New guy with metadata, coverart, background art, etc. questions


I just got my WD Live SMP hooked up last night and am trying to figure a couple things out with videos and my DVD collection…

I look through the forums and the different theme pictures and all looks most excellent with the background art, cover art, descriptions of the movie, etc etc.  However, I’m having trouble figuring out how to get all this to show up??? Seems like all the posts I’ve been reading talk about changing how it looks, etc but not much on just the basics that I’m having trouble with in getting it to even appear. LOL

Basically, I have about 75 ripped DVDs on a network share (computer in other room with external USB drive has these movies).  They are laid out on the drive in folders that are the names of the movies with the video_ts, audio_ts sub folders (pretty standard).  

I think I have everything set correctly to auto get the metadata.  I CAN see the thumbnail image for many of the DVDs.  However, when I scroll over the movie, the thumb gets a little bit bigger but in the screen area where you are supposed to see the movie description, actors, rating, etc. it is just BLANK.  There is also no background art like I see in many of the different theme’s example pictures.  I have looked in the DVD folders and do see two extra files… the metathumb file as well as the xml file. Here is an example of what is in the XML and all looks OK I think…

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
-<details> <genre>Action</genre> <id>94348</id> <imdb_id>tt1712170</imdb_id> <overview>After Washington DC detective Alex Cross is told that a family member has been murdered, he vows to track down the killer. He soon discovers that she was not his first victim and that things are not what they seem.</overview> <year>2012-11-30</year> <runtime>101</runtime> <title>Alex Cross</title> <cast>Rachel Nichols / Tyler Perry / Jean Reno / Matthew Fox / Giancarlo Esposito / Edward Burns / Cicely Tyson / John C. McGinley / Chad Lindberg / Carmen Ejogo / Stephanie Jacobsen</cast> <director>Rob Cohen</director> <trailer></trailer> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> <backdrop></backdrop> </details>

However, the only thing I can see is the DVD thumb???  

How does a person get that data above to show and get the movie collection to look like the example pictures in the themes?  I have tried several different themes and all are the same… just thumbs.

I did, in a couple posts I read, get the impression that all this fancy stuff might need to be done manually??? SURELY that is not the case? LOL  I’m hoping I’m just missing something simple and you guys can give me some advice :slight_smile:


you have to be in gallery view

and must access your media ether by network share, local drive, or media library

media server afaik will not display moviesheets

at least not without some manual work (linksheets)

I’m in the gallery view and I can play the DVDs fine.  It is also writing the XML file to the folder so I think I have the permissions setup correctly too.

Here is a picture of what I get. I used the Alex Cross example since the above XML is for Alex Cross.  None of it is showing though?  In the default theme below I see n/a but in some other themes it is just totally blank.


Also, I noticed something that is a bit weird maybe… I said to clear everything and rescan.  Well, I did this earlier this afternoon but the xml and metathumb file time/date stamps are from last night when I was playing around with it.  If I cleared everything, shouldn’t these have been deleted as well?


Also, here is what my folder structure looks like and the two files the WD SMP added.  

I’m new to all this but where does it store the background art and images like that?  Are those supposed to be in this folder as well along with the xml and metathumb files?  Thanks!

4-5-2013 3-00-23 PM.jpg

you MUST be in gallery view or the backgrounds will not be displayed by the default theme

I’ve never used the internal scaper, but if you look at your XML

all backgrounds are linking to an online resource

which means if it’s unable to reach the online resource nothing would be displayed

You’ll have to go into the folder to see the details.

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Backdrops and metadata don’t display for folders.

I haven’t tested this in a while, but if your using DVD file structure you’ll need to change your content source “My Media Library”.  If you’re accessing the files from a network source you’ll need to add that source to your media library.

If that doesn’t work, your best bet is to convert your files to ISOs, which will give you a single file (does not change anything about you video, an iso is basically just a zip file).

Not sure why you aren’t seeing the info in the .xml file, but you are seeing .metathumb image.  I have mine arranged only with individual .mkv files (e.g., Alex_Cross.mkv) rather than a directory (“folder”) for each movie, but since it created those files, the SMP seems to understand your arrangement.  Odd.

On Linux/Smba systems, the backdrops get stored in a directory named like:  ..backdrop (e.g.,  .Alexa_Cross.backdrop).  The images get downloaded and stored as backdrop00.jpg, backdrop01.jpg, etc.  In the Linux/UNIX, files/directories whose names start with a “.” (dot) are considered hidden, and are not shown by default by many applications.  Since Windows filesystems have a “hidden” attribute, you might try looking to see if any hidden directories were created.

Clearing the Media Library merely clears the internal cache in the SMP–it does not delete and rebuild the metadata files or DB files that the SMP creates on the store.  That is why you don’t see creation times change.

Not sure what to suggest, since I don’t have experience with your data layout nor with the SMP and Windows.  What I would try just for fun would be editing the .xml file and putting something different in the field, just to try to tell if the SMP is showing anything at all from that file.

