If you have a large multimedia library you have probably been looking for a good way to keep everything organized. There are a number of software packages out there that can help, but which ones are the best? Hopefully, we can help clear up some of the confusion by shedding some light on some of the software packages that can help you get your media organized and ready for your home theater.
Yammm – Yet Another Media Meta Manager
Yammm was one of those software packages that mikinhosoft developed because he felt there was a void in this verticle. Yammm works with either themoviedb.org or thetvdb.com to collect the metadata for your media and the software additionally has the capability of renaming folders, collecting artwork, renaming files, and creating the metadata information in dvdid.xm., mymovies.xml and / or XBMC nfo formats. Probably the greatest draw for Yammm is that the software will run as a service, allowing you to basically set it and forget it.
I created Yammm because I haven’t used any meta manager that runs “headless” without ANY user interaction and used folder.jpg instead of custom artwork locations. This is important to me as I use various htpc software depending on the situation and development. I also found that most did not match well. Yammm uses various checks other than the provider’s score value.
When we tested Yammm, the software setup was easy and the idea of running this as a service to monitor folders was by far one of its most attractive features. However, with the inability to really see what is going on, there was a lot of “wait and see”. Without user interaction, if there was a question as to which movie a particular folder contained, the software would skip over it and do nothing, leaving my collection nearly the same as it had been. I spent more time organizing movies in folders that matched EXACTLY what themoviedb.org had as the title just to get Yammm to do anything. This ended up creating more work than I had hoped for from a software package that was supposed to be “headless”.
meta<browser/> looks to be a very promising addition to the media center. The software has the capability to provide the metadata for your movies and comes in two flavors, trial and paid. The trial version of the software limits you to:
- 21 day trial limit per version
- Random items in your collection will be available for you to edit/save (you must have at-least 20 items in your collection)
- All other items will be available for you to edit, but saving is disabled
- Download Trailer (for a specific movie) is not available in the trial
- Download All Trailers is not available in the trial
- Download Recent Trailers is not available in the trial
- Refresh List and Refresh Item are not available in the trial
- Fetching metadata when a new item is detected (real time monitoring or polling) is not available in the trial
- Fetching metadata on first refresh or every refresh (for newly detected items) is not available in the trial
- Process All is not available in the trial
- Global Plugins are not available in the trial
The user interface is clean and concise. Your movie list displayed with highlighting to easily determine if you are missing metadata, artwork, or both. Clicking on a movie will give you the complete listing with editable fields for your own personal customization. You can then lock the movie so the software will not modify any information you have provided. There are a slew of plugins available to further enhance the capabilities of the software, but you will find that you can get everything you need with just a few of them. The information gathered from metadata sources is complete but having to manually fetch backdrops for each individual movie makes the package somewhat less attractive than some of its free siblings.
Although meta<browser/> has a huge feature set, including the ability to download trailers, pull metadata from Netflix, Amazon, Rotten Tomatoes, and more; there doesn’t seem to be any documentation on the website that lists exactly what you get with the software unless you install the trial. This may make it hard to decide whether or not you should pay $30.00 USD for the software. The user interface is clean, but having to manually fetch backdrops for each individual movie makes the package somewhat less attractive than some of its free siblings.
Media Center Master
Media Center Master is very similar to meta<browser/> in its functionality, but there are enough differences to make it unique. First, Media Center Master allows you go gather metadata in various formats to fulfill your media center needs, including Windows, MyMovies, XBMC, etc. The ability to select which metadata sources you use and configurable options for actor/actress thumbnails helps to make this a robust solution. Furthermore, settings that allow the software to auto-scan folders for changes lets you move on without much interaction. If there is some confusion about a title, the software will prompt you for some IMDB information. If you are unable to react quickly enough, the dialogue box requesting information closes and the title is flagged for further investigation.
If you wish to expand the functionality of Media Center Master, you can purchase licensing that adds post-processing, theatrical trailer downloading, automated T.V. and movie downloading (supporting usenet/NZB as well as torrents), new movie and T.V. episode parsing, uTorrent auto-manager, video file details (inspection), subtitles downloading, and more.
Although the user interface is cumbersome and not nearly as attractive as meta<browser/>, the price makes it a very attractive solution.
Although Yammm still remains a popular solution, having been in hibernation for a number of years really rules this option out. meta<browser/> has a large following and a number of people will go on the record as saying that support is top notch, I just can’t bring myself to pay 30.00 for it. It is a fine piece of software with a clean interface that gathers all your metadata quickly and accurately, but having to manually fetch backdrops on each and every movie makes me quiver. Media Center Master, is a dual cost solution, Free or paid depending on which features you wish to employ, that tackles everything. Although the user interface is not nearly as clean as meta<browser/>, I find it easy enough to navigate without issue. Not being interested in trailers, automatic tv downloading, or file inspection, I can settle on the free version quite easily.