A lot of time and effort has been spent over the past year on making CMC start incredibly quickly, and while this has been a big success it also makes the startup a bit jarring. With CMC v3.1, we added a new splashscreen that gradually fades in and out, making the startup less jarring. Because the new splashscreen runs in parallel, CMC's startup speed is the same as before (i.e. fast!), though it might appear ever so slightly slower due to an optical illusion.
And if for some reason you don't like the new startup splashscreen, you can always disable it by renaming or removing the file \Skins\CMC Default\CMC_Logo.png.
Even though it cost $22 for a CMC license, you might not realize that CMC is developed not for profit. The revenue that is generated from license sales goes to support operations, development tools, and general expenses. Any amount leftover is then re-invested in CMC to make it even better.
CMC v3.1 is a perfect example of re-investing. When it was recently discovered that the default XML parsing library that comes with our software development platform was slow as molasses on a cold winter night, we searched for and found the fastest available professional 3rd party XML parsing library and immediately purchased a license and plugged it into CMC.
Along with some coding improvements, the new XML parsing library allows CMC to fly through processing all of the XML files in your media collection. You should see and feel noticeable speed improvements in both the Full Sync and the SmartSync. The actual speed improvements will vary by PC and collection, though 3x to 10x faster sync speeds have been frequently reported.
This same XML parsing library will also be used in CME in the future, so this is an investment in CMC that will continue to bear fruit.
SmartSync Bug Fixes
Speaking of sync improvements, a lot of time was spent on v3.1 to fix numerous SmartSync bugs that allowed your collection to get out of sync with My Movies, ultimately forcing you to perform a Full Sync just to fix them.
Now the SmartSync correctly handles some complex scenarios and keeps your data correct, so the need to use the Full Sync should be rare. Plus with the SmartSync being faster than before, keeping your CMC collection synced to your My Movies collection has never been easier.
Enhanced Number Pad Jumping Through Titles
Ever since the first versions of CMC (or MM Browser, as it was known back then), you've been able to jump through your titles alphabetically by using your keyboard or numberpad. But this functionality was greatly limited: it only worked when your titles were sorted A-Z, it would only sort to the first letter, and you couldn't see what letter you had entered on-screen.
CMC v3.1 fixes these limitations. You can now jump/search through your titles no matter how they are sorted. The letters you've entered are now shown on-screen. And you can enter multiple letters in your search (unlimited # of letters, though after 3 or 4 they run off the screen).
Number Pad Text Entry on Real-Time Search Panel
While we were fixing the number text jumping on the cover rows, we decided to finally fix the Real-Time Search text entry. Previous versions of CMC have always required you to pull out a keyboard to enter text into the search boxes. With CMC v3.1, you can now use your number pad to enter the text. We've also made it easier to exit the text boxes, as back both deletes text and exits the box when it is empty.
Play Movie Trailers
One of my favorite feature of the WMC My Movies app was the ability to play movie trailers, and I've wanted this in CMC since the beginning. While it has been a long time coming, CMC v3.1 finally includes this capability.
When you are on the movie details screen, the "trailer" button will now turn white if a trailer is available (not all titles in your collection will have a movie trailer linked). Selecting the button will launch the trailer using MPC-BE (Media Player Classic - Black Edition), playing it in full screen, and returning to CMC when the trailer is done.
Note that all of the trailers are YouTube movie trailers, and the quality of these trailers varies greatly from one to another - this is beyond our control. Some trailers will play in glorious Hi-Def, while others will look like a blocky video clip from the early 90's.
Here's a few tips on getting Movie Trailers playing on your setup:
- Make sure you have the latest version of MPC-BE installed. MPC parses the video from the YouTube website, and since the YouTube website design occasionally changes, the developers have to continually update MPC to work with the current website design. If you are running an older version of MPC, you may find that you only get a black screen or an error message when you try to play some movie trailers (though others may still work). When you have problems playing movie trailers, your first troubleshooting step should ALWAYS be to make sure you are running the latest MPC-BE version.
- You must use the CMC Metadata Exporter (CME) v1.2 to export your metadata, and yes this means you must have at least 2500 My Movies Contribution Points in order to have access to the My Movies API in order to use CME. CME v1.2 adds in the YouTube Trailer ID to the mmTitle.xml files - this ID was not exported in earlier versions of CME, and it is not included in My Movies provided mymovies.xml files.
- After upgrading to CMC v3.1, you will need to do a one-time full export of your entire collection using CME v1.2, and then run a sync in CMC.
Do Not Add (DNA) Files
A popular user request has been to add support for DNA files, also known as "Do Not Add" files, to prevent CMC from importing any directory that has a DNA file in it.
