Are themes simple?

Hi to all,

I shortly expect to be the latest proud owner of a WDTV Live Hub and so have been reading up on its features. One area that appealed to me most was ‘Themes’. I currently use an xbox360 with Media Browser but am disappointed with the speed.

Now after reading a few threads I have come across things like ‘Movie Sheets’, ‘Link Sheets’, ‘Thumbgen’ etc and I’m now concerned about the ease in which I can apply these themes.

Is this an easy task?

Will I have to do my own programming?

Is there a walk-through guide for dummies?

Have these questions been asked before?

Now I know everybody’s perception of ‘easy’ is different - so what do you think?

Thank you for reading.

Goldbadger wrote:

Hi to all,

 

I shortly expect to be the latest proud owner of a WDTV Live Hub and so have been reading up on its features. One area that appealed to me most was ‘Themes’. I currently use an xbox360 with Media Browser but am disappointed with the speed.

 

Now after reading a few threads I have come across things like ‘Movie Sheets’, ‘Link Sheets’, ‘Thumbgen’ etc and I’m now concerned about the ease in which I can apply these themes.

 

Is this an easy task?

Will I have to do my own programming?

Is there a walk-through guide for dummies?

Have these questions been asked before?

 

Now I know everybody’s perception of ‘easy’ is different - so what do you think?

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Is this an easy task? 

Depends mostly on your abilities and computer knowledge. The more you do it, the easier things get.

Will I have to do my own programming?

You more than likely won’t need to.

Is there a walk-through guide for dummies?

Depends on the theme you decide to use and the person that created it.

Have these questions been asked before?

Yup, and no matter how often other members get upset about it, it doesn’t mean squat that you didn’t search the forum for the answers to these questions. You might get lambasted by some here for not searching but searching a forum is not an easy thing to do for most. I would rather just ask the question than to sit here for hours reading threads that contained the word “walk-through” but still didn’t answer the question I had. Yup, it’s because I don’t make use of the “search engine” properly. That’s because you need a college degree in IT to figure out how to use most of them.

Right now there are big changes to themes as the linksheets for this device have just been discovered. I hope this is something that WD doesn’t mess up for themes because it really is a delight to see the speed this method provides as well as it’s abilities, some of which I think haven’t been discovered/realized as yet.

I am going to fully agree with flhthemi, with an addition. If your movies are all pretty recent, English releases, themes seem to be relatively easy with a little work and reading. If you have a lot of movies from the 30s-40s, foreign stuff and rare or hard to find movies, it takes a little more work. In general I have found that for my older movies, there may be no fan-art or movie covers, so even if the description is found while I am making the sheets, I have to get on the web and find backdrops to use. For some really obscure movies, I have has to manually fill in all the info.

So if you are just searching for newer American movies, themes are a lot easier and faster to make. All of them are doable with a bit of reading on these forums, but  movies like “The Departed” and TV Shows like “how I met your mother” are going to be a lot quicker and easier ( almost as easy as clicking a button ) than things like Harold Lloyd shorts from the 20s and French TV documentaries on Godard or Chabrol, where you have to look at each sheet and modify ones that are not found or do not have enough pics or data.

TIP:

Hopefuly this does not confuse the situation, but one huge tip that I got from DeVicious that helped me enormously was to make extra metadata sheets in Thumbgen (.tgmd files) when I went through the process of making sheets for all my movies the first time. Those files hold all the data and the pictures used on the sheets I manualy had to make, and can be used to recreate sheets in a new theme without having to go through the process again of looking for the backdrops and the data on movies that were not found. Saved a ton of time the second time through.

This is certainly worth the time put in. The HUB is really enhanced by a good theme with movie sheets.

Good Luck

-P

Is this an easy task?

Like everyone said, it really depends on your computer skill. If they are slim to none, you might find it tedious.

Will I have to do my own programming?

 

No. But depending on your theme selection and number of movies (sorting by year released), you might need a lot of manual searching, manual editing etc. etc.

Is there a walk-through guide for dummies?

