Cataloging your movies with XBMC

If you have a shedload of downloaded movies but struggle to be able to see the wood for the trees, follow me after the jump for a simple step by step to using XMBC to generate a useful catalog of all your movies.

XBMC (Xbox media center) is opensource media center software which runs on a variety of platforms. Amongst its many features is the ability to scan your local media and download all the the associated metadata (images, summary, actors, genre etc) from the internet. Even if not using XBMC as a media center, the catalog is an extremely easy way to review your movie collection …. and help you pick those next two hours entertainment.

Step 1 : Download XMBC from here

Step 2 : Install XBMC by following the onscreen instructions and prompts.

Step 3 : Add your movies to the XBMC library

  • Select Files from the Videos tab

  • Add Source

  • From the Add Video Source Dialog, select browse ..

  • navigate to the directory which contains your movies and select OK.

  • You can now give a name to this media source (if you wish). Click OK.

  • The next steps is very important. Set the scraper type by setting a value for “this directory contains”. In this case you should set it to Movies. The default scraper associated with movies is “The Moviedb” – which works just fine.
  • Make sure to select “Use Folder Names for Lookups” – if (like me) your movies are all in correctly named folders (with years).

  • Under Settings, you should select “Get rating from IMDB”

  • Now you should be all ready to go, and can click OK.

  • You will be prompted to let XBMC download the required information from the internet. Select Yes.

  • Depending on the volume of movies etc, this could take some time. Its progress can be tracked in the top right hand corner.

Step 4 : Using the catalog.

  • The Library is accesible from under the Videos Tab. (Press escape to return to the home screen, and highlight Videos).

Some tips on navigating the XMBC Library.

The layout can be changed by select a different VIEW in the options panel on the left. (to bring up the options panel either point the mouse at the left side of the screen – or press the left arrow key). here you may also select the default sort order. (sorting by rating descending is a good way to find the cream of the crop.)

Initially the library is setup to show all titles. It is possible to filter your selection by Genre, year etc. By clicking on the up-directory icon (it is represented by an elipsis or an up arrow depending on the View) you will see the range of selections possible …

And finally, some other keys of note ….

Highlight any title and press I to bring up the full information panel

The context menu is available by pressing C

Hide watched movies (or duplicate parts) by pressing W

Continue to play! Certain elements of the UI are not completely intuitive and reward a little persistance.


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