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

Discuss topics related to the plugins and uses for MLServer beta
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gregoryx
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Postby gregoryx » Wed Feb 04, 2004 4:42 pm

Having spent... uh... well, quite a bit of money on home automation and audio and video stuff, I think the Cinemar package is a bargain even without documentation.

That said, I can sympathize with documentation being lower on the priority list than updates and feature sets. We run into that issue with some of the products we develop in our company.

I don't think the documentation I'm building will be anywhere near "finished" any time soon, but I think it will serve as a solid introduction to the architecture and functions of the suite very shortly. I will try to pick off the basic functionality guides one portion at a time (music, dvd, web, weather, caller id, etc). I will need help - from Cinemar and/or all of you - as I don't use TV Lobby (I don't have television in my home) and I'm sure there are things that I will not have thought of.

I was very frustrated when I started working with the Cinemar products - as an email or two I sent to Mario will confirm - but am incredibly impressed at what the suite offers and promises. That is why I keep putting my time into it. Having spent hundreds of hours (many, many hundreds, if you ask my wife), I have many points of comparison between this solution and others that I spent far more time on for FAR less return.

If y'all can suffer me suggesting it, I think a positive attitude will keep us all heading in the right direction far more than the alternative.

Cheers!

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Postby denness544 » Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:05 am

Sorry for this newbie question but I am using Zoomplayer instead of TheaterTek so according to step 5 in your guide do I replace the MLTheaterTek with MLZoomPlayer instead? I've followed your guide step by step but cannot seem to get a movie to play. Everythign works fine like the movies showing up on DVDLobby but when I click to play it nothing happens. BTW, thanks a bunch for making a very comprehensive guide for people such as myself. I've been following Mainlobby for many many months but have never got it to work. And your guide is just the beginning.

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Postby Rizlaw » Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:31 am

denness544 wrote:Sorry for this newbie question but I am using Zoomplayer instead of TheaterTek so according to step 5 in your guide do I replace the MLTheaterTek with MLZoomPlayer instead?


Dennesse544,

I'm glad you found my guide useful. I don't use the ZoomPlayer, but the answer would be, YES, you would have to make a substitution of the "MLTheaterTek" parameter with the ZoomPlayer syntax/parameters. Since I'm not familiar any of the Zoomplayer's syntax and commands, I can't give you more info and more might be needed in the macro shown in Step 5. I am also assuming that ZoomPlayer is capable of understanding and playing "IFO" files. TheaterTek didn't have this capability until version 1.5.56. If you can't get it to work, you might post your question as a new thread in the MLServer forum. I'm sure Mario (Developer), Smoothtlk (moderator), and others with knowledge of ZoomPlayer, can help you.

Edit: Searched the forums for ZoomPlayer and I found this post from "Moviewatcher". He says the macro below works, you might try it.

MLServeCmd.Macro|MLFileOpen|C:\Program Files\Zoom Player\zplayer.exe~ <<FILE>> /F /Q /PLAY

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Postby DavidL » Wed Feb 18, 2004 6:34 pm

Here's what I use with ZoomPlayer. This is a basic version of the DVDLobby plugin default mls:

MLServeCmd.Macro|MLFileOpen|subst~Z: "L\Media\Video\<<TITLE>>\Video_TS"!MLFileOpen|C:\Program Files\Zoom Player\zplayer.exe~/DVD /PLAY

Files are in the L:\Media|Video\name of movie\Video_TS\vob and ifo files for the movie directory structure.

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Postby denness544 » Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:10 pm

Ok I just switched over to TheaterTek and I followed the guide and commands as you described. Everything seems to be working great except for one thing. When I try to watch a movie on my Client PC it loads TheaterTek and plays the movie on the server computer. When viewing on the Server computer it works great. Am I missing something here??

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Postby DavidL » Wed Feb 18, 2004 11:04 pm

You will need to use Redirect to play movies on the client. Also, for Redirect to work, you need to install and run a secondary instance of MLServer on the client.

