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

Discuss topics related to the plugins and uses for MLServer beta
Rizlaw
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Postby Rizlaw » Fri Feb 20, 2004 11:04 am

denness544 wrote: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


Denness544,

Could you check two things for me?

(1) What version of TheaterTek are you using (1.5.56 or latest 1.5.60)?
(2) Check to see that your "IFO" files are associated with TheaterTek and not some other program, like "Nero Recode".

The reason I am asking, is that now that I have a Sony CX777CS 400 disc changer, I have switched from playing movies from my server HDD to watching them from the changer. Apart from the Sony's very stupid "autoplay" issue, I find it is a better, and certainly cheaper, solution.

Anyway, getting back to my two questions: I recently upgraded TheaterTek from 1.5.56 to 1.5.60, and also upgraded Nero to 6.3.

Before these two changes, I was able to play movies on my server's HDD to my client pc, as per the Guide installation instructions without the need for any redirection.

Since the software upgrades to Nero 6.3 and TheaterTek 1.5.60, Nero has changed my IFO file association from TheaterTek to Nero ShowTime and I no longer can play movies from my server's HDD to my bedroom client pc.

Although I have reassociated the IFO files to TheaterTek, this has not solved the problem. BOTH of us seem to be having the same problem.

My SERVER's MLserver event log is showing the same sequence of commands you have listed. The only thing I might add, that you have not, is that I am also showing one client connected (client pc in bedroom) to my server.

So my working hypothesis, at the moment, is that perhaps the TheaterTek update has modified the way in which TheaterTek handles playing IFO files. If true, it may require a modification to the "default play movie" macro command in the MLDVDLobby plugin. Since I'm not sure if I can downgrade TheaterTek 1.5.60 to 1.5.56 by simply reinstalling the 1.5.56 patch, I am anxious to know which version of TheaterTek you are using. If it's 1.5.56, then I am at a loss to explain my sudden inability to playback movies to my client.

Edit: Because I have shared drives G: and H: on my Server and mapped these same drive letters on my client -- from my client's "explorer", I can select a movie's "video_ts.ifo" file on the server and watch the movie playback on the client with no difficulty using TheaterTek 1.5.60. This suggests to me that something has changed between 1.5.56 and 1.5.60 in TheaterTek.

Since I have reassociated the IFO files back to TheaterTek, I don't think Nero ShowTime has anything to do with the problem at hand.



Perhaps we can get some feedback from Smoothtlk or Midi-Guy on this. I have attached a screenshot of MLserver for comparison.

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Postby blafarm » Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:37 pm

Rizlaw,

FYI: Not sure if this will help but here is a thread I've been following:

http://www.theatertek.com/forums/showth ... genumber=1

You might want to look at the moderator's last post on page 2 that reads:

Rick,
The update includes the audio QFE from Microsoft that fixed older M-Audio card/driver combinations. If installing the patch caused a problem for you, uninstall Q813347 from Add/Remove programs.

Andrew

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Postby Rizlaw » Fri Feb 20, 2004 3:41 pm

blafarm wrote:Rizlaw,

FYI: Not sure if this will help but here is a thread I've been following:

http://www.theatertek.com/forums/showth ... genumber=1[/b]


Thanks for the heads up Blafarm. I'm not using the sound card mentioned, but, I did decide to post a distress message on the same TT thread.

Hope to get to the bottom of this soon.

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Postby denness544 » Fri Feb 20, 2004 11:34 pm

Rizlaw,

I am using version 1.5.60 of TheaterTek and I don't have Nero installed on the client PC. My IFO files are associated with TheaterTek. When I have the time I think I will try out the dual databases on both computers and see if that would work. Hopefully, midi-guy and smoothtlk will be able to chime in with a little bit of aid here. :wink:

EDIT: BTW, my MLServer looks just like the attachment Rizlaw posted.

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Postby DavidL » Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:07 am

deness,
Can you bring us up to date on what you are trying to do, what you implemented and what you are seeing? I am kinda lost as you have tried several approaches. All of them will ultimately work, but you have to first figure out what your end goal is. If you want to have all your movies stored on a central server and maintain one MLserver database that is used by all networked clients, then I have a pretty detailed post that goes through those details on how to use Redirect to accomplish this goal. I am wondering if the problem is with mapping local client drives to the central server drives... Can you play movies from the central drive just using "file / open" in Zoom?

If you want to maintain two different databases, than I think Rizlaw has documented that process.

You also need to choose whether you want to use Zoom or TT. The command strings and issues are different with these choices. Basically, Zoom is much more flexible, but with flexibility brings up more issues of configuration. TT is usable more out of the box, but not as flexible to tweeking.

Let us know....

