UNPLUGGED – Sonarr
As part of the unplug series today I will be talking about Sonarr and how useful it can be to download your favorite TV shows. Most people use either a DVR, Manual Torrent Grabbing, Usenet or Streaming. Most of these options are great however they require a lot of manual input and sometimes you just want to turn on your HTPC and have your favorite TV shows waiting for you. In this guide I will explain how to install Sonarr and set it up from start to finish. At the end I will lightly touch on KODI, integration and a few other tidbits that can help you along the way. If you have any questions relating to this guide at the end just ask and I will do my best to assist you.
First head over to: Sonarr’s Website and click Download at the top of the page and select Windows. You will notice that it says: NzbDrone.master.exe instead of Sonarr. The reasoning for this is that before the name change Sonarr was called NzbDrone and focused mainly on Newsgroup downloading use UseNet servers. Since the switch to Sonarr they provide a lot more support for Torrenting and a lot easier interface.
When it finishes downloading double click to begin the installation. After clicking Next you will be presented with a checkbox saying: “Install as a Windows Service”. I would recommend clicking this Box as it allows Sonarr to run in the background without needing to start it each time you turn on your computer. For SeedBox and HTPC setups this will make usability a lot easier. If you have issues with a Software running as a service just ignore this and click next.
When it finishes installing utilizing the Installer a Black Box will appear momentarily. This is just command prompt loading a few more scripts and settings. This is needed and no need to worry. When the installation finishes simply click the Sonarr icon on your desktop and wait for your Internet Browser to load Sonnar.
Once Sonnar launches in your web browser you should see System at the top of the screen with a “2” beside it. This is just letting you know that no Downloader Client or Indexer have been setup. For the time being you can ignore this. If at the end of the guide you still see a number beside System please respond in the comments. Now onto getting everything set up. First click Settings at the top and refer to the images below for settings I have enabled. You can read through these options and adjust accordingly. I will explain on each picture why I chose the settings I did.
First make sure that Advance Settings are Shown at the top right. Next make sure Rename Episodes are enabled. You want to do this as it makes it easier to keep track of all your episodes. Most trackers will pull from different providers which means each episode will be named differently. This will make everything look clean and uniform. All settings under the Episode Naming section are personal preference. You can change these to make it look how you wish.
Next under the Folders subheading make sure Create Empty Series Folder is set to Yes. You want to do this because Sonarr will automatically create a folder for every TV show you create. This prevents you from needing to manually create each folder yourself. Under Importing put Use Hardlinks instead of Copy to No. This setting is here because chances are your torrent client will automatically begin seeding the torrent when it finishes preventing the file from being moved. Hardlinks makes a fake link on your drive saying the media file is located in your Media folder when it’s. This can get confusing and is not clean. Selecting No will create a duplicate and allow you to remove the torrent when it is finished seeding to its set goal at which point you can remove it.
Finally Ignore Deleted Episodes should be set to Yes. Sometimes you will download fake files and Sonarr will flag and delete them. This will allow Sonarr to download the proper copy for you prevent further issues.
Very quick and easy. Make sure Advance Settings is still set to Shown and under Delay Profiles click the wrench on the righthand side and select Only Torrent. This is only if you plan to only use a Torrent service. If you plan on using Usenet you can ignore this.
All this is set to default. You can truthfully set up each quality accordingly however in my personal situation this is not required. For reference I would do the follows if I did set it up:
SDTV – Under 250mb (I was able to get to 251.66 MB with the slider)
WEBDL-480p – Under 350mb (Max for 480p)
DVD – 700mb- 1.1GB
HDTV-720p – 700mb-1.1GB
HDTV-1080p – 1.1GB – 4GB
This strictly comes down to personal preference. Go to your favorite Torrenting site and simply look over the highest seeded TV torrents and the qualities stated in the info. This will get you a good general idea of what you are looking for.
This is where you setup your Torrent sites for Sonarr to pull from. I personally pull from Kickass Torrents, Nyaa (Anime), Torznab. Torznab is the most important one as it allows you to add custom feeds. If you have a private site you utilize this might be where you would pull from. If your having problems adding a private tracking you can use Jackett to create a custom tracker or ask the guys over at Sonarr directly for support. For public trackers I recommend the one’s listed above as they should suit all your needs.
I personally use uTorrent so I will explain on how to set it up via uTorrent. First go to uTorrent and download uTorrent. Next use PimpMyuTorrent to remove advertisements and restart uTorrent. Go to Options > Preferences > Advanced > Web-UI and fill out the username and password. You can also change the default port here if you wish. Then go into Sonarr and click the + under Download Client and select uTorrent.
Once that is setup everything else can be kept to default. If you wish to change settings feel free as I did very minor changes however it came down purely to personal preference.
These settings are used for HTPC / Media Center setups. If you read a previous guide of mine involving KODI and setting it up correctly you can configure Sonarr to announce to KODI when stuff finishes downloading and pull it into KODI. You can also use the Metadata function to pull artwork and information regarding the show. As I do not have my HTPC at this location and I will dive deep into this but please refer to my previous guide. In the future I will update this section if I get a demand for it.
Settings to allow automatic updates, changing dates and providing SSL. All these settings can be left default and should be unless you are tech savvy.
Now that you are done setting up Sonarr correctly simply click the circular icon at the top left of the screen. It will retain you back to the main menu. Click the +Add Series button and begin typing your favorite series. For this guide I will use Mr. Robot as the show is amazing and worth getting the extra publicity =).
Path: Click “Add a different Path” and pick the folder you want all TV shows to be stored in. Do not create a folder called Mr. Robot as this will automatically create that folder. Just a root directory.
Monitor: Select All to download all episodes which is perfect for hoarders of TV shows. Highlight the “?” to find out more information about each sub heading.
Profile: Any will download whatever quality it can find. You can use SD which will look good and not pixelated on most TV’s. Use HD – All for really HDef style TV shows. Note that higher qualities = longer downloads.
Series Type: Standard is the default and should work 99% of the time. Only change this if it’s a mini-series or an Anime.
Season Folders: Do you want a different Folder for each season? Yes or No?
After you set all your settings simply click the + button and Sonarr will do the rest. You can use the Activity area to see all episodes downloading. Once the episode finishes downloading feel free to seed it for a while and delete it from uTorrent when ready. If you have KODI setup it will notify instantly and you can play the episode shortly after the download finishes. Only final thing I can think of is under the Calendar heading you can see upcoming shows and use the Get ICal Link to link the calendar to your phone. Apart from that I hope you enjoy everything Sonarr can provide and thank the developers for all of there outstanding work.