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#1 x_david_x OFFLINE  

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:41 PM

Hello,

 

I'm brand new to Emby.  My use case is to provide a way for my parents to view family photos and videos on their TV that exist on their home network.  I'm planning on going down the Roku path.  I've looked at Plex, Emby and Roku's own Media Player app.  Nothing I have found will allow the photos to play as a screensaver (unless on a USB drive plugged right into the Roku), which would be ideal, to turn the TV into a digital picture frame.  For now, it seems I'll need to settle for slideshow capability, where the users need to go into an app and actively start displaying images.  From my brief testing, Emby seems to be the best option for this, but I have some questions.

 

I started by creating a photo and video library in Emby.  The library consists of a parent folder that has subfolders with YYYYMM naming format and photos from each year and month directly in the subfolder.  I also added a simple "videos" folder at the same level as the YYYYMM folders for testing purposes and put a handful of videos in there.

 

The first thing I noticed was that I couldn't play all on the library.  I got an error.  I could pick play all on a folder, but that would obviously only play a slideshow of the photos in that folder.  There was no shuffle option either.  I see in the basic web client that there is no shuffle option showing when I am inside the library view either.  There is a play all and that does play all the photos in the library.  In the basic web client, I just found that the ... for a given library object in the library screen does allow a shuffle slideshow of all photos, but I either can't find that in the Roku app or it doesn't exist.

 

As an aside, I just now created a "Mixed content" type library and gave it the same parent folder as the photo and video library.  When I navigate inside that library in the web client, it does show a shuffle option.  I am not at the Roku right now, so I can't test that library type to see if the Roku app will display the shuffle option.

 

As another aside, the "Play All" function for a "Home videos & photos" type library honors the sort order set for the library.  The "Play All" function for a "Mixed content" type library does not.  It always starts from the same photo and I'm not sure how it picks that photo to start from.

 

Another side...  The "Play All" function when within a folder in a "Home videos & photos" type library subfolder does not honor the sort order set for the folder like it does if you are back at the first level in the library.  I set it to sort on Name (assuming this is the filename or title, both of which are the filename for my test cases) and even though the display shows them sorted by name ascending or descending, the Play all starts with the same file every time.

 

Without shuffle being available for the library on the Roku, I figured my next option would be playlists.  I thought I could create various playlists of subsets of photos and see if there was a shuffle option for the playlists.  If there was no shuffle option for the playlists, I thought I could automate something on the server that would shuffle the order of the files in the playlist file periodically as a work-around.  I've hit a dead end with photo playlists, hence this post.

 

I have tried to create playlists through the library browser in the web client and the metadata manger.  In both screens, I am able to pick "add to playlist" from the ... menu if I select a photo folder.  There is no "add to playlist" option when a photo file is selected, only if the folder it is in is selected.

 

However, the resulting playlist isn't created properly.  Here is what it looks like:

 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
<Item>
  <Added>1/23/2019 12:00:00 AM</Added>
  <LockData>false</LockData>
  <LocalTitle>Photos from 2000</LocalTitle>
  <RunningTime>0</RunningTime>
  <Shares>
    <Share>
      <UserId>1</UserId>
      <CanEdit>true</CanEdit>
    </Share>
  </Shares>
  <PlaylistMediaType>Audio</PlaylistMediaType>
</Item>
 
It is creating an Audio playlist and none of the folders/photos are included.
 
Questions:
 
1)  Does Emby support creating playlists for photos (or videos)?
 
2)  If it doesn't, if I bring in an outside playlist file with the photos listed in it, will that work properly?
 
3)  Where is the metadata stored for the files in a library and is it possible to modify it externally (a script on the server)?  This isn't critical, but I do see it has the option to include People information and other tags.  I'm not even sure if the UI uses those for anything, but I am just curious.
 