CMC v3.1 adds the capability, skipping any directory that has a text file name "CMC.dna" in it (capitalization is not important, so cmc.DNA and Cmc.dNa and cmc.dna all work too). When a directory is skipped, that also means any subdirectories in that folder are skipped as well.
Keep in mind that we made the decision to skip folders based upon only "CMC.dna" files, as we have some directories for which we add a mymovies.dna file to control My Movies Folder Monitoring for which we did not want to skip in CMC. This means that CMC will not obey any other DNA files that you may have created.
Offline Title Location
Though we feel that CMC really comes alive when you have your movie & TV collection ripped to a server for online playback, it can be very expensive to buy sufficient NAS type storage so not all CMC users have online collections.
Offline collection users typically have their movies neatly stored away in boxes or disc organizers, and in very large collections it can be a daunting task to figure out where a disc is stored when you want to watch it.
My Movies Collection Management has long had a feature to record the physical disc location (My Movies Collection Management > Personal Data > Location), and now CMC v3.1 imports this data. When you find a movie you want to watch, the Movie Details screen will now show the storage location for offline discs. Additionally, if you attempt to play an offline disc, the "Offline Title - Insert Disc" prompt will now include the disc location.
Memory Leak & Bug Fixes & Other Improvements
While we have successfully worked hard over the versions to keep any major memory leaks out of CMC, there have been some minor memory leaks that we had been unable to locate and remediate. While it is quite possible that these memory leaks were so small that they didn't even affect any users, this was always something we wanted to fix.
The main reason we weren't able to find the memory leaks is that we needed better tools. Just like with the 3rd party professional XML parsing library, we saw this as an opportunity to re-invest CMC license revenue into improving CMC. We found and licensed a professional memory leak detection package, and within a few hours we had eliminated even the little leakers. We consider this a great accomplishment, even if you never notice. Though if you are the type of user that launches CMC once then leaves it running for weeks on end without restarting, you'll be happy to know that we have gone the extra mile to make CMC v3.1 as robust as possible.
There's lots of other little bug fixes in CMC v3.1 (you can always read the changelog below if you're curious) plus we made several debug logging enhancements. Most of you have never had to bother with debugging, but if you ever do, the improvements in v3.1 should make it more likely that we will capture and identify any issue that might be plaguing CMC on your setup.
Change Log for CMC v3.1
Changes for Chameleon MediaCenter (CMC) v3.1.2019.1201:
- New: NumPad text entry on Search panel
- New: Numpad searching through Titles now supports multiple characters
- New: Search String characters now shown while searching through title covers
- New: Movie Trailers are now playable from the Movie Details screen using MPC-BE
- New: Startup Logo splashscreen with gradual fade-in for a less jarring startup
- New: Splashscreen can be disabled by renaming/removing CMC_Logo.png in \Skins\CMC Default\
- New: Exclude folders from Syncing by creating an empty CMC.dna text file in the folder
- New: Added External Links for Disney+ and Grover Pro
- New: Show Location for Offline Titles (My Movies Collection Management > Personal Data > Location)
- New: Extra debug logging for Artwork Caching routines
- New: Debug Logging on Startup (if enabled)
- Enhanced: Significantly Faster Syncing (code optimization and new premium XML parsing library)
- Enhanced: More efficient Artwork Caching routines
- Changed: Added additional thread protection to ArtCacheDirListing and ArtworkCaching worker threads
- Changed: Removed DPI.txt log file creation on startup since this hasn't been needed in a really long time
- Changed: If more than 17 synced folders, [DONE] folders will drop off list to make room for other folders
- Changed: Removed FastMM4 Memory Manager Library
- Changed: Replaced CopyFile (Win API) with TFile.Copy (IOUtils)
- Fixed: Episode changes fail to process correctly with a SmartSync
- Fixed: Episode Watched/Unwatched changes were not detected with a SmartSync
- Fixed: When removing a folder from scanning, a SmartSync doesn't fully remove TV Series and Box Sets
- Fixed: CMC doesn't create the TV Series View after mapping episodes in MMCM when using a SmartSync
- Fixed: Updated Episode details in My Movies don't show up in CMC when using a SmartSync
- Fixed: Episode Images don't display for ISO based episodes configured as Online Files
- Fixed: Individual orphaned cached movie artwork files were not removed
- Fixed: Series Banner.jpg filepath wasn't recorded during XML parsing
- Fixed: CalcCompColor Access Violation when more than 17 scanned folders
- Fixed: Numerous memory leaks
Changes for CMC Metadata Exporter (CME) v1.2.2019.1130:
- New: Include YouTube Trailer ID
- NOTE: A Full Export is required to export the YouTube Trailer ID's for CMC to play Movie Trailers