Works with MCE Remotes

Your home theater gear came with dedicated remotes to control them from the comfort of your couch or theater chair.  Yet when it comes to using PC's, all too often Windows software requires a clunky keyboard or a mouse.

 

Chameleon MediaCenter has been designed to be controlled by standard Windows Media Center compatible remotes.

 

And with Windows 10 having now depreciated the green MCE button, you can re-purpose it to launch CMC.  Chameleon MediaCenter even has an MCE remote button configuration tool built-in.

 

Chameleon MediaCenter does have a few areas where a keyboard is still needed, though we are actively working to make a future version fully keyboard free.    Top

Rapid Collection Scanning

With other media browsers, too often the chore of syncing your collection info is slow and inconvenient, with the sync option hidden deep in the menus as an afterthought.  Syncing your collection should be one of the most important features in any media browser, not an afterthought.

 

 

In Chameleon MediaCenter, the Sync button is displayed prominently on the main menu bar, within easy reach.  Additionally, the Sync process can be configured to perform an AutoSync on program start.

 

The Sync process has been highly optimized to sync your My Movies colleciton as fast as possible, and a changes only SmartSync option can sync your latest changes in just a few seconds.

 

The Sync process can even pick up and display new titles that My Movies has yet to identify, and will produce an error report of any titles that have corrupted or encrypted XML data in their folder - so you can fix them.  Top

 

Artwork Caching

I have over 1200 movies in my personal collection, all stored on my network server.  With a collection that large, you need a lot of data storage - my server has 62 TB of storage spread across 20 drives.  My server is smart, only spinning up the hard drives that are in-use, keeping idle drives spun down and cool when not in use (Pro-tip: I use Lime Tech's unRAID  server OS software for my storage server, highly recommended).

 

But a sleeping hard drive means a several second lag in browsing your collection, as HD's are slow to spin up to read the cover artwork.  If your collection is stored locally on fast internal drives, this won't be an issue, but large collections stored on NAS type devices or even USB storage can introduce enough lag to make the CMC GUI frustrating to use.

 

Worse, since the My Movies artwork is stored inside each movie's folder, the image files are spread across all the hard drives on my server.  Simply using CMC to display the cover art and scrolling through my collection is enough to spin up every last hard drive to read all the image files.

 

To solve this, Chameleon MediaCenter can optionally store a copy of all artwork (front/back covers and FanArt) on your local PC.  For my collection of 1200+ movies, this takes around 1GB of space to cache the artwork, which is a small price to pay for the improvements gained.

 

The best part is that if you use CMC on a SSD, the artwork cache makes the GUI lightning fast.  Top

 

Works with Virtual CloneDrive

If you store full size CD/DVD/Blu-Ray ISO's, then you've already discovered the magic that is Elaborate Bytes Virtual CloneDrive, which is free to use.

 

As the name implies, VCD can mount your ISO's on a virtual optical drive for playback.

 

Chameleon MediaCenter has been designed to integrate with VCD.  Not only can it call VCD to mount ISO files, CMC can also query VCD to see what is currently mounted, and skip the mounting step if the ISO you want to play is already mounted.  Top

 

ISO, DVD Folder, Blu-ray Folder, MP4, MKV, and M4V Playback Support For Most Popular Formats

Chameleon MediaCenter provides support for the most common file formats, including ISO, DVD folders, Blu-ray folders, AVI, DIVX, DVX, FLV, M4V, MKV, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPEG2, QT, TS, and WTV (WMC recorded TV).

 

You can configure playback for encoded media files using PowerDVD, DVDFab Player, MPC, VLC or the Windows 10 app 'Movies & TV'.

 

If you have another file format that you want MM Browser to handle, let us know.  Top

 

Works with PowerDVD

When it comes to playing back Blu-Rays on your PC, CyberLink's infamous PowerDVD is the industry standard.  Chameleon Medias designed to work with PowerDVD.

 

After mounting your ISO files with VCD, MM Browser will automatically launch PowerDVD and autoplay the mounted DVD or Blu-Ray ISO.

 

MM Browser supports playback of DVD/Blu-ray folders (VIDEO_TS/BDMV) with PowerDVD.

