Review - DVDpedia 3.3
by , 9:00 AM EST, December 5th, 2006
So many DVDs, so many friends to borrow them. For Mac users, the answer is to find a database application that can manage your library and track who has what. DVDpedia handles that task without a hitch, and throws in a wish list just for good measure.
DVDpedia's iTunes-like interface is both familiar and well suited for tracking your movie collection. You can see collection groups in the Collections column, a listing of the movies in each collection, and detailed descriptions of selected items - all easy to follow, since you are already familiar with the interface even before you get started.
Adding content is a straight forward process, and since DVDpedia supports barcode scanning from iSight camera and other scanners, you can fill your library just by holding DVD cases up to your camera. Once the UPC barcode is scanned, DVDpedia scours the Internet for the product info, cover artwork, and other movie data and statistics.
As cool as that feature is, I did have a bit of trouble. I found that I had to hold DVD cases really still before they scanned. In fact, I had to stabilize my arms on my desk to keep the cases from moving. Once I figured that trick out, barcode scanning went smoothly and quickly.
I started by choosing three movies to scan: The Star Wars Episode IV, V and VI boxed set since I figured it would scan correctly, Shock Treatment since it may not be in some online databases yet, and bitter films volume 1 since it would most likely not scan at all. I was correct on all three counts, although Shock Treatment showed up correctly when I manually entered the UPC code.
If you are switching from a different DVD database application, like Delicious Library, DVDpedia can import your library so you don't have to reenter everything. Big DVD collection owners will really appreciate that feature.
Once your library is cataloged, DVDpedia lets you group movies into categories manually, or by creating Smart Collections - essentially self-running searches that group movies based on terms you specify. For example, you can build a Smart Collection that finds all of the movies Tim Burton has directed, or PG-13 movies that are at least 90 minutes long.
DVDpedia also links to Address Book so you can choose from the contacts you have already entered when assigned checked out items. Lent items are noted with an orange "X" in list view, but you have to select each each one to see if it is over due. A different colored "X" would offer a quick way to see who you have to bug without checking each movie.
The stats features are fun - charts show how your movies break out into several different categories. I didn't realize that I had so many Tim Burton films, or that most of my movies are PG-13, or that 12 of them are from Warner Home Video. As cool as this feature is, I wish I could roll over the graph bars and see a pop-up list of the movies associated with that statistic.
If you want to keep track of movies you still haven't bought, those can live in the Wish List category. The problem I found was that I quickly has a long list DVDs I would love to buy, but probably never will. But still... It's fun to dream.
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