The PC Client of MyMovies or better known as the Collection Management Program
This article assumes you have installed the WHS Add-In or the Server program of MyMovies. The client installs on PC’s you wish to manage the collection. It’s the next step in the process towards viewing your collection.
The Collection Management Program allows you to edit all details of your movie titles, as well as adding new titles based on barcodes, automatic disc identification, by titles, or manually for personal videos. If you have one or more movie titles that is not known by the My Movies WebService, you can also add these, and contribute them to the WebService to make it available for everyone further on, at the same time you earn contribution points as discussed earlier.
It is available from the same download location as the WHS Add-In and it’s available in both 32 bit and 64 bit versions. (Note: If you have already installed the WHS Add-In you do not need to install the Server application.)
Install the client on any PC that you want to manage your media from, rip from, etc.
Installation is fairly simple and I’ll show you the screens to expect.
I accepted the defaults on all screens. The second screen of the install has a donation link. If you are using the free version of MyMovies you might want to consider a donation. A separate donation link can be found here.
You will notice a new icon in your tray as well as a new program group. We have our movies ripped from article one so lets get started with the collection. Double click the icon in your tray to start the app.
Just a small side note. There is a world of difference in the startup time between my Core i7 desktop and my Atom based Netbook!
The first thing you will encounter is Collection Management asking you where your collection is. This will be the PC you installed as a server or your WHS.
In my case it will be “hpserver.”
You will then be reminded to log in with your mymovies account.
Additional screenshots of the PC Client can be found here. The MyMovies website also has video tutorials of the various programs and there is a good one that describes how to create and contribute a new title. Those tutorials can be found here.
That is it for the installation. You should now see your movie collection. It’s a good time to start cleaning up or adding META information for your movies.
Meta Data Lookups
I’m assuming you have ripped a few movies according to the first article I covered. They should show up on the left hand side of Collection Management.
If you list is Green as is the one above MyMovies has located and applied all applicable META data for you. If your list looks like mine, it will have a bit of yellow and red indicating that MyMovies was not able to locate all the META data.
There will be some instances where the movie will rip to an odd name and even though you can identify it, MyMovies isn’t sure which META data applies to it. This is where you come in.
Right click the movie in question and click “Change Title and Source Data.” This is where you will tell MyMovies how to search for your movie. You can do so by webcam and the barcode on the DVD cover, or by inserting the DVD in your drive and it will try to identify it by content. I prefer to search by title or by manually entering the barcode numbers. Unless you have the cover handy it’s probably easiest to search by title.
I ripped this particular movie to a short name, pie2. Type in it’s full name the best you know and click Search. There will be no indication that is it searching. There is no hourglass or waiting notification but it’s working. It will return hits in the Results box with photos and names of movies it thinks matches what you typed in.
Two hits came up. The standard movie and the unrated edition. I of course purchased the “Unrated” version. It’s American Pie on DVD, you have to have the unrated version right?
Click the title that corresponds to yours and click change. It will download the Meta data and cover art for the DVD.
If you have the cover handy for the movie you can enter the barcode numbers in this screen and it will most likely find it.
If you run across a movie that is not in the MyMovies database you can manually enter the data in Collection Management. You can also try to locate cover art for your movie or scan it. Once you have filled in all sections you can then submit the title to the MyMovies database via the Title menu. I have only run across one movie that was not in the database. I don’t have a large collection though.
The best way to learn about contributing titles to the database is from the MyMovies site itself. The following wiki page has all the details.
Ripping from the client
You can also rip movies via the Collection Managment program. Under Collection choose copy DVD or simply insert the disc in your system.
Your options are Folder Structure or ISO file. I think the Windows Home Server ripper gives you a bit more control but it’s nice to have the option of ripping in multiple locations so you can get your collection done faster.
A Multitude of Options
There are a ton of options with Collection Management. You can even setup a DVD changer and an ISO file mounter.
The options screen will take you through all the details you will need to customize Collection Management.
One screen of importance is the Meta Data options. If you need to store META data for a particular unit to identify look in this screen.
There is also Parental Controls. I have yet to cover the Media Center portion of MyMovies but I didn’t feel this tab was of much use to me. If you want to include any Adult titles in your searches there is a check box for that otherwise it refers you to Media Center.
Movie Backdrops and Fan Art
As explained on the MyMovies site:
I found the cover-art option under Options in the Collection Management software. I was informed that I didn’t have enough points to use this option but If MyMovies came with my machine I was to email an address to have it added. That seems like an odd process to me.
So I went ahead and clicked Title, Edit Movie Details Online anyway. Instead of launching your default browser it launched IE. That’s excusable but still a tad annoying. I then logged in to forums and repeated the whole process to finally see the backdrops for my American Pie movie.
After I saw the first backdrop I was annoyed no longer!
There were other backdrops for the movie but for some reason I am partial to the Stars and Stripes! Seriously though, It would be nice to have this process cleaned up and maybe even completely within Collection Management.
It was nice to be able to rip my movies via the Windows Home Server and have the META show up automatically. I liked the options for ripping in the WHS rather than the Collection Management piece. It might even be nice to control the collection in a WHS tab rather than install it on every PC that I want to use it on. There is so much information for each DVD that presenting that info in a tab might be a chore for the author.
Editing titles that are lacking META data is a breeze with MyMovies although the backdrops could be integrated better.
The MyMovies points system can be confusing at times but I understand why there is a need for that system. Without META data contributors there would be no database.
Overall I am very pleased so far with my trial. I am looking forward to seeing MyMovies inside Media Center. I have held off in trying it out specifically for this review. I wanted to experience it step by step like a first time user would.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this software is capable of. So far I highly recommend at least trying it out. Don’t forget you can request a trial of 2500 points for 21 days to try every feature in MyMovies. I think if you try it you will want to keep using it. So far that is the case for me.
We have ripped our collection and managed the META data. It’s time to move on. Stay tuned for more!