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Fundamental Video Types
I just know this will end badly, but I can't keep my mouth shut, and I have opinions....

Today we have:

Movies <--- works very well for 'feature films'
TV Series <---- works very well for multiple episode / season programs
Music Videos <---- appears to be geared to video singles and not video albums / concerts, and poor scraping / online database support

Now, I have absolutely no desire to suggest 1001 'categories' of Video but, there's a few things 'square peg' videos that just don't fit the 'round holes' already defined:

Video Clips <--- People DO have these, but they aren't feature films / movies and they aren't TV series... so let's not pretend they are.
Concert Videos <---- These don't really work to well in Music Videos (although they should). They are 'video albums' with multiple tracks by one or various artists
Documentaries <---- These (at a push) could be considered TV Series, but they'll rarely be found by scrapers, and they don't really fit the TV Series mold.
Mini-Series / Dramas <----- These are similar to Documentaries. I can see a case for calling them TV Series... and can see a case for not.
Home Videos <----- Unless your name is Copolla, Spielberg, Lucas or Jeremy (*nudge nudge*) they just aren't Movies and they just aren't TV Series

I've probably missed a few possible categories, and I'm wary of blurring the line between categories and 'genres'. But the fact remains, A video clip isn't a movie or a TV series, so what the hell is it? and how can XBMC provide support for it in a SENSIBLE manner without trying to pretend it's a 'short feature film!'

I know there are filters and smart playlists and 101 clever work arounds, but let's be honest, at least a couple of these 'categories' have been a pain in the neck for years (esp Music Videos).

Am I alone in this line of thinking?
I concur. In my opinion, XBMC should recognize the following video library types:

According to the theory of literature, media files are of two fundamental types: fiction or non-fiction. Documentaries being the principle representative of non-fiction, it must occupy a type of its own.

XBMC's classification of documentaries as "genre" is fundamentally flawed. What classifies a documentary is not a "genre"; genre refers to artistic style/format/main theme, whereas documentaries are classified by reference to persons, place, time period, and subject matter. To try to bend the movie/tvshow.nfo so as to accomodate documentaries is not just a waste of time, it is also a manifestation of flawed design. Documentaries need a database and XML (nfo) scheme of their own.

Presently scrapable materiel for documentaries can be found at, but after you have done all the scraping you end up with a basically flat presentation where you can filter things that are immaterial (e.g., studios, directors) but cannot filter logical relationships. You can group together all occurences of BBC, but not all documentaries referring to Napoleon. Clearly we need to have documentaries as a distinct media type, but we also have to teach the library to cross-reference keywords, or even better, auto-reference all words in plots/synopses etc.


3. MOVIES. Here XBMC excels.


5. TVFILMS/MINI-SERIES? Technically, the so-called mini-series are no series at all but rather they are fiction videos too long for the movie format. Thus they appear in the tvshow format. Sometimes there is no scrapable material for a TV film in, whrereas there is in The important thing to see is that XBMC handles this type perfectly; the problem, if there is one, is with the scrapers.

6. ANIMATED/CARTOONS/ANIME. They are not exactly movies, nor tvshows, but they are recognized as a distinct type, and since there are so many scraper sites for them I guess they are handled perfectly by XBMC.

7. GREAT PERFORMANCES: BALLET, OPERA, THEATER. Technically they have a structure akin to the movie, and if the movie.nfo schema could be extended by a few more tags, and ---more crucially--- there existed scraper and scrapable sites specific to them (the Internet is replete with online information about ballet, opera and theater, but, even though this is information in the public domain, there exists not a single scraper for those sites), then XBMC would handle them perfectly.

8. MUSICVIDEO. Here the problem is a dearth of scrapers, due to the music industry's denying public access to any data. (Significantly, the movie industry is tolerant of scrapers.) Note that the present musicvideo.nfo schema does not accomodate ballet or opera: it is based on the artist - album schema, whereas ballet and opera involve a whole performance by an ensemble, in which they are, as noted above, more akin to movies than to music.

9. ADULTVIDEO. On the one hand, they are a distinct vieo file category. On the other, how difficult is there to provise all needed information in the filename?

10. OTHER (HOMEVIDEOS). There has long been a need for a way to jot down some information about an otherwise not scrapable video file, and have this information scanned into the library with no need to look up an Internet scraper. As of today, this can be performed either per a scraper called "JustTheFileName", or per external library managers such as Media Companion (from v3.507b upwards). The solution is very spartan, but it works --up to a point. To be truly helpful, a universal scraper for video files which are neither movies nor tvshows nor great performances would have to embody a categorization with reference to person, place, and time period such as that used for documentaries, which XBMC's database currently doesn't support. It is important to realize that even where there is no need for web scraping, XBMC limited library model lets us down.
NFO (wiki) files can address some of the requirements to provide detailed information for adding media content to the library that are not supported by external scraper sites.
NFO files are only useful insofar as their tags are mapped to database tables, and database tables are only useful insofar as they can be exported as reports on the desktop. It is no use to add a tag <timeperiod>Napoleonic Wars</timeperiod> to a documentary if there is no mapping to it in the database, and you do not have a node 'Timeperiod' inside your documentaries to filter everything related to this period. XBMC's database needs to be usabel as it is --- an SQL database. As of today, it performs as did the rigid databases pre Dr. Codd. And, mind you, the limits of XBMC's database afflict even those data types that are handled to general satisfaction, e.g. movies. Why is it accepted that an SQL database cannot handle sub-genres? Why cannot movies not be grouped according to common themes (say all movies concerning infidelity, even if set apart by genre --- comedies, dramas, comedy-dramas, thrillers, horror)? And don't tell me about smart playlists. Instead of admiring them for being are such a wonderful tool for patching things up, we should be concerned about the need for so much patching up in the first place.
Add a tag for "infidelity" if you really want that. You might be able to automate it if "infidelity" happens to be mentioned in the plot without having to add the tag.

XBMC's database is quite flexible given that it has restricted fields. Indeed, SQL databases are essentially designed to be restricted in exactly this way. A key/value store is what you're after, which is certainly something that has been considered for the future (see the pull requests on github regarding the picture database for example).
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