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Plex, Serviio, XBMC, Need Something That Just Works

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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,767
516
126
I've seen two people mention (including the OP) mention issues with scraping movies, but you're leaving out the important part... the result. What happens when you scrape? Is your movie not showing up at all? Is your movie showing up with the wrong title?
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
I've seen two people mention (including the OP) mention issues with scraping movies, but you're leaving out the important part... the result. What happens when you scrape? Is your movie not showing up at all? Is your movie showing up with the wrong title?
I think a couple for me didn't show up at all (don't remember), and some came up with wrong title.
Wasn't sure how to fix wrong title for me with Plex.
I do know with XBMC though(from within XBMC) but I know how to use it better.
 

WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
27,179
4,247
126
I think a couple for me didn't show up at all (don't remember), and some came up with wrong title.
If they arent showing at all then force a refresh of the library. If it still isnt showing up move it to the root of that library and see if it turns up then.


Wasn't sure how to fix wrong title for me with Plex.
Its really easy to edit manually or to get it to re query the DB with new criteria.
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
If they arent showing at all then force a refresh of the library. If it still isnt showing up move it to the root of that library and see if it turns up then.




Its really easy to edit manually or to get it to re query the DB with new criteria.
I was only using it for my test run of Plex. Getting my library to show up perfectly wasn't a priority. With either application you'll have to figure out how to get the program to read your library.

You just have to pick a program, and stumble through its quirks.

I've had some issue with each and every program I've used. Filebot helps a lot though.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,767
516
126
Usually when I have an issue with an item not showing up, that's because of my scraper failing prior to actually getting to the item. What is your setup for movies? I use Plex Movie Scanner + The Movie Database. If you want to see what happened to an item, you can also switch to Folder view. The only negative thing is that I can't seem to find a way to force a scraper to look at an item while in folder view, which would be nice for debugging any pesky files.

Also, I've noticed that when it comes to things like TV shows, refreshes don't seem to do much unless you do them from the show's root page.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,613
315
126
I do know with XBMC though(from within XBMC) but I know how to use it better.
With Kodi you optimally go by nfo files.

The problem with scrapers is that eventually your library gets so big that the scrapers have trouble with it. Doesn't matter the software, the scrapers are all very similar in their benefits and weaknesses. Like Aikouka mentioning that scrapers work better from the show root page- I have had the same experience in multiple pieces of software. If you check the logs the reason probably is the scraper is failing somewhere in your huge library. Scrapers by definition are a bit of a hack, and I never have met one that can take a 300+ show library and not quit every now and then. If nothing else they fail because the web server starts rejecting requests after a while when you slam it all at once like that. Hence the nfo file improvement. With nfo files you get the info when the file downloads/rips/records one at a time instead of all at once. Whatever the source webserver is doesn't get hammered, and you never have to get that info again if you have to rebuild the library.

What solution works best for you depends completely on your scale. I have a friend that SWEARS by Plex with everything. He has the lifetime pass, he uses it all over the place. But his library is a fraction of mine. Personally I hit a point where my library is so big that NONE of the major solutions work "out of the box." My options were to either deal with usage hacks (like the scan the show root trick) or throw enough extra power and software at the scalable open source solution to make it work. My MySQL server that runs my library eats ram like a pig, but I get optimal GUI performance. For that optimal local GUI performance I sacrifice features, like never having my remote access library ever be perfectly the same as my local library, but there is no solution that can be everything for everyone.

That is why it is so difficult to recommend these options blindly to people. Each case is different, each priority set is different. I know what works for me, but maybe someone else consumes the media in a different way. Unfortunately I think personal trial and error is often the only answer.
 
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Feb 25, 2011
16,562
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Plex has a "fix bad match" feature. There have been like a dozen movies called "Hercules" so... yeah.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
23
81
With Kodi you optimally go by nfo files.

