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Living With Media Center: Videos

LWMC - Video Library - 01 Main Icon

Of all the features provided by Media Center, the Video Library on the “Pictures + Video” strip is the one my family and I use the least.  Most of my video actually resides elsewhere: Recorded TV, OML Plugin (Movie Library), Video Library Plugin (TV Library).  I do have a few video files that I have downloaded from the internet that I have stored here, but the library is not extensive.

Importing Video – The Video Library suffers from Media Center’s conglomerate “watch folder” approach that the Photo Library suffers from.  It would be a lot cleaner if I could specify to watch just one particular folder for video.  Instead it has folders listed that I never use to store video.  Not a huge deal, but it does muddy the waters for the average user.

LWMC - Video Library - 04 Watch Folders One setup for the all the libraries – video,photo, music

After telling the Media Center to watch my video folder on my network it scans the directory for media files.  It gives you the option to do other things while the scan is running.  I highly recommend that you do not do this.  Let Media Center finish it’s work.  It could take up to 30 minutes but the performance afterwards is a lot better.  One thing to note is that you need to perform this setup on each extender.  More on that when I post about hardware.

LWMC - Video Library - 02 Folders Top

Navigating Videos – Use of the Video Library is straight forward.  The particular folder(s) you asked Media Center to watch will show at the top root level.  What you find when you click on the folder depends on how you have organized your files.  There is no concept of meta data so the ease of finding files is totally up to you.  If you have a lot of rip dvd movie files you should use a movie library plugin like MyMoves or OML (more on those in my future plugins.

I primarily have viral videos that I have downloaded, family videos and music videos.  I have them organized as such.  Since I do not have many videos it is easy to find what I am looking for. 

LWMC - Video Library - 03 Folders

Watching Videos – As long as the video is in a format that the extender supports it will play with no problem.  For videos that doe not play natively I use the Transcode360 plugin to transcode the video file on the fly.  More details on installing transcode360 in a future post, but using it is very simple.  You just highlight the video, press the “info” or “i” button on the remote, then choose “More” on the pop-up menu.  On the next screen select Transcode.

LWMC - Video Library - 05 More LWMC - Video Library - 06 Transcode

I have a folder that I have set to watch named “Transcode Me”.  One thing I realized is that transcode360 changes the video files into and MPEG2 format that I can then take and convert to DVR-MS for easier use.

Video Playlists – One thing that I have discovered is that you can create video playlist.  For some reason this only works with videos in MPG format.  You would think that DVR-MS Media Center files would work but they do not.

All you have to do is create a video playlist in Media Player on the PC.  Save the playlist as an ASX file in the same folder that you store the videos.

On the Media Center navigate to the folder and select the playlist.  It will now play each video on the list in order as a playlist. 

If you would like to customize a logo for the playlist just put a JPG file in the same location as the playlist file with the same name as the playlist.  So in my case I have playlist named “All Pop – Shuffle.asx”.  In the same folder I have an image file named “All Pop – Shuffle.jpg” and I now have an icon image for my playlist.

LWMC - Video Library - 07 Playlist

Wrap-Up – So that is pretty much the extent of my use with the Video Library.  It’s name is misleading because it has no real organizational abilities to suggest that it is a library.  It should just be named videos.  Overall not a bad way to get some downloaded internet videos on your TV without hooking up the laptop.

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One Response

  1. the transcode360 installation would be awesome. I’ll be checking back.

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