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Possible to sync FROM XBMC? Useful for updating 'watched' status.

Nov 23, 2014 at 3:22 PM
Edited Nov 23, 2014 at 3:39 PM

I have XBMC link successfully setup, so I can sync to XBMC, but is it possible to sync FROM XBMC to MC please? This would be great for updating playcount, ie watched status?

I only way I can think of currently is to export XBMC library to separate file and then refresh in MC, but this is a bit of a long winded solution.

Thank you
Nov 23, 2014 at 5:32 PM
Not yet, though we have a Dev that is looking into database to database function, ie: MC direct to XBMC, and XBMC to MC.

In the mean time, I may look at an import routine for watched status, if XBMC library is exported as a single file. No ETA on this yet, but would be an interesting alternative.

Although, you can set the watched status in Media Companion, for multiple movies at once. Either select the first movie, then hold CTRL and click individual movies or hold SHIFT and select the last movie. Then either r-click and set as watched or click the red unwatched button.

You can also use Table view to select multiple movies and set them to watched or unwatched.
Nov 23, 2014 at 6:02 PM
Edited Nov 23, 2014 at 6:18 PM
Ok thank you. If sync back to MC for even just the watch status could be implemented at some point, this would be great. At the moment I'm bulk editing a lot of movies so no issue with watched status yet, but thinking more in terms of future edits. Actually thinking about it as I type this, as I use XBMC Universal Movie Scraper, I would need to export nfo from XBMC anyways for the new movies to show up in MC.

It's not a big issue, but it does mean that in order to save having to export frequently, I'd be editing in bulk from time to time, so would be using MC sparingly, rather than on the go as I see the need to make edits as and when, which could then lead to playcount discrepancies. I could simply tag movies as watched in MC as you described, but that means either doing it every time I watch a movie, or next time I use it, which as indicated will be sparingly. As I recently left home with tea cup still in hand, it's highly likely I will also forget which movies I had seen recently! :)

Another option would be to use MC to scrape all my movies, but I'm pretty happy with how Universal Movie Scraper works, and only reason for bulk edits needed currently is due to the fact that I've never really corrected scraper mistakes from previous scrapers used. I stick to scraping via XBMC itself info will be scraped in the correct format for XBMC use (if such a thing exists?).

There are LOTS of options in MC, so maybe once I've checked them all out and understand them fully, I could mimic what UMS does exactly. I did noticed under 'Movie Preferences' the 'Use TMDB XBMC Scraper' option, but not sure how this works exactly? UMS allows me to scrape different things from different sources, so not sure if this option would be suitable, as it suggests to me that it would scrape everything from TMDB?
Nov 23, 2014 at 6:21 PM
Haven't used UMS myself, and started using Media Companion when I had Xbox's with XBMC. Now i have a mixture of Xbox's, Raspberry Pi's and couple of Laptop's with XBMCbuntu.

So for me it was a case of getting local nfo and artwork for my Movies and TV shows, that could be scraped with all these devices. Plus, if one device needs a clean install, all info is local.

As to what UMS does, I'm not sure.

In Media Companion, we scrape movies mainly from IMBD, but the user can select to scrape movies from TMDB, using a copy of XBMC's TMDB scraper. We also have options to download different info from IMDB or TMDB. EG. If TMDB scraper is not selected, we scrape the movie from IMDB, but can scrape the Movie sets or actors from TMDB.
If TMDB is selected, we can get the Votes, outline, Top250, Rating and some others from IMDB.
Artwork can be scraped from TMDB, IMDB (only some) and from Fanart.Tv

Syncing Playcount is the one thing we can't do just yet, and until we can read back from XBMC's Database, no way for us to Sync it with MC's nfo's. Or visa-versa.
As most watch movies/TV in XBMC, the only options for now, would be a way to read the exported single file, and update Movie/TV episodes Playcount.
Nov 25, 2014 at 6:28 PM
Thanks vbat99. UMS simply does the same as the TMDB scraper, but just gives user more options, so it's possible to grab certain things from IMDB, and other things from TMDB and some other sources. I believe for that reason it's the preferred choice for many users now. If I could set MC up to scrape in exactly the same way, I think I might just use MC instead. The only thing I wouldn't want those is to download actors to movie individual folders, which is what happens with MC for me. I do want to scrape the actors but all to just one folder, like XBMC does. I think it keeps them in ...userdata > Thumbnails, or maybe it's a url within nfo, not sure really, as both exist.

Do you run XBMC on your Pi? Does it work well and can it playback 720p without issues? I know in the earlier days this was an issue, but I believe this has been resolved now with the likes of OpenElec etc?

I'm still rocking XBMC on an Xbox for my bedroom, but it's a real pain now when wanting to watch something in 720p, which is most of my files now. I've been holding off replacing it, because it's severed me so well for so long, but with the lure of cheap as chips Pi, I think it's days are numbered! I know it's possible for Xbox to playback 720p when frame rate is lowered combined with low powered dashboard, but I don't want to faff about recoding etc just to use on Xbox.
Nov 25, 2014 at 10:00 PM
Having a quick look at UMS, I see all the options. That is something I might have to look further the future.

