Automating TV show downloads off of usenet?
October 13, 2008 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way I can automate downloading TV shows off of usenet?

I download a few TV shows every week off of usenet. I get the .NZB from Newzbin after it's been posted, download the .rars (and the .pars) using Unison, unpack the file with MacPAR deLuxe and watch the file.

This is all fine, but it takes a while to download, and it'd be great if my computer could be doing that while I'm sleeping (the .NZBs usually get posted a few hours after the shows air, so sometime in the wee hours). It'd be awesome if it would also unpack them for me, but just downloading them is fine.

I've seen a few guides on how to do this kind of thing with Bit Torrent, but nothing about usenet. I'm on a Mac, running the latest version of Leopard. Is this kind of automation possible?
posted by cosmic osmo to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Guide to automating tv acquisition, perhaps a bit more detail than you want, but here's the relevant part:

"-Instead of using tvrss and a daemon for the shows (TVShows or TED) you may prefer to opt for a blunter method, that involves Usenet and the NZB format, as originally defined by NewzBin. This has the advantage of getting shows earlier (as release groups like EZTV or VTV usually pull the files from Usenet before releasing them themselves) but being somewhat clunkier (Usenet is an archaic, for Internet timelines, distribution format originally designed for text-based messages in distributed forums. its strong points are redundancy and distribution and not speed or efficiency. It's a protocol still very much in use but somewhat more obscure, having been born in a different, more spartan, age). For this you can use tvnzbd to define RSS feeds which you can feed into an NZB-aware RSS reader, like NZBD. Sabnzbd functions as a web daemon in your machine and is extremely configurable, allowing you a lot of post-processing for the file once downloaded."
posted by geoff. at 1:31 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite] is good for this. They have an RSS feed.
posted by smackfu at 2:08 PM on October 13, 2008

sabnzbd, like hellanzb, automates the process of downloading rars, pars, repair, unraring, etc. Unlike hella, it also supports things like tracking RSS feeds, and I think can also use our bookmarks API to queue up items you bookmark on Newzbin.
posted by Freaky at 2:24 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: neustile--thanks for the hellanzb heads up. It looks like I'll be able to do what I want using that, plus some additional automatic downloading scripts that already exist.

I'm having some problems setting hellanzb up, though--I'm not very comfortable using Terminal, and after following the instructions here, I can't save the changes I've made to the configuration file.

I run:

open -a TextEdit /opt/local/etc/hellanzb.conf

But when I type in my preferences (e.g. my username/password for my Usenet server), it won't let me save the changes...I get "The document “hellanzb.conf” could not be saved. You do not have appropriate access privileges." Any advice??
posted by cosmic osmo at 4:39 PM on October 13, 2008

SABnzbd+ + Newzbin's RSS feeds (you can create an RSS feed for any search you can perform) will do exactly what you want.

I'm lazy and have 12Mbps internet, so I just use the nzbStatus Firefox add-on, log in to Newzbin, click the little download icon it puts next to the name of the report, and have a show in 5 or 10 minutes.
posted by wierdo at 4:54 PM on October 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Are you on a mac? Do they use sudo? Try:

sudo open -a TextEdit /opt/local/etc/hellanzb.conf

Which will prompt you for your password. That will open the conf file with the appropriate permissions.

For what it's worth I do this with hellanzb for downloading and some custom python for checking the tvnzb rss feed and for sticking shows in the right directories once they're finished. I'm going to have a look at sabnzbd right now though.
posted by markr at 6:32 PM on October 13, 2008

Response by poster: Ok, so I figured out the configuration file thing and I have hellanzb up and working, pretty much.

Now I'm trying to install hellavcr, an add-on that seems to achieve what I'm trying to do, but I have no idea what the instructions are telling me to do:

hellaVCR requires

a Newzbin account
hellanzb (optional, nzb mode works standalone)
twitter account (optional)
mail server (optional)

update hellavcr.config.php with your correct settings
make tv.xml world writable (chmod 666 tv.xml)
To run hellaVCR
php hellavcr.php >> hellavcr.log
probably best to run it in the cron (make sure to use absolute paths)
Web Interface

add new TV shows and choose poster art

Can anyone break that down for me?? Again, I'm not good with using Terminal and have no idea what "php hellavcr.php >> hellavcr.log" is telling me to do.
posted by cosmic osmo at 8:02 PM on October 13, 2008

rssnewzbin looks like it provides similar RSS features for hella. You might find it a bit more lightweight than hellavcr.

hellavcr needs mod_php and Apache or some other webserver+php combination. I suspect there's an easy to install package for OS X, or failing that you can use MacPorts or fink to install them, which might involve more work to configure.

"php hellavcr.php >> hellavcr.log" runs the hellavcr.php script using php, and appends its output to hellavcr.log. Running it from cron makes it run periodically. Absolute path means you give.. the full path to it. e.g, crontab -e to edit cron's configuration and entering:

*/15 * * * * /usr/local/bin/php /home/cosmo/hellavcr/hellavcr.php >> /home/cosmo/hellavcr/hellavcr.log

makes it run every 15 minutes (though your paths will doubtless be different).

Can go into more detail if you decide to go down this route.
posted by Freaky at 1:23 PM on October 15, 2008

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