"Virtual Folders" as seen by renderers

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Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2022 10:12 pm

"Virtual Folders" as seen by renderers

Post by freemansteve »

I like UMS, and use it everyday, so keep up the good work.
I am not familiar with the details of any of the specs for DLNA, but I have played with 5-6 server implementations and for rendering I use VLC, Foobar2000 (on PC, iPADs and android phones), Cambridge Audio Evo (an all-in-one audio player, highly recommended!) and 2 LG TVs and 1 Samsung TV.

I note that the presentation of what I call "virtual folders" as seen by renderers does vary a lot between different DLNA servers - some better, some not so good, particularly with the large music collection I have. By "virtual folders" I mean collections of media items grouped by things like "Genre" or "Album" etc, not just simple "Folder" navigation, which is good, and I think the term is one you use too.

My assumption is that a DLNA sever scans required folders for media, reads tags/metadata and essentially creates a database, and a "virtual folder" view is basically a query or lookup on that database. As I say, I may have it completely wrong!

If I'm right, and the specs for DLNA allow it, and renderers are capable of adapting to various presentations of available media, it seems that an advanced user interface feature could allow users to set up "custom virtual folders". This might be where the server scans the user-specified locations and lists all the relevant tag & metadata types. Not the tag or metadata content, just the 'container' to start with. This may be a big list, so maybe the user is asked to preselect tags or metadata "of interest". Then I see a means of naming a new "virtual folder", and selecting which media files should be included, based on tags or metadata.....

Here's an example that applies to my music - I have all my music files in structured folders and all tagging is entirely consistent, but I have a base folder that contains MP3s and a base folder that contains FLAC version of the same files (reason is that some devices I have cannot play FLACs or FLACs are a different mix etc). I have a custom tag in every music folder ("Media Type" - thanks to excellent MP3Tag app!) which is set to either "MP3", or "FLAC" (or sometimes undefined, which is an error in my case). So to me, seeing two virtual folders, one that was named "MP3" and one that was named "FLAC" would be really useful, as well as the usual virtual folders, especially if "sub folders" off those two allowed the usual genre, album, band, etc groupings.

It would also be cool to be able to use custom, user specifiable JPG pictures for each type of virtual folder.

I realize there is complexity in the idea, but one of the things that draws people to one DLNA server or another is all about what is presented graphically, in terms of virtual folders, at the the renderer, and I think giving some more ability to customize this could be be a killer feature....
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