 

Still depends on your final theme selection. Some are more user-friendly, other relies heavily on normal computer knowledge.

 

Have these questions been asked before?

 

Probably on each theme post yes.

Now I know everybody’s perception of ‘easy’ is different - so what do you think?

 

Everything relies on your computer knowledge. Unless you use the internal scrapper (which is elderly-easy), each themes has it’s pros and cons. The very big question you have to ask yourself is: do I have the time to create these? It might read like a silly question, but when you have over 400 movies to “create” (which I have) even setting the creation process at 1 minute each (which is really pushing it since it’s a lot more) you are looking at nearly 7 hours of processing.

Thank you all for taking time to reply. I guess I will have to **bleep** it and see!

Also can I just say to the people who write these themes, Thank you - people like you never fail to impress. It’s because of your work I finally decided to go for the WDTV Live Hub (looking and reading about them anyway). The themes look great and hopefully will be intergrated into the Hubs firmware one day.

So…What would be  good starter theme be for a beginer then? I have seen the theme list and there are indeed some very interesting themes to go for.

lol, they bleeped out ** S U C K **

I think it would be good to think of it this way

there are currently several categories for themes

  1. non-moviesheet theme, you download the theme, then put it on your WD - done

  2. moviesheets themes, very in what’s needed and setup, you’ll need to closely follow the others instructions

  3. linksheets themes, there’s only 2 currently available, 1 has a guide, the other does not

while the concept is not difficult, it’s sort of considered an advanced method, only available for the WD Hub

I would recommend starting with a standard moviesheet theme, while you’ll have to follow the guides, and instructions, that’s how you’ll learn to use all themes, and to use thumbgen

KAD79 wrote:

I think it would be good to think of it this way

 

there are currently several categories for themes

 

  1. non-moviesheet theme, you download the theme, then put it on your WD - done

 

  1. moviesheets themes, very in what’s needed and setup, you’ll need to closely follow the others instructions

 

  1. linksheets themes, there’s only 2 currently available, 1 has a guide, the other does not

while the concept is not difficult, it’s sort of considered an advanced method, only available for the WD Hub

 

 

I would recommend starting with a standard moviesheet theme, while you’ll have to follow the guides, and instructions, that’s how you’ll learn to use all themes, and to use thumbgen

And this is from the man that discovered LINKSHEETS were available on the Hub! So…

@goldbadger

This forum is the most censored forum I have EVER been on. So be forewarned, you can’t even mention the NAME of some sites here. But when you’re in Joe’s house you gotta go by Joe’s rules… and you’ll probably get a notice about the w a y you averted the system :slight_smile:

so basically do u have to make moviesheets sperately from the them thingy and install them idividually? or do does it do it automatically little confused there.

because i have like 100 tv shows and 100s of movies all of them i did informations earch thingy and got all the episode descriptions with backdrops and picture icons or w/e with defaut theme so if i were to install a theme like say

http://community.wdc.com/t5/WD-TV-Live-Hub-Themes/CoCo-Linksheet/td-p/504390

this CoCo theme. Would i have to use my cimputer and make these sheet thignies 1 by 1 for evry show and everything or since i have the backdriops and decriptionsa dn everythgin found already from the HUb itll do ti by itself.?

and i dont see any guides for themes like these. just to install them.

how do u just install theme. i downlado these thems and tis a fodler with 23423423424 files in it looks so confusing and everyting

its great these amaing people create these amazing themes but seems way too complex for people like me who dont know anythign about programming and stuff to install

@LordSpawn

This is a lot of work needed initially to develop your media collection from a simple list of stuff into a visually fantastic and graphically informative interface. if you go through the theming concept to its conclusion you will find that maintaining it (i.e. adding a new movie or TV series) becomes very quick and easy.

