Over at the WDTV Forum, I notice a lot of questions about getting thumbnails into your WDTV. Mostly for video, sometimes for audio. Here’s a quick run down on how it goes for Windows users.
Getting the pictures…
For movie posters, I mostly use IMP Awards. If that fails me (mostly on obscure movies from half a century ago –I’m looking at you, Promises! Promises!) I just use Google Image Search. The WDTV thumbnails for videos are 120×180, or a 2:3 aspect ratio. I tend to keep my images as large as possible while maintaining that aspect ratio (and simple math): 200×300, 400×600, 800×1200, etc. If you don’t already have an image editing tool, Paint.net is a good, free, and simple Windows option. There’s also the Photoshop-esque Gimp for all platforms. Be aware that the WDTV doesn’t like progressive scan JPEGs, save the files as either baseline or baseline optimized profiles.
TV shows can be a bit of a problem. While you can just use a movie poster to represent a movie, what represent a TV show? I use DVD covers or promo posters trawled from Google or IMP Awards for my directories, but individual thumbs for each episode take a little more work.
Fortunately, I found this handy guide for XBMC users. With a little tweaking, it’s great for WDTV users too. Step one is to get ffmpeg, and insert it in your system PATH somehow. The lazy man (read: me) can just put the executable in C:\Windows\System32\. The smart man would edit the system PATH variable itself. Once that’s done, open up your friendly neighbourhood Command Prompt and navigate to your video files. Once you’ve gotten there, use this command string:
for %i in (*.avi) do ffmpeg -i "%i" -f mjpeg -t 0.001 -ss 180 -y "%~ni.jpg"
That command will create a JPEG of the frame 3 minutes (180 seconds) into each file in the directory, and give it the same name as the original video file. You can replace .avi with .mkv or whatever other format your videos are in. If you feel up to it, you can resize and crop the resulting images down to the 2:3 aspect ratio the WDTV prefers, or just leave them as is and have some blank space in your thumbnails.
Setting up the thumbnails
So now you’ve got all your pictures, what do you do with them? Well, the TV episode thumbs are already in the right place, and properly named. That was easy.
Movie posters and TV covers take a touch more work. Copy your movie poster into the same directory as the movie, and give it the same name as the movie. Mallrats.jpg goes with Mallrats.mkv. Voila!
What if you have a whole bunch of movies in one directory, and one some kind of overall picture for the folder, like a general “Movies” picture? That’s also simple. Drop the JPEG in the directory and call it folder.jpg. Note: That is the word folder, not the name of the folder.
MP3s (also: MP4s)
MP3 files can have their embedded artwork read by the WDTV. Pretty much any decent media player can embed artwork in the metadata of an MP3. There are also some specialized tools, like Mp3tag, that exist only for MP3 (and MP4) tagging. make sure you embed JPEGs!
Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll try to answer them.