CHANGED! Depreciation of Legacy Functionality
When I originally programmed CMC (previously MM Browser) I designed it to work exclusively with the mymovies.xml metadata files. I also gave CMC the ability to import titles that are completely missing metadata, which allows you to find and play a new rip even when My Movies is on the fritz, but CMC flags these titles with error notices to help you find and resolve them. Nearly 3 years later, these design choices continue to provide a bad experience for new users.
Last year I added CME to provide a better metadata solution, but up to this point it has been an optional feature that is easily missed by new users. All too often, new users try to use CMC without properly maintained metadata files, and they then get really bad results. A change in strategy was needed.
Beginning with CMC v3.2, the import of 'mymovies.xml' files is disabled by default, and all users are expected to use CME to create metadata.
Along the same lines, the import of titles missing metadata is also disabled by default, so you will only see titles that have CME metadata.
These changes mean that with CMC v3.2, when new users run a Sync they will not import any titles if they are not using CME to create their metadata, which hopefully will get the user to realize they've missed a step. At that point, the user has the option of either using CME (ideal) or going into the settings and re-enabling import of mymovies.xml files and/or titles missing metadata.
If you are already using CME, this change will likely be transparent to you - except for new titles not showing up if you've forgotten to run CME to export them. If you are not using CME, or haven't used it for all of your titles, you may find that those titles disappear with v3.2 when you run a Sync.
If you are not using CME and need the legacy functionality, you can change this behavior in the Settings > Movie Library Scanning, as shown here. Enabling both of these options restores the behavior of previous versions:
Probably my favorite new feature are the Hotkeys that I added to CMC v3.2. These Hotkeys allow you to jump around and perform actions in CMC very quickly with a single button press. If you have a programmable remote, you can add your favorites to any available buttons you may have.
See Hotkey details here: Getting-Started, section 10) Advanced Universal Remote Programming - CMC Hotkeys
Music Library Improvements
CMC v3.2 has some great new Music Library features. NOTE: You will have to do a Music Library Full Sync in v3.2 the first time due to all of the improvements.
Music Library Full Sync / Smart Sync
Previously there was only a Full Sync in the Music Library. v3.2 introduces a Smart Sync, which quickly imports only changes, just like in the Movie Library. Additionally, I fixed a bug in the Full Sync - it was not clearing the Music DB before rebuilding the database, v3.2 now correctly clears the database first.
Multiple Genres / Artists per Song
Previous versions of CMC were limited to importing just the first Artist and Genre that was configured for each song. While this was pretty good, it wasn't correct. With v3.2, now all Genres and Artists are individually imported for each song. This may change how some albums are displayed in your collection when viewing albums by artist or genre.
Previously, CMC could not use artwork embedded in your songs, and required that a folder.jpg file exist for each album. With v3.2, if the folder.jpg is missing, CMC will create it for you if one of the audio files has embedded artwork.
Music Genre Mapping
I have no idea if anyone else will find this useful, but this is a feature I've wanted since before I even began programming CMC. My large music collection has too many genres, which I don't find useful or really even usable. But at the same time, I don't like permanently changing the genres in my songs. To solve this issue, I've added a Genre Mapping feature to CMC v3.2. You can easily map any genre to any other genre (i.e. map Classic Rock, Rock Hits, and Live Rock to be included with Rock). This mapping is non-destructive - none of your metadata is changed. You can also easily toggle mapping on/off to instantly revert back to original genres or show mapped genres as you desire.
See details here: Getting-Started, section 14) Music Genre Mapping
Playing Music Genres
When selecting Music Genres, you can either press OK/Enter to jump to the list of albums that match the selected Genre, or you can press PLAY and actually start playing Albums that match that genre. This really works great with the new Genre Mapping feature!!!
But while working on the Genre Mapping feature, I discovered that CMC was playing the full albums (all songs) that had at least 1 song containing the selected Genre. Beginning with v3.2, CMC will now only play the individual songs that match the Genre. This is more of a bug fix than a new feature, but I wanted to call this one out as it is a pretty big behavior change.
