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Disc Changer control in CMC

Post here to suggest ideas for future versions.
fdavis71
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:50 pm

Re: Disc Changer control in CMC

Post by fdavis71 » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:16 pm

Pauven wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:21 pm
Hey Frank @fdavis71,

I was starting to work on changer support, beginning with configuring a changer in My Movies so I can add some fake test discs. I hit a brick wall really quickly.

Apparently (and as you already know), the MM changer support is only installed if you have WMC, which of course I don't (and don't plan to install on Win10). So I'm not able to configure a changer for assigning discs to slots, and I can't do any testing. Arg!!!

Even worse, I read through this thread, and it seems like Binnerup's stance is that changer support is only for pre-Win10 with WMC (and not officially supported on a Win10 WMC hackinstall): https://www.mymovies.dk/forum.aspx?g=posts&m=214347

I know that Binnerup just recently turned off most of the web access for MM v4, essentially making the product end of life. Your posts seems to suggest that you are continuing with v4 in a fully manual mode, though I'm wondering if you are planning to make the leap to v5 at some point.

For me to do some development, I need sample My Movies xml metadata that include the changer slot assignment data. But since v4 files are encrypted, that means I need them from v5.

I'm also wondering what all this ultimately means for a changer user like yourself - can you ever upgrade to Win10 without having to force hackinstall WMC just to enable the changer support in MMCM? Sure seems like a lot of hoops to jump through.

Paul
Hey Paul. Yeah, I'll be sticking with My Movies v4.07 in conjunction with Windows Media Center under Windows 7. I refuse to be tied at the hip to the My Movies online servers. Their mandatory sync model with My Movies v5 is a deal breaker for me. And yes, title data from the My Movies online servers is no longer accessible via My Movies v4. You can view the listings, but the actual data will no longer download. It's been turned off. As such you're limited to creating personal titles from scratch. I profile a given title in DVD Profiler first anyway, so it's just a matter of copying the data and cover art over from DVD Profiler. Takes just a couple minutes. Backdrops still download. Sometimes they don't. I replace the ones that download with my own anyway. If a backdrop doesn't download I just access the given title from the database directly. I generate a random GUID adding that value to the database in the appropriate place, then dropping my image in the backdrops folder naming accordingly. IMDB data can still be searched for and imported. You are limited to searching by IMDB ID though. To search by title or the longer IMDB ID's they're using now the DLL from My Movies v5 has to be used. It works great with My Movies v4.

As for the changer support. I no longer use My Movies for Windows Media Center to power on a given changer, then selecting the given disc. The feature only supports up to 9 com ports, even with My Movies v5. I have 15 of the Sony BDP-CX7000ES units now. I actually stopped using the feature some time ago. I still have the Collection Management application configured as if I use the feature. The disc(s) for a given title, I still assign each disc the given changer and slot number. I only do so however, so that "location" data is displayed within My Movies for Windows Media Center. When I find something to watch I then power on the given changer and select the disc in question via an activity I created for my universal remote, my universal remote also being used for general control of the changer. I additionally have my universal remote remember the power states of all my changers including the last disc selected for each. I'm using a 20-port serial switch in conjunction with my remote control system to communicate with the changers. The switch provides for controlling the changers independently or collectively. Simplifies the hardware and software side of things greatly. Using a single set of RS-232 commands to control all 15 changers in addition to single disc Sony Blu-ray player, a BDP-S5000ES which is basically the Sony BDP-CX7000ES, but without the carousel. (See here and here to learn more.)
Last edited by fdavis71 on Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Pauven
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Re: Disc Changer control in CMC

Post by Pauven » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:25 pm

Hey Frank,

AndyCob was able to provide some sample XML files for me. He had to jump through some hoops to make them, since typically these discs are considered offline so MM doesn't create XML files for them. The XML files he provided were very helpful, and CMC could easily import that data, but generating the data in the first place in MM is the bigger challenge.

Essentially, exporting this data from MM only becomes possible once I implement a direct MM API -> CMC approach, bypassing saving metadata in online media folders. And even then, it will only work for Win7/8 users with WMC for whom MM installs the changer support. I guess if you're a changer user then you're still maintaining a WMC install for the changer functionality in MM, so maybe that's not a showstopper.

But MM v4 XML data is encrypted and the API is not opened up like in v5, so you staying with v4 is definitely a showstopper.

Now, if all you want is a prompt that says "Changer 3 Slot 19", that feature already exists in CMC. CMC imports the Personal Data - Location value, and will show a prompt for offline discs with this location data when you go to play them. This doesn't require changer support, only that you type in the Location data for each title. The main caveat to this approach is that right now in CMC, offline discs have to be configured as Online Folder/Disc in MM, so that the XML metadata has a way to export with a place to live. That requirement will go away in the future, when the above mentioned direct MM API -> CMC pathway is implemented, but for now I typically don't recommend CMC for users with large offline collections.

In general, adding changer support is really low on my priorities list. There's very few changer users, some of which are staying on MM v4 like you, further shrinking the potential user base. It might still happen at some point, but the unnecessary complexities and small user base means this isn't the easy slam dunk I originally thought it would be.

Paul
President, Chameleon Consulting LLC
Author, Chameleon MediaCenter

fdavis71
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:50 pm

Re: Disc Changer control in CMC

Post by fdavis71 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:52 pm

I'm married to My Movies v4 and Windows 7 and don't plan to ever use the changer support short of having the "disc" location details appear within My Movies for Windows Media Center, both from the "Details" page of a given title and when selecting the "Play" option. (The "Location" value under "Personal Data" is not something I use.) See below.

The "Changer" and "Slot" values found in CM under "Assign Discs" for a given title are displayed on the "Details" page within My Movies for WMC. There's only so much room available within WMC, so I only key off this area with titles that contain a single disc.

Image

When a given title consists of more than one disc I have a custom message displayed on the "Details" page instead. I accomplish this by modifying the localization file.

Image

Selecting the "Play" option then calls out the changer and slot number for each of the discs. In this case the changer and slot values are included within the disc names.

Image

So once I find a disc to play I just take note of the changer and slot number manually entering those things in the activity I created for my Pronto remote. My Pronto takes care of the rest in addition to general control of the changer. Don't plan to ever migrate to My Movies v5. If I ever do I'll certainly give CMC another look though.

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