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Thread: Five things you should know if you're new to Boxee!

  1. #1

    Default Five things you should know if you're new to Boxee!

    1) 'Private' option when adding media folders:
    the "Private Will Not Be Scanned" option isn't clear to someone who hasn't used a media center... What does this mean? Does it mean it won't be shared with friends? No, what it means is that Boxee won't even scan the folder... WHY on earth would you want that, your probably thinking... well, there are actually a number of uses for it, the main one being that Boxee will attempt to resolve a folder everytime you turn it on... That's really annoying, like say you've got a bunch of unresolved shows, and nothing has changed, Boxee will sit there trying to resolve the shows in your television folder forever, before it finally gets around to updating your movies folder... temporarily disabling some folders by using the "Private Will Not Be Scanned" is very useful in this case... but the option even being there is very confusing to a newbie because it's counter-intuitive, it doesn't make sense why you'd be adding a folder to not have it be scanned.

    2) The "A" button:
    I kept hearing people in forums talk about the "A" button to see the status and stats of Boxee's success or failure at importing... I always thought the A button was worthless... if you don't know, you can press "A" on the keyboard and get some stats about Boxee's progress on importing your media... the cool thing is that it's live, so it will update the screen as it progresses... But the really important thing you need to know, is that the folders you'd added to boxee at the bottom left, those are not "clickable" with the mouse... you have to use the keyboard to highlight them... if a folder is not highlighted, your very likely to not get meaningful information about status, or the number "50" will appear in all the fields... The A button is actually very useful after you figure out its quirks... use the arrow keys to view the progress of importing your files into boxee, then close boxee and re-open boxee, and press A, you'll see it try again on everything it didn't resolve... you can then take note of these and try to go change the file names or change thetvdb.com to get it to import them.

    3) Default video size... is way too high by default:
    this was really confusing to me at first, because what I was seeing was a bunch of shows that were only partially imported... I didn't understand, because the information was on thetvdb.com and my filenames were correct... the problem was that I had ripped some of the shows at lower bitrates... for instance, I had whole seasons of the simposons that I had ripped easily using divx converter and had resulted in 125MB file sizes for every DVD quality episode... cartoons can compress a lot further, and it's totally possible to have a great looking quality cartoon picture at even below 100MB on a standard half-hour episode (22 minutes without commercials). No, maybe it's not ideal for a 73" 1080p screen, but it's plenty good for most TVs, especially if it's a cartoon that was ripped and it is a 4:3 aspect ratio cartoon... the amount of space you need to rip it at good quality is definately not 150MB... anyway, enough of that rant, the point is, that you need to go into the settings and change the default video import to lower than 150MB as it's likely you have shows with episdoes smaller than this in size... I don't like Boxee being a cop over my content, I want Boxee to import everything in my collection... I don't want it skipping anything, and I'm sure you don't either, if you have a video in your collection, it's a pretty safe bet you want to be able to play it in boxee, even if it's bad quality... So I change this from the default 150MB to the lowest possible setting of 10MB, you should do so too and if you have files smaller than that you'll be much happier with boxee.

    4) Name your files correctly:
    "Simpsons - 01 - Roasting Fire.avi" is not good enough, you must have a season and episode number after the show name for tv... i know it sucks, but go through and rename all your shows to something like "Simpsons - s01e01 - Roasting Fire.avi" despite what the recommenations are, spaces work just fine instead of underscores, and I just add episode titles for my own benefit, in case I play them outside of boxee... boxee will basically ignore everything after the episode number, its just looking for the show title, the season and episode, so it can download cover art and plot synopsis from thetvdb.com.

    5) thetvdb.com is your friend:
    it's an open database that boxee uses, that means if anything is wrong in your import, like you get the wrong cover art, or wrong show information, you can go to thetvdb.com and search for the show, it's very likely you named the show with a slightly different name than used in their database... like "Sponge Bob" instead of "SpongeBob"... so use them to correct your filenames to match their database... AND, if you don't like a cover art or you don't see your show on the site, then you can edit the database live, anyone can... just add a series and add seasons and episodes... theoretically, if we all use it and improve it, we should all be helping each other and all future users have a better zero-effort experience.
    Last edited by agentlame; January 13th, 2009 at 06:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    insta-sticky.

