Author Topic: Playlists for video files  (Read 9594 times)

September 11, 2009, 03:37:19 PM
Read 9594 times

Ernis

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Here is a tip on how you can organise favourite videos through the use of playlists. This does not require custom firmware. I use an example and you will understand the principle:

In my Video share I have the following high-level structure:
   Movies
   TV Shows
   Music Videos
   Playlists

In the Playlists folder I keep a couple of .m3U files as references to favourite videos. Content of the Playlists folder:
   folder.jpg    (folder thumbnail)
   madonna.jpg   (playlist thumbnail)
   madonna.m3u   (playlist file)
   NCIS.jpg      (another playlist thumbnail)
   NCIS.m3u      (another playlist file)
   etc

The content of the madonna.m3u file:
   ..\Music Videos\Diverse Musikvideor\Madonna - La Isla Bonita.mpg
   ..\Music Videos\Diverse Musikvideor\Madonna - Like a Virgin.mpg
   ..\Music Videos\Diverse Musikvideor\Madonna - Open Your Heart.mpg
   etc

When navigating to the playlist folder (in thumbnail view) I see a thumbnail of Madonna and of a NCIS cover. When selecting Madonna and pressing OK I see the 3 Madonna videos that I have included in the playlist file. If I open with Play (not OK) the wdtv will play the videos in sequence.

P.S. One quick way of creating the playlist file in Windows is to drag the video files you want to include to the playlist pane in Windows Media Player and then choosing "save now playing as playlist" and then selecting m3u as the format. Then use a text editor to replace the lefthand part of each path entry with "..".

P.S2. The .jpg files are of course not necessary. I've just become very fond of having thumbnails for everything:-).

Credit to Saint59 who gave me the idea through another post in this forum.

September 21, 2009, 02:37:46 AM
Reply #1

hmdm

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Hi Ernis,

This is very interesting. If I play the first video, can I use the Next button on remote to jump to next video in the playlist? IF so, that would be great, as I could use your idea for jumping through TV show episodes.

I am struggling with this, as I do not really want to have 25 clips showing in the video thumbnail view just for 1 season, yet I would like to navigate to episodes.

For some tv shows, shrink and nero recode work well to bring 3 discs into 1 disc, and makemkv works, but this process does not work on all. I often end up with multiple mkv files then (1 per episode) and I cannot then use chapter selection.

So wondering if your trick will work? Or will it also show all 25 mpg files in the video category?

September 22, 2009, 11:51:34 AM
Reply #2

Ernis

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Hi hmdm,

Sorry for late response, I've been travelling.

When I press OK on the playlist icon it opens up a view of all the files referenced in the playlist. I can then navigate with the arrows to any of the files and press the PLAY button (rather than OK). Then, when playing one file the NEXT or PREV buttons take me to the next or previous file within the playlist. (but I have only tested this with having one MKV per episode)

I am not sure that this is any different from pressing PLAY on a video file from a normal folder. I just think that this is the way the play button works. The benefit I get with the playlist is that it creates a "virtual" folder where I don't need to move or copy files from their original places - I just reference them in the playlist instead. In practice what I do with TV series playlists is that from time to time I remove the references to episodes that I have already watched so that the playlist only contains "to watch" episodes.

If you want to avoid displaying the thumbnails/icons for individual episodes in the first place you may wish to use movie sheet functionality instead. If you use e.g. "Movie GUI Builder" which can create sheets for TV shows as well as movies and save the sheets as wd_tv.jpg, and have LaurentGs application installed => then you get a sheet for the whole season instead of the individual files. If you then press PLAY when the sheet is displayed then you are again able to follow-on with NEXT and PREV. (this is what I used to do, but I havent been able to get redindians webserver addons to work with laurentgs application so for now I have given up on using movie sheets for tv shows. I plan to test it again when redinidians releases his new version)

Cheers,
Ernis

September 22, 2009, 12:53:08 PM
Reply #3

martil

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Hi, just want to make an ISO (DVD Images) playlist.......any idea? With MediaPlayer it's not possible (don't know ISO files)...much thx.

September 22, 2009, 01:34:12 PM
Reply #4

Ernis

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You can create an m3u playlist file manually with a text editor (e.g. notepad in windows). You don't need any headers or anything in the m3u file, just one line per video. For example, I can just copy the 3 lines in my first post above (under The content of the madonna.m3u file) and paste into notepad and save as "Madonna.m3u" anywhere where the wdtv can read it - volia I've got my playlist.

Another way for people who know a little bit of DOS: If you want to avoid the effort of manually typing file names into a text file, you could open a CMD prompt in windows, navigate to the directory with your video files and type the command "dir *.* > mylist.m3u". You will however need to edit the text file to put any folder path ahead of the video filenames (as the example in the 1st post).
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 02:09:14 PM by Ernis »

September 22, 2009, 01:58:21 PM
Reply #5

Ernis

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@hmdm: by the way. I know you don't like the display of all the files within a season. I actually kind of like it. I have each file displayed as a thumbnail that I have generated automatically from the video files. The thumbnails are episodename.jpg that I store in the same folder as the episodename.mkv files. I use "Video Thumbnails Maker" to automatically generate the thumbs for all video files on my file share. I found this program at http://www.suu-design.com/main.html. By default it generates multiple jpg's from each video but can be configured to just create 1 at a certain amount of seconds into the movie. I think the whole wdtv interface gets nicer when there are thumbnails for everything instead of the boring "disc thumbs" - and for a TV series this resembles the "episode list" that you see on a DVD.