External Link & Hotkey for SiliconDust's HDHomeRun
While I've long wanted to embed TV Tuner functionality inside CMC, the complexity required to make this happen has just been too much. Instead, I've leveraged the existing External Links feature in CMC and added a new link to launch the HDHomeRun app. Additionally, I added a dedicated Hotkey (detailed in the Hotkey section referenced above) for launching HDHomeRun, ALT+H. While I know that the HDHomeRun app may not be your favorite, it is fully functional and works alright with a remote, and launching it from CMC is so smooth it almost feels integrated. I'm very happy with this solution, and hope others like it too.
Similarly, I added Hotkey ALT+G (for Gaming) that is currently dedicated to launching Valve's Steam app. In the future I plan to make this configurable to launch your gaming platform of choice.
Added support for PotPlayer
I'm guessing most of you have never heard of PotPlayer. It is a free player that is extremely popular in Korea. CMC v3.2 adds support for PotPlayer. Even though the name is weird, the player itself is surprisingly good, and I see why it is so popular. While I still think MPC-BE is better, I think with some settings tweaking that many of you might really like PotPlayer.
Support for M2TS video files
Technically, CMC has always supported M2TS video files, which are the default format for Blu-ray movies. But CMC would only use them if they resided inside the original Blu-ray folder structure (ISO or Folder rip). Beginning with v3.2, CMC will now import individual M2TS files for playback, but ONLY if they are not inside a BDMV folder.
Unique Backgrounds for each Media Type
CMC has long had the ability to change the main Movie Library background image - you can assign a FanArt image or load up any custom image you may have - but you could only have one image at a time.
With v3.2, CMC now lets you assign a different background image for each Media Type: All Media Types, Movies, TV Series, Music, Documentaries, Other Media Types. By default, whatever image you've assigned to the "All Media Types" will be used for all 6 filters.
If you want to change the background for a specific Media Type (i.e. TV Series), you would first change to that Media Type filter, then change the background. The background image changes you make only apply to the Media Type filter you are currently viewing, including the Settings > Display Settings > Assign Background / Clear Background option. Keep in mind that the other 5 Media Types will default to the All Media Types assignment if they don't have their own.
Changes to the Check for Updates Functionality
I've noticed that a lot of users don't seem to realize that CMC has the ability to check for updates, and easily update itself. I think this is because you have to permit CMC access through your PC's firewall so that it can contact the ChamConSoft.com server to check for updates, and many users don't grant this permission. Additionally, I've tried to make CMC well behaved, meaning that it doesn't break or refuse to run if it can't check for updates - in fact up to this point it didn't even complain.
Beginning with v3.2, CMC will now notify you if the update check fails at startup. This prompt is easily dismissed, and CMC is still fully functional, but this nag screen will at least help users understand that this capability exists and is not working for them. Users can either grant firewall access, or alternatively turn off checking for updates in Settings > Startup & Logging Options.
My hope is that more users will enjoy the ease of updating CMC, but I do respect each user's right to disable or prevent this feature.
One of the things that has bugged me for a while is that the Box Set covers are very slow to load in CMC. This is because CMC is loading large images, rescaling them, and transforming them to the perspective view and overlaying them on the Box Set cover, which is a lot of processing to do in real-time. It was not so bad as to be unusable, but if you have a lot of TV Series and switch to the TV Series Media Type filter, navigating could get quite slow.
To fix this, I've modified CME to create pre-rendered BoxSet.PNG images during export, and modified CMC to use them if they exist (or still create them on the fly as needed if they don't). This doesn't add much time to the export, but makes CMC much faster to browse TV Series if you are using the Box Set view.
To enjoy the new BoxSet.png's, you will need to do a full export of your TV Series using CME v1.3.
TV Series/Season View Tweaks
Jamie pointed out to me that the inactive Season banners were too transparent and hard to see for some banners, especially when the banner has similar colors to the background. So I changed the opacity from 25% to 50%, which looks pretty good to me.
While I was there, I made a change to the default selected Season and Episode. Previously, the default selected Season banner would always be the top 'View Discs' option, but now it will be the first season that has unwatched episodes. Similarly, when looking at a season the default selected episode was always the first episode, but now it will be the first unwatched episode. This will make it easier to get back into a series where you last left off.
Exporting Discless TV Series
While CME has been a huge improvement over using MMCM to export metadata, there's still a few rough edges that make certain tasks harder than they should be. Chief among those is exporting TV Series. My Movies allows for stand-alone TV Series (which don't have a disc Title as a parent), and you can link each episode to a converted media file. Previously, CME didn't export these at all, and you still had to add a disc as a parent title and map the episodes on each disc to get TV Series data to export at all.
