Could you advise me on a few basic points please?

I’d be very grateful if anyone could please advise me on the following points.

My wife and I are getting-on in years. We used to have our media on the PC and just connect it to the TV by hdmi to watch anything, but now we have films/vids/photos/home-movies etc on one 2TB WD Passport external drive, and music/audio on another.

Our Sony Bravia recognises these fine via USB, and fills the screen with a video wall that we just scroll through to select for playing.

BUT …

It takes 15 mins to scan/index the content before we can scroll/select, which was ok at first but gets annoying after a while. I think a WDTV can do something useful here, though youngsters in the family say I *should* make a streaming network instead so we could play content all over the house on other devices, access our photos via internet when visiting friends, and more.

All of this is brilliant of course, but in truth would probably be rarely used if at all. Plus I don’t relish needing to connect things to the internet, register them with each other, set up accounts and permissions, set up “saves” and groups, passwords etc, then have to deal with all of that when something goes wrong!

So I THINK I can do what I want simply and without streaming, just using a WDTV as a pass-through device for the two WD drives …  couple of cables, job done. 

My understanding is not much above zero however and I’d like to find answers to a few questions that I expect are actually embarrassingly basic. If anyone more expert can assist with these it would be such a help!

  1. Can WDTV actually be used on just this pass-through basis?
  2. Does WDTV take a time to index HD content (like our TV) or is it quick/instant (like the PC)?
  3. Does WDTV have to build an index every time it is switched on, or does it remember?
  4. Does media have to be named a certain way to be *seen*? Our films are just named the film’s title inside a Genre folder (eg “Comedy”), and music is the track-name inside an album-name folder inside an artist-name folder.
  5. Does WDTV work better if media content is organised a certain way? I have read that some other media players need everything in its own folder … it would be a mammoth task for me to have to put everything in to individual folders!
  6. How does WDTV display content, is it searchable, and is it in folders/groups or just an alpha-num list? I ask this because our TV simply reads all the folders and displays total content without indicating these layers. This produces a single looooong list in groups but with no separation, which isn’t too bad for films but needs quite a search if wanting a single track off one album from one artist. PC’s folder-tree is MUCH easier to navigate for this.
  7. I’ve read comments about a library with cover-art etc, but think this requires something external installed. Is this correct? Either way, we’re happy with just a simple folder structure you can drill-down through to quickly select what we want. A library with cover art etc would be nice however if not a problem to set up. If that is something external, which one is most people’s favourite? And is any renaming of files involved?
  8. I read WDTV automatically searches for the internet as part of being switched on. As the PC could probably then be made to pick it up on a home network, would I be able to add and delete content/downloads wirelessly that way instead of re-connecting the external drive to the PC and adding/deleting/drag-and-drop?

These seem to be things a user would know but are too fundamental to appear on forums where people are wanting tech info for problems etc. It would be useful to know these basic things however, and thanks if you can help with any or offer other tips or thoughts I wouldn’t even think of anyway.

Thanks

1. Can WDTV actually be used on just this pass-through basis?

pass-through ? you mean connect the WDTV to your TV via HDMI (or Composite) and plug in the 2TB drive into the WDTV … yes, that works fine

2. Does WDTV take a time to index HD content (like our TV) or is it quick/instant (like the PC)?

Yes, it takes time depending on how much content you have. 

Is it quick like your PC ?  The WDTV has a 700 MHz processor with 512MB of DDR2 … what do you think ?:wink:

3.Does WDTV have to build an index every time it is switched on, or does it remember?

As long as it creates a .wd_tv folder on your 2TB drive … it won’t build the index everytime.

If you add a new movie to the 2TB … then it will build the index

4. Does media have to be named a certain way to be seen? Our films are just named the film’s title inside a Genre folder (eg “Comedy”), and music is the track-name inside an album-name folder inside an artist-name folder.

Your setup is fine

5. Does WDTV work better if media content is organised a certain way? I have read that some other media players need everything in its own folder … it would be a mammoth task for me to have to put everything in to individual folders!

No, it’s best NOT to have media in individual folders! … your setup is fine

6. How does WDTV display content, is it searchable, and is it in folders/groups or just an alpha-num list? I ask this because our TV simply reads all the folders and displays total content without indicating these layers. This produces a single looooong list in groups but with no separation, which isn’t too bad for films but needs quite a search if wanting a single track off one album from one artist. PC’s folder-tree is MUCH easier to navigate for this.

