Sunday, November 23, 2008

Linux DVD creation

A quick procedure for converting a video, say a .wmv file from Windows to MPEG NTSC-DVD compatible stream then burned to disc. There are tutorials and many tools that can do this just search the net for details... For Ubuntu I tried a few tools out: Tovid, Keno, QDVDAuthor, mencoder, ffmpeg, DVDStyler. All have their uses and caveats and Keno is actually more suited to DV capture and linear editing rather than conversion and burning but mentioned here for completeness. Most DVD authoring/creation tools tend to go through dvdauthor and most video convertors tend to use ffmpeg. If you have Ubuntu or other Debian like system you can install all these tools easily on the command line or through the GUI. the article is about converting video files and creating a menu driven DVD for playback on any compliant DVD player. If your looking for backup of DVD's search for software like DVDRip,AcidRip, dvd-rip ...

apt-cache search qdvdauthor
apt-cache search ffmpeg
apt-cache search tovid
apt-cache search mencoder
apt-cache search transcode

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg qdvdauthor mencoder transcode

So lets start with a problem; I generated a video using Picassa3 on Windows ( slideshow with music ). I could have done something similar within Linux but I like Picassa3 and well that's it :0

Problem: I have a video file format that I need to convert and burn to DVD

Answer: There's a couple of methods ...

>ffmpeg -i

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hellanzb automation with Hellavcr on Ubuntu

As a customer of a shitty ISP my bittorrent is throttled. The natural option was to move to a usenet based service. By combining the following software and services, you'll have a slick web accessible frontend for automatic downloading of your favorite TV shows. All you favourite shows will be automatically downloaded and come up on your XBMC media center.

I used an ubuntu based server for the backend, but almost any linux distro should work. It took a bit of tweaking but now I have fully automatic downloading of my favorite TV shows with zero user interaction.

Software / Services Used
XBMC (the ultimate media center front end)
- Giganews (or other usenet provider)
- Newzbin (for usenet searching and nzb downloading)
- Hellanzb (client for downloading usenet binaries)
- Hellavcr (php frontend for hellanzb)

1) Install hellanzb

sudo apt-get install hellanzb par2 unrar

2) configure hellanzb

edit /usr/etc/hellanzb.conf with your favourite editor
Update the config file, here are the important fields you'll want to update

hosts = [ '' ]
username = 'your username'
passwork = 'your password'
antiIdle = 0
Hellanzb.PREFIX_DIR = '/your hellanzb dir'
Hellanzb.NEWZBIN_USERNAME = ' your un'
Hellanzb.NEWZBIN_PASSWORD = 'your pw'
Hellanzb.XMLRPC_PASSWORD = 'set your pass'

3) Install Hellavcr
- Get dependencies
sudo apt-get install php5-curl php5-xmlrpc

- Restart apache
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

-download and unzip hellavcr

-unzip hellavcr to a web accessible directory (eg. /var/www/hellavcr/)

- Update file permissions

- edit hellavcr.config.php in an editor
- change the path of tv.xml to be an absolute path (eg. /var/www/hellavcr/tv.xml)
- add your newzbin login info
- change the hellanzb rpc password to the one you entered when configuring hellanzb
- disable mail and twitter if you don't use them

- hellavcr should now be web accessible

- you will need a cron job to run hellanzb.php periodically, this will check for new show releases and queue them in hellanzb. Add the following entry into your /etc/crontab to make it happen every 5 minutes

*/5 * * * * /usr/bin/php /var/www/hellavcr/hellavcr.php >> /var/log/hellavcr.log

- Go to your webserver and start searching for some shows

- The hellavcr cron job will search newzbin for the latest episodes and queue them in hellanzb

- I setup a simple script to copy the tv shows to the share that XBMC accesses, (as well as delete any sample files which came down with the video). It runs via a cron job as well

find . -printf '"%p"\n' | egrep -i sample | xargs -i rm {}
find . -printf '"%p"\n' | egrep -i chuck | egrep -i 'avi|mp4|mkv|mov|m2v' | xargs -i mv {} /fatty/video/TV\ Shows/Chuck/
find . -printf '"%p"\n' | egrep -i dexter | egrep -i 'avi|mp4|mkv|mov|m2v' | xargs -i mv {} /fatty/video/TV\ Shows/Dexter/
- On my any of my XBMC clients I update the database and the new shows appear and show up as unwatched (for easy tracking of which shows are new).