Trading Movie Library for Media Browser

Windows 7 Media Center’s Movie Library is good, certainly much better than it’s predecessors, but still somewhat lacking. Features like fanart and automatic retrieval of metadata have long been standards in other media center applications. While 7MC has come a long way these features are still sorely missed.

This is where a plug-in called Media Browser comes in. Media Browser provides an alternative to the default Movie Library by scanning a your video folders and letting you browse a folder based structure instead of simply piling everything into one section. Just this makes Media Browser a worthwhile download for anyone who has several different types of videos such as Movies and Television Series DVDs.

Media Browser First Run

On the first run there is a prompt that allows you to set some basic options that can also be changed through the user interface later on. Set the startup folder to the base folder for your movie collection and Movie Browser will begin to scan for content. This is where Media Center really begins to kick.

Movie Browser HD Movies Listing

Not only will Media Browser display a list of your movies in several different display formats it will also automatically retrieve information for each of your titles. As long as your folders have the appropriate name for the movie a good amount of metadata including covers, description, fanart, actors, genre and more will be pulled down without having to do any extra work. This setup is much easier than locating dvdid.xml for each of your titles for the default Movie Library. It’s not a perfect system however, small differences in titles can be the difference between getting the correct metadata and getting nothing.

The various display types are easy to cycle through using the menus located at the top of the display. Media Browser can arrange your media on several different criteria from the metadata that has been retrieved. This level of customization ensures each user can find a display that is comfortable and easy to use.

Movie Browser Poster View

While Media Browser has support for TV series metadata as well the base support isn’t quite as solid at this point as the regular movie sections. A trip to the Media Browser forums and you can find several solutions to finding the appropriate information for your series.

Media Browser TV Series

A strong community at present provides even further options for customizing the plug-in. There are several programs provided from forum goers for doing any number of tasks such as retrieving TV Series metadata and even HD movie trailers.

Media Browser is definitely a solid solution for anyone looking to move away from the default Move Library to something a little more robust. Though this plug-in doesn’t currently integrate with the main menu in Windows 7 MC it can still be found under the Extras Library and added to the Extras menu from there.

Media Browser Thumbs View

Head on over to the Media Browser forums to pick up your download of this fine plug-in and give it a run on your Media Center today, you won’t regret it. Be sure to check back to Hack7MC for more coverage of this app in the future as well. Follow on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed for even easier access!

11 comments:

Ken said...

thanks for the review.
WIll this work for downloaded movies?

MHealy said...

Media Browser can play any movie files that can be played through Windows Media Player and in some cases more. You will need to have the right codecs to play the files you have though. You can check the article "Clearing Up The Codec Confusion" for more information on codecs.

Anonymous said...

Windows 7 gives me a error when trying to install

"Video Browser can only be installed on Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Edition"

I tried running in compatability mode and using the "troubleshoot Compatibility" functions with the same result

MHealy said...

I believe that's something they are addressing in the next beta but until then you can follow the directions in Fixing MSI Windows Version Checks to remove the version check preventing the install.

Anonymous said...

I cant seem to play my wmv movies using media browser I actually had to download an older version of it so it would work at all. But wicked program when it works.

bostontams said...

I installed fine on windows 7 but will not run also found this problem with mytv

MHealy said...

The most recent version I've tried, beta 11, installed fine for me on build 7000 and 7057. That's version (2.0.11.0) of Media Browser. If you're having trouble with the latest version I would post a note on the Media Browser forums at http://www.mediabrowser.tv

Stix said...

To have Media Center start at the Media Browser screen try this :

%SystemRoot%\ehome\ehshell.exe /entrypoint:{ce32c570-4bec-4aeb-ad1d-cf47b91de0b2}\{fc9abccc-36cb-47ac-8bab-03e8ef5f6f22}

MHealy said...

Thanks for the tip Stix, I'll give it a shot and see how it works.

Zay said...

I know this might be overkill to some, but I have created shortcuts on my desktop that cause MC to start where I want it to. Here is one example. To start directly at Shoutcast, I created a shortcut on my desktop with the following information: %systemroot%\ehome\ehshell.exe /entrypoint:{dc3ee387-2214-4275-917b-31c8895c16dc}\{d0e03c74-2b61-4c00-828a-d74efe43d57e}
The first sequence of characters in the brackets are the APPID, and the second set is the Entry Point ID. Simply open the registry (regedit), and navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Extensibility\Entry Points
Find the Entry Point for the program you want MC to start at, then copy the AppID and the Entry Point ID into the create shortcut wizard.
Disclosure: If you are uncomfortable or not skilled enough to poke around the Registry, ask for help or have someone experienced do it for you. I take no responsibility for any mishaps you incur.

Zay said...

BTW, to give credit where it is due, I simply expanded on the idea Stix posted.

Leave a comment using any OpenID including Yahoo!, AIM, Google and more. You can even leave an Anonymous comment below!

Post a Comment

Hack7MC Has Moved!

Hack7MC has left Blogspot for a new home. Following the original address @ http://www.hack7mc.com will take you to the new home page.