Organizing Your Video Files and Preparing Them to Play on Roksbox

There are two ways to play your video files on Roksbox. One way is to use a GUI program called Personal Video Database (PVD) to organize your videos and supply detailed information and poster art. The other way is to use your video directory structure to provide the information to Roksbox for playing your videos. This section will discuss the PVD method. To use the directory structure method, go to Using Video Directory Structure.

Hopefully you have at least one video file that is in one of the supported formats described above, and these files should be in your Videos folder, or in a subfolder under your Videos folder on your web server.

We will use a free program called Personal Video Database (PVD) to organize your video files. PVD will search internet databases and gather information and images pertaining to your videos. PVD will then create an XML file that Roksbox uses to display the video information on the Roksbox screens. PVD will only operate under Windows. If you don't use Windows, you can create a similar XML file using this online Roksbox XML generator, created by Roksbox user Drew Calder.

To use Personal Video Database, first go to the Personal Video Database website and click on Installer. You can save the file, then execute it, or run it directly from the website. You can do a default install by clicking next on each screen, although you might want to check Create a desktop icon on the last screen. When finished with the install, start Personal Video Database.

The first time you run Personal Video Database, the opening screen won't be very impressive. At least not yet. We need to add some video files to Personal Video Database.

But first we need to make one very important modification to PVD. Because of the way the Roku player caches images, there could be a problem with matching poster art to the proper video. The following change in PVD will fix the problem. Whenever you upgrade PVD to a new version, you will probably have to do this again.

Make the following modification to PVD before using it the first time, and after an upgrade to a new version:

  1. Click Tools, then Preferences...
  2. On the left side of the Preferences window, click Plugins.
  3. On the right side, move the scroll handle down to the bottom of the window.
  4. Click on the line that says Plain Text, then click Configure.
  5. On the left side of the next window, click the box at the bottom of the screen that says Open file upon completion to uncheck the box, then click XML (Movies).
  6. On the right side, click Edit template.
  7. Find the line near the top of the template that says imagepath="images\".
  8. Click the mouse curser at the end of this line, then press Enter to open a blank line.
  9. In the blank line, type imagenameformat="%t%%ext%".
  10. Click the red X in the top right corner of the window, then click OK.

Before we go any further, let's have some fun. Let's see if we can download a movie trailer and play it with Roksbox. Do the following steps:

  1. Click here to start the Avatar movie trailer download.
  2. On the File Download window, click Save.
  3. Browse to the folder you want to save the file to, and change the File name to Avatar.flv.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Wait for the download to finish, then click Close.
  6. Open the HandBrake program that you installed earlier.
  7. Click the Source button, then click Video File.
  8. Browse to the folder where you downloaded the Avatar.flv file, click the file, then click Open.
  9. On the HandBrake window, click Start.
  10. After the conversion is complete, close HandBrake.
  11. If the Avatar.mp4 file from HandBrake didn't go to your Video folder automatically, copy it there.
  12. Open Personal Video Database if it isn't already open.
  13. Click the second icon from the left on the toolbar.
  14. In the New Movie Master window, click Browse.
  15. Browse to your Video folder, and click on the Avatar.mp4 file.
  16. Click OK, then click Go.
  17. When the Select Movie window appears, click the box for Avatar (2009), then click OK.
  18. When the second Select Movie window appears, click the box for Avatar [DVD], then click OK.
  19. After the Avatar information appears on the screen, click Export, then click XML (Movies).
  20. Browse to your web server Videos folder.
  21. In the File name field, type videos.xml and click Save.
  22. Execute steps 6, 7, and 8 of this tutorial.

If you followed the steps above, then you already have an idea how to use PVD. Here are some general instructions on how to use it.
After you open PVD, click the icon at the top left that looks like this: DVP_New_Movie_Icon.jpg

In the New Movie Master window that comes up, click Browse. Browse to your Videos folder that contains a video in one of the supported formats, and click on one of the files, then click the OK button. Back on the New Movie Master window, if your video file name isn't a good description of the video content, type in an Original Title, then click the Go button. PVD will search the internet for videos matching your title. If it finds some, it will display them in a window. If your video is one of the ones in the list, click the box to check it, then click OK. Otherwise, click Skip. If it finds any posters, it will also display them in a window. Check the poster you want and click OK, or click Skip if none of the posters match your video. When DVP is finished searching, it will display its results on the DVP screen.

If this is a home video or a sports event recorded from your cable or satelite dish, then it probably won't find any useful information. Therefore, you will need to enter the information manually. To enter information manually, click the pencil icon on the toolbar. This will bring up a screen which will allow you to enter information into the database. You should enter at least an Original Title, one or more Genres, and a Description. You can chose genres by clicking on the arrow at the right of the Genre field, or by typing them in the field, seperated by commas. After you enter your information, click the check mark icon on the toolbar to save it to the database.

You can also add your own poster art by moving your mouse cursor to the poster art area, and clicking one of the icons that appear at the top. If you create your own poster art, you can click on Load image from file to use your own art. Poster art size is normally 338x500 pixels, and in jpg format. The poster art select here will show up in Roksbox.

Once you get your information entered the way you want it, click the Export button, then click XML (Movies). Browse to your web server Videos folder, and then type videos.xml in the File name field and click Save. You will need to do this export process whenever you add more videos to your database.

Now you're ready to play your videos on your Roku player. If you haven't already done so, perform steps 6, 7, and 8 to view your videos.

See Creating Multilevel Video Subcategories to create multilevel subcategories.

To manually create xml files, see the XML Files page.