Lately, I have been experimenting with various types of front ends for my HTPC from the likes of PLEX, XBMC, MediaPortal, and more. For some reason though, they all seem to fall short, in their own ways, of Windows Media Center. After tons if installs and uninstalls, I settled on using the MediaBrowser Plugin for Windows Media Center… but there is one thing missing, shared Playstate.
There are a number of things you can do with MediaBrowser to extend the functionality, but sharing the playstate and the watched status is probably one of the most important. These are things that other systems have over Windows Media Center, but not anymore. Sharing playstate and watched status basically allows you to start a movie or show on one HTPC and continue it, from where you left off, on another. Also, since I use my HTPCs as a DVR, I don’t have to try to remember which shows I watched and which ones I didn’t just because I am in a different room.
The process for sharing this information is dependant on all machines running the software having access to the media. You can ensure these conditions are met by sharing media across your network and using UNC paths (\\htpc\media\movies) for your library. This way, everything is identical. MediaBrowser stores all of your playstate information the hidden folder
C:\ProgramData\MediaBrowser\Cache\ by default.
The first thing you are going to have to do is give yourself vision into this folder (Windows 7 & Vista)
- Open Folder Options by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Folder Options.
- Click the View tab, and then, under Advanced settings:
- To show hidden files and folders, select the radio button for Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and then click OK.
Now the fun stuff starts. You will have to create a share somewhere on your network (preferably on a machine that is always running) to store the MediaBrowser information.
- Create a folder c:\MBShare
- Share the folder so that everyone has read / write permissions (in Windows 7 by right clicking and selecting Share with)
- Create a subfolder UserSettings
- Navigate to C:\ProgramData\MediaBrowser\Cache\ and cut the folder playstate (don’t worry if you don’t have a display folder)
- Paste it into your new UserSettings folder under c:\MBShare
- open C:\ProgramData\MediaBrowser and edit MediaBrowserXml.config
and replace with
For each computer that you have running MediaBrowser, edit the MediaBrowserXml.config file as shown above. You will now be able to see which movies were watched and even better, you can now stop a movie in one room and resume it in another from exactly where you left off.