  1. You need to check the names of all your video files and get the correct folder structure. If you get this right it makes the next phases easy. Get it wrong and you will have problems generating the moviesheets and artwork. There are many places on these messageboards that have mentioned and discussed how to name files and folders and there are different ways to do it so I will only tell you how I do it with the proviso that others may do it differently but also correclty :

FILE NAMING :

MOVIES

name the files as movie name (year) .avi or mkv etc. i.e. The Cabin in the Woods (2011).mkv

TV SHOWS

The name of the series then Sxx.Exx.avi or mkv etc. i.e. Modern Family S02.E11.mkv which means Series 2, Episode 11. Be careful with naming and formatting, it is important.

FOLDER NAMING :

MOVIES

All of your movies need to be in 1 folder. Do not create a folder for each movie. You can have sub folders for Genres i.e. make an ACTION folder then put all movies which you decide are action movies into this folder.

TV SHOWS

unlike movies you MUST have a folder for each season. So you might have a folder called Modern Family, then in this folder you would have 3 folders called Season 1, Season 2, Season 3 and within the season folders will be all of the episode videos for each season.

When you have the above sorted out (and this can be quite a bit of work) you are ready for :

  1. Loading your theme. I will not tell you which moviesheet based theme I have as there are many good ones and it is down to personal preference. There are instructions with themes on how to load them and you will have to hunt this specific info down but in short if you have a SMP box then you have to go to its web interface and go to appearances and upload the theme. if you have a live Hub then you are copying the theme onto the Harddrive of the hub. 

When you have the theme loaded correctly onto your WDTV box then you should see the theme already on your TV and you are ready for the next step :

  1. Using Thumbgen to generate moviesheets. Once again I can’t give you detail here but an overview. Thumbgen is a nifty program that when it is preconfigured with the theme you want to use (you have to do this) then it will search the internet for the movie/tv show information (synopsis etc) boxcover art, fanart which is used for backdrops and other things and mix them all up in an electronic blender to instantly give you a complete moviesheet. You will have seen moviesheet examples for differnet themes but the creation of these movie sheets are very quick. What is not so quick is getting thumbgen programmed to work for your theme.

You need to download the thumbgen program

You need to get the theme specific thembgen configuration files

You need to go into thumbgen and make profiles for both Movies and TV shows

You can then start using thumbgen to create your moviesheets

When you have thumbgen running correctly it will generate multiple files that will be named (mostly) identically to the movie/tv show you are trying to make. All of these files get placed into the appropriate folder either MOVIE or TV SHOW as discussed above and then if all goes well you should be able to view the movie and moviesheet on your hub.

I have resisted going into any detail here as it would run into many pages and it is also theme dependent to some degree. Most of the info is on these threads but the theme designers are very helpful and will answer your specific questions as you work through the above list.

I have 10 times as many media files as you and it was a lot of work to get it all formatted and ready to go but I saw this as a project. I now benefit from this effort and maintaining the media library is very simple as you only have to do this big job once. in my opinion a media library on its own is worthless without this type of interface.

Good luck !

how does thunbgen work in terms of filers already stored on the internal HDD of the wd live? do i need to copy everythign onto on external hard drive use thumbgen then copy everythign back. EVerything else i understand.

or is it u make the movie sheets with the program and you move them manually?

i noticed when i used a thumb drive to copy a episode of a show i used search for to get info and picture icon that it had a .xml file(i think or another extension) is that what thumbgen does creates those files?

I have an SMP and not a WD Live so I am not sure how accessable the HDD is from windows but I suspect that if thumbgen can see your content (videos) diectly on the wd live then you should be able to process the videos in thumbgen and it will automatically write all the necessary files onto the wd live hdd. It will create a *_sheet.jpg (your moviesheet), an xml file which the wdtv box needs to correctly display the sheet and also *.jpg files which are the box cover art. Finally your thumbgen should also generate a *.tgmd file which is a special thumbgen file that contains all of the components of your moviesheet. This will allow you to generate sheets for different themes automatically without having to access the internet and with the knowledge that the the new sheets will be identical. this is particularly important if you have manually made up sheets because the movie or TV show has no information (it might be an old series or the info is incomplete). 