Here's a Zoomplayer example:

MLServeCmd.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

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Postby Rizlaw » Thu Feb 19, 2004 12:25 am

denness544 wrote:Everything seems to be working great except for one thing. When I try to watch a movie on my Client PC it loads TheaterTek and plays the movie on the server computer. When viewing on the Server computer it works great. Am I missing something here??


I am not sure which version of my guide you are using: it's been modified 3 times, the latest being today because of your ZoomPlayer question.

However, if you look at Step 9 in version 1.2 or 1.3 of the Guide, it explains that in DVDLobby's pop-up control panel, you must select which "HOST" you want to use for movie playback.

If you are on the client pc, you would open the pop up control panel, click on "HOST" and select "localhost" to playback the movie on the client.

If you were on the server pc, "localhost" would playback the movie on the server.

Check and make certain that you have correctly modified the "dvdlobby.ini" file on both the server pc and the client pc, as set forth in Steps 6 & 7 of the Guide, then you should be able to direct where movie playback will occur.

So for the client pc your dvdlobby.ini file should look something like below:

&host1=localhost&host2=SERVER PC&host3=&host4=&host5=.....

where &host1=localhost (or your client pc)
and &host2=SERVER (substitute the name of your Server PC, don't use "SERVER" in the example unless that happens to be the name of your server pc).


And for the server pc your dvdlobby.ini file should look something like below:

&host1=localhost&host2=CLIENT PC&host3=&host4=&host5=.....

where &host1=localhost (or your server pc)
and &host2=CLIENT (substitute the name of your client PC, don't use "CLIENT" in the example unless that happens to be the name of your server pc).

Also, make certain that you have MLServer running on both the client and the Server.

Smoothtlk's Redirect macro is another way to accomplish this, but it is not the method used in my Guide.

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Postby denness544 » Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:12 am

Actually I went the other route of having the database only on the server. I will try to mess around with the redirect that smoothtlk has suggested. If that doesn't work I'll try the two databases on both computers. I'll try again tomorrow. Thanks guys.

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Postby DavidL » Thu Feb 19, 2004 7:19 am

rizlaw,
Are you sure the Host button just doesn't look at a different MLServer database? I have never seen it launch a movie on a different PC. Now of course, the second PC's database could have a MLServeCmd to launch Zoom or TT on that local PC. Redirect accomplishes this but using only one database for all clients. Unless there is a need to segregate the databases, this works easier for me not having to keep two databases in synch.

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Postby Rizlaw » Thu Feb 19, 2004 8:05 am

smoothtlk wrote:rizlaw,
Are you sure the Host button just doesn't look at a different MLServer database? I have never seen it launch a movie on a different PC.


Smoothtlk,

I wasn't sure which way Denesse544 had set up the database(s) on his network? I assumed it was the dual database setup, so this is where I though he might be having the problem he mentioned. However, I see Denesse544 opted for the single database solution, therefore, HOSTS should not be the issue as there is only one database, located on the server pc and his client pc, if correctly setup, points to that database. Yes, you are correct about the HOST button's operation.

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Postby Rizlaw » Thu Feb 19, 2004 9:01 am

denness544 wrote:Actually I went the other route of having the database only on the server. I will try to mess around with the redirect that smoothtlk has suggested. If that doesn't work I'll try the two databases on both computers. I'll try again tomorrow. Thanks guys.


Denness544,

Without trying to sound like Microsoft Tech Support, please recheck that you have followed each and every step exactly as stated in the Guide. I, too, am using the single database setup. It works perfectly for me, and it should do the same for you - if all the steps were followed to the letter, paying close attention to syntax, spacing and punctuation for every command. I am also assuming you have TheaterTek installed on both the server and client computers.

