Confessions of a My Movies Junkie

May 18, 2008

HTPC

Most of the indispensable add-on components of my HTPC didn’t start out that way, or rather it’s the quieter, almost utilitarian additions to my HTPC that I couldn’t live without now. The oh golly gee look how cool this thing is gizmos that initially excite, often fall out of favor as time goes on. While I still haven’t mastered the art of media center reception and recording in HD (to my liking) I have grown quite attached to My Movies for my video collection management.

My Movies is an add-on to Media Center 2005 or Vista Media Center that allows you to catalog, manage, view details and playback just about any movie or video in your collection. The file details (cast, year, director, etc.) can be seen whether the file is on or off-line and the interface is as polished as some of the standalone DVD/movie management solutions that cost upward of 20k. Oh btw I should mention that I probably have less than $1200 total in my HTPC, and I could probably build it even cheaper if I had it to do all over again.

As you can see below the aforementioned user interface is about as slick as you can get short of going up to something like a Kaleidescape, but in all honesty as someone who loves tinkering around with things as much as I do, I actually prefer My Movies to some of the stand-alone solutions. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m blind to the fact that the majority of the world doesn’t share my enthusiasm for tweaking movie details in the database at 2am but hey that’s what makes the world go round, different strokes for different folks.

my movies

my movies management

There are several different ways to mange, edit and launch your movie collection from within media center, but what My Movies really has going for it is it’s dedicated user base and continual updates and improvements. Like I alluded to early on, I would have never considered My Movies as an indispensable part of my HTPC back when I first started with them. Now however I can honestly say that if I were to build another, scratch that when I build my next HTPC (who am I kidding) that My Movies will be among the first round of applications that get installed.

By the way, since I’ve got your ear for a second, there are a few My Movies 2 and Vista specific tips that I’d like to share. Number one somewhere back a few revisions ago the whole server/client relationship must have changed, because with the most recent update I can no longer use two clients and share a database between them. Not to worry however simply update your existing main installation to a server and then administer/view from a second location with the client edition. Also if you’re using Vista (like I am) you’ll want to either disable the built-in firewall or make sure there’s an opening in it for the client to be able to talk to the server. Happy viewing.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HTPC


Comments

  • B.Greenway

    Kevin, looking at it now, not quite to the point where I’d feel comfortable using it, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it. Thanks for the tip.

  • B.Greenway

    Kevin, looking at it now, not quite to the point where I’d feel comfortable using it, but I’ll be keeping an eye on it. Thanks for the tip.

  • Aaron

    I agree that My Movies is a wonderful and much-needed add-on to my Vista Media Center. However, I went even cheaper and bought a HP refurbished for $450 and it works fantastic. I’ve been ripping all my dvd’s to the 500gb HD and adding them to My Movies. I stream them through my 360 in the living room and so far it’s worked. It won’t stream DTS audio but I’m hoping it will one day. I don’t understand the client/server functionality, is that if you have more than 1 pc in the house with media center?

    My newest addiction is the Netflix plugin to Media Center which allows me to watch all the on-demand Netflix content through my 360. Picture quality isn’t quite dvd but I was surprised at how good it is. So pretty soon I’ll have all my dvd’s plus all the on-demand Netflix content with the press of a button. I’ll never need to get off the couch again!

  • Aaron

    I agree that My Movies is a wonderful and much-needed add-on to my Vista Media Center. However, I went even cheaper and bought a HP refurbished for $450 and it works fantastic. I’ve been ripping all my dvd’s to the 500gb HD and adding them to My Movies. I stream them through my 360 in the living room and so far it’s worked. It won’t stream DTS audio but I’m hoping it will one day. I don’t understand the client/server functionality, is that if you have more than 1 pc in the house with media center?

    My newest addiction is the Netflix plugin to Media Center which allows me to watch all the on-demand Netflix content through my 360. Picture quality isn’t quite dvd but I was surprised at how good it is. So pretty soon I’ll have all my dvd’s plus all the on-demand Netflix content with the press of a button. I’ll never need to get off the couch again!

  • Kevin

    Have you tried Open Media Library? Same thing as My Movies and seems to have growing momentum. Plus it is open source so cost is no issue.

  • Kevin

    Have you tried Open Media Library? Same thing as My Movies and seems to have growing momentum. Plus it is open source so cost is no issue.