 

We plan to add support for other players in the future, based upon customer demand.  So if you want support for another player, please let us know.  Top

 

 

 

 

 

Works with JRiver

 

For many users, JRiver Media Center represents the ultimate in Blu-ray playback.  JRiver is the only player that both supports Blu-ray menus AND video post-processing plugins/filters like LAV and madVR.

 

While most would think of JRiver as a competing product to Chameleon MediaCenter, we didn't shy away from allowing our users the right to choose the best solutions for their needs.

 

CMC v2.2 adds JRiver as an external player option, and it works great for playing DVD's, Blu-rays, 4K UHD Blu-rays, and direct Episode playback of Blu-rays and 4K UHD Blu-rays.  (Since JRiver does not support direct Title/Chapter access for DVD's from the command line, it is not possible to use JRiver for direct play of DVD Episodes).

 

So now you can use CMC as your front end, and JRiver as your player, and have the best of both worlds.   Top

 

 

 

 

Works with DVDFab Player

For many users, DVDFab Player 5 Ultra is their player of choice.  Along with PowerDVD, it's one of the only players capable of Blu-ray menu playback, and is also 4K ready.

 

New with version 2.0, Chameleon MediaCenter can play your titles with DVD Fab Player 5. Top

 

Works with 'Movies & TV'

If you are running Chameleon MediaCenter on a Windows 10 PC, then you can play encoded media like MP4, MKV and M4V videos with the Windows 10 exclusive 'Movies & TV' app.

 

The last time we checked, Kodi and Plex users hadn't figured out how to integrate with the 'Movies & TV' app.  It wasn't easy, but CMC is the first, and perhaps only, application to support 'Movies & TV' integration!  And the best part is that it just works - you don't have to configure any batch files!  Top

 

Works with Media Player Classic

Due to popular demand, CMC now provides support for Media Player Classic, in both MPC-HC and MPC-BE flavors.

 

Media Player Classic is a great player for DVD's, encoded media, and Episodes on DVD and Blu-ray.

 

MPC is even capable of playing 4K UHD content.  The only real short-coming of MPC is that it doesn't have support for Blu-ray menus - it simply autoplays what it thinks is the main title.

 

Then again, that may not be a shortcoming.    Top

 

Works with VideoLAN / VLC

Also due to popular demand, Chameleon MediaCenter now supports VideoLAN's VLC for playing back videos.

 

Due to limited success with using VLC to play DVD's and Blu-rays, for now VLC is configured for convert/encoded media only.

 

We will continue working to improve VLC support, and hope to extend this functionality in a future CMC release.  Top

 

Built-In CMC Cover Profiles

Early versions of CMC used Cover Profiles from My Movies.  While this was extremely convenient, it also required My Movies to be installed on every PC upon which CMC was installed.

 

In reality, most of us only need My Movies on a single PC to perform collection management duties, so with v1.8 we added a built-in CMC Cover Profile.

 

Not only does the new Cover Profile eliminate the requirement to also have My Movies installed, but we think the new Cover Profile artwork looks great, and it is our new favorite.

 

Artwork is included for DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-ray, and UHD 4K discs.   Top

 

Uses My Movies Cover Profiles

One of my favorite features of the My Movies Media Center plug-in were the various Cover Profiles that had been created to customize the display of cover artwork.  My personal favorite is the 'Plastic' theme.

 

Chameleon MediaCenter can utilize these same Cover Profiles.  My Movies installs with two Cover Profiles, Default and Plastic, and CMC can utilize these.

 

If you want more, simply download and install Cover Profiles as normal for My Movies, and they will be found and made selectable in the CMC settings.  Plus, new profiles can be created using the same existing Cover Profiles format.  Top

 

Auto-Adjusting Display Refresh Rate

If you've ever watched a movie using PowerDVD, you've probably seen the prompt to allow PowerDVD to adjust your display's refresh rate for optimum playback quality.  While the idea is great, the implementation is flawed.  PowerDVD often chooses the wrong refresh rates, and gives you no control over what rates are used.

 

Though many users never realized it, Windows MCE + My Movies plugin also provided display refresh rate changing, and for many users it was superior to the PowerDVD functionality.