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now that I can see the pics

you definetely must go deeper

WD only displays back drops for files, not for folders

i.e. since it’s a dvd structure, you need to be selecting the .vob file

you could also solve the problem, by creating an ISO of the directory

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Ah, yes, no backdrops on directories.  Very true.  Missed that.  You can get  some of the xml file data to be shown for directories, but this requires the trick of giving them media file extensions, like “Alex Cook.mkv”.  So as already noted, your best bet is to convert to files.  If you want to maintain all DVD structure then create ISO files (not sure easiest method under Windows–probably burning software that can save iso image).  If you just want the movies, you can download free software mkvtoolnix and create MKV files from the VOBs.

To create iso files from DVD vob rip use ImgBurn - free

Thanks much guys for all the recommendations!

It seems like what I’m trying to do isn’t possible with my current layout.  That’s a real bummer and at the same time very odd.  My folder structure is “normal” for many other programs, players, devices, etc.  Also, as was brought up, the SMP obviously “knows” what’s going on because it is creating the XML file as well as the thumb so why it can’t also just finish the process is a little weird.

What else is unfortunate is the folder containing the 75 or so DVDs was just a test.  I have close to 1000 of my DVDs saved like this.  Not only do I not have the time to “redo” or make 1000 ISOs or MKVs but I don’t really want to go spend all the money it would take for additional hard drives either! LOL

But, just so I’m clear since there seemed to be some differing answers, is this SUPPOSED to work with the folder layout I have or MUST it see an actual filename?  I’m a little confused here because it generates the correct XML and thumb with the folder layout WITHOUT having a filename named like the movie so why doesn’t it work?  Also, as somebody pointed out, the XML is wanting this stuff to be gathered from an online source and NOT my local hard drive so with this but of info it seems it is expected to not see the .jpg files for backgrounds, cover art, etc in my folders because the XML wants to get it online.   So, could it be that the folder structure I have actually works but for some other reason it is not going online to get the images as the XML file seems to want?  It seems like it would take a pretty big cache to do this on the SMP or it would be VERY slow as it got the files each time somebody scrolled to a new movie. Hmm?

I’m going to try throwing an iso file in the root folder just to see what happens :slight_smile:


Is the above picture not the Gallery View?  I looked in the manual and that is what they are calling the Gallery View I believe?

I just tried (from my computer) clicking one of the external links and it brought it up fine.  I have no idea what would prevent the SMP from going online.  But, since it isn’t even displaying the TEXT items like the description, that almost seems to me like the SMP isn’t even reading or looking at the XML file, right?  The metathumb isn’t even mentioned in the XML file so its display must come from something totally different.


The videos_ts and audio_ts folders have nothing extra added to them.  The only thing the SMP has done is add the xml file and metathumb file.


First off, sorry about the above two posts… I’m not familiar with how this message board works and I was hitting “reply” to certain people and then typing but evidently this board doesn’t include the reply so it looks confusing :slight_smile:

I just did some testing and some mentioned what I needed to do but I didn’t know what you meant :slight_smile:

I created another folder share called DVDsTEST and dropped 3 DVDs in there (with the same structure as above) and two ISO files.  With the ISO files, I immediately see the metadata and backdrops.  However, for some reason, this is NOT the case with the DVD folder structure.  Even though I see the thumb, I had to go “deeper” as somebody mentioned.  When in Gallery View and I see all the folders (with thumbs) and ISO files along the bottom, if I scroll to a DVD folder with the thumb and press OK on the remote I am taken to the video_ts folder with NO thumb and no metadata.  However, if I hit OK on the remote again to go into the video_ts folder, the folder name changes to the name of the DVD (???) I get the thumb back and all the different backdrops start fading in and out.  

When I did this with the Alex Cross example, THAT is when a new folder was created with the video_ts and audio_ts folders!

Then, if I go into the .Alex Cross.backdrop folder, this is what I see…

So, it appears that all is actually working but just working “dumbly”. LOL

Why would Western Digital make it so you have to click the OK button a couple times to see the metadata and backdrops?  It is clear it “works” with the DVD folder structure but just not very effectively IMO.  Why they didn’t just make it so if the SMP “sees” a DVD folder structure to just show the metadata and backdrops in Gallery View while viewing the main folder???  It makes no sense to have to go deeper into every folder to me and nobody would use it like this.  If people are saving their content in a DVD folder structure like this then they have a bunch of folders with movie names as the main folder with the video_ts and audio_ts folders under it.  

It doesn’t seem like this would be that hard to change to make it work much more effectively. I think I saw a forum here to make suggestions so I’ll go make a suggestion to have them change this behavior to be more user friendly and how people actually use this :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help guys!  It appears as though it was working all along (at least as designed) but I just didn’t know it. :slight_smile:

To help somebody else who might think they have a problem, I posted pictures in the suggestions forum that shows exactly what is happening.  Thanks!

Hey mate i feel your pain. Did you find out a work around on this … if not  let me know

because i have a workaround for this.

I came up with a  workaround for VIDEO_TS folders back in February (for the WDTV Live Hub … latest Firmware)

Give it a try and see if it works on the WDTV Live Streaming (SMP)

/?Thats interesting did you see my post on the iso files what do you think of that method? Having one iso image file rather having a dvd folder structure like vidos ts etc?

With my iso method you dont have to click into dvd folder structures, with your method joey do you still have to drill down to the folders to get to the movie fold with cover art and meta data