Scrapers by definition are a bit of a hack, and I never have met one that can take a 300+ show library and not quit every now and then. If nothing else they fail because the web server starts rejecting requests after a while when you slam it all at once like that. Hence the nfo file improvement. With nfo files you get the info when the file downloads/rips/records one at a time instead of all at once. Whatever the source webserver is doesn't get hammered, and you never have to get that info again if you have to rebuild the library.
I use TinyMediaManager to create the .nfo files and it has no problem with my library size (1500 movies and about 2500 TV episodes). You just need to make sure that everything is named correctly. I had no idea Plex wouldn't read .nfo files. Shame on them, that sounds like they're just being stubborn.

It is nice to scrape the files once and just store everything in the .nfo files. Then, if anything goes down or needs to be replaced, everything just gets re read from the .nfo files. No scraping necessary. Let's me customize the way things are listed, too, by just manually editing the .nfo file in WordPad.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,613
315
126
Copes with my 693 episode Doctor who folder fine. Although it is organised and named perfectly for Plex.
I am not talking about a TV show with more than 300 episodes in that series. I am talking about a TV library with more than 300 shows total in the library. That basically means tens of thousands of episodes/files, which when the scraper has to get info for every one must look like a DDOS attack on poor theTVDB.com. If you are a serious digital hoarder you are beyond Plex's target market, I have even had one of its developers admit that to me.

Right now my library is over 400 shows (over 30,000+ files) and it breaks every scraper I throw at it- not just Plex's. Without nfo files I would be hand-holding the scraper one show at a time. Heck without a custom MySQL config Kodi can't load it all without going into snail mode.
 

Childs

Lifer
Jul 9, 2000
11,450
7
81
most .nfo files I've seen is mostly ascii art. I would think parsing that would be harder than looking at a file name and scraping a web page.
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,613
315
126
I use TinyMediaManager to create the .nfo files and it has no problem with my library size (1500 movies and about 2500 TV episodes).
Programs like that and Sickrage, Sonarr, etc. can handle a large library because they internally cut it into bite sized chucks (unlike the media app scrapers that try to do it all at once in a row). Heck, that is the only way to do it when you get big enough!! I couldn't imagine going without a media library manager. Nfo files are the only solution.

Shame on them, that sounds like they're just being stubborn.
It is not stubborn, they just have a target market that is not us. I respect the hell out of those guys, they are pretty cool. But the writing was on the wall way back in 2011 that Plex was shooting to be the jack-of-all-trades and not the videophile solution.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,613
315
126
I would think parsing that would be harder than looking at a file name and scraping a web page.
That makes no sense. Think about it:

Why would a nfo file that is sitting locally on my modern SSD be harder to parse than a web page that is hosted outside my network on some foreign webserver?

Local files always win. My system can parse that nfo file as fast as the bus will allow, while the scraper is limited by the bandwidth of my connection and the web server connection.
 
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WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
27,179
4,247
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I am not talking about a TV show with more than 300 episodes in that series. I am talking about a TV library with more than 300 shows total in the library. That basically means tens of thousands of episodes/files, which when the scraper has to get info for every one must look like a DDOS attack on poor theTVDB.com. If you are a serious digital hoarder you are beyond Plex's target market, I have even had one of its developers admit that to me.

Right now my library is over 400 shows (over 30,000+ files) and it breaks every scraper I throw at it- not just Plex's. Without nfo files I would be hand-holding the scraper one show at a time. Heck without a custom MySQL config Kodi can't load it all without going into snail mode.
:D Fair enough. I cant see that ever being a problem for me!
 

Childs

Lifer
Jul 9, 2000
11,450
7
81
That makes no sense. Think about it:

Why would a nfo file that is sitting locally on my modern SSD be harder to parse than a web page that is hosted outside my network on some foreign webserver?

Local files always win. My system can parse that nfo file as fast as the bus will allow, while the scraper is limited by the bandwidth of my connection and the web server connection.
I'm not talking about time, but the actual parsing. I've opened up nfo files and it looks like its filled with nothing but random characters. Then depending on the editor you need to word wrap and look at all the characters, and you see its some dumb group ascii art, and the relevant data is somewhere in the middle. And the name of the files themselves are often based on release groups.

