Best Free DVD Collection Software

 
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Introduction

I have been collecting DVDs for many years, and I now have a wall full of them. The first time I bought a DVD that I had already bought, it became obvious to me that I needed to organize my collection better. So I thought about what I needed in a software package. My needs were relatively simple. The software should have the following characteristics:

  • free
  • user-friendly interface
  • easy input
  • support for free online information
  • filtering, statistics and reports
Discussion

DVD Profiler DVD Profiler - Invelos offers a free version of its amazing DVDProfiler. All basic features are available for an unlimited time and for unlimited DVDs, and that's more than enough. Some of the nice-to-have features become disabled after 50 DVDs, but nothing you would really miss. DVD Profiler Free is undoubtedly my top choice in this category. The application looks very professional, and the variety of features and configurability is amazing. You can design the layout to your liking by using skins and themes and reorganizing window elements. To add a new DVD, simply enter the UPC code or movie title, and DVD Profiler will download all of the related information, including cover images. You can use DVD Profiler to organize and rate your DVDs by categories (movie, audio, etc.), and it also supports rental tracking if you decide to lend your movies to your friends. The wide variety of statistical information includes genre, film studio, rating, release dates, and much more. If you use phpMyProfiler with your data (see below) you'll get even more stats (e.g., that Samuel L. Jackson plays in nearly every movie I own).

Some of the features that become disabled after 50 DVDs are: upload/share your collection at Invelos Online, download/view/print reports, export to XML and high resolution cover scans. But even without these features, you'll enjoy a professional and powerful tool that offers excellent organization of a DVD collection of unlimited size, with no ads and no nag screens. Worthwhile, yes? My top choice.

 

phpMyProfiler phpMyProfiler - is not a Windows based program. It's a PHP/MySQL web script and an excellent addition for those of you who use DVD Profiler and want to host your own DVD-collection website. Just install the script on your web server, and import the XML file that you've exported from DVD Profiler (remember that "Export to XML" in DVD Profiler is limited to 50 DVDs in the free edition.  The "unlimited" purchase price is $29.95 as of June 13, 2008). See this example.

 

PVD PVD (Personal Movie Database) - PVD surprises with a quick-to-learn, simple and effective interface. I liked how easy it is to add a movie and all its relevant information: click New, type in the title, download info from IMDB, download cover from Amazon - done. IMDB and Amazon are not the only online sources that are supported by PVD. OFDB, AllMovie.com, AdultDVDEmpire and AnimeNfo are only a few of the others. PVD is a good example of a tool that makes it difficult to decide whether you want to pick functionality over GUI. Even though it is no match for DVD Profiler, this movie-collection software definitely is very usable. Once your collection reaches a certain size you will enjoy the statistics features and people reports (what actor is in what movie of your collection, etc.). PVD offers special fields for referencing file based movies. Should you have made backups of your movies you can enter path, codec, bitrate and such as well. Downsides are a very rudimentary GUI, some missing info fields (casing, media type, Easter eggs) and no UPC based identification. PVD is comparable with EMDB, although I have a slight preference for PVD. If you should not be happy with DVD Profiler or MediaMan in some way, try PVD next.

 

Griffith Griffith - It is quite difficult to say whether I prefer PVD or Griffith. The latter is equally quick-to-learn, simple and presents a very effective interface. I can clearly say though that Griffith seems to be more thoroughly programmed, features as well as presentation. Even on my Vista with a 1920 resolution each element display perfectly, no overlapping, no font issues and perfect resizing. Adding a movie is as easy as in PVD, however, Griffith only supports IMDB and Amazon as the online sources for inforamtion and artwork. Click New, type in the title, download info from IMDB, save and add a cover from Amazon in a second step - done. Griffith offers an import (CSV) and export (CSV, HTML, PDF, XML, iPod) interface. Griffith is fast as well and if you just want to keep basic track of your movies and dont spend much time on learning and using a tool, Griffith is the one to try. Griffith does not offer input of extended media information (like casing, etc) and I missed some statistics as well. But Griffith allows to keep track of your loaned DVDs which is a nice but also common feature for this area. A custom properties (dictionary) and tagging function is also handy when you want to filter by your own individual criteria. Griffith is available for multiple platforms and is actively maintained and developed further.

 

EMDB EMDB (Eric's Movie Database) - EMDB is movie-collection software that is quite user-friendly, and very capable if you are just looking for a tool to catalog your movies. EMDB communicates with IMDB (International Movie Database) when you add new movies by their titles. Because IMDB does not provide any media information, however, you'll receive only basic information about the movie itself. Media type (i.e., DVD, BluRay), casing, edition and such won't be included. But EMDB does offer several dialogs whereby you can enter this information yourself. An interesting feature is prepared selection lists about video codec and video source. You will find this valuable if you also want to catalog home-made movies that you've compressed or converted into specific formats. Simple text-based exports and printouts, as well as loan tracking, are available, and the search feature offers filtering by title, cast, director or genre. I found the user interface a little old-fashioned, and I experienced some display refresh faults when I resized the window. You may be quite satisfied with EMDB if you simply want to keep track of movies you own, without concern for the media and its specific features. EMDB comes in third in my eyes. It's not feature-rich like some other contenders, but it will maintain a collection of unlimited size.

 

Movie Collector

Movie Collector - Another contender offering a restricted but not expiring free version of their collection software is Collectorz.com. Collectorz.com also offers several other cataloging applications like music, books, games, etc. Though not as beautiful and customizable as DVDProfiler, Movie Collector offers a comparable palette of features for maintaining your DVD collection. The DVD data are entered in separate windows, with many data fields to be entered at your option. As in DVD Profiler you can maintain DVDs that you own, that you loaned, that you ordered or that you just have on your wish list. Entering DVD information can also be done automatically, accessing sources at Collectorz.com, IMDB, Amazon and DVD Empire. You can search by movie title or UPC code.

If you are just looking for a basic tool to maintain a small collection, Movie Collector is well equipped to do so. Collectorz.com is following a different concept with their free version: fully featured unlimited use up to 50 DVDs. This surely is a drawback when you reach that threshold, thus, even though Movie Collector offers a lot of features, it finishes last in this race. 

Quick Selection Guide

DVD Profiler
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Professional looks, highly configurable, many features, skinable, XML export, statistics, broad online community, profile export
Some feature become unavailable in the freeware version above 50 DVD's
http://www.invelos.com/
3.7.2
10 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
All 32 bit Windows versions

Open source web application phpMyProfiler (http://http://www.phpmyprofiler.de/) can read DVDProfiler XML export

PVD (Personal Video Database)
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Easy to learn, simple, effective, uses online resources (IMDB, etc.)
Rudimentary GUI, not enough data fields, no UPC base identification
http://www.videodb.info/forum_en/
0.9.9.21
10.2 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
All 32 bit Windows versions
Griffith
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Fast, simple, stabil, multiplatform, well programmed
Supports only IMDB and Amazon, no statistics, no media info
0.12.1
11.5 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
Windows, Mac OS, Linux
EMDB (Eric's Movie Database)
2.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Easy to learn, simple, effective, fields for video codec and source, loan tracking
GUI old-fashioned, display refresh faults, only basic info download (IMDB)
http://www.emdb.tk/
1.33
1.55 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
All 32 bit Windows versions
Movie Collector
1.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Many features, classification by owned/loaned/wishlist, online sources (IMDB), UPC scan
Restricted to 50 DVD's, customization could be better
http://www.collectorz.com/movie/
8.1.1 (3.4.6 Mac)
10 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Feature limited freeware
All 32 bit Windows versions, Mac OS

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