MLServer 4 AV Agent

From Cinemar Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

About

MLServer 4.0 A/V Agent

Used in conjunction with MLServer 4 the A/V Agent is the central controller for all audio and video playback on any networked PC. This agent supports the following features:

  • 4 unique stereo zones of music playback for the MusicLobby app
  • 4 unique stereo zones of music playback for the Pandora Radio app
  • 4 unique stereo zones of music playback for the Internet Radio app
  • 4 unique stereo zones of music playback for the Satellite Radio app
  • Netflix media player control
  • Arcsoft TMT media player control
  • PowerDVD media player control
  • ZoomPlayer media player control
  • TheaterTek media player control
  • VLC media player control
  • Replaces legacy ClientSvc application
  • Automatic Archiving and Cataloging of Blu-Ray and DVD media. (Requires suitable hardware and supported archiving software. AVAgent driver must also be installed in MLServer)




System Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows 7, Vista or XP with all the current service packs and security updates. (32 or 64 bit versions. 64 bit recommended)
  • modern dual-core processor
  • 2GB main memory. (4GB or more recommended)
  • 1GB free disk space
  • MLServer version 4.x
  • MLServer PC with persistent Internet connection
  • one or more sound cards




When Do I Need To Use The AV Agent

If either of these two rules are true for you then you should install and use the AV Agent.

  • If you want to create a remote audio zone for MusicLobby, SatRadio, Internet Radio or Pandora then you will need to install the AV Agent on each of the remote PCs. Then you will tell the affected app. to use the Remote Audio Zone.
  • If you play movies using ArcSoft, Netflix, PowerDVD, TheaterTek, ZoomPlayer or VLC then you will install the AV Agent on each PC where the movies are played and you will install the appropriate device driver in MLServer 4. Once the device drivers are installed you use the Family Manager to define the playback locations.




Installation

  • Step 1: Make sure you are logged into the PC as a member of the local "Administrators" group
  • Step 2: Turn OFF User Access Control (UAC)
  • Step 3: Download the AV Agent from the Cinemar Installation Assistant
  • Step 4: Install the Agent and allow it to automatically run on system start up
  • Step 5: Install any of the supported media players if you will be using the PC for movie playback




Configuration

When launched the AV Agent will automatically minimize itself to the Windows System Tray. To open the agent right-click on the MLServer A/V Agent running in the system tray and select "Restore Agent". This will bring you to the main dialog shown below. The four main tabs are labeled Events, Audio Zones, Media Players and Sessions. Each of these tabs will be described below.

Tab #1: Events
AVAgent-1.png

This tab is to be used to provide general feedback showing the communication with the server and players. Under normal running conditions you can leave event logging turned off. However, during the initial setup and testing it is recommended that you leave event logging turned on.


Tab #2: Audio Zones
AVAgent-2.png

If you are planning on using the Agent as a remote audio zone for the MusicLobby, Pandora, Satellite Radio or Internet Radio apps then you will use the options displayed in this tab to configure your remote zones. Each of the supported apps support up to 4 unique stereo audio zones. To configure a zone you simply press the button for the zone in question and then configure the sound channels for the zone. For each zone you would pick the sound card to be used for playback along with the pair of speaker channels to be used. A typical 7.1 PC sound card will provide 4 stereo zones. There is no limit to the number of sound cards that can be supported. Four sound cards will provide 16 unique audio zones but a single sound card can be used for all the apps. The only limitation is that you can only listen to one app at a time per pair of speakers.

You also have the option do define the default volume and equalizer settings for each audio zones. You can set it here or in the User Interface for the apps on the clients. It is suggested that you leave the volume at 100 and the EQ settings at 0 and control them from the client apps. However, if you know before hand what your preferences are then you are free to set them here.

Changes to an audio zone are automatically saved when you press a different zone button or exit the Agent.


Tab #3: Media Players
AVAgent-3.png

If you use DVDLobby for movie playback then you will use this agent to control the various media players supported by DVDLobby. Currently DVDLobby supports Arcsoft TMT, Cyberlink PowerDVD, Netflix, TheaterTek, ZoomPlayer and VLC as possible movie playback devices. To successfully set up your movie player all you need to do is tell the agent where the player is installed. After that the agent will take over control of the program when a movie is played on the PC.


  • Arcsoft TMT Media Player

Arcsoft provides two different media players. The first is a traditional desktop player and the second is a player designed to used with Windows Media Center. The Agent can use either player and it will allow you to define both and then choose the player that you want to use as the default player.


  • Netflix Media Player

The Netflix Media Player requires no configuration. The agent will automatically launch a copy of Internet Explorer in full screen mode when playing a Netflix movie or TV episode. The agent will also automatically log into Netflix using the username and password that you provided in the setup of the Netflix App on the server. The only other item you have to do is to manually play one Netflix movie on the PC prior to using the agent as this will install the required Silvelight components and registration required by Netflix.