So if you use parse an existing nfo, or use an app to create one when you rip discs, something is still gonna have to query an external db to do a lookup to get all the metadata for the movie, unless you have a local cache of the db on your ssd. I guess I still don't see what this extra step buys you. It seems like all this does it make it a manual step when plex does it automatically, with a reasonably high degree of accuracy, assuming the name is correct to begin with.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,613
315
126
I've opened up nfo files and it looks like its filled with nothing but random characters.
nfo files as created for Kodi don't look the quite the same on the inside as the scene nfo files that come with a download. None of the art, release group crap, etc. Basically for the purpose of what we are talking about it is just a glorified xml file with media data.

When I get new content I don't use the nfo files that come with the media. My library managing software creates a new nfo file from scratch right then.

I guess I still don't see what this extra step buys you.
Without nfo files any time I want to update my library the scraper has to go through and check all the media files themselves (that have to be named perfect) and then gets the needed information off a website. With nfo files it simply scans though the file system for a single file type, finds those files, and then extracts the media information from them.

So if I ever need to rebuild my library in the future (which happens) without nfo files I have to go and rescrape EVERYTHING off the TVDB right then and there. With nfo files I already downloaded all that information locally ONCE when I added that file to the server so I can put it all together in a library in a fraction of the time.

Scraping, as a concept, is a hack. It is a piece of software that goes to a web page designed for human consumption and tries to copy that information off like a human would. That means if the website changes the formatting your scraper is broken because it is looking in the wrong place for the info as it lacks the intelligence a human has to look elsewhere in the page.

nfo files on the other hand are like having a xml settings file for a program. The media program will ALWAYS be able to extract the needed information from it because it will always be formatted in the same way.

You can't get around an initial scrape to get your information. But with nfo files you only have to do that process once- when its most convenient to do it- and not every time you want to redo your library.

It seems like all this does it make it a manual step when plex does it automatically, with a reasonably high degree of accuracy, assuming the name is correct to begin with.
None of it is manual, it is all automatic. I have a program that gets the media file, renames it to the proper naming convention, scrapes the media information to a nfo file, and then puts it in the proper place on my server. My setup basically puts the media all on a platter for Kodi. I do jack crap nowadays.

I mean, the Plex scraper isn't magic. Plex is a fork of XBMC, and from what I understand a lot of that scraper code is what XBMC had when the fork happened. The Plex scraper has the same limitation any scraper does- aka it wants to scrape directly to its library all at once. This sucks if you just got a lot of content recently and you want to update it all at once.

With nfo files basically the time spent scraping is shifted from when you tell the software to update the library to when the file is acquired. That is a huge advantage, and makes it the only solution out there that can handle a large library. All nfo files do is remove a bottleneck by putting a needed task elsewhere in the chain.

Another piece of this we aren't even mentioning is how the software not only creates an nfo file, but it also downloads locally all the fanart associated with the tv show. This is a huge benefit because honestly all that image downloading is what most often breaks scrapers trying to scrape a large library.
 
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Childs

Lifer
Jul 9, 2000
11,450
7
81
That isn't that different than something like Sickbeard which saves series info locally via xml and images, and moving from one server to another is fairly hassle free. When I moved PMS to another server I did look like it rebuilt the libraries from scratch, which was a surprise, but it didn't take long to rebuild 3 libraries with probably a few thousand items. I assumed I missed a step when I migrated to the new machine.

Aside from that one instance, I don't think a library update has forced everything to be scrapped again. It looks like pms is just verifying the local files and scrapping as needed when it finds something new or missing.

