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Catalog your movies - 5 programs compared

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 16 Nov 2009 5:58 User comments (22)

Catalog your movies - 5 programs compared The emergence of the DVD as a primary source of home entertainment coupled with the introduction of analog video capture and digital TV has made it common for consumers to own hundreds (or even more than a thousand) movies.
That, in turn, has created a market for software to catalog those collections with. Many people want a convenient way to keep track of what they own. Some are also interested in putting that data into a more useful form, such as a printed report or a personal website.

There are a number of programs designed for those purposes, and it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. I tested five such programs to find the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

Along with each review I've included some basic ratings. Although I think such ratings presents an accurate picture of the software in question, they aren't a substitute for the accompanying text, which goes into detail about my experiences.

And of course there's no substitute for trying software out for yourself. Ant Movie Catalog is free so you can test it as long as you wish. The free version of DVD Profiler allows you access to most of the commercial verson's features as long as you have no more than 50 discs in your collection. The others are offered in trial versions.

You can also find basic instructions for the first four in our Guides section.

Ant Movie Catalog 3.5.1.2


The first program I looked at was Ant Movie Catalog. As a completely free program which can catalog both disc-based formats like DVD and Blu-ray and standard video files like AVI, MP4, and MKV, it sets a baseline to compare the other programs against.

Read our guide for cataloging your movie collection with Ant Movie Catalog
Catalog Your Movie Collection


Ant Movie Catalog is good software. There are some rough edges to be sure. Adding movie details from online sources, in particular, was occasionally frustrating. In most cases I needed to search multiple sources, which required running the included utility multiple times.

And the information downloaded wasn't the best either. Although it was accurate, there were often some garbage characters which had to be either manually edited out or replaced with the results from another source.

Which doesn't mean the software as a whole is difficult to use or incomplete. In fact aside from the online search features it's quite nice generally has a very polished look and feel.

The information stored for each movie is somewhat minimal. It includes the basic movie information, like director, primary cast members, and running time. It also gives you technical details like the type and language of each audio stream and aspect ratio.

If you want to add more information, like the writer, other crew members, more complete cast information, or easter eggs found on a DVD or Blu-ray you can do it manually. On the other hand it lacks specific fields for most of those items. You're pretty much stuck with using the generic Notes area.

If the movie you are adding is in a format like AVI, MKV, or MP4 instead of on a DVD or Blu-ray disc you should be happy with Ant Movie Catalog's ability to read and analyze those files to determine information like bitrate, resolution, and file size.

After you have your movies entered into your collection database, Ant Movie Catalog really shows its strength. It can output your data in a number of very useful formats.

The most obvious is printing. A fair number of templates are included for printing information about a single movie or a range of titles, up to your entire collection. You can also design your own reports, but since that requires using a report designer it will probably be too intimidating for the average user.

There are also options to export data as HTML files, CSV text files, XML, and even a special format for uploading to a web service called Origons. Origons offers free web space to share details about your video collection. You can add movies from Ant Movie Catalog by simply uploading the .OGS file created during the export process.

Rating from 1 - 10

(higher numbers are better)
Price10
Search Features6
Search Results6
Interface6
Reports and Exports7
Additional Features8


Like the printed reports, most of the export formats can be customized. Also like those reports, the average user may find customization intimidating; especially the HTML output, which requires you to do some reading to understand how it works. You'll also need some decent HTML skills.

With such a wide range of features, Ant Movie Catalog sets the bar high for commercial alternatives. It won't give you the most detail on your movies and doesn't offer the best user interface, but if price is a major consideration in your choice of software you should definitely give it a look.

Even if price isn't important it's worth trying out just to see what you're really paying for with another piece of software.


DVD Profiler 3.5.1



DVD Profiler is perhaps the most interesting software in this review because in a way it sets the bar for other programs. The standard version of DVD Profiler is free. DVD Profiler Unlimited costs $29.95.

Read our guide for cataloging your movie collection with DVD Profiler
Catalog Your Movie Collection


There are some impressive features that set DVD Profile apart from all the other DVD cataloging software I've tried. First is the amount of detail in the private database maintained by the developers.

It consists solely of data submitted by DVD Profiler (Unlimited) users, and is more complete than the publicly available sources used by the other programs reviewed. Everything from cast and crew lists to special features and even thorough descriptions of any easter eggs on each disc are included.

