iHomeServer Pre-Release Available - internet metadata tagging, interactive iTunes launching, faster start-up time

The next major release of iHomeServer is now in feature-freeze and available from our beta/pre-release download site.  Please note it is still going through additional testing; there will be a few minor releases to it before it is promoted to the main download site.

Screen shot:


This release has some very cool new features which we hope you will like:

  • Internet metadata lookup - the big feature is new internet metadata lookups.  Whilst iTunes does a great job of fixing metadata automatically for CD rips, etc, it doesn't touch TV/Movie files.  So, we've tried to make this as easy and useful as possible.  You don't want to spend hours tracking down the right metadata/artwork for a movie/video track; you want a quick streamlined search process.  iHomeServer now integrates with three of the leading metadata services - themoviedb.org, thetvdb.com and tagchimp.com. Metadata lookup hooks into the iHomeServer workflow in many ways:
    • On the metadata editor page, you can click 'Internet Search' to autopopulate metadata fields / artwork based on results from these services.
    • You can select a set of movies on either the Watch Folder view or iTunes View tab, right-click and select 'Auto-Tag'.  iHomeServer will then get the best-matched data based on filename or embedded track name and set the metadata to the file with no further clicks from you.
    • You can select all the episode in a TV season, right-click and select 'Auto-Tag'.  iHomeServer will guide you through a wizard to choose the TV series, season and then match episde numbers up against your file names.  Hit 'Finish' and it will auto-tag all the results and immediately update iTunes so that the results are available to your Home Sharing clients
    • Finally, you can switch AutoTagging on automatically for a Watch Folder.  Whenever iHomeserver detects a new movie has been added to a Watch Folder, you can configure Auto-Tagging to automatically best-match tag the movie with zero user involvement!
    • The metadata search *should* be multi-lingual - we would be very grateful for your feedback as to how well this works and what improvements are necessary
    • We're quite pleased with the user experience; hope you like it - of course, let us know your suggestions / feedback / improvements


  • "Interactive iTunes launch" - we have been promising this for a while, and this pre-release has the core functionality complete.  When you click the 'Start iTunes' button within iHomeServer Console, you are now given an option as to whether you want to start iTunes within iHomeServer or whether you want to start it interactively.  If you choose the latter, iHomeServer will open the full-fat iTunes interface under the same user you have configured the service to run.  And best of all, it is run within the same RDP session as the WHS Dashboard/Console, therefore you will be running a remote instance of your server's iTunes GUI within your WHS Dashboard.  When you have finished making any changes to iTunes, you can close iTunes, click Start iTunes under iHomeServer control and iHomeServer will restart iTunes in the background.


  • "Caching Playlists" - Caching Playlists has always been a bit slow; particularly for users with large libraries. On slow servers it could take 10-15 minutes.  We have rewritten this process entirely and now analyse the iTunes Library.xml file for playlist/track information instead of querying iTunes.  This has led to a massive performance boost when starting iTunes up under iHomeServer control.
There's also quite a few stability improvements and general bug improvements - see the beta page for more information.   We're also putting together on-line and in-app help; the beta includes about half of the documentation at the moment; this will be added to in future incremental updates.
So - if you want to try it out, please download it from the beta/pre-release download site. Please feedback all comments either via this blog or direct to [email protected]

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