I dunno, I looked at XBMC some time ago and it reminded me of some half baked linux app. I know Plex is based on it, but Plex seems more refined. And I didn't have to customize or download a theme, the Plex theme looks fine. I think XBMC was still XBMC and not Kodi when I last looked at it, but I have no reason to switch now, especially since all my streaming boxes have Plex clients. One thing that might get me to switch is all the nickel and diming Plex has been doing with the clients. I did get Mediabrowser clients for free, so I may check that out and Kodi if I ever make a switch. But streaming box client support is a must. I don't want to go the sideload or private channel route. I want the clients to be able to be updated hassle free.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,767
516
126
That basically means tens of thousands of episodes/files, which when the scraper has to get info for every one must look like a DDOS attack on poor theTVDB.com.
Yeah, my anime scraper actually uses a precompiled XML-based listing from AniDB. AniDB is pretty picky about how often you connect, and I was getting banned all the time when I used XBMC!

One annoyance with Plex is that it doesn't respect your choice of scrapers for individual shows. So, if I had to switch from TheTVDB to AbsTVDB for a show, it will continue to use TheTVDB for any new episodes and create a duplicate show. I usually have to manually fix it. I had to do something similar for the anime Aldnoah Zero, because the "official" title has a period in it ("Aldnoah.Zero"), and that screwed up the scraper. I ended up using AbsTVDB, but for a while, I had to swap them over manually. I think it started working fine once I hit the second season/cour because AniDB had that as a separate series ("Aldnoah Zero (2015)") vs. a continuation of the original.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,613
315
126
That isn't that different than something like Sickbeard which saves series info locally via xml and images, and moving from one server to another is fairly hassle free.
Exactly! Look into switching to Sickrage though! It is a sickbeard fork with many cool new features, which is awesome because the beard stagnated years ago.

Aside from that one instance, I don't think a library update has forced everything to be scrapped again. It looks like pms is just verifying the local files and scrapping as needed when it finds something new or missing.
Yes, that is absolutely right that is what is happening. The issue I have is when you have 400 shows, and each show has a few seasons, then you are talking about thousands of folders it has to look through for something new. I let my drives sleep in my array to not wear them out, so there can be delays as they spin up. Many scrapers break when faced with such a task, which is why in my Plex library (I use it for remote access) like Aikouka said I have to update stuff manually by scraping a show at a time. For my setup Plex is actually more of a pain because it just can't be forced the data on the side outside of its standard process like Kodi can with nfo files. Heck XBMC can't scrap my main folder either without the nfos, it is not just Plex. Only Kodi gives me another way though. It is not a big deal at all for like 99.99% of people so I am not beating a drum. Just was pointing it out because as I said I think every person just needs to get all the info and decide for him/herself. There is no holy grail.

I dunno, I looked at XBMC some time ago and it reminded me of some half baked linux app. I know Plex is based on it, but Plex seems more refined.
Completely fair and right on. XBMC is an open source project that is customizable, Plex is the commercial offspring that is out there on things like TVs and Rokus. I would never say one is completely better than the other for everyone. They are very different at this point. I used to use Plex as my main thing right after the fork so I got close to the project when it was small and non-commercial. In fact we kind of grew apart and that is why now I just run Kodi, on Linux lol. Those Plex guys are cool and they have done somethings no one else has done multi-platform so I am glad it exists.

It is all about priorities. You want hassle free and anywhere. That is Plex. Kodi can only do a limited version of that.

Personally I can't use Plex in the living room anymore. It is literally non functional for me. My movie library is so large that without custom queries or full remote T9 dialing it would be a bitch to pick out what to watch. I don't think I have just scrolled through it all in a long time, now when we pick out something to watch it is by year or by actor or by genre. Another personal requirement is I have to have the most WOW 10 foot interface possible to let me dig into the media, and I demand customizability so that way I can throw on emulators or 3D movies easily all into the same interface. I demand that the engine driving that livingroom box can play every file I have without transcoding as it perfectly bitstreams the audio to my receiver and it forces my tv to match the framerate of the content every time. And I don't mind buying moderately expensive dedicated x86 hardware running nothing but this interface in an appliance like fashion to get it all. That is Kodi.

It is all about needs, which vary by person.
 
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tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
With Kodi you optimally go by nfo files.