You can enter discs by searching for the UPC code (the most reliable way to identify a specific DVD release), search for the title, and DVD Profiler can even identify discs from your computer's DVD-ROM drive.

When your movies have been added to your collection you can see all these details in one of the most efficient interface I've ever seen. Every bit of the window is filled with both detailed movie information and disc details.

A tabbed area at the top of the main window shows you information about the particular edition of the DVD you have in your collection. Another at the bottom alternates between cast and crew lists.

On the right side are more tabbed areas. On the top you can choose between front and back cover art from the DVD case.

At the bottom you'll find details about the movie's aspect ratio and audio tracks, including a graphic representation of the number of channels. You can also view a list of subtitles or another graphic display highlighting the types of features found on the disc.

All this praise might give you the impression DVD Profiler is hands down the best program for cataloging your movies. But all programs have limitations, and DVD Profiler is no exception.

The most glaring issue is its emphasis on disc-based formats like DVD and Blu-ray. DVD Profiler isn't intended for cataloging your AVI, MP4, or other standard video files.

Although you can certainly add movies as though they were a DVD release, the software can't read and recognize video files to add them automatically. Nor does it have some of the information, like file format, hard drive location, and container/codec, you might want for such files.

If you're only trying to keep track of your DVD and Blu-ray collection this is obviously a non-issue. Even if it is an issue you might consider combining DVD Profiler with Ant Movie Catalog for a free and very good combination, even if it's not as convenient as using a single program to keep track of all your movies.

For $29.95 you can upgrade to DVD Profiler Unlimited. This gives you access to higher resolution cover images and the ability to contribute to the DVD database.

There are also a number of other features, most notably printing reports, exporting to XML and publishing your collection to a personal webpage using DVD Profiler Online, which are limited to collections of 50 titles or less with the standard version, but available regardless of collection size if you upgrade. Other similarly limited features include a number of customizations.

Reports are another major strength of DVD Profiler. All of the programs reviewed here, with the exception of ReaderwareVW, come with at least a few reports featuring a variety of different levels of detail and many different formatting options. In that respect DVD Profiler is just average.

When it comes to adding more reports things aren't quite as equal. Not only does DVD Profiler have many more user-created reports available for download from their website than any of the other products, the online

Rating from 1 - 10

(higher numbers are better)
Price8
Search Features8
Search Results10
Interface7
Reports and Exports8
Additional Features6
content is actually designed to interact with the program.

To get new reports you need only open the Reports dialog (the same one used to print the included reports), click a button to open the DVD Profiler website in your browser, find the report you want to use, and then click another button to download it and tell your browser to open the file with DVD Profiler.

There's no downloading, copying to the correct directory, unzipping, or any other manual operations required. Just find it, click to download, and click again to let DVD Profiler install it.

Another $18.95 will get you DVD Profiler Mobile. This is a program which runs on Windows Mobile 5, 6, or 2003 and allows you to synchronize your collection with your mobile device.

Movie Collector 6.4


Movie Collector is the first software in this comparison for which there is no free version. While I was using it I looked for reasons to pay for it when the basic functionality is free in other programs.

Read our guide for cataloging your movie collection with Movie Collector Pro
Catalog Your Movie Collection


There are actually a few reasons, but not for everyone. Most of those reasons only apply to the $49.95 Movie Collector Pro, which adds a number of export and printing options not available in the $29.95 standard version.

Unlike DVD Profiler, Movie Collector is designed with more than just DVD and Blu-ray in mind. It can also catalog video files ranging from MPEG-2 to MP4 and AVI MPEG-4 files.

If your files are stored on a local or network drive it can also keep track of where each movie is located. The Pro version also allows you to play movies in your catalog based on that information using Windows Vista Media Center.

Movie Collector can automatically add movies based on a DVD or Blu-ray disc's UPC code or a title search. It will return everything from Blu-ray to VHS releases.

The details for particular DVD or Blu-ray releases (languages, easter eggs, special features, etc, ...) downloaded by Movie Collector are often less detailed than you get from DVD Profiler, although the title information (cast, crew, release date, etc, ...) is comparable.

Ironicly, of all the programs in this review Movie Collector is designed to store the most data about each title. Details from the number and name of episodes on a TV series disc to the label on a videotape can be recorded.