 

Chameleon MediaCenter also offers the capability to auto-set your display's refresh rate according to the source material, but with the bonus of allowing you to configure the refresh rates you want to use.

 

 

Even better, because CMC is controlling the refresh rate, it can set it for all players you use:  PowerDVD, DVDFab Player, VideoLAN, Media Player Classic, and Windows 10's 'Movies & TV' app.  Top

 

One-Button Mark Watched

More than once, I've started up a movie only to realize 15 minutes in that my sense of déjà vu was because I had already seen it - Doh!  To be honest, with so many movies in my collection, this happens more than I care to admit.  Being able to mark movies as watched helps me find the new movies (old movies too) that I've yet to watch.

 

Chameleon MediaCenter has been programmed to use the 'Clear' button on your remote to toggle a title between 'Watched' and 'Unwatched'.  This Watched/Unwatched status is stored in a new file placed the same folder with your movie, so if you use CMC on multiple PC's, they will all stay in sync with each other.  You can also toggle the watched status on the 'Actions' tab on the title's FanArt page.

 

Toggling between showing All Titles or Unwatched only is a button click away on the main menu bar.  Plus, you can configure CMC's default behavior to show Unwatched on every program start.

 

Please note, the Watched/Unwatched status does not update your My Movies database or XML files, only CMC's.  Due to My Movies restrictions, you will need to manually update the watched status in My Movies if you desire to keep it in sync (purely optional).  To help, every time you close CMC, a report is written to the program directory listing all 'Out of Sync' titles that need to have their Watched/Unwatched status manually updated in My Movies.

 

CMC is so smart, it will even remove the Watched/Unwatched status files it stored in the movie folder after you've manually updated My Movies to the same watched status.

 

Chameleon Media Center will need write access to your collection's folders in order to store the Watched/Unwatched status files.  Top

 

Flexible Genre Filtering

My Movies classifies movies and TV shows using a multitude of Genres (38 different Genres by my count).  And due to personal preferences, every movie collection will be comprised of different Genres.  Few collections will make use of every possible Genre that My Movies permits.  Even my enormous collection only covers 26 of those 38 Genres.  The last thing I want to do is waste time looking at or trying to filter on Genres that don't even exist in my collection.

 

 

Chameleon MediaCenter dynamically compiles a list of all Genres present in your collection. When you view the Genre filtering panel, you can trust that every Genre shown actually exists for at least one title in your collection.

 

When filtering on Genres, CMC has two very important options: "Match Any Of These Genres" and "Match All Of These Genres".  For example, in my collection if I select Genres 'Action', 'Comedy' and 'Sci-Fi', with the Match-All option I only find one movie, 'Megamind', that includes all three of those Genres.  With the Match-Any option, I have 258 titles that are 'Action' or 'Comedy' or 'Sci-Fi', but not necessarily all three.

 

I find that the Match-Any option helps when two genres fit the bill, like Action or Adventure, as often a movie will be tagged with one or the other, but not both.  Top

 

Categories Filtering

Similar to Genre Filtering, Chameleon MediaCenter can filter on custom My Movies Categories too.

 

I have a big collection of comicbook based superhero movies from Marvel and DC.  But there isn't a single Genre in My Movies that will show just these movies.

 

So I added a new Category called 'Comics & Superheroes', and assigned that Category to those movies.  Now in CMC, I can apply that filter and see all 44 of my superhero movies at a glance!

 

I've also created Categories for Christmas and Halloween for my seasonal must-watch movies.  Top

 

Media Type Filtering

Another way Chameleon MediaCenter allows you to tame your collection is with the ability to filter on My Movies Media Types, which include Movies, TV Series, Music, Documentaries, and "Other".

 

I find it a great convenience to toggle between Movies and TV Series, making it quicker to find a TV show to watch when I'm in the mood for something short.

 

The new Media Type filter is right on the top menu bar, so changing the filter mode takes only a few clicks.  Top

 

WatchLists

WatchLists is a feature that lets you easily flag movies or shows that you want to watch with a single button press. (the * asterisk on your remote).  Movies on your WatchList will show a gold ribbon on the top left of the cover.

