HTPC automatic workflow for Movies and TV Shows
Watching Movies and TV Shows from online streaming sources is a pain, as you depend on the availability of the your ISP network and current status of the stream provider. Furthermore, you don’t always have an internet connection available when you want to spend some time in front of the TV. So downloading it it’s a much better way to go in order to avoid this issues (giving that you have to anticipate a little bit to get downloads finished).
BTW, PopCorn Time is a recent solution that works pretty neat: it streams video directly fetched from torrent sources. I recommend giving it a try.
But looking for latest TV shows episodes or movies using torrent search providers is also a pain, because it requires a certain time and dedication you could spend in some other task.
But we’re computer engineers and we love automating things, and this specific problem we’re describing has to be more common than unusual, so I started googling about this matter and I found these pretty cool tools:
- CouchPotato: tool that looks for movies in different torrent providers, fetching the appropriate torrent based on your quality requirements as soon is ready. It integrates with IMDB via a browser plugin, so you can queue upcoming movies without even opening its interface.
- flexget: really powerful tool that keeps track of your latest downloaded TV show episodes and fetches new ones (well, their torrents) as soon they’re available and meeting your quality requirements
- filebot: renames, organizes and downloads subtitles for video archives based on their metadata and search results on internet video databases.
- PushBullet: get notifications from other applications directly into your mobile device.
- Kodi / XBMC: one of the best HTPC platforms, with lots of plugins and features.
- TV Show Time: really nice social network and episode tracking site.
Let’s wire it all together! This is how they interact with each other in my current workflow:
- I look for movies in IMDB and when I find any of interest, I queue that one into CouchPotato using its browser plugin (available for Chrome and Firefox).
- CouchPotato keeps looking for torrent sources for queued movies and whenever one is available, it queues it to the download list and I get a notification in my cell phone.
- Once the file is ready, filebot attaches proper metadata & subtitles and moves / renames that file to its final destination and tells Kodi to refresh its library.
- Kodi (previously known as XBMC) reloads a set of preconfigured directories (where filebot places files) from time to time and gets new videos stored into its database, fetching art work and IMDB / TV Shows DB info if required.
- TV Shows
- Flexget keeps looking for existing / returning TV shows I’m interested in (and previously configured in its config file), getting notified as when they’re in the torrent download queue
- Rest of the steps for this workflow are exactly the same as for movies.
- One difference but, is that once I finish watching that episode, Kodi automatically marks it as watched in my TV Show Time account.
So after expending some time setting this workflow up and integrating these tools into my HTPC, I got a totally automated TV Show / Movies box. I totally recommend that you expend some time with these tools. Once running you can almost forget about looking for torrents ever more.
UPDATE: Here you can find a nice tutorial on How to Use Kodi: What You Need to Know