Automating TV downloads

Or as I like to think of it… Saving me time (or hell I’m too lazy to do that every day)

The idea is that we have our media box watch for new episodes of out favourite shows and automatically download them, process them and get the meta data, saving us time, hassle, and… well just that.

What we need :

Start with setting up your Astraweb account, click on through and sign up. Basic package is just fine, but if your downloading lots of shows then you might need a bigger one.


Download the windows installer for Sabnzbd and install it, go with defaults if they are OK, if not change em.

Once all installed etc, run Sabnzbd and it will open the default browser at http://localhost:8080 and should look a little like below.


Click the Config button, and then Servers and configure the server and press Test, then save if all looks well.


Click Folders on the Left, and configure those. I use D:\Downloads\* for the temporary location of things, you can put it wherever you like, but I would use somewhere you can remember easily, else it’s inside the install folder for the App (Program Files\*). The main one to remember is where the script folder is, as we will be using that. Also make a note of the Scripts folder, you will need it later.

The only other thing I would recommend, is unticking the Launch browser box on the Switches page, as we are going to set this up to autorun.


OK, for now let’s leave that there, we do need to do some more stuff, but need the other stuff setup first.

Goto the General config page, and make a copy of the API Key, we need it in a bit.

Sick Beard

Right, there’s no installer for Sick Beard, so just unpack it to wherever you want (utils\sickbeard in my case), and run it.

That should then launch the page http://localhost:8081


Copy the contents of the scripts\autoprocesstv to the scripts folder that you configured earlier in Sabnzbd (so d:\downloads\scripts in my case). Rename the “autoProcessTV.cfg.sample” file to “autoProcessTV.cfg”

Pop into Config, untick the Launch Browser box, click the search settings option and fill in the Sabnzbd API key (this is found in the General config tab in Sabnzbd)


Click the Post Processing option, then make sure the TV Download Dir points to the temporary folder that you setup in Sabnzbd (so D:\downloads\complete in my case), untick Keep original files and make sure Rename files is ticked.

We then need to sort metadata, i use the following setup


and now the TV naming, again I use this but feel free to make your own up


UPDATE- Thanks to Simon ( for the heads up on this missing section.

Goto config, search providers and make sure Womble and SickBeard are enabled, you can also add and to the list if you would like.


Finish it off and get it working

Right, let’s hook the scripts together now…

Go back to Sabnzbd, and select Config, sorting, and make sure nothing is ticked. Now select the Categories area and in the script click down and select sabToSickBeard.exe (if this option is not available you have not copied the files into the script folder we setup earlier)

This is the bit that does the move/rename magic.

Back over to Sick Beard, click Home, Add Show. If you are like me and already have a catalogue of stuff, then click Add Existing, add the folder and walk through the wizard for it, and all your shows will get imported, and setup (if you changed the naming convention then go through each show after it’s finished and press the rename episodes button on them all)

Otherwise you can search for a show, and add it and it will get scheduled to be downloaded for you.

Last things to do, in SickBeard goto Config, notifications, and setup your twitter info and press the Test button. Save that, and goto the location of SickBeard on disk, and open the config.ini file, and edit the twitter section

use_twitter = 1
twitter_notify_onsnatch = 1
twitter_notify_ondownload = 1
twitter_username = Whatever
twitter_password = Whatever
twitter_prefix = D YourTwitterName : Sick Beard :


Click the little Spanner menu option, and Restart, then click Coming Episodes and see if it looks right.

If your happy everything is working, then add shortcuts to the startup folder of the machine (or via the registry)


That’s about it! not too taxing!

I think that’s it, however feel free to point my mistakes out and I’ll update this to be correct, after all I did do all this at 3am!

Update – For movie lovers, we can do a similar thing with CouchPotato

All we need to do (because we have most of our setup done) is the following.

Download the windows client from the CouchPotato site, unpack it to a folder that’s sensible and run the EXE.

This should fire up the CouchPotato interface in the default browser. Let’s go configure it.

Click the Cog, then General, I’ve set the port to 8082, so it’s in line with what we have already used with the other apps. You can also change the search time here if you want it to search more than once a day. I would also untick the Launch Browser option. Click Save at the bottom.

Next we need to configure the downloader, here we will use Sabnzbd, seems daft to use anything else seems as we are already using it. Make sure Hostname is set, the Apikey is OK, and create a category (movies here) and click save

Set up your Providers, this is similar to the settings we used on SickBeard, I used NZBMatrix, NZBsRus, #alt.binaries.hdtv.x264@EFnet and MysterBin. But if you have accounts with Newzbin etc then use those as well. Click save after setting it up.

Quality allows you to choose what files you want. This is completely upto you, obviously 1080p downloads will use lot’s of space. Click save after your changes.

Renaming next, here we get the post processing done. I’ve got my download folder set to downloads\movies and to then move to my Downloaded movies folder. I’ve just created the movies folder in the same ‘temporary’ area as the TV stuff. Anyhow, make a note of what paths you use as we will need them in a moment. Folder naming is upto you, but the default works just fine in my case (MovieName (year)). Select the clean-up box, and the enable box and click save.


As for the rest of the configuration (notifications etc) you can configure as you see fit.

Off into Sabnzbd then configuration, categories. Create a new category called movies with no scripts set up, all we need is the folder (as we decided upon earlier), then click save.


Pop back onto Couch Potato and add a movie. It should find and pass the download off to Sabnzbd, then after the download and unpack, the file should get moved over to your downloaded movies folder.

The only part I’m now missing in the automation is the metadata for the movies. Obviosuly if you use XBMC or Media Browser then this is not an issue (as it will get it itself if needed). However it’s nice to have it pre downloaded, just in case.

If anyone knows a decent command line metadata processor then let me know. Thanks.