You should also read this guide before proceeding to TV302 or TV303, as this guide lays the groundwork for some of the more advanced topics in those guides. You should read this guide even if you don't plan to use Converted Media.
What is Converted Media?
When DVDs and Blu-rays are published, the publisher has the luxury of tons of disc space. They can use really high bit-rates, resulting in really big files, and they add lots of extras and menus.
Converting Media is the process of extracting the video you want, re-encoding it into a new format, and saving it as a new file. MP4's and MKV's are examples of this.
Converting the original material to another storage container can have many benefits. For TV Series, you can convert just the Episodes, discarding the unwanted trailers, adverts, extras and menus. You can shrink the file size per episode by using more aggressive compression settings and by discarding unwanted language tracks. Another benefit of Converted Media is that as a single file, playback begins much quicker than mounting and playing an ISO or DVD/Blu-ray Folders.
How to Convert Your Episodes
Nope, sorry, I'm not going to teach this step. There are tons of guides on the internet, including some on Binnerup's My Movies site. It is up to you to learn how to do this.
Getting Episodes to Display in My Movies
Before you can assign your Converted Media to Episodes, you need to get My Movies to display the individual Episodes. This is a bit convoluted, so pay attention.
In the screenshot below, notice for the Title "Invader ZIM Volumne 1: Doom Doom Doom", the "+" plus sign is missing from the left of the Title's name. This is true even though this Title is already linked to a TV Series (notice the blue TV Series icon). We need to get the "+" plus sign to show up, which allows us to drill down to the Episodes.
Click the Discs icon to open up the Assign Discs panel, same as we did in TV202:
Next, we need to select the "Edit Chapters or Episodes" button - you will need to do this for each disc:
This will open up the "Edit Episodes" panel. Note that even though some Chapters have been selected by default for this disc, there are no Seasons or Episodes assigned:
For Converted Media, getting the assignments right is not as critical as simply getting every episode assigned, as the later steps below will assign the correct Converted Media for playback. That said, you will have better quality data if you make these assignments correctly. Plus, if you are using My Movies built-in converters to re-encode your media, you must make the correct assignments here.
For TV302/303, it will be absolutely critical that you make the correct assignments here, so my advice is to get use to making good assignments.
Now, for a moment of brutal honesty: Correctly assigning episodes to discs is very hard and time consuming, though there are a few techniques that can make this a bit easier. One is to have MPC-HE installed, as that allows you to use the little green Play icon on the right. By playing back a Title or Chapter, you can determine if it is the correct episode. Note, you must have the disc inserted or ISO mounted to complete this process.
Another technique is to know running times for each episode, which can help you find the right episode in this list based upon the Length value. The last technique is to have the disc queued up in your player, navigate to the episodes menu, then select an episode to play. Watch a few seconds of the episode, enough to recognize it, then do the same in My Movies using the Play button, going down the list until you find a match.
I am not an expert on finding and matching the correct Titles/Chapters to Episodes, and this is all very hard for me to do too. If you don't like this process, please turn to Binnerup for solutions, I won't be able to help further than I've done here.
Back to the process: Once you identify an episode, you need to assign it. 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.
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. 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. Note that in the screenshot below, only the two episodes I configured are shown - you have to assign all episodes in the steps above to get My Movies to download and display them:
Assigning Converted Media to Episodes
For each Episode, you will need to select it and then assign the Converted Media 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.
NOTE: The 'Save Meta-Data' button only saves the meta-data for the currently selected episode. So if you have a season with 22 episodes, you will have to click 'Save Meta-Data' 22 times, once on each episode, and only after you make the assignment. Understand that the 'Save Meta-Data' button is optional, as My Movies will eventually write the meta-data files through a background process, and is only included here as a way to speed up the process.
It is worth noting here that by assigning a Converted Media file to the Episode, My Movies will now generate an <episode> mymovies.xml file. It will be named for the converted media file, and will not overwrite the <title> mymovies.xml file, which should have a different name based upon the ISO name or folder.
Because these new <episode> mymovies.xml files are named for the Episode's Converted Media file, you will get one <episode> file per episode. This will come up again as we dive into TV302/303.
Now you can run a Sync in MM Browser. It will read in the new mymovies.xml files, so when you go to play your Converted Media Episodes, you will see nice details like the Episode Name. Selecting an episode to play will open it immediately using whichever media player you configured for encoded media.
Now that you understand the process for assigning Converted Media to Episodes in My Movies, you're ready to tackle direct-play for DVD ISO's, covered in TV302.
Direct-play for Blu-rays is even more complicated than DVD's, so we recommend reading TV302 before TV303.
You'll notice that many of the steps are the same as TV301, leveraging My Movies Episodes functionality, but skipping the step of converting your media.