    (i made some edits for clarity)
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    i run boxee 0.9.20 on: ubuntu 9.10, windows xp sp3 (virtual machine), windows 7 and a neuros link hacked to all hell.

    what super powers does a 'super mod' have? the 'super ban'... that, and laser vision.

  3. #3

    Default

    One more...

    6) Get a remote, use a REMOTE!

    I don't know how to explain it... but Boxee is cool and all with a keyboard and/or mouse... but the user-experience and feel is SO MUCH BETTER with a remote control... I never thought it would be, because hey, a remote is so limited in its functionality... but if you haven't tried it with a remote, get one, you won't regret it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissell View Post
    1) 'Private' option when adding media folders:
    the "Private Will Not Be Scanned" option isn't clear to someone who hasn't used a media center... What does this mean? Does it mean it won't be shared with friends? No, what it means is that Boxee won't even scan the folder... WHY on earth would you want that, your probably thinking... well, there are actually a number of uses for it, the main one being that Boxee will attempt to resolve a folder everytime you turn it on... That's really annoying, like say you've got a bunch of unresolved shows, and nothing has changed, Boxee will sit there trying to resolve the shows in your television folder forever, before it finally gets around to updating your movies folder... temporarily disabling some folders by using the "Private Will Not Be Scanned" is very useful in this case... but the option even being there is very confusing to a newbie because it's counter-intuitive, it doesn't make sense why you'd be adding a folder to not have it be scanned.
    Good post Kissell!

    But for #1, I see your description as an edge use case.

    I think the far more common reason is for adding a media source that isnt Movies or TV Shows

    Example: I subscribe to a load of video podcasts.
    I dont want to have the folder containing the podcasts scanned, because they obviously wouldnt be recognized by either thetvdb.com or imdb.com.

    However, I still want quick access to view them.
    So what do I do? I add the folder as a media source and set to Private.

    Now, if I use Video->Browse, my podcasts folder is right there at the top level, without me having to navigate a big hierarchy of folders.
    Last edited by subvertbeats; January 17th, 2009 at 08:25 AM.

  5. #5

    Default

    that's a good point, it could be very useful for that...

    I'm currently only using boxee for media that it recognizes.

    But either way, the point is that the 'private' option can be confusing to someone new to boxee, because it doesn't immediately make sense why you'd be adding a folder to not have it be scanned, if your doing the typical C:\Movies folder. Why would I want to add it and then not have it scanned? is a bit confusing to the newbie.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissell View Post
    that's a good point, it could be very useful for that...

    I'm currently only using boxee for media that it recognizes.

    But either way, the point is that the 'private' option can be confusing to someone new to boxee, because it doesn't immediately make sense why you'd be adding a folder to not have it be scanned, if your doing the typical C:\Movies folder. Why would I want to add it and then not have it scanned? is a bit confusing to the newbie.
    Definitely - Im in complete agreement, just wanted to offer a different example for why this setting is useful

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kissell View Post
    One more...

    6) Get a remote, use a REMOTE!

    I don't know how to explain it... but Boxee is cool and all with a keyboard and/or mouse... but the user-experience and feel is SO MUCH BETTER with a remote control... I never thought it would be, because hey, a remote is so limited in its functionality... but if you haven't tried it with a remote, get one, you won't regret it.
    Care to recommend a remote?

  8. #8
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    nice helpful post...

  9. #9

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    I'm afraid I still don't understand this. I don't even understand what it means when you say boxee won't "scan" the folder. I've been using boxee for a week or two now, mostly to watch internet video. It doesn't seem to find any of my tv shows in iTunes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixdeaftaxis View Post
    I'm afraid I still don't understand this. I don't even understand what it means when you say boxee won't "scan" the folder. I've been using boxee for a week or two now, mostly to watch internet video. It doesn't seem to find any of my tv shows in iTunes.
    boxee won't play any drm'd files like tv shows purchased from itunes.

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