The problem with scrapers is that eventually your library gets so big that the scrapers have trouble with it. Doesn't matter the software, the scrapers are all very similar in their benefits and weaknesses. Like Aikouka mentioning that scrapers work better from the show root page- I have had the same experience in multiple pieces of software. If you check the logs the reason probably is the scraper is failing somewhere in your huge library. Scrapers by definition are a bit of a hack, and I never have met one that can take a 300+ show library and not quit every now and then. If nothing else they fail because the web server starts rejecting requests after a while when you slam it all at once like that. Hence the nfo file improvement. With nfo files you get the info when the file downloads/rips/records one at a time instead of all at once. Whatever the source webserver is doesn't get hammered, and you never have to get that info again if you have to rebuild the library.

What solution works best for you depends completely on your scale. I have a friend that SWEARS by Plex with everything. He has the lifetime pass, he uses it all over the place. But his library is a fraction of mine. Personally I hit a point where my library is so big that NONE of the major solutions work "out of the box." My options were to either deal with usage hacks (like the scan the show root trick) or throw enough extra power and software at the scalable open source solution to make it work. My MySQL server that runs my library eats ram like a pig, but I get optimal GUI performance. For that optimal local GUI performance I sacrifice features, like never having my remote access library ever be perfectly the same as my local library, but there is no solution that can be everything for everyone.

That is why it is so difficult to recommend these options blindly to people. Each case is different, each priority set is different. I know what works for me, but maybe someone else consumes the media in a different way. Unfortunately I think personal trial and error is often the only answer.
Under Helix I'm having no issue scraping 20,000+ episodes with TheTVDB.

Usually for me, my issue is something stupid but with Kodi, I can use that "Refresh" button on the individual item in my library and then pick the title I actually want and this only happens for movies.
Saw 3D The Final Chapter will never scrape correctly unless I manually select what I want lol.
 

Childs

Lifer
Jul 9, 2000
11,450
7
81
Usually for me, my issue is something stupid but with Kodi, I can use that "Refresh" button on the individual item in my library and then pick the title I actually want and this only happens for movies.
Saw 3D The Final Chapter will never scrape correctly unless I manually select what I want lol.
Plex has this as well. Usually if I have a problem with a title not picking up metadata its because there are metadata tags in the file itself with bad info. Since Kodi is open source I'm sure whatever innovations they come up with will eventually be ported over to Plex. The obviously problem is you don't get the benefits for that for awhile if you don't have a subscription. If lifetime more reasonably priced I'd do it, but ~$150 seems crazy. I would rather just switch inputs and go back to WMC.

3D support would be nice though. I'm ripping all my blu rays and with 3D I'm just doing 2D rips. But I might be over 3D in general. Getting up to get the disc and then making sure batteries are in the glasses is kind of a pain.
 

tential

Diamond Member
May 13, 2008
7,363
641
121
Not making any comparison to Plex vs Kodi in this regard buddy.
Whether it's Plex, Kodi, Mediabrowser, etc. you'll always get some type of scrape issue. That's just life. Don't want this to turn into another OMG Pick Plex or Kodi!!! Battle like last time.

I get issues with Saw 3D the Final Chapter because that's the name of the movie on IMDB, even if the movie isn't 3D itself (there are non 3D versions). The movie just never scrapes correctly on Kodi even if you match the IMDB name exactly.

I think wearing glasses to watch a movie defeats the purpose for me personally. Defeats a lot of the intimate parts of it too lol. I only had 1 3D movie in my library but I deleted it already. Might try 3D later at some point if I had more HDD space to accommodate 3D versions but right now don't care about em remotely.
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,613
315
126
Under Helix I'm having no issue scraping 20,000+ episodes with TheTVDB.
Really? Without nfos? Nice. I should edit my post to say XBMC on that part. I only let Kodi scrape my movies library without nfos so far. I have noticed the scraper is faster, good news all around.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,613
315
126
Not making any comparison to Plex vs Kodi in this regard buddy.
Whether it's Plex, Kodi, Mediabrowser, etc. you'll always get some type of scrape issue. That's just life.
Amen.

I also have mixed opinions on 3D. Rarely use it. Wearing shades hurts image quality.
 

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