Jon’s HTPC: DVD Catalog & A Quick Note on Audio

This is Part of Jon’s HTPC setup. For more, see: Introduction and Table of Contents

DVD Catalog:

DVD ScreenMeedio also allows me to have a searchable catalog of all our DVD movies. You can search alphabetically, by genre, by studio, by rating, by actor, or by director. All movies have front and back cover art, a description, rating, run time, and other information. I use a piece of software called “DVD Profiler” integrated with Meedio to accomplish this. Currently it’s simply a catalog that you can search through to pick a movie; selecting the movie doesn’t actually play it on demand. However if I wanted to put my entire DVD collection on the hard drive I could then have them launch by selecting it. I just don’t have enough hard drive space to store all of our movies. Currently we just browse the catalog until we find something we are in the mood for, and then pull it our of the big DVD wallet.

DVD Profiler software…

A Quick Note On Audio:
Windows uses something called the “kmixer” for all directsound and waveout audio (pretty much 100% of the audio on a normal system). Kmixer is BAD… very bad. It forces re-samples (a.k.a. mangles) all the audio that goes through it. That means if you have a 192/24 sound card like the Audigy 2 ZS, you are not actually getting 192/24 sound. The same is also true for 44/16 CD audio. The only way to get around the Windows mangler (kmixer) is to find programs that allow you to use either an ASIO connection to your soundcard, or “Kernel Streaming”, or a SPDIF connection to your soundcard (that might look like a typo, but I’m referring to a software SPDIF connection to your soundcard, not a wired SPDIF connection from the soundcard to the receiver). How you connect the soundcard to your stereo is up to you, personally I use Monster analog connections because 192/24 won’t fit through a SPDIF cable. But regardless, in order to bypass the mangeler the connection from the software to the soundcard needs to be ASIO, SPDIF, or Kernel Streaming. Most DVD playback software has the ability to use SPDIF, so no problem for DVD’s. However it can be a bit harder to find music playback software that supports ASIO or Kernel Streaming. Luckily, Meedio supports ASIO playback, so your MP3’s, WAV’s, and CD’s will sound like they are supposed to. Another nice feature, so no worries there.

The more MP3’s you have, the bigger the need for quality organization. That means that all your ID3v2 tags need to be correct. There is simply no automated way to do this. Like I said earlier, I use EAC and LAME to rip everything. EAC has (like a lot of programs) and automated CD information finder thing, but in reality that’s only a starting point. For example, one CD might come up as “Elwood – Parlance of Our Time” and another might come up “Beatles, Abby Road”. As you can see, the titles might be correct but the formatting is different. Also, many times the track numbering is 1,2,3 on one CD and 01,02,03 on another, and 01/14, 02/14, 03/14 on yet another. So again, things don’t match. Often times the CD release date is empty or wrong, and yada yada. To make it even worse, Various Artist CD’s are a headache in themselves. I highly recommend “The Godfather” for editing your tags so everything is nice and formatted correctly. I previously used Mp3tag (for a long time), but then switched to The Godfather. It’s not as friendly to use as Mp3tag, but it’s more powerful. Regardless of what software you use, there’s no automated way to do it; it’s simply a mind numbing CD-by-CD process. However, The Godfather helps to make it as easy as it can be. A big advantage to The Godfather is that it supports custom VBScripts to help speed things up. My collection took months to make corrections and format everything. But now that they are all correct, it’s easy to maintain new CD’s as they come in. The Godfather (using a VBScript) can also be used to embed the cover art into the MP3 file. Some programs require the cover art to be embedded in order to properly view it.

Bad kmixer! Bad!… (this is just one result from a Google search)

Software SPDIF vs SPDIF cable discussion… (the explanation is 5 posts down)

EAC software…

LAME encoder…

The Godfather software… (I can’t seem to find the homepage. Here’s a screenshot)

Next Chapter> Home Automation (the best for last)


gravatar Jon

Ok, one more correction on my part. When I said…
“might come up as “Elwood – Parlance of Our Time” and another might come up “Beatles, Abby Road”.”…
That was a bad example. That formatting problem wouldn’t stem from the online database, it would stem from how you have the software set up. A better example is one CD coming up as “Tupac” and another coming up as “2Pac”, or one CD coming up as “Bare Naked Ladies” and another one coming up as “The Bare Naked Ladies”. Regardless, my point was simply that the online databases are usually only a starting point and there are often times when you need top make manual adjustments in order to keep all your CD’s formatted the same.

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