Switching to Kodi from WD TV Live Hub and using ISOs
#1
I am a long time user (10+ years) of the WD TV Live Hub media player system and am in the process of trying to move over to Kodi on a Raspberry Pi 4. I have about half of my library copied onto a Synology NAS and am now trying to determine the best path forward. All of my DVDs (1000+ disks) are in ISO format. I prefer using the DVD menus and I liked the WD's UI because it allowed me to use it as essentially a DVD changer and I could manipulate it enough for my Autistic son, who cannot read,  to use. Unfortunately, with Kodi that is apparently not how the majority use the system, so finding out how to best use the system without having to re-rip everything to another format has seemed to be difficult so far.

I would like to hear from anyone that has made this switch and what they did, especially if they did so while still using ISOs.

I am using Kodi version 19 (Matrix).
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#2
(2021-09-14, 21:26)larrycook99 Wrote: I am a long time user (10+ years) of the WD TV Live Hub media player system and am in the process of trying to move over to Kodi on a Raspberry Pi 4.

Reading about your son makes me wonder why the change to a different system at all. In simple terms, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it". Now I'm no medical expert whatsoever, but is your son using the WD TV box himself at all, or are you doing all the handling? I don't know what the user experience is on the WD TV box, but Kodi may be a different thing altogether for him. Kodi can be configured with various skins, so that thumbnails of the videos/ISOs are shown predominantly in the movie listing.

That said, running ISOs should be possible on the RPi4. DVD menus can be avoided when remuxing the videos into h264 mkv files, preferably even the h265/hevc format (capable recent video card recommended). Selecting a mkv video file that "just starts" is my first & lazy choice. I have converted my DVDs into much smaller h265 mkv files. However, seeing your 1000+ disc collection, that would take a while even in an automated process.
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#3
Many moons ago I did run one of the first WD devices. I do remember spending time setting up meta-data pages & artwork for access of a local USB drive, until I stumbled across MS Media Player then got a bit fed up with re-installing the entire o/s to recover from some anomaly or software that barfed. XBMC to the rescue, which later became Kodi and I've never looked back.

Time to re-evaluate your stand on keeping iso formats.  I suggest that most DVD menu systems pale in the modern age as to what is offered from the Kodi interface and capabilities; which can handle content in a much more elegant fashion. I'm not suggesting you dump your existing format or re-rip, Kodi handles many file formats, but you will appreciate a well oiled library in a ripped file mode in many ways. Check out Supplemental tools (wiki) specifically MakeMKV and keep your future content current with these tools.

The wiki's accessed at the top left of this page, is more or less Kodi's online guide/manual and this one should be a starting point HOW-TO:Install Kodi on Raspberry Pi (wiki) and there is a number of operating systems with their own support forums, etc check out our hardware section for more tips.
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#4
(2021-09-15, 04:35)Klojum Wrote: why the change to a different system at all
It was discontinued in 2016, so I guess hardware breaks down, features break....
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#5
That's one reason, sure.
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#6
(2021-09-14, 21:26)larrycook99 Wrote: All of my DVDs (1000+ disks) are in ISO format

That's fine.  Kodi will play your ISO's quite happily, complete with the DVD menu's.
(2021-09-14, 21:26)larrycook99 Wrote: finding out how to best use the system without having to re-rip everything to another format has seemed to be difficult so far.

The key here is your directory structure and file naming.  Basically, you want a top level directory containing directories for each DVD which each contain the DVD ISO.  Each directory should be named name of film (year) and each ISO should be named name of film (year).iso .

Then you add the top level directory as a source in Kodi, tell it that it contains movies and make sure that "movies are in separate folders that match the movie title" and "scan recursively" are both enabled.  Kodi will then scan in all your DVD's, pulling in whatever metadata is available and build your library.

When you click on a film, the iso should automatically launch, playing any intro's etc and ultimately ending up on the DVD menu (if there is one).

If you have a read of https://kodi.wiki/view/Naming_video_files/Movies paying attention to #2 and #3.  Just imagine that .mkv in the example is .iso !  This is how I have set up my ISO's and they all work as expected.
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#7
(2021-09-15, 04:35)Klojum Wrote:
(2021-09-14, 21:26)larrycook99 Wrote: I am a long time user (10+ years) of the WD TV Live Hub media player system and am in the process of trying to move over to Kodi on a Raspberry Pi 4.

Reading about your son makes me wonder why the change to a different system at all. In simple terms, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it". Now I'm no medical expert whatsoever, but is your son using the WD TV box himself at all, or are you doing all the handling? I don't know what the user experience is on the WD TV box, but Kodi may be a different thing altogether for him. Kodi can be configured with various skins, so that thumbnails of the videos/ISOs are shown predominantly in the movie listing.

That said, running ISOs should be possible on the RPi4. DVD menus can be avoided when remuxing the videos into h264 mkv files, preferably even the h265/hevc format (capable recent video card recommended). Selecting a mkv video file that "just starts" is my first & lazy choice. I have converted my DVDs into much smaller h265 mkv files. However, seeing your 1000+ disc collection, that would take a while even in an automated process.
The easy answer as to "why change?" is that the WDTV system was discontinued 5+ years ago and will eventually break. So I am investigating what to change to when, not if, it breaks, and it's better to do it on my schedule rather than be forced to do something hastily, because my son uses the WDTV every day.