If photo playlist aren't supported either by creating in Emby or by importing external playlists, it seems my only other option is to create multiple folders instead of playlists and:
 
a )  Either hope that the Roku app shows the shuffle option if the library type is "Mixed content" like the web client does or
 
b )  Somehow shuffle the files inside the folders through a scheduled script that runs in the background on the server, and then use the Play all function in the UI, as a work-around.  I'm not sure how Emby decides which file to play first with the "Play All", but if I can determine that, I can modify that attribute (filename, etc.).
 
By using folders instead of playlists, I'll have duplicate files various folders are meant to show some of the same files.  I can get around the storage implications by creating symlinks to the files in the various folders.  I'd need to automate this for it to be practical.  I guess I'd end up with my own "playlist" files that my script would use to create the folders and symlinks to the real files.
 
Thanks for any help you can provide.
 
David

Edited by x_david_x, 23 January 2019 - 11:41 PM.


#2 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 12:51 AM

 

 

Does Emby support creating playlists for photos (or videos)?

 

Hi, not at this time, and no, an external playlist will not work either.

 

 

3)  Where is the metadata stored for the files in a library and is it possible to modify it externally (a script on the server)?  This isn't critical, but I do see it has the option to include People information and other tags.  I'm not even sure if the UI uses those for anything, but I am just curious.

 

 

For photos, only in the database.

 

And yes, all apps will be getting play all + shuffle on all list screens, so you can go ahead and use the proper content type of home videos and photos. Please let us know if this helps. Thanks.



#3 speechles OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:19 AM

1) getting the poster grid screen to be much easier and faster to navigate. Less button presses, easier navigation, faster to browse.

2) have that poster grid do all the things other apps do.

3) adding the "Play All" and "Shuffle All" buttons would be next.

 

We are moving in that direction. The focus is always "Your Media, Your Way" and I understand the Roku lacks some of the "Your Way". It is coming soon. Just cannot say when. This is the road map though for these changes above. Without 1 there is no 2. Without both 1 and 2 there is no 3.


Edited by speechles, 24 January 2019 - 01:26 AM.


#4 x_david_x OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:19 AM

Hi Luke,

 

Thanks for the ultra fast reply!

 

 

Quote

 

3)  Where is the metadata stored for the files in a library and is it possible to modify it externally (a script on the server)?  This isn't critical, but I do see it has the option to include People information and other tags.  I'm not even sure if the UI uses those for anything, but I am just curious.

 

 

For photos, only in the database.

 

 

And the database is not accessible from outside/custom programs?

 

 

And yes, all apps will be getting play all + shuffle on all list screens, so you can go ahead and use the proper content type of home videos and photos. Please let us know if this helps. Thanks.

 

 

When you say "will be getting," do you mean it is planned for some point in the near future, or should it be working right now?  In the Roku app and basic web client, currently, the Home Videos & Photos content type library doesn't have shuffle as an option once you are inside the library screen.

 

One other question.  Is there a setting somewhere to adjust the time each photo stays on the screen during slideshow mode?  It seems to be 10 seconds right now.

 

Thanks again!

David



#5 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:23 AM

Near future. Slide show length is not configurable but it comes up a lot so I'm sure that's only a matter of time.

#6 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:24 AM

And the DB is accessible we just don't have any documentation on it.

#7 x_david_x OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:36 AM

And the DB is accessible we just don't have any documentation on it.

Ah..left as an exercise to the reader.  :D

 

Thanks for the added info.

 

Thanks speechless for the rough priority of features!

 

I'll add a vote for giving the app its own private (I think I'm using that Roku terminology correctly) screensaver, where it would take the place of the Roku screensaver if you are in Emby when the Roku screensaver would normally kick in.  And, in a perfect world, implementing a slimmed down version of the app as a true screensaver so that it can be picked from the Roku screensaver settings.  Deciding which content to show is obviously debatable, but allowing the users to pick a playlist or folder or some sort of ordering ability for each time it kicks in to grab a different folder/playlist are ideas.  Or basing it on the most commonly played folder/playlist, then 2nd most common, etc. would be another ordering option idea.

