Windows Media Center can automatically download the metadata (cover art, movie name, cast, plot summary, etc.) for DVDs. If you place a DVD in your drive, this occurs automatically. However, if you backup your DVDs to a server and access the moive via Windows Media Center, this data is not available. But there is a work-around and it involves creating a DVDID.XML file when you back-up the DVD to your media server. Here’s how you do it.
The easiest way to do this is to use My DVD Settings, a program created by Gelano over at TheGreenButton forums. Unfortunately, Gelano and his program have both disappeared. Fortunately, this software is still available from an alternative location: my_dvd_settings.rar.
You’ll need to download, install, run My DVD Settings, put the DVD in your optical drive, and have My DVD Settings create the XML data. Finally, save the resulting xml file to the folder containing the movie backup. When you are finished creating/coping all of the files, your folder structure will look like this:
Minority Report (parent folder for movie)
Minority Reportfolder.jpg (not necessary, but I like to manually save a cover art picture to the directory)
Minority ReportMINORITY_REPORT.dvdid.xml (metadata file)
Minority ReportVIDEO_TS (*.ifo, *.bup, *.vob files are in this sub-directory, created using DVD Fab, Slysoft, etc.)
Using this xml file, Windows Media Center will connect to the AMG library and download all of the available details on the movie.
Note 1: If you use DVD Profiler to catalog your movie collection, My DVD Settings can the DVD Profiler data to create the dvdid.xml file. Alternatively, you can go to dvdxml.com and search for and download the XML file.
Note 2: You’ll need to enable DVD Library in Vista to access this feature. Once active, go to DVD Library and add the folder containing your backed-up movies. You can also install the MyMovies Media Center plug-in.
How is the DVDID.XML File Created?
I really wish the software I used to backup my movies would also create the DVDID.xml file. Unfortunately, there is very little documentation on how this file is generated. I did quite a bit of reading and some investigation using Process Monitor and have some preliminary details. The dvdid is a CRC64 number generated by scanning the *.IFO and *.BUP files in the VIDEO_TS folder, combining that with the VOLUME_ID from the DVD disk itself. The inclusion of the VOLUME_ID is what prevents Windows Media Center from being able to automatically generate this information for DVD that are backed-up to a media server; there is no VOLUME_ID for the individual folders.
Once this process is fully understood, it should be possible for programs like DVD Fab and Slysoft CloneDVD to create these files when the DVD is being backed-up. This would eliminate the need to use the additional program (My DVD Settings) all together. Here’s hoping for inclusion in an upcoming release!
Update: I now recommend using the MyMovies Collection Management client to generate all images and metadata. Just be sure to store each movie in it’s own folder. http://www.MyMovies.dk/
Update: The version 5 of DVDFab Decrypter supports the automatic creation of dvdid.xml files, although I still think MyMovies is a better option.