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Postby blafarm » Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:24 pm

Rizlaw,

Since I'm not sure if I can downgrade TheaterTek 1.5.60 to 1.5.56 by simply reinstalling the 1.5.56 patch


Hope that TT thread answers your question. I hadn't assumed that you were using that soundcard....just wanted to let you know that it seemed that Q813347 might uninstall the upgrade. Good luck.

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Postby denness544 » Sat Feb 21, 2004 1:30 pm

smoothtlk wrote:deness,
Can you bring us up to date on what you are trying to do, what you implemented and what you are seeing? I am kinda lost as you have tried several approaches. All of them will ultimately work, but you have to first figure out what your end goal is. If you want to have all your movies stored on a central server and maintain one MLserver database that is used by all networked clients, then I have a pretty detailed post that goes through those details on how to use Redirect to accomplish this goal. I am wondering if the problem is with mapping local client drives to the central server drives... Can you play movies from the central drive just using "file / open" in Zoom?

If you want to maintain two different databases, than I think Rizlaw has documented that process.

You also need to choose whether you want to use Zoom or TT. The command strings and issues are different with these choices. Basically, Zoom is much more flexible, but with flexibility brings up more issues of configuration. TT is usable more out of the box, but not as flexible to tweeking.

Let us know....


Smooth,

My ultimate goal is to store all of my movies on one central computer and maintain one database. I think what I am trying to accomplish is exactly what you are doing using redirect commands. I would prefer to use TheaterTek if possible but if the info you have using Zoomplayer then I will go with that. Basically what I have been doing is following Rizlaw's guide but going with the single database route. From what Rizlaw is experiencing now, I think the problem lies within the TheaterTek update. But if you could kindly direct me to the post you have regarding this setting I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

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Postby Rizlaw » Sat Feb 21, 2004 1:51 pm

denness544 wrote:Rizlaw,

I am using version 1.5.60 of TheaterTek and I don't have Nero installed on the client PC. My IFO files are associated with TheaterTek. When I have the time I think I will try out the dual databases on both computers and see if that would work. Hopefully, midi-guy and smoothtlk will be able to chime in with a little bit of aid here. :wink:

EDIT: BTW, my MLServer looks just like the attachment Rizlaw posted.


Denness544,

Just thought you should know that I placed a post on TheaterTek's tech support forum. Andrew, the Moderator, replied as follows:

"I am not aware of any changes that would have affected this. Do you know if TheaterTek is being launched but just not playing the movie? Can you look inside the TheaterTek folder to make sure that the executable has not been renamed by the patch. For some strange reason on some PC's it gets renamed to the old DOS style format Theater~1 etc.

Andrew"


I have sent him a reply advising that TT has not been renamed on my computers, and I suggested he read my guide to see if would shed any further light on the problem.

At the moment, I am as confused as you are. I have no other ideas, so I guess we'll have to wait on Andrew's next response. I don't think that dual databases will solve this problem.

As Smoothtlk has pointed out, as long as all client pc's are properly mapped back to the server's shared drives/folders, you should be able to play any movie on the server from your client pc without DVDLobby.

I might add, this all assumes, if you're running W2k or XP, that you have adminstrator rights on both computers and your firewall, if any, isn't blocking anything. You might check, if you use Zonealarm, to see that the "MLServer component to control external hardware...." listed in Zonealarm's "Program Control" section has 3 green check marks for Internet: "Access > Trusted, Internet" and Server: "Access > Trusted". You should also double check the "Firewall" section of Zonealarm to see that both computers IP addresses are listed as being trusted. I think you are probably OK on most of this, since you previously said that from your client, you could get the movie to play on the server.

A very simple test, is to open Window Explorer on your client pc, go to you server's network share for movie files, select a movie folder and then select the movie's "video_ts.ifo" file by right clicking it and opening it with TheaterTEK. The movie should start playing on your client pc. If it doesn't you have a problem with sharing and mapping. This test works for me.

Lou

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Postby DavidL » Sat Feb 21, 2004 3:10 pm

Here is an example of playing a movie on the PC in a location chosen by hitting a named button (with a central, drive mapped movie server and MLServer database):

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.

Now your wireless tablet is now proximate to the location you are in!! Lots of possibilities here...

Dan - thanx as usual. Another new level for MainLobby! Zoned commands!

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Postby denness544 » Sat Feb 21, 2004 11:40 pm

smoothtlk wrote:Here is an example of playing a movie on the PC in a location chosen by hitting a named button (with a central, drive mapped movie server and MLServer database):

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.

Now your wireless tablet is now proximate to the location you are in!! Lots of possibilities here...

Dan - thanx as usual. Another new level for MainLobby! Zoned commands!


Thanks smooth! I will try that out once I get time. It seems as though TheaterTek will not play anything through the map drives. I can see TheaterTek load up but it will not play anything at all. Strange.

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"which mapped drive" auto variable? Custom genre?

