The process for linking Episodes to DVD Folders and DVD ISO's for direct-play is nearly identical to the process used for Converted Media in TV301. The main difference is that there are a few extra steps at the end to force My Movies into generating the <episode> mymovies.xml files.
It should be noted that Direct-play of DVD Episodes is not compatible with PowerDVD, which does not support starting a DVD at a specific Title or Chapter. Media Player Classic (MPC) and VideoLan/VLC are compatible.
Getting Episodes to Display in My Movies
Just like in TV301, you'll have to get My Movies to display the individual Episodes, though this time it is critical to get the Episodes assigned to the correct Titles, as this data will be used to launch your DVD player and begin playback at the correct episode. Details for how to do this are in TV301, though below is a brief refresher:
1) In My Movies Collection Management, first select the Title.
2) Next, click the Discs icon to open up the Assign Discs panel.
3) Next, click the "Edit Chapters or Episodes" button. You will need to do this for each disc.
4) On the "Edit Episodes" panel, identify which Titles correspond to which Episodes. Then, on the correct row, first make sure the Episode check box is checked, then select the Season, and finally select the Episode. Expect these episodes to be spaced out, and sometimes they will appear in random or reversed order.
Keep in mind that you should only assign Seasons & Episodes that exist on the disc you are currently updating.
5) Once you are done assigning Seasons & Episodes, click OK to close the Edit Episodes panel, then OK again to close the Assign Discs panel, and then 'Save Title' back on the main screen.
As soon as you click 'Save Title', My Movies will download each episode you assigned, and the "+" plus sign will appear. Either wait for the My Movies background process to update the mymovies.xml metadata files in the media folders, or click 'Save Meta-Data' to update immediately.
Generating the "e##.txt" Files
Don't worry if you have no idea what an e##.txt file is - I'm about to explain.
I mentioned earlier that we are going to force My Movies into exporting the <episode> meta-data files. The way we do this is to assign a file to the File Path of each episode. You'll remember we did this in TV301 using the Converted Media files. But since we don't have any Converted Media files available to assign, we need other files to do this.
The solution is simple: Empty text files that are named the same as the ISO file, but with an episode identifier.Now, your first thought might be, "Can I just use the ISO file?". NO! Do not do this, as it will cause several issues. First, by assigning the disc's ISO file to the Episode's File Path, My Movies will overwrite the <title> mymovies.xml file with the <episode> mymovies.xml file (because My Movies like to use the same filename over and over). And because the same file is assigned to multiple episodes, the meta-data file is continually overwritten one episode after another, so that only the last <episode> meta-data file written per ISO survives, and it only contains the details for just one episode.
Worse, without the <title> meta-data that got overwritten by the <episode> meta-data, MM Browser will not be able to display the episodes anyway.
Don't feel bad. It was a good idea. Same idea we had too. My Movies just isn't designed to work this way. Luckily for you, we already went through the pain of figuring this out the hard way, and we have already developed a solution.
For example, if you have a Sopranos Season 1 Disc 1 ISO named "Sopranos_S1_D1.iso", and it has 4 episodes on it, then we will create 4 new empty text files named:
Because these files are empty, they take virtually no space. And because they are uniquely named, then when they are assigned to the Episode File Paths, My Movies will generate <episode> mymovies.xml files correspondingly named:
The end result is that we will have episode specific meta-data files that don't overwrite the <title> meta-data file or each other.
Going back to those text files, like "Sopranos_S1_D1.e02.txt", these are the "e##.txt" files that I referenced earlier. Now, while almost any file can be used to force My Movies into generating the <episode> meta-data files, MM Browser needs them to have a very specific name - if the name is wrong the episode meta-data won't get processed by MM Browser.
But instead of forcing you to create all these text files by hand, trying not to make a single typo, we decided it would be easier to have MM Browser create them for you.
Since you've already added the Episodes to the discs in the previous section above, and My Movies has updated the mymovies.xml <title> meta-data files with the list of episodes, the next step is to enable "e##.txt" file generation in MM Browser, then run a full Sync.
On the Settings panel, at the bottom you need to set "Create e##.txt Files for Episode Details:" to Enabled and Save the change. When you first turn on this option, you will also need to select "Remove "MMB_SmartSync.bin" to Force a Full DB Sync".
Now run a Full Sync.
MM Browser will see the updated <title> meta-data files, which will reference episodes you just configured, and MM Browser will check to see if the "e##.txt" files exist for each episode. If they don't exist, MM Browser will create the files for you in the same folder with the ISO files.
After the Sync, you can verify the success of the file creation in 2 different ways. One way is you can look inside the folder where the DVD ISO lives, where you should now see the *.e##.txt files, like this:
Notice that the episodes are linked to the correct discs, due to your hard work when you assigned the Episodes to discs earlier.
Do note that if the disc is a DVD Folder, the e##.txt files will not be named after the ISO name, and instead will look like this:
Assigning the "*.e##.txt" Files to Episodes
Now that you've run a Sync and created the "*.e##.txt" files, you need to assign them to Episodes. Go back to My Movies Collection Management and select your Title.
Click the plus sign to drill down to the TV Series, then again to drill down to the Season, then again to drill down to the Episodes.
For each Episode, you will need to select it and then assign the corresponding "e##.txt" file to the "File Path". The easiest way to do this is to hit the Browse button and navigate to the correct file and select it.
One you finished the assignments to all Episodes, be sure to click 'Save Episode'. Again, you can use the 'Save Meta-Data' button to update the mymovies.xml meta-data files immediately.
Reminder: The 'Save Meta-Data' button only saves the meta-data for the currently selected episode.
Importing the new Episode Meta-Data into MM Browser
The last step is to run another Sync in MM Browser (you can run a SmartSync or force a Full Sync, both should work). It will read in the new mymovies.xml files, so when you go to play your Episodes, you will see nice details like the Episode Name. Selecting an episode to play will mount the ISO with Virtual CloneDrive, then play the Episode by sending a command to the configured DVD Player to play the correct Title.
Now that you understand the process for configuring Episodes for DVD ISO's in My Movies, you're ready to tackle direct-play for Blu-ray ISO's, covered in TV303.
Direct-play for Blu-rays is even more complicated than DVD's, because Blu-rays don't use Titles and Chapters, but rather MPLS playlist files.
But other than MPLS #'s, you'll notice that the steps are identical to TV302.