JRiver Media Center is a multimedia application that allows the user to read and organize different types of media on a computer running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. JRiver Media Center is a jukebox-type media player, like iTunes, that typically uses most of the screen to display a potentially very large file library. Regular versions (usually beta) are published on the Media Center Interact forum implementing the requested features and correcting reported bugs. The forum has an active user community, with over 25,000 users in 2011. Also available for JRiver Media Center are an Audioscrobbler plugin, and G-Force, a popular visualization. It can also rip and burn CDs. Media Center also supports static and dynamic playlists.
JRiver Media Center organizes files using Media Libraries; they are effective databases. Media Center can support multiple libraries. The media information is imported into the library, including the metadata for the media files and the path to the media files. The media files themselves are not contained in the database, but cataloged in the libraries. Version 12 of JRiver Media Center has added support for automatic media import, with which JRiver Media Center continuously monitors directories designated for media changes. If a new file is dropped into the directory, JRiver Media Center will add the file to its library. Each library can contain any type of media, video, audio, images, etc.
Display schemes are the primary way to browse files in Media Center. Views can be created to help users see different parts of their library. they are actually the same as the views of the database. They are based on the use of metadata as criteria for creating a filtered list of files. The view system is very powerful and fully customizable. For example, a view could be made that shows only MP3 audio files longer than 3 minutes, or images taken in Africa in 2006. For ease of use, several default views exist that show only the files of a specified type, including: audio, images or video. Different view elements, or panes, can be lined up, left, right, or moved in drop-down menus, which can be used to further filter the results. For example, one of the default views, artist / album, allows you to select a specific artist or album, or both, and display only the files in that album or artist. Once a view is created, it is automatically saved to the library and can be opened in the various user interfaces and searched using a real-time search box. Searches are customizable and possible on any field or tag in the library.
JRiver Media Center allows the creation of playlists. It can also export playlists like M3U, M3U8, ASX, MPL, CSV.
Smart lists are similar to playlists, except that instead of selecting a list of songs, the list is governed by a set of rules. For example, a smart list can take all video files produced in 1994. Smart lists can be based on playlists. They are defined using an expression language. Media Center provides a wizard-style dialog to simplify the creation of these. An added benefit of a smart list on a basic playlist is that a smart list is dynamic; it updates each time new files matching its criteria are added to the library. For example, we could create a smart list to show all tracks with the Indie Rock genre. If a new album has been added to the Media Center library containing the Indie Rock gender tag, Media Center automatically adds these files to the smart list.
JRiver Media Center offers four different user interfaces for use in different situations. Each user interface is skinnable.