For now, I believe MC is covering most bases in the options we have.

For Actor images, look at Movie Preferences -> Advanced tab. Here you can allocate one folder for your actor images, and set up the link for XBMC to access those.

Yes, I run Rasbmc on my Pi. I have two at the moment, but about to get a third. (one to replace the Xbox in my daughters room).
720P is awesome. Even 1080P is great. Only had one issue and that video was encoded H.264 High 5.1. Produced artifacts. But, I re-encoded with Handbrake, and plays perfectly.
I know about OpenElec, but don't like the locked-down OS they have (or had, been a while since I used it) implemented. Currently running on Helix on the Pi, and that has made an extreme difference.
For the Pi, library browsing is a little sluggish, but for the size, price and what it can do, It was a No-Brainer!

He he..... you could always upgrade the Xbox to Trusty's 1.3Ghz box with 128MB Ram. Although the price is high, I have read everyone who's done this are impressed with the performance, and playback of 720p content.

But for that price, you could get two Pi's, powerpacks, cases, HDMI cables and SD cards.

For my Pi's, I use a 4GB SD for Boot, and a USB3 for the install of Rasbmc. Works sweet.
Nov 25, 2014 at 11:13 PM
Edited Nov 25, 2014 at 11:23 PM
Yeah UMS is a great scraper. I've no doubt in it's present state, MC can manually be setup to mimic UMS, but it would be great if there was an option for it in MC to make it even easier for XBMC users. More options the better, but can be a little overwhelming to start with.

I was just looking at the advanced tab/actor thumbs before reading this. I hardly ever browser library via actors, so never really paid much attention to the artwork, so if it has it, great, if not, no big deal. As such I just let UMS/XBMC do it's thing, but as a result I'm not really sure how the artwork is saved/called for? I do not export actor artwork, so the only place I believe these images are is in userdata > thumbnails, but there is also a URL for each actor in the nfo. What's the process then? If actors are scraped and saved in thumbnails folder, what's the URL for? I know this is more of an XBMC questions now, so can ask in that forum if needs be.

To be honest, I have really no idea when it comes to different XBMC builds for the Pi, just that OpenElec seems to be the one that often pops up the most when doing a little research recently. I've tried to stick with my trusty Xbox, hoping one days, some how, the boffins (like your good-self no doubt), will figure out smooth 720p playback, but just doesn't seem likely as the hardware just isn't up to it. It can almost do it, but not quite.

Tested with X-Men: Days of Future Past last night using all the tricks, and custom settings I could find, all of which make a marked improvement, but when it come to action scenes, Xbox started to spit and stutter (sob sob). I thought about Trusty's upgrade, but financially just can't justify it when there are so many more cheaper options, would be awesome though! I'd just be using Pi for bedroom, so a little sluggish library browsing wouldn't bother me a bit, just as long as I could watch 720p movies again.

Did you build your Pi case out of Lego? I know there are some great cases to purchase now, but I still think I would like to build my own for the novelty aspect of showing visitors my lego computer! I think I might go complete over the top and build a full on over sized Lego castle to house the Pi!

Do you do anything else with your Pi's, or they just running XBMC? I guess as XBMC's on SD card, you can simply switch SD's and do whatever else? I think I just need to get my hands on one to see what all the fuss is about. I'll see what Santa brings me. Better than socks, which is the only other thing I need! I take it the Model B plus is the one to go for?
Nov 26, 2014 at 12:28 AM
I going to have a look at UMS, but first need to build the options interface. That! is going to take some time, and a big learning curve...again.
I was just looking at the advanced tab/actor thumbs before reading this. I hardly ever browser library via actors, so never really paid much attention to the artwork, so if it has it, great, if not, no big deal. As such I just let UMS/XBMC do it's thing, but as a result I'm not really sure how the artwork is saved/called for? I do not export actor artwork, so the only place I believe these images are is in userdata > thumbnails, but there is also a URL for each actor in the nfo. What's the process then? If actors are scraped and saved in thumbnails folder, what's the URL for? I know this is more of an XBMC questions now, so can ask in that forum if needs be.
OK, so here's the deal with Actor images.
You can choose to download the actor images. If you do, you have two options.
  1. Download to .actors folder. This will be in the same folder as the movie scraped.
  2. Download to a common, local folder. This means no duplication of actor images. It's also sorted into sub folders A to Z, so user's don't have 4 million actor images in one folder.. (exaggerate)
Actor url in the nfo. Now comes the trick.
  • If you decide not to download actor images, both MC and XBMC use the url to display the actor's image. XBMC will download from the URL and store in it's database. MC will just download the image into the cache for temporary display.
  • If you download the image with option 1. The URL is still saved in the nfo. XBMC and MC will attempt to get the actor's image from the .actors folder first. If not present, then will download from the Internet.
  • If a download to a common folder. The URL address is altered to point to the local folder. This folder must be mapped in XBMC. MC will use the local path in the URL tag to display the Actor's image. XBMC will also use this path and store the image in it's database.
Hope that's not too confusing.