 

With WatchLists you can flag those movie for the weekend movie-thon ahead of time, so when guests arrive you can pull them up instantly, instead of fumbling through your oversized collection.

 

To show the titles in your WatchList, just hit the new WatchList icon on the top menu bar to toggle it on and off.

 

And when you've finally watched that movie from 1982 that you've been meaning to watch forever, just hit the * again to remove it from your WatchList.

 

WatchLists are Synced to all PC's in your home automatically as part of the SmartSync, which is extra helpful since WatchLists are not a feature of My Movies, but rather a Chameleon MediaCenter exclusive.    Top

 

Plentiful Sort Options

In addition to filtering on Watched/Unwatched status and by Genres, Chameleon MediaCenter provides extensive options for sorting your collection.

 

You can sort by Title, Star Rating, Runtime, Production Year, Disc Release Year, Date Added to your collection, and by the My Movies Collection Number.  Additionally, you can sort either Ascending or Descending.

 

When you sort by Title Ascending (aka Alphabetical), you can also use your keyboard or remote to quickly jump to any number or letter.  Press L on your keyboard and CMC will instantly jump to the first title that begins with L.  Don't have your keyboard handy?  Use your remote control's number-pad to enter an L by pressing 5 to cycle through the alternate values (5-J-K-L).

 

My personal favorite sort is by Date Added Descending, which brings all the newest titles in my collection to the front.  Just like the Watched/Unwatched feature, you can configure your favorite sort option to be the default sort upon program start.

 

Used in combination with the Unwatched Only filter and the Genre filters, CMC's Sort options make it super easy to find a good movie to watch.  For example, if you filter on Unwatched movies of the Action Genre and sort by Stars Descending, CMC will bring highly rated action movies that you haven't seen right to the front.  Top

 

Real-Time Search

Sometimes I can only remember part of an actor or director's name, but not anything they've worked on.  Or part of a movie title, but not the first word in the title.  Or I want to find all movies that two or more people have all worked in together. Or I want to find movies with a holiday in the title, like Halloween or Valentines.  For those times, Chameleon MediaCenter's Real-Time Search feature comes to the rescue.

 

On the Search Bar, as you type each letter in a search box, the results are filtered in real-time.  You can search on Movie/Show Title, Synopsis, Actor, Director, Writer, and Producer - and any combination of those search options together.  You don't have to use any wildcards either - just enter "Potter" in the Title search box, and instantly see your entire collection of Harry Potter films.

 

 

For the Actor and Crew searches, you can search on multiple values in the same box by using comma separate values.  Did Steve Carell ever star in a movie with Kevin Bacon?  I just entered "bacon,carell" in the Actor search box, and I found "Crazy Stupid Love" in my collection... who knew.  Not me, I've yet to watch it.

 

The Synopsis search is perhaps the most powerful option in that it performs a real-time search of the entire movie or show's description.  Want to find every movie that makes a reference to 'horses' in the description?  In my collection I found 'Seabiscuit', 'Secretariat', 'War Horse', and 'Hellboy' (which is based on the Dark Horse comic).

 

The powerful search capabilities can also help find all films for an actor who has worked under numerous names.  For example, Hit-Girl Chloë Grace Moretz is credited as just Chloe Moretz in her earlier works.  Searching for "Chlo,Moretz" (without the sometimes accented ë) immediately pulls up all her films in my collection, regardless of the name variation under which she was credited.

 

One last tip: Chameleon MediaCenter's Real-Time Search feature only searches amongst the titles you are currently showing.  So if you are filtering on Unwatched Action movies, your search will only apply to that subset of your collection.  To unleash the full power of the Real-Time Search, make sure you are first displaying all titles.   Top

 

TV Series & Episodes Support

New in v2.2, CMC now has full support for TV Series, Seasons and Episodes!

 

 

The new Box Set DVD Cover images make it easy to identify Box Sets including TV Series.

 

 

 

The new TV Series overview page provides direct access to every season in your collection.

 

 

 

Browse Episode details and direct play them with a single click.  Asterisks (*) indicate unwatched.

 

Also new in CMC v2.2 is the ability to automatically mark an Episode as watched when you return from the external player, and to automatically play the next Episode.  This feature works best with an external player like MPC which will auto-close when the Episode ends, so you can simply start playing the first episode and site back and enjoy the show, button free.

