Ripped DVDs + Media Center, Better with Cover Art

Over the past few months I have really gotten into ripping DVDs to my computer in full quality (without re-compressing the video), so that I could play them in Media Center just as though I had put in the physical disk.  (I learned how to do that from a blog post on a Microsoft student site.)  Since each disk contains about 7.2GB of data, this did require getting a little more hard drive space.  Since I started I have ripped about 250 DVDs, but I had only taken the time to manually get the cover art for the first few that I ripped.  Getting coverart for the DVDs to show up in Media Center required going to, searching for the DVD, clicking through to the large picture of the box cover, saving that image, cropping it, and moving it to the DVD folder and naming it “folder.jpg”.  That was more mindless work than I wanted to put up with, so I did a little research.

Here’s a quick jump forward to the final product:
View Large

 Amazon has a great set of web services available from, and one of the services enables integration with Amazon’s online store.  Best of all, the sample code was written in C#, which is my programming language of choice.  The API itself is very easy to use and quite powerful, but enough of that.

My program, which I quickly decided to call DVD Cover Art Finder (very creative), uses the Amazon Associates Web Service to suggest 6 possible cover arts.  When the user selects one of the choices, the selection is shown in the bigger image box, and the dvd title is updated to the title as listed on Amazon.  I added in a bunch of quick keyboard shortcuts to make the process go a lot faster, which I really needed since I used the software to get 200+ cover arts.  The program also renames the DVD’s folder to the DVD title, and preserves the DVD disk label and some other information in a data file that it keeps in the DVD’s folder.

As you can clearly see, I haven’t put much effort into polishing the product yet (note the window’s title of Form1).  Using it to get a bunch of cover art, however, the thing is stable.
dvd cover art finder

I’ll be finalizing this at some point and publish it to my blog, including the source code.  For now just marvel.  :-)

FYI, Media Center also supports three ways to display the DVDs.  The one previously shown is “View Large”.  This one below is “View Small”, and there is a third option that I don’t find very useful called “View List”.

view small

Selecting a DVD shows the disk’s location and and bigger cover art.
movie details

Playing the DVD is exactly the same experience as playing a physical DVD, except there’s no disk.
the princess bride dvd menu

4 thoughts on “Ripped DVDs + Media Center, Better with Cover Art

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