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Windows Home Server: Automatically download Audio and Video Podcasts via RSS

In this walkthrough we’ll use the tech podcast DL.TVas the podcast we wish to regularly download and we’ll be subscribing to their WMV feed. The podcasts will be downloaded to Windows Home Server using the popular Community Feeds for Windows Home Server add-in (Also called Xbox 360 Community Feeds, confusingly, as the add-in was designed to display RSS feeds from your home server on an Xbox 360. However, it’s also great for setting up regular RSS feeds on your home server too.) Once we’ve set up the subscription we’ll then configure Windows Home Server to move the .WMV files from the Community Feeds default folder to a DL.TV folder in the Video shares folder with a batch file. The process is basically the same for any Podcast, whether Audio or Video-based. For completeness, we’ll then run through an audio podcast example.

Walkthrough 1: Video Podcast

Step One: Download the “Community Feeds for Windows Home Server” add-in from http://www.whsaddins.net/download/xbcfadd.msi and install it on your home server in the default location, which should be: C:\Program Files\Community Feeds

Step Two: Open the WHS console, click ‘Settings’ then the ‘Xbox 360 Feeds’ tab. From here choose the type of TV you’ll be using to watch the video feeds on. The selected option turns grey.

Select how frequently you want to check for updates and how many files you want to keep. I chose ‘1 day’ as DL.TV updates every couple of days and ‘2′ for the max number of files to keep, in order to save space. You may need to change these settings as you add new feeds.

Click OK to exit and save the settings.

Step Three: In the ‘Xbox 360 Feeds’ section of the console, click the ‘Add’ button.

This brings up a dialog box where you can enter the feed URL and what type of content you wish to download.

For this example, the URL is http://feeds.ziffdavis.com/ziffdavis/dltvwmvvideo?format=xml and I’ve selected ‘Download video content only’.

Click ‘Add’ and close the console.

Xbox 360 Feeds will check DL.TV for updates once every day.

Step Four: As we’re downloading a Video podcast, it would be great to have it automatically moved to our Videos Shared Folder. So, next we need to make a batch file that will create a folder called DL.TV in the Shared Videos folder and move all the .WMV files into it. Doing this is really simple. Either download and example here: Feeds.cmd or make it yourself:

Open ‘Notepad’ then copy and paste these two lines into a blank text file:

MD \\%COMPUTERNAME%\Videos\DLTV\copy "%PROGRAMFILES%\Community Feeds\Xbox 360 Feeds\dl.tv WMV video\*.wmv" file://%25computername%25/Videos/DLTV/Save the file as ‘Feeds.cmd'I’ve used the ‘C:\Program Files\Community Feeds\Xbox 360 Feeds\’ folder to keep everything neat and tidy.

Step Five: Now you need to add the ‘Feeds.cmd’ batch file as a scheduled task.

Go to ‘Control Panel’ then ‘Scheduled Tasks’ and click ‘Add Scheduled Task’ which starts the ‘Scheduled Task Wizard’

Click ‘Next’ then ‘Browse’ and point to the ‘Feeds.cmd’ saved in the ‘C:\Program Files\Community Feeds\Xbox 360 Feeds\’ folder.

Give the task a name – ‘Feeds’ – and tell it to perform this task ‘Daily’. Choose a time for the task to be completed and finish off by entering your Administrator password.

As you can see I set mine to start at 6:00am, just after my ‘backups’ finish.

Next Day: If all went well, you should have a DL.TV folder in your Shared Videos folder, with a .wmv file in it.

Walkthrough 2: Audio Podcast

Step One: As an example of an Audio feed I’ll use ‘This Week In Tech’ with Leo Laporte. First, visit the podcast’s website at: http://twit.tv/twit

From the “Subscribe” drop down list choose RSS.

This will take you to the XML feed page.

Step Two: Copy the URL and paste it into the ‘Add’ dialog box from Xbox 360 Feeds on your home server.

But this time choose ‘Download audio only content’  and hit the Add button. You should now have two feeds in the Xbox 360 Feeds section.

Step Three: We now need to edit our Feeds.cmd batch file.  

Open up Feeds.cmd in ‘Notepad’  and add these two lines at the bottom.

copy "%PROGRAMFILES%\Community Feeds\Xbox 360 Feeds\this WEEK in TECH - MP3 Edition\*.mp3" \\%COMPUTERNAME%\Music\TWiT\

This will move the .MP3 files to a ‘TWiT’ folder in your shared Music folder at the same time as it moves the .WMV’s previously configured. That completes the walkthrough! Once again, a big thank you to DSSystems for taking the time to pull it together.

More info….

Microsoft, WHS, Windows Home Server, Audio, Video, Podcasts, RSS, Feeds, Feed, Podcast, Tips and Tricks, Xbox, Xbox 360

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