Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Collectorz.com Movie Collector 4.8
- Works perfectly, tracks loans, product pages are fantastic
- None to speak of.
If you have a large DVD collection that seems un-manageable this software will help you catalog and protect your library and is like nothing else we have seen. It works absolutely perfectly and is particularly useful.
Price$ 52.75 (AUD)
Film geeks of the world rejoice, your 1000+ DVD collection is about to finally become manageable. The days of wondering who you lent what DVD and whether they gave it back are over - thanks to Collectorz.com and their Movie Collector 4.8 software.
Movie Collector is essentially a database of movie collection information. While that isn't anything new or intuitive, the automated entries that make it something unique and incredibly useful. To enter a DVD or movie into the collection all you have to do is either enter the name or barcode of the film into the GUI either via the keyboard or with a barcode scanner. Then you simply click next and the program gives you an option of about 15 information sources to choose from including websites like Internet Movie Database, Amazon and DVD Empire.
Once you choose how many of these sites for the program to search, it searches the product information for all of the sites and displays possible hits. Then you simply choose which ones match the title you are attempting to enter and product information will be downloaded from those sites such as cast, director, synopsis, DVD features, imdb rating and many other fields. Even Images are downloaded for the front and back cover of the movie. All this information is then collated and entered into an attractive form and saved in the database. On average, it takes about 30 seconds to make an entry but this can be extended depending on the ping times to the source sites.
Once your collection is all entered you can search it via any field, sort via any field including actor and director searches. If you want to find out how many Spielberg films you have in your collection it will return not only films directed by Spielberg like E.T or Saving Private Ryan but will also list films that Spielberg was involved with like Land Before Time (Producer) or The Blues Brothers (Actor). This is extremely useful and works perfectly. However, like any database, it only works as well as the information that is entered into it, so if Spielberg is entered as "Speilberg", (a very common error), not all of these films will be displayed.
The interface is rather attractive and simple to use with large icons, each clearly stating their function. The default view is a list of everything in your current collection on the left and the database entry on the right including all the information and images associated with it - however the left pane can be changed to display the thumbnail images and titles of every film in your collection. We found that this view runs well but when you have more than 1000 titles in your collection it does tend to slow down a little while attempting to load all the images. In saying this, it isn't too big a problem and may well be eliminated on a high-end PC.
Another great feature of this software is the loan management. Just like a video store, everyone that borrows DVDs from your collection can be given a card in the program which is associated to any titles they loan. When an item is loaned the return date can be set and the title is associated to the person who loaned it. You can manage the loans at any time with the click of a button and the database entry for the title will now display who has loaned it, when it was loaned and when it is due to be returned, all of which becomes another searchable field. This is particularly useful when you have a collection as large as mine (over 1200 DVDs) and have friends who tend to "borrow" things and 'forget' to return them. Since installing this program and entering my collection into it, DVDs no longer miraculously disappear from the shelf.
Lastly, the collection can also be exported to a webpage or even to a PDA for easy viewing. When creating a website you can use one of the pre-designed website templates or create your own - but the templates are completely customisable. Those with limited web space can export a basic list of the items in their collection without images or product pages. However, if you have a spare 100MB+, you can export all the images and product pages and create a complete, ultra sexy website showing off what you have, which is great for friends and family.
While we have focused on using Movie Collector 4.8 for cataloging a DVD collection, it should also be noted that it also allows for VHS, S-VHS, Laser Disc and Cinema releases as well, with all the same custom search functions. The only drawback to this software is that is it very much an American program as its entire source sites are catered to American users with no Australian sites in the mix. This means the barcode scan function is pretty much useless to Australian users unless they have region one DVDs in their collection. However, film fans will love this program and will undoubtedly be thrilled with the abundant features that cater for their film fanaticism and pedantic attention to trivial detail.
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