I should also point out that because you have a wd live and not an SMP box you have the option to go down the linksheet path (you lucky person). It requires that all your moviesheets are renamed to be identical to your video including extension (i.e. if you have a video called batman.mkv then your moviesheet will be called batman.mkv) and then all of the moviesheet files need to reside in the root folder of your wd live hdd. The advantage is that the sheets open up instantly and you also have the option of creating folder sheets which is not currently possible using standard moviesheet themes. foldersheets allow you to have the equivalent of a moviesheet for a folder. as an example your genre folders can be tarted up with a cool background or tv series can have a sheet with a description of the series itself. The linksheet themes are required to go down this path and thumbgen paths can be modified to make it so you don’t have to manually rename files or move them where they belong. I’m just sayin… :slight_smile:

(i.e. if you have a video called batman.mkv then your moviesheet will be called batman.mkv) and then all of the moviesheet files need to reside in the root folder of your wd live hdd.)

Expanding and Correcting the above …

(i.e. if you have a video called batman.mkv then your moviesheet will be called batman.mkv) and then all of the moviesheet files need to reside in the root of your theme folder “eg. .wd_tv\theme\MyTheme” on your wdtv live hub’s hdd)

Also, for the linksheets to display the rv_gallery_browse_page.xml must contain this modification …

<image image="@@browse_text" x=“0” y=“0” w=“1280” h=“720”/>

all other views require this line modification … <image image="@@focused_title" x=“0” y=“0” w=“1280” h=“720”/>

1 Like

Thanks JoeySmyth. Based on what you’ve said do you need to modify the xml files if your theme is an “official” linksheet theme or is this modification only necessary if you want a older theme to display linksheets ?

Your original description omitted  “This will only work with Linksheet Themes”

Which is pretty important, since people might assume it will work with any theme.

(which it will … But it requires a Modification)

So,

If the author states it’s a “Linksheet” Theme … the author has already done the modifications.

If the author does not state “Linksheet” Theme  …  then you need add the above modifications to enable the Linksheets.

Thanks again JoeySmyth. I was trying to give an overview of the process without the detail as this seems to be missing from the forums. There is a ton of good info here but not much on the complete process as a whole. My theory was that when people understand the broad concept they can then dive into the forums to get the detail which in some cases will be specific to the theme they choose. For people reading the above you need to research each aspect of what i have said. The detail is in the forums. 

pearl wrote:

If you have a lot of movies from the 30s-40s, foreign stuff and rare or hard to find movies, it takes a little more work. In general I have found that for my older movies, there may be no fan-art or movie covers, so even if the description is found while I am making the sheets, I have to get on the web and find backdrops to use. For some really obscure movies, I have has to manually fill in all the info.

Another thing to help the obscure older north american and sometimes foreign films. If you use http://www.themoviedb.org as a scraper in thumbgen you can get a free account and add the information there. Will help you in the future and also help out anyone else that needs to scrape that movie. Same with  http://thetvdb.com/

Ok, I’ll answer my own question now I have had time to play with my device.

Yes - just read the instructions - I had some issues but carefully re-reading and seeking advice from the forum guru’s I managed to achieve what I needed.

This has left me a little peeved at some ‘lacking’ features of the hub, namely Genres (or more specifically multiple genres) - Sifting through 100’s movies is hard enough!

Also I feel the hub is lacking somewhat on the music side - A revamped jukebox would be nice.

I still have much to learn, but I certainly am a lot further along the path than when I first started.

GB

Goldbadger wrote:

 

This has left me a little peeved at some ‘lacking’ features of the hub, namely Genres (or more specifically multiple genres) - Sifting through 100’s movies is hard enough!

 

 

Cool that you made it through your setup. I dont understand what you mean by lacking generes though. You can have any geres that you want. Just make a folder for each one you want and then put the movies for that genre inside the folder/directory. That way you wont be sifting through 100s of movies. I have my movies broken down into 15 genres and some of those have sub-genres. Just made all the genre folders I wanted on my movie drive. Should be an easy solve for you.

If I am reading your post right, you should be able to solve this pretty easily.

-P