 

Thanks,

David



#8 speechles OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:48 AM

Folder based views are going to be making a comeback if you prefer that style of browsing.  Same with the sorting/ordering of items in the poster grid. We hear you loud and clear. Others have mentioned the same problems. These issues will be resolved with a future update. I cannot say when. I can say it will be addressed. I guarantee you 100%. We want you to be happy and want Emby to be the best. Same goal you want. I like hearing where we can improve and where we exceed expectations. Thanks for your feedback.

 

Once the folder based view is back you would simply press PLAY on your Roku remote when focused over one of these folders and it will play a slideshow of your photos in random order. Once we get to #3 in the list I mentioned above the Play All and Shuffle All on the folder grid screen would do the same and play a slideshow of your photos. If you play all it is in the order you set the grid. If you shuffle all it is random. This is on the roadmap for sure.


Edited by speechles, 24 January 2019 - 02:03 AM.


#9 x_david_x OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 01:44 PM

Folder based views are going to be making a comeback if you prefer that style of browsing.

 

I'm too new to this to know what folder based views look like vs what I am seeing now in the current Roku app.  I do see my folders in the UI.

 

I did try the Roku today with the "Mixed content" library type and there was no shuffle option in the Roku app.  In the web client, that did allow me to have the shuffle option.  Just reporting on my findings for others who might be wondering.

 

 

Once the folder based view is back you would simply press PLAY on your Roku remote when focused over one of these folders and it will play a slideshow of your photos in random order. Once we get to #3 in the list I mentioned above the Play All and Shuffle All on the folder grid screen would do the same and play a slideshow of your photos.

 

 

What is the difference between Play and Play All?  Is it just a matter of what level you are at?  For example, if you go into a folder and pick Play All should that perform the same as highlighting the folder from the next level up and picking Play?  In other words, Play All looks at everything at the current level and below, whereas Play is context specific to what you have selected?

 

One thing I realized today is that your roadmap doesn't mention playlists.  I look at folders as a good paradigm for manual browsing and viewing things that have been physically organized.  Playlists seem like a better paradigm for when you want to have a lot of different virtual groupings, rather than creating every combination through folders, and when you want to play slideshows of those groupings.  Having the ability to play slideshows on folders is nice, but being able to launch a slideshow from a playlist would be even slicker.  It does require some added UI work to make the creation of playlists easy when pulling together files based on certain criteria or requires the users to use other tools to do the playlist creation offline -- something advanced users might need to do anyway if they have complex needs for grouping together large numbers of files in different subgroups.

 

Thanks,

David



#10 speechles OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 02:04 PM

Playlists should already load into a poster grid screen (except audio/songs). The same as folders load into a grid screen. Having the "play all" and "shuffle all" buttons on this screen is step 3. You are correct as well, pressing PLAY on your Roku remote directly on an item is the same as entering the item with OK and pressing the Play All button on screen. One is a short-cut to save you a button press. We are all about saving button presses. Easy navigation, simple intuitive presentation, and no bull$hit or lies. We are putting our words into action. You will be able to see this very soon. Thanks. :)


Edited by speechles, 24 January 2019 - 02:07 PM.


#11 x_david_x OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 02:44 PM

Playlists should already load into a poster grid screen (except audio/songs). 

 

This is the part I'm missing (although I understand what you are saying about the relationship between the object and how it is viewed in a grid screen).  I haven't been able to get playlists to work for photos or videos.  From what Luke said, it isn't implemented for those content types yet.  Did I misunderstand?  Is there a way to create a photo playlist currently?

 

Thanks,

David



#12 ebr OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 02:50 PM

Photo playlists are not supported.  Video playlists should be.



#13 x_david_x OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 02:55 PM

I hadn't tested it for videos since it wasn't working for photos.  I just tested it in the web client and video playlists appear to work as one would expect.

 

Thanks for the heads-up!

David







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