I'm betting that somewhere (on the server, client or both), you have:

1. an incorrect "ini" file setting;

2. an incorrect sharing and mapping of drives between server & client;

3. an MLserver syntax/punctuation/spacing error;

4. MLserver not running on both server & client;

5. MLserver > MLDVDLobby plugin database errors in the way you wrote your UNC file path to each movie;

6. an incorrect setting the on server and/or client in the MainLobby >Options > Startup > Startup Options Panel> "MLServer Client ID" and "Computer Name (Server)" settings.

On your client pc, make sure that "Computer Name(Server)" has the correct name of the server computer displayed. The entry should not be "localhost" on the client pc.

On your server pc, make sure that "Computer Name(Server)" has the "localhost displayed.

You may also want to check your MLserver "Event Log" window to see what it is telling you when you try to play a movie from the server to the client pc. Post the log file and maybe we can get a better idea of where your setup has gone wrong.

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Postby denness544 » Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:45 pm

Rizlaw,

I have a question regarding step 4. If using UNC for all the folders on the SERVER, is the server name required? On the guide you have it listed as

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

Do I really need the \\SERVER? I am a little lost here. If my movies are on my SERVER then I shouldn't need the \\SERVER Name is that correct?

Also for the Default PLAY MOVIE MLServeCmd, I copied and pasted the exact command on the guide

MLServeCmd.Macro|MLTheaterTek|EXIT!MLPause|5!MLFileOpen|<<FILE>>

I entered that command on both the Client and the Server MLServer. I will try to troubleshoot the problem and probably try the database on both computers to see if that will work.

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Postby midi-guy » Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:01 pm

You need \\SERVER\ because:
a. You're using a single shared database.
b. It presents all 'clients' - including your server, with the same path <<FILE>> with which to access the DVD file(s).

MLServeCmd.Macro|MLTheaterTek|EXIT!MLPause|5!MLFileOpen|<<FILE>> should work, you may need some extra MLServe commands for redirection on the 'client'.

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Postby denness544 » Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:08 pm

This is what I have noticed so far. When I play a movie on the client PC, no event log is displayed on the MLServer on the CLIENT pc but on the Server MLServer it displays

Command: MLFileOpen|E:\Moves\Spirited Away\VIDEO_TS\VIDEO_TS.IFO
Command: MLPause|5
Command: MLTheaterTek|EXIT

I think I may need to use the redirect technique smoothtlk has insisted on doing. I'm still trying to learn commands but if you can post what the redirect should be for TheaterTek then I would greatly appreciate it. I tried putting the redirect command on the client PC's MLServer in the Default PLAY MOVIE MLServeCMD. But still the same problem arises. Is the MLServer on the clientPC supposed to show any event taking place because it doesn't seem like DVDLobby is communicating with MLServer at all.

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Postby midi-guy » Thu Feb 19, 2004 11:58 pm

This is a basic redirect command:
MLServeCmd.MLRedirect|CLIENT::5004::MLServeCmd.Macro|MLTheaterTek|EXIT!MLPause|5!MLFileOpen|<<FILE>>

Test that this works from the server with this command:
MLServeCmd.MLRedirect|CLIENT::5004::MLServeCmd.Macro|MLTheaterTek|EXIT!MLPause|5!MLFileOpen|\\SERVER\E:\Moves\Spirited Away\VIDEO_TS\VIDEO_TS.IFO


However, I suspect that you may be trying to do something other than what you've indicated in your posts.

So, I think you're probably interested in a Conditional command:
MLServeCmd.MLConditional|IsEqual##{{location}}##SERVER##MLServeCmd.Macro|MLTheaterTek|EXIT!MLPause|5!MLFileOpen|<<FILE>>##MLRedirect|CLIENT::5004::MLServeCmd.Macro|MLTheaterTek|EXIT!MLPause|5!MLFileOpen|<<FILE>>
You'll need to setup the variable.
On the server create a button that sets the variable location to "SERVER", i.e on pressing, it issues
"MLServeCmd.SetVariable|location~SERVER"


Also, check that CLIENT's MainLobby configuration is pointing to SERVER in the MLServer Client ID field. (Options->StartUp).

Good luck.


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