The HTPC Saga pt3

If my USB stick install of beta XBMCBuntu takes a turn for the worst (which can happen on USB sticks running pre-release software), I usually re-install the operating system and start my library from scratch.  This means re-adding the media sources; XBMC then has to find all the Movies and TV Show episodes, scrape the internet for library data and download all the fan-art again. On top of this, the watched status of the content is lost i.e. I can’t tell which episode of The Big Bang Theory I’m on.

My first solution was Trakt.tv.  This wonderful service uses a XBMC plugin called Trakt Utilities to scan my library and update my Trakt profile to show which Movies and TV Shows I’ve watched, awesomely geeky in its self!  After a library re-build however, you can use this service to re-sync your seen episodes with XBMC, meaning you can pick up where you left off!  It also enables you to sync your watched videos between different computers.

Trakt also rocks

It still takes ages to re-build my library however.  I don’t have an enormous collection compared to some, (approx. 170 Movies & 40 TV Shows) but it’s a pain none the less.  I was searching the XBMC forum/wiki to discover a quick way of copying my library from another machine when I found something much more interesting.

My second solution was a central library. Using only a MySQL database, a few shared folders and an XML file; you can use the same central library, fan-art, thumbnails and plugin settings for every install of XBMC on your network.  This means no matter which computer you’re using, every time you use XBMC it’s (more-or-less) identical!  All of this (in addition to amusing me more than it should) means the next time I have to re-install the operating system on my USB drive, I simply need to replace one XML file and everything is back to normality in seconds; oh yeah!  It also means I can start watching a movie on my TV, pause it, and go somewhere else to watch the rest on my laptop, exactly where I left off.

"What now?" I hear you ask, well; if the motherboard with wires sticking out of it lives for a few weeks, I’ll build it a case, or mount it on the wall, or stuff it in a drawer/box.  There are a few tweaks I’d like to make to get more functionality from my remote and I have a problem setting XBMC to the required 1920x1080 resolution (the disconnected laptop screen is possibly haunting me).  I’m using the speakers on my TV, *gasp* so will have to source something more appropriate.

If I make any more head-way I’ll possibly post it and if anyone asks, “what did you actually do all weekend?" I’ll send them here.

Very occasional postings on things I feel the need to share with the Internet.

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