Adding Movies and TV Shows to XBMC

Posted on May 13, 2011


XBMC is a great program to get your HTPC off to a good start. Like I’ve said before, there are many different programs you can use, but XBMC is my preferred front end software. In order to ensure that everything runs smoothly, it is important to make the proper preparations.

Naming Convention


XBMC pulls information from databases based on the name of the video file. The more organized the names of your files are, the quicker and more accurate XBMC’s scrapers will be. You should have on your storage disk a folder named “Movies.” Within this folder you should store all your movies, each in a folder of its own. Here’s an example (instead of “Movies,” I named my folder “Movies1” because I already have a folder named “Movies”):

/Movies/The Wildest Dream/The Wildest Dream.mkv

I remember being faced with the task of renaming every single one of my movies manually. Talk about a tedious task! Luckily, there are programs that will do this for us. Two programs that come to mind are mediarenamer and theRenamer. Both programs are fairly easy to navigate. If you have trouble using these programs, their respective websites have great support available. Once you are done renaming your movies, it’s time to move on to your TV shows.

Mediarenamer Screenshot

theRenamer screenshot

TV Shows

Naming conventions are also important for your TV shows. Since TV shows are organized in episodes and seasons, the naming of the files will be a little different. Here’s an example of the proper way to name your TV show files:

/The Office/Season 1/The Office – s01e05 – Basketball.avi

Fortunately, the renaming programs mentioned above will also rename TV shows. Just make sure that the folders are set up properly. If the renamers have problems finding an episode, make sure that the file name has the season number and episode number (i.e. s03e17).

Adding Media to XBMC Library

Now that you have organized your movies and TV shows, it is time to scan them into your XBMC library to be scraped.

Step 1: In XBMC, navigate over to the “Videos” and select. Move your cursor to the left so that the side menu pops out. Make sure that “Library Mode” is not highlighted.

Step 2: Navigate to “Add source,” and select that option. Then click “browse.”

Step 3: Browse and find your “Movies” folder; the select OK.

Step 4: Verify that this is the right folder and select OK once more.

Step 5: Toggle through the “This Directory Contains” menu until you find “Movies.” Here, you are telling XBMC that the folders within your “Movies” folder contain movies. Then, make sure that “Run automated scan,” “Use folder names for lookups,” and “Scan recursively” are all highlighted.

Step 6: XBMC will then ask you if you want to refresh all items within the path. Select Yes. You will then see in the upper-right hand corner a box that says “Downloading movie information.” Your files are being scraped.

Step 7: Once it’s done scraping (the more movies you are scraping at once, the longer it will take), change it back to Library mode and you should have your movies set up with the information and artwork.

***For TV Shows, you will follow the same steps, with the only difference happening in Step 5. Here instead of selecting “Movies,” you will select “TV Shows.”

It’s as simple as that! With practice, these steps will become second nature to you. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.