DVDLobby + Media Server = Paradigm Shift

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DVDLobby + Media Server = Paradigm Shift

Postby varun » Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:47 am

I originally bought a Sony DVD changer and MainLobby / DVDLobby to watch movies through my house. I had component video output for high def to my projector, and I had a long 50' svideo cable with analog RCA cables to another setup upstairs to watch movies. The sony was controlled by a pronto remote with RF extender which worked great from upstairs.

This was fine two years ago, but times have changed.

Now, the DVD movies have been digitized and stored on a RAID 5 array (along with music and other digital media). I have 3 PCs throughout the house connected via gigabit ethernet, which are hooked up to the TV setups. The RAID array is network mounted at each of the PCs.

I can watch movies by running local batch files which virtual mount the digital DVD (using the DOS subst command), and then run theatertek DVD player with ffdshow post-processing. The picture quality is stunning, easily better than the sony dvd output. The picture is upscaled to 1280x720 with a sharpening filter that makes the quality near native high def.

With this system, I have had all 3 setups watching 3 different movies simultaneously, something a DVD jukebox cannot do.

I want to use DVDlobby as the front end at each of these computers to select the movie. I have looked at other solutions, but none of them have the beautiful look of the MainLobby programs.

Network sharing the actual DVD movies is not a problem, I see no way to access a MLServer across a network to retrieve DVD information. Can MainLobby access a remote MLServer (running remotely on the RAID server)?

One workaround I have found is to mount the raid server at a fixed point on all the systems (the M: drive), and make all references to the movies relative to this location. If I duplicate the dvd.mdb file from the MLserver directory and copy all the thumbnails to each of the PCs and then run MLServer locally at each of the computers, DVDlobby works fine. I'm looking for a cleaner solution where all of the clients reference one database only. This makes sense, as adding any movies to the database would involve re-copying the database and thumbnails to each computer (since they are all running clone copies of the database).


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Postby rlindblad » Fri Dec 23, 2005 11:51 am

I'm thinking gregoryx should be able to point you in the direction you are looking to go, this sounds similar to his setup (and others, although all his code is on line... 8) ) but I don't think he redirects to other machines (could be wrong).

The basic premise of the Mainlobby/MLServer product line is access via a client (your 3 machines) and sending commands from there to a 2nd tier (MLServer) where events are processed. These then execute plugin commands, which do something.

You have two options, one that you outlined below. In that configuration, you basically have 3 ML / MLServer instances. They are nearly identical. The sharing of the NAS is just that, a drive that ML sees. Kinda a pain for the updating of the DVDL database, and a maintenance hassle.

The other option uses a centralized MLServer and DVDL database. The database is read from the central server by all the clients, and the play command is sent to the central server from the clients. The only issue at this time is you sending the command back to the client machine that sent the command. I believe right now this will have to be accomplished via a MLRedirect and you will have to have MLServer running on your client. You can change the source (again, your 3 clients) based on scripting using the {clientname} variable, so that shouldn't be much of an issue.

You should be well on the way, using the M: mount for the drive solves several issues.

IOW, this is all very do-able today.


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Postby gregoryx » Fri Dec 23, 2005 11:35 pm

Hmmm... yes, this can be done with one DVD Lobby database.

Redirecting is the key.

Variables of either clientname and/or "I want to watch it here" would be required to make it happen.

It's not a big deal on a command-by-command basis, but it's a HUGE undertaking to make it work in terms of the number of commands that will be in place by the time it's done to make all clients work off one server but control different things.

One of my scenes / routines that might help is my "AV Control" scene. It uses a pull-down menu to choose what it's going to control. The same scene (same buttons and all) change quickly from controlling one changer to another to Zoom Player to Theater Tek to other AV gear. Check it out for how that might happen.

The "Play Movie" command would ideally become something much more than it probably is now. It would require conditional statements to decide where to redirect all the commands.

Alternatively, this could be done by just using a redirect command for everything with the redirect server name set to be {{clientname}}.

For starters, I'd recommend that last option. Take the same commands you use today, but send them through the main MLServer with a redirect to the client that made the request in the first place. Once that's working, perhaps the logic on some of the rest of it will fall into place a bit.


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