  • Cyberlink PowerDVD Media Player

If you use PowerDVD simply configure the path to the installed player. All versions of PowerDVD are supported.


  • TheaterTek Media Player

If you use TheaterTek simply configure the path to the installed player. Also please make sure to enable TCP/IP support on port 2663 in the main TheaterTek app. The Agent does not use or require the TheaterTek Autokiller application.


  • VLC Media Player

If you use VLC simply configure the path to the installed player.


  • ZoomPlayer Media Player

If you use ZoomPlayer simply configure the path to the installed player. Also remember to enable TCP/IP control on port 4769 in the advanced settings in the player.


Tab #4: Sessions
AVAgent-4.png

This tab is another diagnostics page. It will show you the various drivers that are connected to this agent along with their associated zone information. This provides useful feedback to show what is currently connected to the Agent.


Defining Agents using the MLServer Family Manager

Step #1: Install the device drivers
AVAgent-5.png

Before you can configure the remote agents you first need to install the device drivers for the media players you will be using. All of the supported device drivers are members of the AV family. They all accept the standard set of AV commands and each player has an associated Command Builder help file to guide you through the standard and unique commands supported by each player.


Step #2: Configure the AV Family devices
AVAgent-6.png

Each of your media players has to be defined in the Family Manager inside MLServer. Open the Family Manager and select the AV Family. To define a media player add a new entry and select the device driver and model to be associated with the player. Then you only need to enter a friendly zone name that will give some idea as to where the player is located and finally the name of the PC or the IP Address for the remote PC. You do not have to specify a network communication port as all media players will use port 6789 as the communication port.


DVDLobby Configuration for using the AV Agent

Switching from the legacy world of media player plugins and associated agents will require you to make three significant changes to the configuration of DVDLobby. The first involves the definition of the Play Movie commands and the second is the definition of the remote control commands used to control the players and the third step is to unify the associated players used in your movie collection. The process is now greatly simplified as there is now only one Play Movie command required and one set of remote control commands to use any of the six supported media players.


AV Family - Play Movie Command
AVAgent-8.png

If not already defined you will need to create a new Play Movie command called "AV Family". The command in its most simplest form is shown in the previous image. You must maintain the commands shown but you will need to insert any other custom commands you need to set up your environment to play your movie.


AV Family - Remote Control
AVAgent-7.png

Next you need to select one of the unused remote control tabs and assign it to the new "AV Family" remote control. All of the six media players will use the same set of remote control commands. You no longer need a separate set for each different media player. You will also note that we now use a new server variable called media_activeplayer_{{clientname}}. This is the variable that will be used to define which device driver gets used during movie playback.


Associated Player Consolidation
AVAgent-9.png

The third and final step is performed using the Content Manager. Go into the Movie Settings selection and from the Tools Menu select the "Change Associated Players" menu option. From the dialog that is shown change each of your old associated players from the old value to the new "AV Family" option. In an ideal world you will only have one associated player. The only exception to this rule applies to users who have Sony CX7000ES and/or CX777ES changers. These remain as separate associated players due to the unique sets of commands associated with these players.


MusicLobby, Pandora, Satellite Radio, Internet Radio Configuration for using the AV Agent

If you want to enable a remote audio zone for any of these MLServer Apps then all you need to do is select the "Remote Audio Zone" device from Output device list. This will expose the Remote Audio zone configuration. Enter the name or ip address of the PC where the AV Agent is running and then specify one of the 4 audio zones to use on the agent.

Remote Audio Zone
AVAgent-10.png


Automatic Archiving of Blu-Ray and DVD Media

The A/V Agent is capable of automatically making unattended backup copies of your Blu-Ray and DVD media. (Requires AnyDVD HD software). To set up a media archiving station go into the Media - ISO / Archiving Support tab in the Agent and enable automatic archiving. Then make sure you supply the path your your archiving software. Currently only AnyDVD is supported. You are responsible for purchasing and installing the AnyDVD software. For AnyDVD there are no command options required. You must also specify if you want to archive to file folders or .iso files. See the following figure.

Once you have configured auto-archiving all you need to do is insert media into any of the PCs DVD or Blu-Ray drives. The Agent will automatically be notified of the new media. Once notified the Agent will look up the title and start the archiving process. Once the archive is complete the Agent will automatically add the new movie into the master database and you will receive an email message letting you know the archive is complete. There is no other user intervention required.


Auto Archiving Configuration
Archive-1.jpg


For successful archiving to take place you have to make sure that you have defined a valid email address in MLServer / Tools / Options / Notifications. The Agent will use this email address as the person who gets notified when the archive is complete. Also, make sure you have defined a movie storage location in the DVDLobby / Movie Storage Tab. The Agent will use the first location defined here as the root path to the archived movies. See the following two figures for reference.

Finally make sure the AVAgent driver is installed in MLServer and that you have defined the archiving stations in MLServer's Family Manager as outlined previously in this document.


MLServer Notification Setting
Archive-2.jpg


DVDLobby Archive Storage Location
Archive-3.jpg