Making it all work together

I’ve spent countless days upon weeks after getting my SMP on getting things to work as best as they can.

First, I learned how to use WDLXTV to use endless moviesheets for folders and files.

This in combination of the Titan Theme with some modifications of my own, I was able to get things the way I wanted.

I’m still working on putting the pieces togther, but it is a labor of love that I get my movies and their related content working together. 

As stated by others, the media library is a pain to use and I experienced that pain too, so I’m not using it. I’m using shared network folders and each folder is kind of like a genre, but it is more like a category. It works best for me, because some movies that are defined as one genre are sometimes mislabled in my mind, so I customize my folders to hold movies that I feel belong together.

I removed / commented out items in the WDTV xml files that slowed the navigation down. I removed the green/red/yellow/blue button images, the time / weather and all movie meta data, except the movie title and backgrounds. The movie xml files still contain all of the data, but I don’t display it all. I only display the title and the backgrounds. I could have removed the title and display it on the moviesheet, but it is easier to not have the title on each moviesheet. It gives me freedom If I don’t want moviesheets for some movies, but just want a title displayed.

Many people on this board say to put all movies into one folder category instead of separate folders for each movie.

I’m here to say this might be ok for some types of movies, but a lot iof movies I have, I have things about them that I really like. I like the DVD menus of some movies and because the media libaray is not being used, I no longer can view movie trailers. So, in the end I have most movies in folders, many with a with DVD menus, trailers and bonus clips.

At the folder level I generate my moviesheet with Thumbgen and at the file level I have the associated xml file to cycle thru slides of the movie at 3 sec intervals. Using the Gallery View, I changed the movies to display 5 movie thumbnails to allow the background slides to be better viewed. Large gaps between the thumbnails show the backdrops more cleanly. Also, because of my folder / file setup, if I want to start my movie at the folder level I just need to select the play button on the folder and it plays all of the contents in the folder. So, if I have DVD menu in the folder, I name it in a way that it is always played first, then the movie gets played. When playing the menu, I can hit the double arrow button to go to the next video file, which is the movie.

When I created my moviesheets, I realized most of the themes created and in WDTV’s own setup - the font is really too small to read from 10 to 12 feet away with my 46in TV, So I changed the movie info to display in a large font and moved all display items above the area where the thumbnails are displayed. It all works. When a movie has a long overview I just go to IMDB and get the short overview brief and use that.

All in all, it is working out nicely. The hard work is collecting trailers I want to keep and collecting the movie backdrops.

The WDTV doesn’t reference all trailers correctly and most of the time I can get 720p trailers. The backdrops I collect are a subset of the ones the WDTV references on the internet and because I make them local, they load faster. Some backdrops I had to create are based on other images on the net too.

Currently, I have fast navigation using five thumbnails, moviesheets, and limited movie xml data to display. Using the next page / prev page buttons I can quickly navigate through more movies quickly too.

All in all, I would say the thing I wish I could do is have the pages / folders I navigate through have some sort of smooth animation flow and customizeable sound. Instead we get one page just showing up and sometimes I see my thumbnails loading and this is with only 5 thumbnails on a page. 

Until something better comes, this will do for now. I looked into XBMC and wanted it first but after more research it just wasn’t something I wanted to do. I wouldn’t be happy with not being able to have custom backdrops for my folders, but with WDLXTV I can do this as much as my 64Gb thumbdrive holds. 

All of my work is tedious and is taking a long time, but with patience and a good backup solution I will only need to this once per movie.

I really like a lot of the themes out there, but I think they are really making there themes to be best viewed from a computer monitor or for a person sitting close to a TV. Having family members in the room I have to be reasonable and make things easier to read. I also realized that while some movie overviews can be long, because maybe it really needs to be, having most overviews short and to the point is also easier to read than a bunch of word on the TV. It just makes sense. I don’t want to stuggle reading over 6 lines of text to find out what the movie is about. Of course we all know what the movie is about anyway, so having a short amount of words to read is all that is needed anyway.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the product.