What's particularly impressive about Movie Collector is how easy entering all that information is. Whenever possible options are organized into lists where they can be selected via a dropdown menu or checkbox.

And those lists can be edited on the fly while editing a movie. So if you want to add 'Double Secret Probation Edition' to the list of selectable Editions you don't have to cancel the editing process, modify the list, and then go back to editing movie details.

As easy as Movie Collector is, I would have a hard time justifying the price of the standard version because it's just not that much of an improvement over DVD Profiler and Ant Movie Catalog. It's more complete then one and more polished than the other, but report printing is inferior to either.

Movie Collector Pro, on the other hand, adds quite a few features you may consider worth paying for. The difference is in what you can do with the details you've spent so much time entering.

Movie Collector Pro can export information to an iPod's Notes section or to an iPhone/iPod Touch app (sold separately for $9.99). It can also export to ListPro format for Windows Mobile or Palm OS. If you prefer it can also export to generic formats like XML or CSV.

Then there's the HTML export, which can create a complete website (or significant section of a

Rating from 1 - 10

(higher numbers are better)
Price3
Search Features8
Search Results8
Interface7
Reports and Exports9
Additional Features8
website) with just a few clicks. And Movie Collector Pro's HTML output is fairly impressive.

In Movie Collector Pro you can also print much nicer reports. In the standard version you're limited to a simple text listing with no real options for what information is included or how it will look. In Movie Collector Pro you can customize reports, print thumbnails or larger images, and use templates for more complex layouts.

Although that's a lot of features, most people won't benefit from all of them. HTML output seems like a particularly compelling reason to pay for Music Collector Pro, and to a lesser degree so does mobile device sync.

Whether they are worth enough to justify the price is something you'll have to answer for yourself.


All My Movies 5.6


All My Movies is sort of a cross between Ant Movie Catalog and Movie Collector Pro. Adding movies by internet title search is simplified somewhat and it also features a UPC code lookup.

Read our guide for cataloging your movie collection with All My Movies
Catalog Your Movie Collection


All My Movies can also import lists of movies from Excel spreadsheets, text files, or Ant Movie Collector. It sells for $44.95.

The interface is simpler than Movie Collector. There isn't as much detail for each movie record, which also means there are fewer fields to fill when you're adding movies.

Search results are comparable to Movie Collector, meaning not quite as good as DVD Profiler. Also like Movie Collector, it's capable of cataloging video files in addition to DVD and Blu-ray discs.

You can print individual DVD covers and simple or detailed lists of movies, with or without accompanying cover art. And you can create your own print templates, although the report writer included for that purpose is probably too intimidating for the average user.

Of course the average user would probably rather have the software do all the design work for them, and All My Movies comes with an assortment of templates for printing and HTML output.

Rating from 1 - 10

(higher numbers are better)
Price5
Search Features8
Search Results8
Interface7
Reports and Exports7
Additional Features7


The HTML export was perhaps the most surprising part of the software. There were quite a few different templates and a very nice preview to see exactly what the resulting files will look like in a browser.

There are also options to export to a wide range of other formats, including plain text, PDF, Microsoft Excel, and even CHM.

All My Movies' interface should appeal to people who don't want to customize a ton of settings, but want the highlights of the movie and media information at their fingertips.

It would be nice to see an online repository of user created templates, and perhaps some more detail in movie records. But on the whole I found All My Movies to be a good piece of software.


ReaderwareVW 2.985



ReaderwareVW is the video cataloging component of the larger Readerware family. Other Readerware programs include the original program for books and ReaderwareAW for music.

Readerware supports entry by UPC, which works well. If you don't have the case handy you can search several online sources for the title. Those searches aren't nearly as nice.

The title search takes you to the Readerware website where you have to select a single online store and enter a search term. A new window is then opened to that website, with the search results displayed.

In order to add the results you drag the icon from your browser's address bar to a special area of Readerware's toolbar. Information from the webpage is imported as a new movie.

While the ability to drag and drop an item's description from your web browser is kind of cool, it's not a good substitute for a robust internal search that does all the work for you behind the scenes.

