A Newbie's Guide to playing movies on client PC from Server

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Rizlaw
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A Newbie's Guide to playing movies on client PC from Server

Postby Rizlaw » Thu Jan 29, 2004 7:10 pm

I just made my first posts to these forums yesterday. I needed to know how to play all the movies on my server pc's hard disc drives on my bedroom client pc. Thanks to Midi-guy and Smoothtlk, I was given two different ways to do this. Since I got Midi-guy's solution to work first, I decided to write and post a Guide on how to do it. Why?

I find it a colossal waste of time to have to post a question and wait for kind hearted souls like Midi-guy and Smoothtlk to respond; although, they did respond, in my case, very quickly. It's also tedious to have to sift through post after post (some helpful, most not) to try and cobble together a solution to a basic problem like this one.

So in the spirit of giving back I have written a Guide.

I would like to see more experts on these forum write Guides on how to do some of the things most of us want to do with Cinemar software. Some Guides for setting up PDAs, Tablets and Changers would be a very nice start.

Any comments on how to improve this guide; correct any mistakes; or anything else of a constructive nature is appreciated.

EDIT: Guide updated by Rizlaw 2/1/04
EDIT: Guide updated by Rizlaw 2/3/04
EDIT: Guide updated by Rizlaw 2/18/04
Last edited by Rizlaw on Fri Jan 30, 2004 12:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby Rizlaw » Thu Jan 29, 2004 8:09 pm

smoothtlk wrote:try zipping the pdf and then posts.


Thanks, Smoothtlk. Seems the problem has to do with Opera 7.23 and the PDF format. Uploaded in ZIP format using Firebird 0.7.

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Postby gregoryx » Thu Jan 29, 2004 11:45 pm

Rizlaw, that's excellent! Would you mind getting the Word (or other) doc to me so I can put it into the documentation I'm building?

Thanks!

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Postby Rizlaw » Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:14 am

gregoryx wrote:Rizlaw, that's excellent! Would you mind getting the Word (or other) doc to me so I can put it into the documentation I'm building?

Thanks!


gregoryx,

This shouldn't be a problem. I use OpenOffice, which I believe can output the Guide in Word's 'doc' format. I will need your email address to mail it to you as a zip file.

By the way, I have found, by accident, that once you have completed the mappings of the drives on both the client and server, (using IDENTICAL drives letters on both computers), it isn't really necessary to use UNC pathing in the MLDVDLobby movie database "File Path". So, in my example:

\\HAL\H:\High Noon\VIDEO_TS\VIDEO_TS.IFO

you could also just leave it as:

H:\High Noon\VIDEO_TS\VIDEO_TS.IFO

and it works. The key is mapping the drive(s) on Client PC with the same drive letter(s) shared out on the Server PC.

BTW, it takes a bit of time for the movie to start playing on the Client PC.

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Postby blafarm » Sun Feb 01, 2004 11:36 pm

Thanks Rizlaw,

Great job... this is just what I needed.

I'm curious, though, if you could point me to Smoothtlk's post that described the other technique. I'm interested to see the differences - as well as to learn if his alternate approach precludes the need to manually update the databases on all CLIENTs in order to keep them in sync, which would be a drag for a setup consisting of many clients or frequently updated databases.

Thanks again.

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Postby gregoryx » Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:13 am

blafarm, I haven't read the doc in detail - just scanned it over - but I can't see where a duplicate database would be necessary at all.

I started documenting how that would work, but perhaps this is not the place to post it. It is actually pretty simple once you're on the right picture of what functions each ML Server serves.

I'll get it in the docs...

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Postby blafarm » Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:38 am

Thanks gregoryx,

I'll keep an eye on your work-in-progress Word file to read up on how it works.

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Postby Rizlaw » Mon Feb 02, 2004 9:12 am

blafarm wrote:Thanks Rizlaw,
Great job... this is just what I needed.

I'm curious, though, if you could point me to Smoothtlk's post that described the other technique. I'm interested to see the differences - as well as to learn if his alternate approach precludes the need to manually update the databases on all CLIENTs in order to keep them in sync, which would be a drag for a setup consisting of many clients or frequently updated databases.

Thanks again.


I'm glad you found the Guide helpful. My post to Smoothtlk was titled:

"Smoothtlk:Need help on MLserver Redirect Command".

It's about the 9th post down on the first page of the MLserver forum. In that post you will find explanations by Smoothtlk and Midi-Guy on the subject. Since I got Midi-Guy's to work I decided it was time for someone to write a guide on how to do it (at least this one way). Unfortunately, I couldn't get Smoothtlk's solution to work for me, which was too bad, since it is the more elegant solution and doesn't need the dual databases. I'm sure with a little work on the 'redirect' command it will work just fine.

I understand gregoryX is working on some docs, too.

We really need the 'experts' on these forums to write more guides to help fill in the missing pieces to the Cinemar documentation.

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Postby Rizlaw » Mon Feb 02, 2004 9:35 am

gregoryx wrote:blafarm, I haven't read the doc in detail - just scanned it over - but I can't see where a duplicate database would be necessary at all.


Hi gregoryx,

I think Midi-guy's reasoning behind the need for dual databases has only to do with the fact, that when the client pc is set to "localhost" it can not see and display the jpeg files on the server pc's MLserver - MLDVDlobby plugin database. Therefore, you have to duplicate the databases so that the client pc can have it's own set of dvd cover art to display when set to 'localhost'.

The dual databases are not really needed to play the movies on the server to the client, because the UNC file paths in the MLDVDLobby plugin on the server pc, plus the file sharing and mapping take care of that without the need for a second database on the client pc.