I already have an RPi4 up and running with Kodi on LibreElec. From what I have learned so far, I believe that I can get what I want from the system and probably more. I just need the time to learn the system and I was trying to find out how others had done this. There is no need for me to create a unique path when someone else has already created one to the place I want to go, or at least nearby. So far, I have installed the Amber skin and have it working in a manner similar to what I have on the WDTV system in terms of navigation. It's still somewhat rudimentary from my standpoint but I have only been doing this for a little over a week and I am not in a hurry...yet.
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#8
(2021-09-15, 10:11)black_eagle Wrote:
(2021-09-14, 21:26)larrycook99 Wrote: All of my DVDs (1000+ disks) are in ISO format

That's fine.  Kodi will play your ISO's quite happily, complete with the DVD menu's.
(2021-09-14, 21:26)larrycook99 Wrote: finding out how to best use the system without having to re-rip everything to another format has seemed to be difficult so far.

The key here is your directory structure and file naming.  Basically, you want a top level directory containing directories for each DVD which each contain the DVD ISO.  Each directory should be named name of film (year) and each ISO should be named name of film (year).iso .

Then you add the top level directory as a source in Kodi, tell it that it contains movies and make sure that "movies are in separate folders that match the movie title" and "scan recursively" are both enabled.  Kodi will then scan in all your DVD's, pulling in whatever metadata is available and build your library.

When you click on a film, the iso should automatically launch, playing any intro's etc and ultimately ending up on the DVD menu (if there is one).

If you have a read of https://kodi.wiki/view/Naming_video_files/Movies paying attention to #2 and #3.  Just imagine that .mkv in the example is .iso !  This is how I have set up my ISO's and they all work as expected.
Thank you black_eagle for the post. This is exactly what I was looking for.

The info about directory structure and naming is what I needed. I have started in that direction but there are some things that from the documentation is was uncertain about. Your comments about that help. Also, Kodi is very flexible with lots of settings that should allow it to do what I want but finding which settings to use is not easy because there are so many.

All I want to do at this moment is move from WDTV to Kodi without changing "everything". I picked Kodi specifically because it will handle ISOs. I may eventually move to MKVs or some other format but at this moment I have a sh*t-load of ISOs and I want to spend my time using and learning Kodi, not re-ripping ISOs. Each one of those ISOs took 15+ minutes to create and from what I have seen using MakeMKV and a couple of other tools, re-ripping them will take that much time again...not yet convinced it's worth it.

What I have done so far:

1. Copied  8+ TB of ISOs from external USBs to a Synology NAS. Still have about that much more in ISOs uncopied. Will probably add another NAS.
2. Created Kodi system using RPi4 (from Canakit) and LibreElec.
3. Added Amber skin.
4. Started playing with settings and directory structures and images to get the UI that I want.

Current directory structure:

top-level-NAS-directory
      TV Shows 1                                                                          // Kodi source directory/folder
           thumb.jpg                                                                       // image shown when hover over "TV Shows 1" folder
           Jonny Quest (1965)                                                        // main directory/folder of a tv show
                Season 1                                                                     // directory of Season 1 discs/isos
                      Jonny Quest (1965) S01E01-E07.iso                 // Disc 1 iso
                      Jonny Quest (1965) S01E01-E07-thumb.jpg    // image shown when hover over Disc 1 iso 
                      Jonny Quest (1965) S01E08-E14.iso                 // Disc 2 iso
                      Jonny Quest (1965) S01E08-E14-thumb.jpg    // image shown when hover over Disc 2 iso 
                      Jonny Quest (1965) S01E15-E21.iso                 // Disc 3 iso
                      Jonny Quest (1965) S01E15-E21-thumb.jpg    // image shown when hover over Disc 3 iso 
                      Jonny Quest (1965) S01E22-E26.iso                 // Disc 4 iso
                      Jonny Quest (1965) S01E22-E26-thumb.jpg    // image shown when hover over Disc 4 iso
                      thumb.jpg                                                             // image shown when hover over "Season 1" folder
                thumb.jpg                                                                   // image shown when hover over "Jonny Quest (1965)" folder
      Movies 1
      TV Shows 2
      ...

The above comments are when I use the Amber skin and access the files via Videos->Files view. This is taking me in the direction that I want to go for now. I don't like the thumb.jpg files. I think that I should be able to use a naming like works for the ISOs and is descriptive of what the content of the JPG is but I haven't figured that out yet.

One problem that I am having is, that once Kodi displays a JPG file, it appears to cache it and if I change the JPG image the icon displayed does not change. I need a way to kill/clear that cache, preferably from the Amber or Kodi settings.
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#9
(2021-09-15, 16:25)larrycook99 Wrote: One problem that I am having is, that once Kodi displays a JPG file, it appears to cache it and if I change the JPG image the icon displayed does not change. I need a way to kill/clear that cache, preferably from the Amber or Kodi settings.

Yes, it does cache it.  I installed Amber and had a look.  In most skins, if you open the information dialog (press i on a keyboard) there is a button where you can choose the art that is associated with an item, so that you can change the season poster etc.  This button however doesn't appear to be included in the Amber skin.  Perhaps this is deliberate or an oversight on the part of the author but that is generally how one would manage the art via Kodi's GUI.

The button is available if you switch back to Estuary.  Might be worth an ask in Amber's support thread about the "choose art" button.
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