Turn the Media Library “On” and everything is searchable

7 .I’ve read comments about a library with cover-art etc, but think this requires something external installed. Is this correct? Either way, we’re happy with just a simple folder structure you can drill-down through to quickly select what we want. A library with cover art etc would be nice however if not a problem to set up. If that is something external, which one is most people’s favourite? And is any renaming of files involved?

The WDTV has a Built-In Media Scraper.  Use an external one if it can’t find Media Info for a particular movie/tv show

8. I read WDTV automatically searches for the internet as part of being switched on. As the PC could probably then be made to pick it up on a home network, would I be able to add and delete content/downloads wirelessly that way instead of re-connecting the external drive to the PC and adding/deleting/drag-and-drop?

If you use the WDTV for Network Shares (stream from PC or a NAS) … you can Delete files via your WDTV but you still would have to use your PC to add content to the Networks Shares.

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Thank you so much Joey for such a comprehensive reply! Very greatly appreciated indeed

1 - Yes that’s what I meant - “pass-through” is my non-techy description, as I think of it as being an interface passing the 2TB’s content through by cable directly rather than streaming it on a different level of tech. complexity altogether.

2 - I’ll take that as a “yes, it is nippy” then :smiley: … I’m sure that there’s significantly higher intelligence involved with the WDTV, but operationally all I know is that the TV doesn’t hunt for content, has to scan the whole drive in order to be sure it gets everything. That said, the vid/movie drive is around three-quarters full and the audio/music drive about half. Glad to know there shouldn’t be a lengthy wait before being able to play anthing, that’s really what made me start lookng in to all this in the first place!

3 - Am I to understand from your words that it should automatically create a .wd_tv folder on the drives, or is that something I need/am-asked to do manually at setup? (I will be connecting both of them as there are 2 USB ports, I assume WDTV can read/display content from both at the same time?

6&7 - So the display is a library and can include cover art etc., Great!  “Media Scraper”? A very descriptive name lol. I assume this is an inbuilt utility that looks online for movie data matching the movie titles it finds in the drive’s content. That’s why I was wondering if the name and folder structure might need to be a certain way in order to be *seen*. 

8 - I don’t plan to get in to streaming, just “connecting boxes with cables” :smiley: which keeps things simple to stay within my ease of understanding :flushed: . I’ll add/delete content by hooking the drives to the PC and doing it that way -  I was only wondering about removing it from the WDTV in case it took a long time to re-index it when then reconneted … as it doesn’t have a time issue with this as already mentioned however, it is a non-issue anyway :smiley:

Again, many thanks!

2 - I’ll take that as a “yes, it is nippy” then  :smiley:

I hope you’re joking  :wink:   your question about how fast and comparing it to your PC … PC will always be faster

3 - Am I to understand from your words that it should automatically create a .wd_tv folder on the drives, or is that something I need/am-asked to do manually at setup? (I will be connecting both of them as there are 2 USB ports, I assume WDTV can read/display content from both at the same time?

Yes it does it Automatically

6&7 - So the display is a library and can include cover art etc., Great!  “Media Scraper”? A very descriptive name lol. I assume this is an inbuilt utility that looks online for movie data matching the movie titles it finds in the drive’s content. That’s why I was wondering if the name and folder structure might need to be a certain way in order to be seen.

The Media Scraper grabs the info,posters,backdrops from  https://www.themoviedb.org/    and http://thetvdb.com/ 

keep your filenames clean and it should’nt have a problem.

eg.  (by clean, i mean this)         The.Dark.Knight.(2008).[Action].[PG-13].x264.1080p.DTS.mkv    >    The Dark Knight.mkv

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2 - Joking now yes, though before you replied I only knew that the TV took 15 mins to read the drive and the PC took seconds …  I didn’t know for sure where the WDTV falls between those two, as it is just another black box to me I’m afraid - I genuinely have very little understanding/knowledge of the amazing technology our grandchildren take as normal :flushed:

"keep your filenames clean and it should’nt have a problem.

eg.  (by clean, i mean this)         The.Dark.Knight.(2008).[Action].[PG-13].x264.1080p.DTS.mkv    >    The Dark Knight.mkv"

Looks like I have some renaming to do after all :cry:

Using your example, in my folder The Dark Knight is simply called “The Dark Knight” … I assume the string you have given in red will need to be created before it can be recognised for “scraping” (lovely word, lol)

Is there any database I can access where I can enter the title and be provided with that string-info that I can then simply copy/paste as the new filename, or am I looking at a long spell of typing it all manually for each film/TV file? We have hundreds of films and TV shows transferred to the drives now, labelling them manually will be quite a task.