CME v1.3 now adds full support for exporting these stand-alone TV Series. You will no longer have to provide a disc as a parent title, or have online discs or map disc episodes - but only if you have your episodes linked to converted media files. CME will use the media file paths to determine where to write the TV Series and Season metadata.
The export of standalone TV Series data will occur last when CME runs. CME will look at every TV Series, Season, and Episode, and if it wasn't exported as part of a disc title export, and if it includes a media file location, then CME will export it. The new export will actually do Episodes first, then the Series and finally Season data. This is because the Episode metadata has the file path needed to export the Season and Episode data.
Be on the lookout for this new Standalone TV Series export - you might be surprised that it exports some previously un-exported TV Series data. Let me know if you see anything wrong.
I also had to modify CMC to import these discless stand-alone TV Series.
While the list above covers the highlights, there's a lot more that has been improved, changed, or fixed in CMC v3.2 and CME v1.3. I've highlighted any items in the list below that are not detailed above.
Changes for Chameleon MediaCenter (CMC) v3.2.2020.0321: *** CMC v3.2 ***
- New: Hotkeys to instantly perform common actions with a single command
- New: SmartSync for the Music Library for much faster syncing of collection changes
- New: Added support for multiple Genres & Artists per song
- New: Export embedded artwork from music files if folder.jpg missing in album folder
- New: Configurable Music Genre Mapper to combine multiple genres for a simplified Genres list
- New: External Link for the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Win10 App, directly launchable with ALT+H hotkey
- New: Added support for PotPlayer
- New: Added support for direct playing of M2TS video files that have been extracted from Blu-ray Folders
- New: Hide back cover DVD case on the movie details page if the back cover image is missing
- New: Manage custom backgrounds separately for each Media Type mode (All, Movies, TV, Music, Docs, Other)
- New: Notification upon failure to contact ChamConSoft.com server for the CMC Check for Updates
- New: Ability to disable Check for Updates
- New: Load boxset.png created by CME if it exists instead of creating box set artwork on the fly **
- Fixed: Scaling and black bar issues when connecting/disconnecting via Remote Desktop
- Fixed: TV Series Release Date was wrong, causing Sort by Release Date to be wrong
- Fixed: Music DB was not cleared when performing a Full Sync
- Fixed: Album & Track Year sometimes contained a full YYYY-MM-DD date instead of just a year
- Fixed: Playing a Music Genre plays full albums with matching genres, includes tracks that don't match genre
- Fixed: Now Playing Album Cover would sometimes disappear when the next song started playing
- Fixed: Rare Access Violation error that randomly occurred when the next song started playing
- Fixed: Cannot play Blu-ray Episode when MPLS Playlist lists multiple files (Note: DVDFab Player not fixable)
- Fixed: Could not navigate using arrow keys to the Setting "Delete the Movie Artwork Cache"
- Fixed: Added logic to skip $recycle.bin during a Sync folder scan
- Fixed: Sync will now import converted media based TV Episodes (discless TV Series)
- Fixed: Invalid char from TV Series name in Watched Episode flag file name caused an error
- Fixed: Access Violation error when viewing music genres after initial sync
- Fixed: Music Library menu active and shows Movie info when Music DB is empty
- Fixed: Music CD Cover navigation error related to genre filtering and changing album rows configuration
- Fixed: Out of Bounds error when scrolling right in Music Library if # of titles is just under # of cover squares
- Changed: Import of mymovies.xml files now optional and DISABLED by Default! Use CME instead!!!
- Changed: Showing of Titles missing XML metadata (i.e. mmTitle.xml) now optional and DISABLED by Default!!!
- Changed: Completely rewritten routine to launch external players (i.e. PowerDVD, MPC, JRiver, etc.)
- Changed: Reduced transparency of Season Banners on TV Series View
- Changed: Default selected Season and Episode now defaults to first Unwatched Season & Episode
Changes for CMC Metadata Exporter (CME) v1.3.2020.0321: *** CME v1.3 ***
- New: Create boxset.png for TV Series **
- New: Export discless TV Series & Episodes that point to a converted media file