Managing your video collection:

Managing a collection of VHS or DVD films and TV programmes is easy enough. Stick them on the shelf and you can see at a glance what's where. In the digital world things are a little more tricky. What do you do if you want to organise a collection of films, TV programmes or sporting events on your PC?

By default, Pinnacle TV Center places all your recorded shows in the same folder - if you haven't changed that folder, using the settings button, it's the My Documents/video/capture/videos folder. As your collection grows you'll want to start organising it into separate folders.

External Hard disks

If you're planning a large collection, try getting an external hard drive just for your video recordings. They're far cheaper per minute than DVDs and all you have to do is plug them into your USB port. This means that when you change computers, or want to watch on a laptop or even at someone else's home, you can just plug them in and you're ready to go.

Folders

Start by opening your video folder in one window and your storage folder (or drive) in another. Right clicking allows you to add new folders and you can drag your recorded programmes into them. Don't forget to rename your recordings, as TVC will name them by channel and date rather than programme name.

Think about how you want to organise things. Alphabetical organisation might make sense on a bookshelf, but it's less useful on a disk drive. Start by creating folders for different genres of programme: sport, music, film, documentaries, etc.

Now within these, create sub folders for your own specific programme series or types. You might want a folder containing only Manchester United matches, or one for just Bond films.

Don't forget, when you open the folders to play your recordings, you can easily re-arrange them in alphabetical or date order simply by selecting the "details" option at the top of the folder window and then clicking the "name" or "date modified" to re-order your clips.

Keepers and throwers

Some shows you might want to keep forever. Others you'll want to keep only until you've watched them and then erase them.

It's not a bad idea to have a couple of "temporary" folders in which to store that sporting event you'll only want to watch once or the latest episode of your favourite soap. If you have two folders labelled temp1 and temp2, you can switch them every month. That way each time you switch folders, you can simply erase everything you recorded a month ago without having to search through to see what's new and what's old.