The Complete Guide for Setting Up
SABnzbd+, Sick Beard, CouchPotato, and Headphones
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
The objective of this guide is to teach you how to use SABnzbd; along with Sick
Beard, Couchpotato, and Headphones to create a fully automated system for
downloading all your favorite Shows, Movies, and Music. This setup guide can be
used on Windows, Mac OSX, and most flavors of Linux.
Below you’ll find a diagram of how all the systems integrate to form a totally awesome DVR that will get all your content for you. It all starts with “Usenet Provider”. This is your starting point; in order for this system to work you need to have signed up with a Usenet Provider. In the next section we’ll go into detail on what you should look for when selecting one.
Next, you’ll see back and forth arrows in between Usenet Provider and SABnzbd, your newsgroup reader. This back and forth action represents the communication between these two components. The communication is triggered when a NZB file is loaded into SABnzbd.
NZB files are located by the applications below the SAB icon; Sick Bead, Couchpotato, and Headphones. Each application is unique to a specific type of content (Show, Movie, and Music respectively). These NZB files are found on a NZB Search Engine, in our case, NZBmatrix
Once found, the NZB file is automatically downloaded and fed into SABnzbd. You see the SABnzbd logo in the middle with Sick Beard,Couch Potato, and Headphones on the outside with arrows pointing in. The arrows represent the NZB files sent into SABnzbd. SAB will take that file and bring you the content that you requested from the apps.
That’s the golden question! The great thing about Usenet is that for each post on these message boards, you can attach files. And as you guessed it, people post all kinds of files on these message boards, including movies, music, pictures, books, and pretty much any other kind of file you are looking for.
· How can I get into this content party?
Funny you asked, there are a few ways you can get access to Usenet. The first way is to check and see if your current Internet service provider offers you with a free Usenet account. I would stay away from these, however, as they almost all have restrictions on what boards you can access, how many connections you can have, and the amount of bandwidth that is usable. The best way to access Usenet is through a 3rd party Usenet provider. I am going to provide you with a short list of a few that I thoroughly recommend as I have tested and used these myself.
1. Retention: This is basically how long your provider stores the files on their server. This is one of the most important factors because you want a lot of retention to be able to snag older, maybe less popular content.
Connections basically means how many files you can download at a given moment.
One connection equals one file, so if you have twenty connections, you can grab
twenty files at the same time.
3. Monthly limits: You don’t want a limit in most cases. If you are only planning on grabbing a few items here and there, a cheaper limited package may be for you, but if you are a media junky, you want to go unlimited.
Most of the major Usenet providers offer SSL security, and I would definitely
pick one that does, just in case.
5. Support: In most cases, there will be little to no reason to contact support, but it’s always good to know it’s available to you.
· It sounds like a hassle to look through board posts for files that I want, what else can I do?
That’s where this site comes in. I am going to provide you with a setup that is 100% foolproof once in place. I can almost guarantee that you will be amazed at how easy it is once all the pieces are in place.
· Why do we have to pay to be able to obtain this content?
Let me answer that in short SPEED, SECURITY, and EASE OF USE… Now let me
elaborate a little. Usenet does unfortunately cost a few dollars per month to
have access to it, but with this system, you can nearly cut cable with the
exception of Sports lovers and other live broadcast items. Not to mention,
Usenet is FAST! Unlike Bittorent which relies on other users to share their
upload bandwidth with you, Usenet relies on server farms to house the data,
which is what you are paying for. You can max out your Internet Service
Providers bandwidth with ANY file you download from Usenet, not just the most
recent movie that has 1,000,000 other users sharing. Couple this with the ease
of using applications such as Sickbeard and CouchPotato, add to this the speed
and the fact that Usenet is also VERY secure…
Unlike Bittorent, which has garnered itself negative attention over the last few years with many lawsuits out against its users with P2P allegations. Usenet doesn’t have these problems! The way Usenet is setup; there is no peer-to-peer file activity so you are never liable for sharing a file with another human being, it’s all downloaded from Usenet servers, which is why you pay the provider. Also, most Usenet providers are also SSL secure, adding an extra layer of protection onto your transfers for those who are still worried.
Now that we have our Usenet Provider, we’ll need a place to find content. For that we will have to use a NZB Search Engine also known as a Usenet Search Engine. Free options exist, but for a $12 fee, we can get a lifetime VIP membership to nzbmatrix.com. As a VIP member you will receive added features like 1500 days retention, access to hundreds of thousands of indexed NZB files, better search, no ads, and much more. Did we mention your account never expires?
If you’re not willing to spend the money, head over to this web address to learn about alternative options.
What is an NZB file?
A NZB file is a xml-file that points to a specific post on usenet. The NZB
protocol was developed by the team over at N
Newzbin. These files are similiar to torrents, they point to the location of a particular file. For example, if I added a binary file onto usenet, it would upload in a number of different pieces. The bigger the file, the more parts or articles upload. So if NZB files didn't exists, you would have to locate and download all the parts. A huge headache. Imagine all the time wasted if you missed one piece.. But we don't have to worry about that due since we have NZB files. They point to all the parts and instruct your newsreaders on where to find them. It automates the process and eliminates any human error.