If it needs to be a manual operation however, I can see from your example how the name and date have to be handled and separated, and I could probably take a good stab at the category for most films anyway, but I have no idea what any of the rest means or refers to at all let alone what is correct for a particular film/file … Can you point me towards how I could learn/discover what to add where you show various number/letter groups? Are those maybe even embedded in the files themselves and I only need to extract them somehow?

Sorry if all of this is really very basic, but it is totally rocket surgery to me. Thanks for your patience and for sticking with me.

Regards.   

sorry, you mis-understood …:neutral_face:

keep your file names “clean”  ie.  The Dark Knight.mkv        

having filenames with all sorts of extra info will most likely confuse the Media Scraper from gathering info

so don’t have filenames like this

The.Dark.Knight.(2008).[Action].[PG-13].x264.1080p.DTS.mkv        :heavy_multiplication_x:

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Ah!    Yes, my error. Also my great relief :smiley:

Thanks

Thanks again.

I went through and checked the filenames afterward just in case the odd one might contain something that could derail it’s being scraped.

I found a few needing minor correction, for example where I had added something to remind me of a particular quality like that it was subtitled or was in black-and-white, and particularly where I had omitted “The” from the beginning so that it would alphabetise more naturally in Windows (eg “Dark Knight” instead of “The Dark Knight”). All these were easily fixed as I came across them.

The check did bring one thing to me that I don’t know how to handle however, so may I ask this supplementary question.

It relates to where there is a series of films, and then I also realised there is something similar relating to TV series’ as well.

TV:**  **Taking “24” as an example, all series 1 episodes are called “E01. E02, E03” etc inside a folder called “Series 01”, repeated for series 2/3/4 etc. and their episodes, and all are inside a folder called “24”. Same for Fawlty Towers, Friends, Game Of Thrones and some others, and all programme folders are inside a “TV” folder.

My TV question is: This Windows folder-tree structure is fine for navigating easily on the PC, but is it okay for WDTV or are there too many layers and I need to organise them differently  … and to be able to scrape for episode-info/artwork how should the individual episodes be named as I assume just “E01” etc isn’t sufficient …  “Game Of Thrones S02E01” maybe? This is just a complete guess on my part however.

Films : A good example would be the Bond films. I prefer them listed together and in series order. At the moment I have named them “James Bond 1 - Casino Royale” etc. which achieves that, but if I list them just as their bare film titles they will lose sequence and also be scattered throughout the library list.

There are other examples too where alphabetisation would either scatter them or would not follow the issue-sequence …  no problem where there is a " Rocky 1/2/3" approach that groups them correctly, but that doesn’t apply for example to the Pirates Of The Caribbean series unless you force it by inserting a 1/2/3 etc. which presumably would then break the scraping process for the film(s) concerned anyway

How do you preserve the clean name needed for scraping, whilst also enabling the films to appear together and in issue-sequence in the library? 

Just a quick point relating to audio files:  I assume scraping doesn’t include getting artwork for albums/tracks etc, and that I would have to look in to that separately when I have got the films/TV taken care of? (I’m guessing that storage for album artwork could escalate quickly and might use up a sizeable chunk of resources/memory/storage, so may not be a must-have anyway?)

Thanks for all your input, I think I am getting there :smiley:

only have time to answer one question…

How do you preserve the clean name needed for scraping, whilst also enabling the films to appear together and in issue-sequence in the library?

use clean names 1st … scrape them, then rename them them however you like

Casino Royale.mkv

Casino Royale.jpg     <---- media scraper generates this

Casino Royale.xml    <---- media scraper generates this as well, and you’ll need to edit it (use notepad)

eg. Casino Royal

then rename them

James Bond 21 - Casino Royale.mkv

James Bond 21 - Casino Royale.jpg

James Bond 21 - Casino Royale.xml    <---------- James Bond 21 - Casino Royal

ps. Dr. No was the 1st Bond film … Casino Royal is the 21st   (movie trivia) :wink:

Ah, ok …  I’d automatically dismissed the idea of renaming things, simply assuming it would immediately break the links that would just have been created. 

Hopefully, dealing with TV series/episodes might be just as straightforward to do. If you get the time to come back on this also that would be good, but I completely understand if that’s a step too far after taking much of your time already.

Casino Royale …  yes for the later “proper” one, however I put the '67 spoof film on my list first to get it out of the way - it actually deserves a separate category called “Kitsch” that would have a number of others in with it too, however it is a part of the Bond family so that’s where I put it but in a distinct position.

Dr No …  hmmmm, you sent me back in time a little there, I went to see that as a teen the first weekend it opened here! Imagine an “OMG” smiley right about here …

:smiley: