Friday, March 1, 2013

Beginners Guide to Usenet [Part 4 - Configuring Third Party Applications!]

This is part 4 of my series on getting started with Usenet...

Beginners Guide to Usenet [Part 1 - Introduction]
Beginners Guide to Usenet [Part 2 - Signing up for a Usenet Subscription]
Beginners Guide to Usenet [Part 3 - Install & Configure sabNZBD+]

By now you have already finished setting up a Usenet subscription and installed your download client! At this point you have finished setting up Usenet at the most basic level. You might be tempted to call it a day, to settle for what you have accomplished here, and to continue finding and downloading your media by hand like you did with torrents.

I am here to tell you that this is no way to live your life!

The ultimate goal here is to have all of your TV, Movies, and Music automatically downloaded by scheduling application. We want the TV downloader to know when your favorite shows air, we want the Movies released by your favorite director to download automatically, and we want the new albums by your favorite bands to download as soon as they are available.

In the olden days we might have organized your downloaded content using something like Belvedere for Windows, or Hazel for Mac. This method was complex and easily broken by failure in your personalized Macros. It worked well for very specific tasks, but lacked the flexibility that I wanted when it came to media organization.

Enter Sickbeard...

Sickbeard is advertised as "The ultimate PVR application that searches for and manages your TV shows - Automatically finds new and old episodes for you and it works with your current download client!" This is exactly the type of thing that computers were designed for! Tivo and the cable companies have offered pay upgradable DVR receivers for many years now, it seemed crazy that the internet didn't have a similar feature to offer all of you perfectly legal file sharing types...

Before we get into the installation and configuration portion of Sickbeard let me talk for a brief moment about the pitfalls you may encounter.

When I began using Sickbeard I already had a robust library of episodes. Not the type of library that was easily repaired or replaced after making a mistake with a program that would automatically rename and sort my files...

Trust me when I say, "It sucks when you accidentally destroy and entire show's worth of data just by scrambling all of the filenames. It sucks so, so much."

Okay, there are a few keys to making Sickbeard work well. The first is understanding what each post processing option does, and the other is strict German-esq folder organization.

Lets look at the folders that you have already created or need to create in order to set up SABnzbd+

First, you should have a "download" folder and a target "storage folder". To illustrate the basic design I will lay out my folder design. My folders are located on a special drive on my NAS, but yours can be located anywhere you want. For example: C:/downloads or /mnt/hdd/downloads or /home/user/downloads or whatever...

It should be noted that the "show #" folders are automatically created by Sickbeard if they do not already exist.

  •  Device that your files will be located on... For me this is my NAS.
    • /downloads
      • /incomplete
      • /complete
        • /movies
        • /tv
        • /music
    • /storage
      • /tv
        • /show 1
        • /show 2
      • /movies
        • /movie 1
        • /movie 2
      • /music
        • /cool band 1
        • /cool band 2

Post Processing
  • TV Download dir:
    • This is where SABnzbd+ is going to download the files marked as TV.
      • ~/downloads/complete/tv
  • Keep Original Files:
    • Checking this box will tell sickbeard not to delete the downloaded files after copying them into your storage folders.
  • Move Associated Files:
    • Checking this box will tell sickbeard to move all of the extra files besides just the video file to our storage folder.
  • Rename Episodes
    • Checking this box will tell sickbeard to apply new names to all files moved from the download folder.
    • This option is vital to making your automatic downloads work smoothly, but it can also be a curse!
      • If you are asking sickbeard to bulk process a folder full of downloads that you have accumulated, but are too lazy to sort, you are probably going to run into trouble.
      • For example, when I started using Sickbeard I had "The Outer Limits" in my /complete/tv folder. There are two different versions of that show, one old version and one new. Since Sickbeard had to guess, it automatically renamed and moved all of the video files incorrectly.
  • Scan and Process:
    • Checking this box will tell sickbeard to activate post processing. Without this box checked, post processing is turned off.
  • Naming
    • Pattern:
      • This option tells Sickbeard how you want your TV files renamed.
        • FYI. The Air-By-Date option is for naming shows that air daily like "Conan" or other late night variety shows.
      • The current Alpha Master has lost the format that I used in the past, so I use a "Custom" string.
        • Season %0S/%S.N.S%0SE%0E.%E.N.%Q.N
        • Sample: Season 02/Show.Name.S02E03.Ep.Name.HD.TV.ext
        • Multi-EP: Season 02/Show.Name.S02E03-05.Ep.Name.HD.TV.ext
      • I also use a Custom Air-By-Date
        • %Y/%0M/%S.N.%A.D.%E.N
        • Sample: 2011/03/Show.Name.2011.03.09.Ep.Name.ext
  • Metadata
    • This stuff is all about your media center. I use XBMC because it is super awesome. If you want to know about Plex or Blah or Blah or Blah Blah Blah... look elsewhere because XBMC is super cool!
    • Metadata Type: "XBMC"
      • Show Metadata = yes
      • Episode Metadata = yes
      • Show Fanart Image = yes
      • Show Folder Image = yes
      • Episode Thumbnail = yes
      • Season Thumbnail= yes
    • There is pretty much no reason not to download all this stuff. It is all tiny and only makes XBMC look prettier. Sure XBMC will download this stuff for you, but it will look in the show folder first. So just check all of these boxes.
      • As for banners, that is totally up to you. I prefer posters. Some people prefer banners.