 

And if you want to access your TV Series as full-discs, that option is only a click away.  So now you can have the best of both worlds, launching full discs to get the studio's original experience, or direct access to all Seasons and Episodes in one convenient GUI.

 

We believe CMC v2.2 provides the best possible TV Series experience available anywhere.

 

There is one gotcha with the new TV Series support - to get the new experience you will have to use the brand new CMC Metadata Exporter (CME).  CME uses the My Movies API to export more metadata and artwork than is possible otherwise, and this extra data is required to power the new TV Series experience.  To have access to use the My Movies API, you must have at least 2500 My Movies Contribution Points.  While most of our users already have more than enough points, if you don't have enough then you can purchase more using the My Movies Collection Manager app.   Top

 

Box Set Support

Chameleon MediaCenter has the ability to display My Movies Box Sets.

 

When browsing the full cover list, only the Box Set cover will be shown. Selecting the cover will then open a new panel displaying every title in the Box Set as a separate title.

 

Do note that the total Titles count (bottom right of screen) only counts each Box Set as a single Title.  This may lead to a small variance when comparing your total Titles count to My Movies, which counts every Title inside the Box Set.

 

Future versions of CMC will add the ability to filter on Box Sets.  Top

 

Beautiful Fan-Art with Detailed Movie Info

One of the best features of My Movies is that, in addition to Cover artwork scans, it provides beautiful Fan-Art for almost every movie that has been uploaded by contributors.  Chameleon MediaCenter displays these images as background artwork on the FanArt pages, where you will also find in-depth movie info.

 

 

The FanArt page is accessed by selecting the cover of any title.  The FanArt page displays comprehensive info like Stars, Genres, Rating, the movie Synopsis, the Cast & Crew, the location of the title including the file path if the title is online, and any Extra Features included on the disc.

 

If you want to see the high-resolution front and back DVD covers full-screen, simply select them on the Details tab.

 

Oh, and one more thing about that gorgeous Fan-Art - on the Actions tab you can make the Fan-Art your primary background image on the main screen.

 

Please note that the FanArt pages are not yet complete in CMC.  Currently they are missing the Audio information and the Similar Titles feature.  These features are in development for a future release.   Top

 

 

Cast & Crew Collected Works

From the FanArt pages, on the Cast & Crew tab you can select any person to see a complete list of their works that exist in your collection.

 

 

We love to use this feature in my family to help choose our next movie to watch by playing a version of '6-degrees of separation'.  We look at the cast of the last movie we watched, and pick another title that one of the actors have appeared in.  It's fun to see the same actor in two completely different roles back-to-back, plus this method greatly reduces the number of movies from which to choose, which is especially helpful when your collection is so large you simply can't make a decision due to option overload.

 

We choose a different actor each time, though... no way I want to watch 25 different Samuel L. Jackson movies back-to-back, snakes or no snakes.

 

Full disclosure, we have observed that for actors or crew members that have been credited under various names, this Collected Works feature will not include titles under other name variations.  As described above, you can utilize the powerful Real-Time Search feature in CMC to get around this limitation.  Top

 

 

Audiophile Class Audio Playback

Windows Media Center always made listening to music enjoyable, and Chameleon MediaCenter has recreated this experience, plus elevated it to new levels.

 

 

CMC utilizes Un4seen's world class BASS Audio Library, which delivers audiophile sound quality, gapless playback, and support for nearly every audio format, including:  AIFF, AAC, ALAC, APE, OGG, FLAC, MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4/M4a, OFR, WAV, WMA, and WV.

 

With a capable sound card and speaker set up, you can enjoy up to 32-bit floating point, 192KHz, 7.1 audio bliss.

 

 

But that's not all.  Chameleon Media Center has even recreated the much loved scrolling CD Cover screensaver for you to watch while listening to your favorite albums.  Or if you prefer a pure listening experience without the distraction of the screensaver, you can select the new "Lights Out" screensaver mode, and your display will fade to black while you enjoy your music.

 

New in CMC v2.2, you can now filter and play your colleciton by Music Genre, and create and listen to Playlists.  Top