With multiple XBMC machines, 2 Pi's, 1 x Xbox, and 1 x Laptop running XBMCbuntu, I've never done the Common folder for actor's option. But I would assume it would be best option.

My Pi's, I bought the cases. Simple Black plastic cases. These unit's are mounted behind the TV Screens, so out of sight. I use a USB IR Receiver with Logitech Remote to control all my connected devices, in each room. No need to hunt for two or three remotes. For the Pi, I believe Openelec installs onto the SD Card. Raspbmc you have the choice. SD install, or SD Boot & USB Flash Drive install.

And for either XBMC option, Yes, just remove the SD Card, and insert another and you could be running a full Linux Distro if you want. The current model, the B+, is slightly better than the older B Model. Four USB ports, better cable layout, and slightly better power management. I only use them for the Moment. Would love to get around to a Home Security/Management project, but Friends/Family PC support, Unraid Servers and Media Companion keep me very busy...

Signing off for now. Have to do some 'Real' work. LOL.
Nov 26, 2014 at 1:19 AM
Edited Nov 26, 2014 at 1:23 AM
Makes perfect sense, thank you for explaining, but it does leave me with some more questions (sorry!).

Within MC, none of actors images appear, even though actors <thumb> URL's are present within nfo. The only time they appear is when I've scraped via MC and there is a .actors folder present. I haven't changed any of the advanced settings, so not using common folder or anything, so any idea why they are not appearing please?

I don't think I really need common folder as don't want to over complicate things, so happy to just let XBMC do it's thing. The one thing I can't work out is how to scrape using MC that will add actors URL to nfo, but without downloading images and creating .actors folder? If via 'Scraper > IMDB Scraper Limits' you set 'Maximum number of actors: 0', then the .actors folder isn't created, but then neither is the URL for actors in the nfo. Is it not possible to simply scrape actors URL without download images please?

Logitech Remotes are great ain't they! I've used them for years, on my second (or maybe third) model now, currently 'Harmony One'. I always wanted that fat one, the size of a tablet before tablets existed, but other than looking impressive, not really needed. I have a full on home cinema setup that I thought would be easy for others to use once I got the 'One', with it's ability to turn everything on and set everything up with just a single button press... but the others still struggle?!

I tell them 'if you want to watch tv, press that button, yeah, that's it, the one that says Watch TV'. It works when I'm there to guide them through it, but if they try it while say I'm upstairs, I all too often get a shout saying it's gone wrong again. So I come down to find radio satellite Xbox Xbox 360 Wii all on, TV off, with a goat standing on top off it chewing the remote! Well maybe not the goat part, but you get the picture. I give up!

Thanks for your help. I'm off too to get some shut eye.
Nov 26, 2014 at 1:45 AM
We have an option in MC to only display local actors. Uncheck this and it should work. General Preferences, Display Local Actor images only.
Also in there is Save Actor Thumb to .actors folder. Uncheck this and it won't save actor images, but URL is present in nfo.

If you set Maximum number of actors to Zero, then MC will not scrape any actor information at all.

A friend had the Harmony one, but found it was a bit slow, maybe it was the big model before the One, the 1000? not sure. I've got the 785, two of them and a 625 (crappy unit, but then it's for the daughter). Still, even though it's Activity are great, still have to tell the Wife and Daughter to Leave It Pointed At the TV! LOL.

So, where abouts are you?
Nov 26, 2014 at 6:13 PM
Edited Nov 26, 2014 at 8:04 PM
Hi vbat99

I still can't get MC to display artist using URL within nfo. I unchecked 'Display Local Actor images only', but still no actor thumbs displaying (right hand bottom of MC). Is there something else I need to do? I tried a refresh, but no joy.

I read some other users complaining of slow remotes, but I don't get it, how can a remote be slow? Slow at what? I had the Hamony 880 pro before the 'One' and noticed no speed difference in the time to turn stuff on. Like you pointed out, they all need to be left pointed at the devices long enough to complete its sequence, and the more there is to turn out/settings to change, the long that sequence will be, but still no more than a few seconds really. I'd not seen the 785 until now. Looks a lot like the 880 which was a great remote, until the buttons broke. I also have two 515 that I picked up cheap. Not sure what I will do the next time I'm in the market for a new remote as really don't like Logitech range now, too much touchscreen and not enough physical buttons!

I'm a pomme from the UK. I've never been to NZ, looks amazing, but just so bloody far away!

[UPDATE] I got the actor's thumbs showing now. Not sure how, guess I must have not saved, or saved in latest version (e), but then closed and reopen old version (via shortcut). I've deleted old version now to stop myself getting confused!
Nov 26, 2014 at 8:30 PM
Yep, had issues in old version for actor images. but working in the latest code.
Nov 27, 2014 at 7:32 PM
Have you heard of MediaElch? That's able to sync watch status. Just to let you know, so you know it is at least possible.
Nov 28, 2014 at 7:35 AM
Yes, I have seen MediaElch, and they use JSon to communication with XBMC Library. Unfortunately, I am not uptodate with JSon. Reality, I know nothing about JSon.

Another thing I need to learn.