September 22, 2009, 06:00:51 PM
Reply #6

Paurian

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Another trick is to use unix hidden directories to stash your movies. This way you can keep your play lists in the same genre as the movie files.

Example of a directory structure:

+ Movies
   + .hidden
       + men_in_black.avi
       + men_in_black.jpg
       + back_to_the_future.avi
       + back_to_the_future.jpg
   + _junk.avi
   + Action.m3u
   + Action.jpg
   + Sci-Fi.m3u
   + Sci-Fi.jpg

Inside Action.m3u we'd have:
.hidden\men_in_black.avi
.hidden\back_to_the_future.avi

What does this allow?

Well, if you have movies that are classified across multiple genres (such as how "Men in Black" and "Back to the Future" are both "Action" and "Sci-Fi" films), you can put them in multiple playlists that act like folders, allowing them to show up in both. You navigate to "Action" and get action films even if they are also "Sci-Fi" films and vice-versa.

This offers a benefit over the current, more common way of structuring folders that force you to either decide which genre to stick your films in, or force you to take up twice the disk space to put the film in both folders. Maybe someday WD will read XML metadata files that will allow us to search or filter a selection by Genre, but until then this is coming in handy.


There are a few bugs with the WD TV that you need to be aware of for this to work.

1. Unless a folder contains a file with an "avi" or "mpg" or other video file extension, it will ignore this folder. That's why the _junk.avi file is present. It's really just a text file I created with 0 bytes and renamed to _junk.avi.

2. Windows in it's effort to save you from yourself won't allow you to create a ".hidden" folder. Rename the folder from the command console (DOS prompt).

3. Video playlist files WON'T FULLY WORK UNLESS you press enter at the end of each line - that means it needs to end with a blank line. I had a difficult time figuring out why the last video in the m3u playlist files wouldn't show up. This is why.

Keeping these three things in mind, you can use this method with the IMDB's genre system to place a movie in multiple genres appropriately. Thinking about how their open source database could be used to create video playlists...

Cheers,
-P

September 22, 2009, 11:20:15 PM
Reply #7

Ernis

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September 23, 2009, 04:58:59 AM
Reply #8

Paurian

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Just an FYI... I tried to get playlists to nest so that certain movies could be grouped together beyond the initial genre (for example, grouping all "Back To The Future" videos together beneath its various genres).

The HD TV wouldn't recognize references to directories or to m3u files within another m3u file. I haven't tried doing this with "pls" or "wpl" playlist files. Has anyone else out there already tried to do this?

What about symbolic links? I've heard they work, but don't have a unix/linux box set up to create and test them. I understand that Cygwin's links are a POSIX variety. Do they work with HD TV?

Cheers,
-P

October 06, 2009, 09:51:53 AM
Reply #9

senthil_kumar_m

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My M3U playlist is not working as expected. Heres how, I have my folders.

Movies
  Madonna1.mkv
  Madonna1.jpg
  Madonna2.mkv
  Madonna2.jpg

Playlist
  Madonna.m3u which contains
       ..\Movies\Madonna1.mkv
       ..\Movies\Madonna2.mkv

When I navigate to Playlist, it shows Madoinna.m3u. When I selct 'Pause/Play' button, it shows the Red Stop sign, and it doesnt play the contents in side the playlist. I have press 'OK', then it shows the contents, and then I have to select 'Pause/Play' to play the contents. This is not te intention ofthe pLaylist though. Did anyone face this problem.

I have the latest WDLXTV with Lilibabe OSD.

Please help.

October 06, 2009, 11:44:10 AM
Reply #10

Mr Lazy

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Don't you just hate it when people double post?
Gen1, ext3-boot, Belkin AX88178 Gigabit adapter, Synology DS109 NAS

How-to setup WD TV with NFS shares

October 06, 2009, 12:16:29 PM
Reply #11

Ernis

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Thanks Mr Lazy. I hadn't seen the double post. Oh well. Here is the other post with some responses: http://wdtvforum.com/main/index.php?topic=2273.0

November 01, 2009, 12:31:24 AM
Reply #12

Matt Webber

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I like the way the WDTV lets you resume videos where you left off.

Have you guys got a similar feature working with playlists?

I often find myself watching a good series like 'The Wire' and losing track of which episode I was up to.

It would be great if I could just use a playlist and have the machine take me straight back to where I was.

November 01, 2009, 09:45:05 AM
Reply #13

Ernis

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I often find myself watching a good series like 'The Wire' and losing track of which episode I was up to.

It would be great if I could just use a playlist and have the machine take me straight back to where I was.
Hi Matt, no I have not seen that, or at least I haven't got it working for me. I guess that the "recent" menu option from the main screen should show you which your latest episode was, but you can't see there which your next should be...

I have the same issue as you, sometimes forgetting which episode I was watching... what I do to reduce the problem is:

1) Have thumbnails for all video files so I get a visual recognition of every episode in addition to the file names.
2) Sometimes... Use custom applications for "movie sheets" where I list the episode names within a season.
3) Sometimes... Use a text editor to open the playlist file and delete the file names for episodes that I have already watched.
4) Always using the PLAY button when starting an episode. If it turns out to be one that I have already watched, then I just press the NEXT button instead of having to back out, select next file, open.

So, no solution, but I've "learned to live with it".