SABnzbd is multi-platform open source news reader that retrieves Usenet binary posts. The application is highly automated and is managed and accessed through a web browser, making it user friendly and accessible to any computer on your local network. NZB files, obtained from indexing sites, are loaded into the client. SABnzbd will then download and extract the data for you. The application offers a ton of automation so there’s less work for you to do. Prefect for the objective at hand!
On a Mac:
On a PC:
After installing on your favorite platform, it will launch a browser window and give you the following:
First we need to enter our Usenet Server details, here are the settings for Newshosting:
Click the test button to verify server settings are successful, if it fails, double check your details! If that still fails, try port 8080. Once successful, click Next. Now you will get this screen:
Access Setup Screen:
Newzbin.com & NZBmatrix.com Setup ScreenNewzbin.com & NZBmatrix.com Setup Screen
If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to register for a lifetime account at NZBMatrix.com and input your username and API key here. The API key is a unique code that will become available to you once you register for an account.
Next, SABnzbd will restart and then bring you to the SAB interface!
That is all it takes to install SABnzbd, and now it will be accessible via your favorite browser. If accessing it locally http://0.0.0.0:8080 or via another computer on your network by pointing it at the appropriate IP address of the computer SAB is installed on (ex. http://192.168.1.101:8080).
You will be asked to run through some settings to set up SAB. I used smpl-white theme, configured on the general tab of the configuration for the screenshots, aside from that all the data is the same!
The rest of the values on this page can remain default for our purposes. On to
The folder configuration page can pretty much be left alone unless you have an external storage drive that you want to point SAB to. I suggest storing all files on a local volume (USB, Firewire, E-Sata, etc) rather than a network volume because it will be doing double duty to transport from the internet to your SAB to the storage.
Pro tip for the storage tab : If you are going to use an external drive as the target for your storage, set the completed download folder value to /Volumes/Volumename where Volumename is the name of the drive. You can also drive down to sub folders, just make sure to type the path EXACTLY how it is or it won’t save.
No changes required. This tab can be left as default, unless you want to change how the files are handled after they are completely downloaded. By default they will be joined and unrared so you will be left with the actual file rather than 100 zip files.
This is probably the most important of them all, because it contains your NewsHosting server information. Plug it in accordingly and make sure to activate SSL if that is a feature that your usenet provider offers. Please ignore this screen if you set it up during the installation.
Scheduling, RSS, and E-mail Tabs
These are all pretty self explanatory, if you want to schedule your SAB to only download at certain times, obviously do that. If you want your SAB to monitor RSS feeds (more advanced setup) go ahead and do that. And if you want it to email you for whatever reason, errors or completed files, go ahead and do that as well.
Index Sites Tab
Enter your login information if you’re a member of NZBmatrix or Newzbin.
Categories and sorting tabs
These can be left alone for now, as CouchPotato and Sickbeard will be handling the functions of these two tabs. You should now test your SAB setup by searching for an NZB file on whichever search site you subscribe or a free provider, just to make sure everything is working properly. If you signed up for Newzbin, you can try to bookmark something on the site, and then click the button to retrieve bookmarks on the left hand side of your SAB to see if that function is working too. This is a really useful function for downloading files manually especially when away from home and you want something to be available for you when you get home.
Sick Beard is described as an “Internet PVR”. Basically what that means is you tell it what shows you want to see, and it goes ahead and downloads new episodes of that show for you as they are released, and typically that is immensely fast! It will even go ahead and pull old episodes, if you want to download the whole back catalog of all your favorite classics. As long as they are on Usenet, Sick Beard will find them. Sick Beard automatically searches for the requested content in the form of NZB files from Usenet indexing sites. Once found, Sick Beard will forward to the file into SABnzbd for processing.
This way is a bit a pain, but it will enable you to have Sick Beard run at login without any manual commands and it will also allow you to update directly from within Sick Beard, so no more terminal commands.
do shell script “python /Applications/Sick-Beard/sickbeard.py”
Save this as an application and then go to System Preferences, Accounts pane and drag this newly created application into your startup items.
On a PC:
Configuring SAB for Sick Beard
In your newly downloaded Sick Beard folder (/Applications/Sickbeard) you will find a folder called AutoProcessTV. Drag the contents of this folder into the scripts directory where your SABnzbd is installed (OSX – /Applications/SABnzbd : Windows C:\Program Files\SABnzbd or whichever folder you installed to) Then log in to your SABnzbd and go to the Config / Categories tab and look for TV. Next to TV look for the dropdown for post processing script and select the appropriate SABtoSickbeard(.exe for Windows or .py for OSX). Also make sure that TV sorting is disabled on the Config / Sorting tab as Sick Beard will be handling that.
Configuring Sick Beard
Connect to Sick Beard in a new browser via http://localhost:8081 if on the local machine Sick Beard is running on, or substitute localhost for the proper IP address. Browse over to the Config tab.