I guess the next question to ask is: why bother setting "&host1" (in dvdlobby.ini) on the client pc to 'localhost' at all, why not just leave it set to the 'server pc' name? In that case you wouldn't need the client pc to have the duplicate database.

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Postby DavidL » Mon Feb 02, 2004 11:39 am

"Old" post that documents using a variable to track what PC you want actions to play on. If it doesn't work for you, let me know and I will figure out what's wrong. Of course, this is a specific example that must be edited for any given installation specifics:

Here is an example:
Button named "Theater": MLServeCmd.SetVariable|location~Theater
Button named "Study": MLServeCmd.SetVariable|location~Study

Action Conditional in DVDLobby plugin Default Cmd Line:

MLServeCmd.MLConditional|IsEqual##{{Location}}##Theater##MLRedirect|HTPC1::5004::MLServeCmd.Macro|MLFileOpen|subst~Z: /D~0!MLFileOpen|subst~Z: "N:\Video\<<TITLE>>\Video_TS"~0!MLPause|.5!MLFileOpen|C:\Program Files\Zoom Player\zplayer.exe~/DVD /PLAY##MLRedirect|XPPro::5004::MLServeCmd.Macro|MLFileOpen|subst~Z: /D~0!MLFileOpen|subst~Z: "N:\Video\<<TITLE>>\Video_TS"~0!MLPause|.5!MLFileOpen|C:\Program Files\Zoom Player\zplayer.exe~/DVD /PLAY

So, when clicking button "Theater", and then clicking a movie on DVDLobby, Zoom Player opens playing that movie on PC HTPC1. When clicking button "Study", and then selecting a movie in DVDLobby, Zoom Player opens playing the chosen movie on PC "XPPro" (in the Study).

BTW, note the case of "location" and "Location". small possible bug. Seems that the variable can only be lower case.

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Postby gregoryx » Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:23 pm

smoothtlk, you're right on for what I was starting to type... but figured it better to just put it in the docs.

Rizlaw, if I'm reading you right, you're suggesting the same thing: keep all clients aimed at one main "ML Server" for everything, then use redirects and/or conditionals and/or variables to get the commands to the appropriate machines.

I've tested an environment just like smoothtlk describes and it works great. I say "tested" because I wanted to make sure I could support it easily, but have not finished assembling the second zone for movies.

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Postby blafarm » Tue Feb 03, 2004 6:15 am

Two novice questions:

1. Assuming that one didn't need to control all remote zones from a single client - is there a modification to Rizlaw's "Midi-guy" approach that would allow the command syntax to remain relatively simple - yet resolve the database syncing issues?

2. Assuming that one didn't need to control all remote zones from a single client - is this Conditional structure the only way, or the most elegant way, to preclude having to manually synchronize databases on multiple clients?

Thanks

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Postby Rizlaw » Tue Feb 03, 2004 10:15 am

blafarm wrote:Two novice questions:

1. Assuming that one didn't need to control all remote zones from a single client - is there a modification to Rizlaw's "Midi-guy" approach that would allow the command syntax to remain relatively simple - yet resolve the database syncing issues?

2. Assuming that one didn't need to control all remote zones from a single client - is this Conditional structure the only way, or the most elegant way, to preclude having to manually synchronize databases on multiple clients?

Thanks


blafarm,

I think Smoothtlk's solution is more elegant, though not as simple, as the Midi-Guy approach outlined in my Guide. I believe greorgyX has tried Smoothtlk's approach with success. I haven't. I don't believe there is a more simple syntax to accomplish Smoothtlk's method using the redirect command - I assume, if there were, Smoothtlk would have written a shorter and less complex example.

As for my Guide outlining "Midi-Guy's" approach:

The dual databases are not really needed to play the movies located on the server to any client pc.

The movie UNC file paths entered in the MLDVDLobby plugin on the server pc, together with drive/folder sharing (on the server) and mapping (of the client to the server shares) take care of displaying the movie info on the client(s) without the need for a second database on the client pc PROVIDED you modify DVDLOBBY3.INI on each client so that "&host1=server name" and not "localhost". In this way, all client's will always look at and load the common movie database info on the server.Change "&host2=server name" back to the default of "&host2="

I hope I understood and maybe even answered your questions?

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Postby blafarm » Tue Feb 03, 2004 2:55 pm

I think I understand what you're saying...but then, what are the material differences/advantages of Smoothtlk's more complex solution?

Am I wrong in assuming that both of these options would allow a dedicated "control" client to launch a movie on a dedicated "destination" client that would be connected to, say, a projector and audio system?

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Postby Rizlaw » Tue Feb 03, 2004 3:17 pm

blafarm wrote:I think I understand what you're saying...but then, what are the material differences/advantages of Smoothtlk's more complex solution?

Am I wrong in assuming that both of these options would allow a dedicated "control" client to launch a movie on a dedicated "destination" client that would be connected to, say, a projector and audio system?


blafarm,

No, you're not wrong.

As long as your client(s) are all looking at the server for HDD movie files, both methods will accomplish exactly the same thing.

The "Midi-Guy" solution is simpler because it doesn't involve creation of any new buttons on your client dvdlobby3 scene and entering the syntactically complex command macro in the Smoothtlk solution. So in the end, I would have to say, for your setup, the "Midi-Guy" solution is the easier and more straightforward way to go.

If I'm not mistaken, somewhere back on my 1/28/04 post directed to Smoothtlk about using the "redirect" command, I think Smoothtlk mentioned why his solution had an advantage beyond the elimination of the dual databases. You might want to re-read his reply posts. Mario told me that the "redirect" command was specifically written and added to MLServer at Smoothtlk's request. He is the acknowledged expert on this command, as I understand it.

I suppose I should modify the Guide to point out that dual databases aren't strictly necessary; but, then again, anyone reading this thread would find that out.


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