And that sort of convoluted process for performing basic functions is pervasive throughout

Rating from 1 - 10

(higher numbers are better)
Price5
Search Features4
Search Results7
Interface3
Reports and Exports5
Additional Features5
ReaderwareVW. For example, you can print reports in a variety of styles, but not from the Print menu option. Instead you need to open the Report Writer to access all but the most basic text-based report.

I was able to import information about DVDs purchased from Amazon, but couldn't figure out any way to change the main window's view to list movies with both the title and a thumbnail of the cover art together.

ReaderVW's price is $40, nearly as much as All My Movies and Movie Collector Pro, but it seems inferior to either program in almost every way.

Unless your main concern is importing online purchases automatically, something none of the other software can do, ReaderVW probably isn't the program for you.

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22 user comments

116.11.2009 12:02

This is real cool article.
but nowadays people don't just own movies they "OWN" em! ;)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 16 Nov 2009 @ 12:05

216.11.2009 12:23

Thanks! Very helpful!

316.11.2009 14:53

DVDs ? weren't they kind of popular about 9 or 10 years ago ? :P

416.11.2009 15:13

i still like EMDB i have over 700 movies listed in it and never a problem .. it is Freeware but i gave $10 :)

516.11.2009 16:14

I really want to see Ant Movie Catolog go to work on my mkv hard drives!

616.11.2009 21:20

I've used Ant movie catalog before moving over to Dvd Profiler, which I find much better for me for what I use it for.

717.11.2009 7:37

Originally posted by domie:
DVDs ? weren't they kind of popular about 9 or 10 years ago ? :P
They still are. And most of these programs allow you to catalog not just DVD's but also HDDVD and Blu-rays.

I used to use Movie Collector all the time and in its own right, it's a good cataloging software.

Now I moved over to DVD Profiler and haven't looked back. It has more features (including actor & crew cross-linking) and I feel the online portion is better too. The only thing lacking for now is an iPhone app but that's on the way.

Currently testing out version 3.6 Beta and it adds a lot of user-requested features, including the split between audio codec & number of channels, as well as improved actor/crew features.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 Nov 2009 @ 7:39

817.11.2009 10:22

Quote:
Originally posted by domie:
DVDs ? weren't they kind of popular about 9 or 10 years ago ? :P
They still are. And most of these programs allow you to catalog not just DVD's but also HDDVD and Blu-rays.

I used to use Movie Collector all the time and in its own right, it's a good cataloging software.

Now I moved over to DVD Profiler and haven't looked back. It has more features (including actor & crew cross-linking) and I feel the online portion is better too. The only thing lacking for now is an iPhone app but that's on the way.

Currently testing out version 3.6 Beta and it adds a lot of user-requested features, including the split between audio codec & number of channels, as well as improved actor/crew features.
Does DVD profiler catalog video files? - AVI, MP4, and MKV?

917.11.2009 13:18

Quote:
Does DVD profiler catalog video files? - AVI, MP4, and MKV?

Only if you're okay with listing them as DVDs (or Blu-ray discs or HD DVDs).

Quote:
The most glaring issue is its emphasis on disc-based formats like DVD and Blu-ray. DVD Profiler isn't intended for cataloging your AVI, MP4, or other standard video files.

Although you can certainly add movies as though they were a DVD release, the software can't read and recognize video files to add them automatically. Nor does it have some of the information, like file format, hard drive location, and container/codec, you might want for such files.

1017.11.2009 14:59

Quote:
Quote:
Does DVD profiler catalog video files? - AVI, MP4, and MKV?

Only if you're okay with listing them as DVDs (or Blu-ray discs or HD DVDs).

Quote:
The most glaring issue is its emphasis on disc-based formats like DVD and Blu-ray. DVD Profiler isn't intended for cataloging your AVI, MP4, or other standard video files.

Although you can certainly add movies as though they were a DVD release, the software can't read and recognize video files to add them automatically. Nor does it have some of the information, like file format, hard drive location, and container/codec, you might want for such files.

Ahh....missed that. Thanks!

1117.11.2009 17:41

No problem :)

1219.11.2009 8:18

Very informative article.

Great job vurbal!

1319.11.2009 8:26

Thank you.

1419.11.2009 9:42

I have been using DVD Profiler for years with thousands of DVDs and it works great.