That is the basic setup for post processing and making Sickbeard work as a show organizer.


Configuring Sickbeard!

Warm up your thinkin' brain and open the Sickbeard WebGUI to...


So here are the general settings that we are going to set up first. You can see the way that I have my settings configured, and I will explain to you how each of these affects Sickbeard.

Misc: I do not have my programs set to launch in a browser... ever. I don't actually know why anyone would want this to happen. If this is set, your browser window will open whenever Sickbeard launches. This will probably be at boot. If you are running Sickbeard and SABnzbd+ and everything else on a regular desktop computer, then everything will start with the operating system. I run everything on the Raspberry Pi with no monitor and no GUI, so checking this box would be extra stupid for me to do.

Web Interface: Here you need to set the options for the Sickbeard WebGUI. I do not have anything set for  IPv6 because I don't need it. Same goes for HTTP logs and HTTPS support. I connect to my Sickbeard using the basic HTTP and secured with a simple username and password.

API: If you want to control Sickbeard with outside programs, you need to enable this API key. This is not necessary for our the design that I am helping you with.

Config->Search Settings

Episode Search: Here you should set Sickbeard to download propers. These are the corrected versions of downloads. For instance, if a download was missing the first or last few seconds of a show, the providers like to release fixed versions. Sickbeard can download these and replace your old file with the new one.

NZB Method: Set this to SABnzbd. Then put in the IP address and port number that you use to connect to SABnzbd+. See the picture for how this is supposed to look. You also need to plug in the Username and Password that you use to open the SABnzbd+ WebGUI. Lastly the API key! If you want any of this to work, you need to get your API key from the SABnzbd+ Config>General>API Key page. Click on "Test SABnzbd" to see if you did this right. If you didn't, please try again. It is pretty unlikely that you are going to get this part wrong... Comments if you need help.

Torrent Search: You are not going to use this... Sickbeard can be used with torrents, but the automated stuff will not work as well. I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend signing up with Usenet. Seriously. Like Seriously!

Config->Search Providers
Here you can setup the search providers that you want to use to find episodes. For now you can add the Sickbeard index and the Womble's Index. They are free and work pretty well.

Config->Post Processing
This part has already been covered... if you are confused then you haven't been reading along. You are skipping ahead and that is called cheating... CHEATER!

Here you can add all sorts of cool notification features. Personally I would enable the XBMC stuff. Here is the picture of my settings. This requires you to have enabled a few setting in XBMC though. Since I'm not covering that stuff in this post, it's up to you to figure this out.

Yup... pretty simple...

Adding Shows!
There are two different ways to add shows to Sickbeard. The first way is to add new shows, and the second is to add shows that you already have in your collection.

Add Existing Shows: Add the shows that you already have, that way you can be sure not to download duplicates.

This is the Add Existing Shows page. Before anything is going to work right, you need to add the directories where your shows are stored. Below you can see my NAS shares as they have been added to Sickbeard. Add any directories containing TV show folders. My shit is all over the place... yours is probably better organized. Look at all those different hard drives! Wow!

After you have finally finished adding all of your directories, you can then quickly set the default settings for added shows.

Set the initial status of missing episodes to "Wanted".
Sickbeard has several different status levels for episodes.

Wanted: This will tell Sickbeard to look for available downloads for this episode. This is how episodes should be set by default.

Low Quality: This will tell Sickbeard that you don't like the quality of the file that is downloaded. This option is like "Wanted" except that you already have a file. Sickbeard will only re-download this episode in a higher quality. Set by the show Quality settings.

Downloaded: This tells Sickbeard that you already have a super awesome copy of this episode. A copy that you love and don't want replaced.

Skipped: This tells Sickbeard that you have no interest in this episode. It will be ignored.

Back to business...

Once these options are set, you can add any existing show folders. Sickbeard should scan your directories and then give you a list of show folders that can be added.

Add these shows and you will be redirected to the home page. You should see the shows being added to the homepage.

This can take some time. Each show has to be found on and its info has to be added to each folder.

Next I suggest opening each of your shows one at a time. This sucks like a super duper ton if you have lots of shows.

After opening each show you need to check that the episodes have been detected correctly.
You should check the expected episode in the left column against the detected episode in the right column.

IF AND ONLY IF each of the episodes are detected correctly hit the "Preview Rename" button at the top of the page.

Make sure that ALL of the files are matching and that you like the naming convention.

Then select everything and hit "Rename Selected"

Everything will be awesome when this is done! Now you can do it for every single show you have in your library.

Add New Shows: Now you can finally add new shows!

Welcome to your new life! You have finally arrived!

When you click add a new show, you are prompted with a search box.

Go ahead and type in the name of the show you want to add.

Select it from the list and hit next. Make sure that you are happy with the location for the new show folder and click Add Show. 

The show will appear on the homepage as soon as it has finished adding. New episodes will start to download as they are found by the backlog search or the new episode search. These are both automatic so just chill out and wait.

That's all there is to setting up Sickbeard!

There are some other third party options like couchpotato for movies, and headphones for music! I have experimented with both and found them to be far less reliable than sickbeard, but their setup process is very similar. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.

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