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Page History: Getting Started with My Movies 4 Pre Release

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Page Revision: 2011/02/22 14:41


Welcome to the My Movies 4 Pre Release - with this document we will try to answer some of the questions about what My Movies 4 is and is not, compared to our prior My Movies 3 version.

My Movies 4 brings extended TV Series support to My Movies for Windows Media Center and My Movies Collection Management. You have with My Movies 3 always been able to add TV Series on DVD, Blu-ray or HD DVD to your collection, and users of TV series in online single file structures have been able to have their TV series supported to some extend by using the Series/Box set functionality along with the option to add multiple discs to a disc title profile.

With My Movies 4, we are extending this functionality to what some will refer to as proper TV series import, monitoring, management and browsing. The pre release is intended for users who would like to participate in reviewing, testing and giving us feedback for My Movies 4. The pre release requires 2,500 points or a licensed installer license file to participate - this is done to limit the amount of participating users to a level that we are able to handle support wise.

The functionality implemented for TV series is similar in requirements to what was originally created in XBMC, and today is used in various projects.

Service Changes

For products such as XBMC which currently supports similar functionality for TV series, with few exceptions, the meta-data for the TV series is loaded from an open source service As it has been a priority for us to be able to ensure both stability and speed, as well as handle some management things a bit differently, we have per agreement with created our own structure for the data and have loaded the data available from into our own services.

This means that during February, we inserted a new database server, transferred the prior database server to become a new webserver host for our disc title webservice, while the TV Series service was placed on the prior webservice host. These changes were made to ensure that our capacity is good enough for the load the TV series service will gain.

We expect that these changes, along with the structure and hosting capacities will ensure a high speed of operation on managing TV series.

File Structure Support

The TV Series functionality made available in the pre release is created for users who have a structure of files in online folders. The structure is aimed to follow the specifications used by XBMC and products that follows it's specification, to ensure that users with existing structures can use these.

Due to the large change it has been to create a new structure for the TV series data on our service, including changing the technology around searching for series and episodes, there can be existing structures that are functionality with XBMC and other products that of some reason do not import as expected into My Movies 4. One of the main purposes of the pre-release is that such situations are solved.

If you are having structures that does not import as expected, it is recommended to remove all the TV series from the database, and use the import functionality again - this will re-import your file structure, and create a "TVSerieLog.txt" into the My Movies debug directory, which you can open from "Help", "Debug" in the Collection Management program. By sending this file to along with a description of what is not imported correct, we will be able to reproduce the import of your structure in our systems.

You can read a detailed specification of the required file structure for TV series support here.

Disc (DVD, Blu-ray, HD DVD) Support

The My Movies 4 Pre Release does not bring extended TV Series support to DVD, Blu-ray or HD DVD disc titles, including offline titles, or titles in VIDEO_TS or BDMV folders, or ISO image files. Disc titles that are marked as having "TV Serie" content will be placed in the "tv serie library" section of the application, but otherwise will be browsed the way they have always been in My Movies 3.

It has been a priority for us to ensure that the TV series structure functions correct for file structure usage, which is expected to be the primary usage for this functionality, and then once we are sure that everything is correct here both in regards to the structure, data and interface, we will extend the functionality to disc title usage as well.

This means that to help this process you can mark your TV serie disc titles with the "TV Serie" content type option, and then in the disc editing dialog edit titles and chapters on the discs to map these to season and episode numbers - this will allow for the disc title to be handled correct by the TV serie functionality when extended for disc title usage.

Interfaces Supported

While My Movies primary interface is for Windows Media Center, our Collection Management today stores meta-data for both Dune, Popcorn Hour and other products that allows for TV serie support. These other front-ends will not initially be supported by the update to My Movies 4 - once we are sure that the interface and background functionality is as required for Windows Media Center, we will be looking at extending the support to these front-ends as well.

This will be either during the pre release period, or soon after.

Windows Vista vs. Windows 7

Both Windows Vista and Windows 7 is currently supported by My Movies 4, however some functionalities are only available in Windows 7, such as the extended configuration options for the start menu.

There are changes in the Windows 7 SDK for Windows Media Center that we currently do not make use of, but consider making use of. Due to this, we are also considering if we whould make My Movies 4 a product exclusively for Windows 7, and deprecate support for Windows Vista.

This is something we would like to hear your thoughts of on our forums.

Start Menu Changes

In My Movies 3, the menu items in the start menu were not configurable, and there was only an option for having one strip. To better support the requirement for TV series, My Movies 4 by default contains two strips - one called "Movies" with the movie library functionality, and another called "TV Series" with the tv series library functionality. These sections devide movies and tv series into seperate libraries.

You can in "Collection Management", "Tools", "Options", "Media Center Start Menu" configure how you prefer the start menu, which means you can configure it for either one or two strips, you can name each of the strips to your own preference, and you can choose which items you would like in the start menu.

One thing to notice specifically is that there are three default entry options for the start menu, which is the default used "Movie Library" and "TV Serie Library" and the alternative "Media Library" which combines all your media intro one start menu item. This allows you to configure one strip with only one entrance instead of the default devided two strip functionality.

Providing Feedback

We would like as much feedback as you can give about the pre release - including malfunctions, improveable items or general ideas on how to improve the release. Depending on the workload, we will be spending the pre release period to solve any issues with the implementation, and if the time allows it, implement functionality that can be improved.å

Please use our forum for feedback - there will be a "My Movies 4 Pre Release" forum available for the purpose.

Discussing My Movies 4

While we require 2,500 points on a users account to participate in the My Movies 4 Pre Release, the content of it is not a secret to the public. You are allowed to post any screenshot, thoughts or anything else you might have from March 1'st where the pre release is available. This includes both posts on our own forums and on external websites and blogs.

Notice though that the product is available in a pre release version with the purpose of improving the functionality for the final product. We ask that you do not judge the product exclusively by the functionality provided in the pre release - there will be various improvements in the pre release period based on user feedback, and the correct time to fully review the product will be at the time of the release.

We expect the final release of My Movies 4 to be available in the first week of April, but based on the amount of feedback and the workload this gives, this date can change.