1519.11.2009 10:48

Hmmmmmmmm. . . .I started collecting/copying/recording/ripping films/TV programmes/DVD's/AVI/wmv/Torrents about 3 years ago and now have about 3000 items to boast of. My DIY solution was to use the Works database prog to list every entry and this has been OK to date. Each "Genre" has its own database. I dont feel the need to list all the minutiae of every entry - just:
Title/Stars/Genre/year/Certificate/duration and this will fit on a line.
I keep an "Additions" file of course and use this to update the main Genre Records every 3 months, otherwise the fag of printing gets too much. The people who use my catalogue are OAP's like me, or under 20, being grandchildren/young relatives. If someone at the pub is anxious for the latest motorcycling DVD or anything else it helps to be able to bring along a couple of sheets of A4 to show them what are the options. I now find this a most excellent time consuming hobby as for >14 years I have been confined to a wheelchair - double leg amputation. I stay happy and occupied Brian

1619.11.2009 10:58

Quote:
Originally posted by domie:
DVDs ? weren't they kind of popular about 9 or 10 years ago ? :P
They still are. And most of these programs allow you to catalog not just DVD's but also HDDVD and Blu-rays.

I used to use Movie Collector all the time and in its own right, it's a good cataloging software.

Now I moved over to DVD Profiler and haven't looked back. It has more features (including actor & crew cross-linking) and I feel the online portion is better too. The only thing lacking for now is an iPhone app but that's on the way.

Currently testing out version 3.6 Beta and it adds a lot of user-requested features, including the split between audio codec & number of channels, as well as improved actor/crew features.
I use Movie Collector and haven't upgraded to version 6 as I didn't like the lack of database search sites in that version. Maybe it is time to look at DVD Profiler instead.

Once again Rich you did a very good job and took a lot of time laying this out for us all, GREAT WORK!!!

Most people may not relize the time one has to invest to do such a good job but I do.

Thanks....

1719.11.2009 13:20

Years ago I created my own spreadsheet, but stopped because it was too time consuming. After reading this article, I downloaded Ant Movie Catalog. I created 2 files: one for movies and one for TV series, all AVI. I am using IMDB for my info. If I can't find the series/episode info using the search, I go to IMDB, do a manual search, and copy and paste. I've only used the AMC software for about 2 hours and it seems to do what I need: create a list and a way to view/print the list. I am copying my DVDs to my computer and haven't figured out if there is a way to automatically add the DVD info to AMC when I copy the DVD to my computer. Is there? Before I do too much work on AMC, would one of the other programs be better (I am converting my DVDs to AVI)?

1819.11.2009 17:25

Originally posted by sharee100:
Years ago I created my own spreadsheet, but stopped because it was too time consuming. After reading this article, I downloaded Ant Movie Catalog. I created 2 files: one for movies and one for TV series, all AVI. I am using IMDB for my info. If I can't find the series/episode info using the search, I go to IMDB, do a manual search, and copy and paste. I've only used the AMC software for about 2 hours and it seems to do what I need: create a list and a way to view/print the list. I am copying my DVDs to my computer and haven't figured out if there is a way to automatically add the DVD info to AMC when I copy the DVD to my computer. Is there? Before I do too much work on AMC, would one of the other programs be better (I am converting my DVDs to AVI)?

If you want something similar to AMC but with better search capabilities you should give All My Movies a try. I personally prefer Movie Collector Pro because of the level of detail. The standard version is also nice but if you want the reports and exports it won't do the job.

1919.11.2009 20:14

Great article. Man, the time I could spend keeping track of my movies that I bought with software that was described in the article.

Something I'll have to look at after the New Year.

2023.11.2009 11:12

I don't know about all these fancy gui software but I am VERY happy with an old timer called Cathy. I can find absolutely any movie in what ever container it may be within a few seconds.

2124.11.2009 4:15

Oh man! I wish i had thought to look for something like this years ago - before my excel sheet got so big. Can anyone recommend which one would import from excel? I really don't want to enter over 1000 records - and thats just the movies...Does Ant Movies import from excel?

2224.11.2009 4:29

Originally posted by vickys:
Oh man! I wish i had thought to look for something like this years ago - before my excel sheet got so big. Can anyone recommend which one would import from excel? I really don't want to enter over 1000 records - and thats just the movies...Does Ant Movies import from excel?

It doesn't read XLS files, but it can import from CSV files, which Excel can save to.

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