*UPDATE 11/06/2012* - I've been out of the country for the past 6 months so have not been around to update the guide, I am currently working on it now however it may take some time. Not much has changed in the past year - new versions of software but settings are mostly the same so don't worry if your thinking this is 'out of date'.Change Log
27/09/2011 - Few small changes, realised I started setting up XBMC without mentioning where to download from or to install it first.
03/06/2011 - Missing a couple images, updated.
03/06/2011 - XBMC install and some setup. TBC
17/05/2011 - Added Managing shows in Sick Beard
17/05/2011 - Updated 'Advanced Sickbeard' install as I seemed of missed a step (Git in Windows Command Line)
11/05/2011 - Just noticed I completely missed Metadata from Sick Beard Setup - Added.
11/05/2011 - Added Advanced Sick Beard install (Via GIT)
11/05/2011 - Added Couch Potato setup
11/05/2011 - Added Sick Beard setup & changed version from 485 to 487.
11/05/2011 - Added SABnzbd setup.
10/05/2011 - Started again within Windows 7 & re-wrote parts of this introduction post.Software @ Time of Writing
OS - Windows 7 SP1
SABnzbd+ - 0.6.0
Sick Beard - Alpha 487
Couch Potato - r31
XMBC - 10.1 & Aeon MQ2
I started off setting up the following all on a single box running Linux (Ubuntu) and while I didn't finish the guide completely I did put most of it into the PDF which is available here
- I ran into a few problems within the Linux environment which meant switching back to Windows 7 instead - the need of logmein, accelerated flash support, post processing over network, uTorrent, and a few other things that while might be get working within Ubuntu I cba to faff that much.*note* HUGE thanks to everyone who has posted guides and useful information on forum.xbmc.org, it's one hell of a community when it comes to anything open source HTPC / Media related.
I would also ask that if anyone wants to use the contents of this guide please either link directly to it or at least put a reference to it somewhere in the information you provide, this is hopefully going to be an ongoing project with continuing updates as I modify my own setup (plus image links may change etc). I did the following to try and gather all my information into one place, plus as a thanks to give something back to the community that helped me get this setup and to hopefully bring some much needed love to TekForums.netWhat will the finished project look like?
You will have a computer that auto-downloads your TV shows (via Sick Beard) and Movies (via Couch Potato). Manages your existing shows by downloading Fan Art, Posters, Plot, Summary, Trailers, Actor info, and if setup to do so will re-download archived shows if found at a requested higher quality.
This computer will also be able to play 1080p content from XBMC which has been setup to look something like the following:
Which takes full advantage of the fan art & posters and looks damn good on a big TV!PrerequisitesKnowledge
As this guide has switched to Windows over Ubuntu the required knowledge has reduced! Hurray! But you still need some basic know-how... Some understanding of some technical terms, how to extract files, and being able to keep note of the required API's and account details we will be using within our selected programs - I can't hold your hand for that, it's your personal data.Media Collection
Unless you're starting your collection from scratch (great idea if you can!) you will need your current collection to be in some sort of sensible structure…
- Movies - These should be in correctly named folders. The files can be named anything what so ever but the folder name MUST be correct.
- TV Shows - There is some leeway on this but generally you want your series to be \TV Shows\<Show Name>\<Season 0x>\01x01 or S01E01 <insert random stuff>.<extension>
To those with the really messy collections let's see what we can do for you... For Movies I'm not sure myself (maybe someone can post their experiences) because I started my movie collection from scratch as I saw it as a good opportunity to go from the low quality rips I had up to 720p/1080p - Some googling will give you plenty of options for creating folders based on filenames but that's under the assumption that your filenames are anything close to the movie name.
I'm going to do a small section on some of the external media managers that are available however these use the same scrapers (the 'lookup' that checks online for what the movie/show is and downloads the meta data) as XBMC, Sick Beard and Couch Potato so if it's not found in one it's not going to be found in the others - the collection sorting has to come first!
TV Shows you have a couple options... If your shows are still named the original release name (eg. House S07E21 720p HDTV X264 DIMENSION) you're in luck! Sick Beards post processing scripts should be able to figure it out, move into correct structure, rename, grab meta data and all that jazz! Similarly if your shows follow as basic structure like \House\S01\E01.mkv or \House\01x01.mkv or even \house\1\1.mkv Sick Beard should pick it up straight away without the need of post processing... but much more on that later - just giving you an idea of what to expect.Hardware
There are plenty of useable options. If you are not planning to use this as a HTPC as well then you can basically use anything you can throw together with enough storage space for your needs, however if you want to run 1080p video you need a bit of graphical power.
Personally I'm using one of the HP MicroServers
with an extra 2GB Ram (3GB Total), 4x 2TB Hard drives, and a Zotec 512MB nVidia 210 GFX card.
You can find a good hardware setup guide for the MicroServer Here
Here's is a sample system from picking the cheapest (brand) components from Scan:
The above thrown into any case will be more than enough (overkill actually) for what we are doing.*note* There are plenty of hardware options out there like Zotec's prebuilt micro PC's designed for HTPC use (not so great for our server) and you would be surprised how little power you need to play 1080p. For a full range of options do a Google or check out the hardware section on forum.xbmc.org - For example I run a full version of XBMC with my 1080p library within Windows 7 on a HP-Mini 311c which is a single core ATOM (1.2Ghz), ION1 Lite GFX chipset and 2GB of Ram without any problems.ServicesInternet
- Faster the better and you don't want a cap. While a lot of ISP's won't care unless you REALLY take the piss, at time of writing, the only ISP's that don't do fair usage is Virgin's largest package (XXXXXXXL or whatever it is) and surprisingly SKYBB's Unlimited. More information on these things can be found via Google.NZB
- Newsgroups used to be (and still are for some) confusing and seemly over the top for a lot of people when torrents seem to offer the same service for free but that's what this guide will hopefully help with. The server setup I go through below rely on you having a newsgroup subscription, they do have some limited torrent support but I've not tested it.
Plenty of people will have their own recommendations but I use AstraWeb
for £7.60 a month (3 month DSL Unlimited package) which offers 900 retention & SSL.
- Pros: Max your connection for everything you download, SSL so ISP can't see what it is you're downloading, quick releases and general high quality of releases.
- Cons: Costs money, Confusing for first time users (I will hopefully solve this).
You will also need to become a premium member of either Newsbin
(or both, more the merrier) - They are dirt cheap and are needed for Sick Beard & Couch Potato to search for items. I use NZBMatrix.