Postby mikemav » Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:14 am

Very interesting work everyone...thanks for all the tips. I have two questions.
1) There seem to be two distinct variations of how people play movie files. One (I will call "A") is to find the file path for each movie in the DVD Lobby MLS plug-in database, and use a "play file" command. MLServeCmd.Macro|MLTheaterTek|EXIT!MLPause|5!MLFileOpen|<<FILE>>
Method "B" seems to be to skip this step, be careful in how you name your files, and just use <<TITLE>> or <<FIXEDTITLE>> as a substitute for the full file path specific to each movie entry:MLServeCmd.Macro|MLFileOpen|subst~Z: "N\Media\Video\<<TITLE>>\Video_TS"!MLFileOpen|C:\Program Files\Zoom Player\zplayer.exe~/DVD /PLAY (or the TheaterTek version)

My rips are stored on three 250gb hard drives. Video1(N), Video2(R), Video3(O), which are mapped to this same letter on all of the PCs and the drives remap at login on the remote PCs. My problem is I (think) I would like to move to the simpler play movie command ("B") where I do not have to enter a file path every time I add a movie to my DVD Lobby plugin database. My command now is similar to the "A" command above,
so I need to have <<FILE>> correct in the database for every DVD. Not a big deal, but I always like the elegance of saving a step by using a standard naming convention for all the DVD files and using one simple command like method "B."

My first question is, what if all the movies are not on the same drive? Is there an easy way to track this? Something like when I enter the movie in the database, I pick an unused database field and pick the drive letter it will be stored on? Then build a variable into the default command like MLServeCmd.Macro|MLFileOpen|subst~Z: "<<DRIVE VARIABLE FIELD IN DATABASE>>\Media\Video\<<TITLE>>\Video_TS"!MLFileOpen|C:\Program Files\Zoom Player\zplayer.exe~/DVD /PLAY

Maybe this is asking for more work than necessary, and I should just stick to method "A" where I "play file" and set the file path for each and every movie when I enter it? I am just worried if a hard drive were to fail, I would have to duplicate its directory tree exactly when I re-ripped in order for my DVD Lobby to work. If I can get it down to just having to name the drive letter and not the full path on each movie, it may be simpler. What do you think?
Also, I have not used the "B" command before, so please forgive me if this is obvious. What does subst~Z: do? Also, if I have the file type (IFO or VOB, for example) associated with the correct application, is the
!MLFileOpen|C:\Program Files\Zoom Player\zplayer.exe~/DVD /PLAY really needed? (maybe this is just a Zoom Player necessity?) I would think you could use
MLServeCmd.Macro|MLFileOpen|subst~Z: "<<drive letter>>\Media\Video\<<TITLE>>\Video_TS\Video_TS.ifo" instead, if IFO's were associated with the application you wanted to use, correct?

Question 2) Is there a way with a central movie server like this to have custom genre entries in the MLS DVD Lobby movie info, so I can have a catagory for "Son's favorites" or "Wife Favorites"? How would I enter this so it would appear on the on-screen list of movie genres?

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Postby DavidL » Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:21 am

mikemav,
My setup is similar to yours. I just copy the default DVDLobby MLServeCmd to the movie's Override and make sure the drive letter is adjusted. I use your "B" configuration (using TITLE).
Then, when I start to add more movies to that new drive, I just open another movie Edit panel for a movie on the same target drive, copy and paste that command into the new movies Override field.

Question2) - why not? Just add your own custom Genre to the movie Edit panel.

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Postby mikemav » Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:29 am

Thanks smoothtlk. That was fast! I was still editing the post to make it clearer and you had already replied! I will try that. I like the idea of getting away from naming the full path individually for every movie. Do you have a method when you rip the movies to make sure they are all named "correctly?" Do you enter them in the DVD Lobby database first to see what <TITLE> is called from the internet lookup and then rip, using that as a file name? I had been using the "semi-automatic" file naming method in DVD Decrypter, but it uses the DVD disc name to name the folder, which is often ALL_CAPS and would not be the same as the name a DVD Lobby internet lookup finds for TITLE.

Any tips for my second question (custom genre for my family favorites?)
Thanks for all the help. All of you guys rock!

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Postby DavidL » Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:31 am

I enter either the UPC or the movie name in Dan's Internet lookup. I Add the movie. I look at the title to see if it is appropriate. I usually simplify it (get rid of "Widescreen" and other details). I copy this finished name. I add a new directory. I Paste the name as the folder name. I add video_TS. I DVDShrink the movie into that new directory.

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Postby spydyr » Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:23 pm

Smoothtlk I'm confused on how your string works

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

I understand how the Theater variable works but I don't see where the "Study" variable gets entered into this command string. I would think it should go just before the second MLRedirect but you don't have it there.


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