The only settings I would change on this are the top two settings to make sure it doesn’t launch a browser on start and make sure it checks for updates. You can have it open a browser on launch if you want, but if you’re trying to make this as seamless as possible, you don’t want a browser to open up in front of your Media center application if using one machine as a Total HTPC.
Search Settings Tab
We are going to stay away from Torrent search, as it is really unreliable and this setup is not meant for Torrents anyhow.
Search Providers (THE MOST CRUCIAL PAGE IN THE SETUP)
Provider Priorities – This one you have to configure for yourself, if you are a subscriber of NZBMatrix only, drag that to the top of the list followed by Sick Beards built in search and leave the rest unchecked. If you subscribe to multiple, check the ones you are subscribed to and designate them in whichever priority feels right, obviously you can change this later.
Configure Built in Providers – This is where you are going to select the provider(s) that you subscribed to. It will ask you for information such as your username and password and API key. All of this can be obtained from your providers site.
Post Processing Tab
The options on this tab are pretty self explanatory for the user, you can configure if you want Sick Beard to rename the shows to match your current structure or to establish a new one.
This tab is where you will configure Sick Beard to automatically update your desired MediaCenter application. If you are using Plex (my suggested media center application) you would check the box next to Plex and point Sick Beard at your Plex install. If this is your all in one media center, point Plex Media Center and Plex Client at 0.0.0.0:32400. Again, more on this later.
Next, we’ll go over installing Couch Potato.
Couch Potato is the equivalent of Sick Beard, except for movies. You put movies in your “Wanted List” and Couchpotato checks for releases in your desired quality. Once found, it will send the data over to SABnzbd for download. If not found, the movie sits in your “Wanted List” until it fills your request.
On a Mac:
· 1. Download the current version here.
· 2. Extract the folder if not done so automatically (gotta love Apple, auto-extracting without being directed to do so)
· 3. Drag Couch Potato folder to your Applications folder.
· 4. Start Couch Potato app
· 5. You might want to take this time to go to your System preferences & Accounts pane and drag CouchPotato into
your startup items and hide it.
· 6. Now that we have the App installed, go ahead and launch your browser (if Couch Potato didn’t do it automatically)
and go to http://0.0.0.0:5000.
· 7. You will be greeted with your new Couch Potato interface.
· 8. We are going to go to the settings tab, which is the little Cog at the top.
On a PC:
· 1. Download the current version here.
· 2. Run the executable and start with the installation.
Windows Installation Only: That only thing to point out during the installition is if you want Couch Potato to start whenever your Media center starts, check off “Run CouchPotato at startup”.
If you are new to CouchPotato then leave this section alone. The purpose of
this option is to load the data.db file from a previous version that
contains your settings.
· Username/Password: if you want to secure Couch Potato (for snoops on internal network, or if you are going to use
· CouchPotato when away from home)
· Port : 5000 (default, tweak if need be)
· Launch Browser: Uncheck (I uncheck this because its annoying to have to close when my media center starts up)
· Host: localhost:8080 (I had some problems with 0.0.0.0:8080 for whatever reason.. Either should work)
· API Key: Can grab this from your SABnzbd web UI, should be on the general tab.
· Category: movies (You may have to go back over to your SAB install and create this category, no post processing script
Check (For more advance users wanting to troubleshoot download
failures keep this unchecked)
NZB Search Engine Setup
This page is pretty
self explanatory, requires your usernames and passwords (and API keys) to
interface with your
provider(s). Again, if you aren’t subscribed to one yet… WHAT ARE YOU
Hit the green button. We still have a few more steps.
Once in CouchPotato, hit the gear button circled in red.
If you are interested in the system displaying advanced settings, check off the “Show advanced settings” checkbox found underneath the settings gear button.
Set to what your Usenet provider retention is. UsenetServer is 1286.
Set to what your Usenet provider retention is. UsenetServer is 1286.
These two tabs are
really up to you. They will provide you with the options to rename your
files once they are downloaded (keeping file names clean, none of that
VIZION-the most awesome movie ever[divxhd 51259P]) as well as provide you
with the option to grab subtitles if you need them, but make note that Plex
and most media center applications will be able to grab the subs for you
automatically when you are watching.
This tab will come
in really handy if you are a Plex or XBMC user. For the sake of this site,
I’m going to assume you are a Plex user, so you would setup Plex to point at
0.0.0.0:32400 and set it to update your library. This will automagically add
the file to your Plex library and give you all your necessary metadata, like
a boss. It also includes a really neat function to test if its working right
below the Plex options.
Headphones is completely based on Python, much the same as CouchPotato and will run in similar fashion. Your music library is scanned so Headphones knows what artists you enjoy listening to. Headphones will keep a look out for any new related album releases. Once it spots one, the application will go ahead and grab it for you and send it over to SABnzbd in the form of a NZB file.
On a Mac:
do shell script “python /Location-of-Headphones/headphones.py -d”
(Pro tip – If you have been following our guides, you can add this extra line into the Sickbeard startup script to start both at the same time)
On a PC:
Click on the Gears as highlighted in red to access the settings.
· HTTP Host: localhost or 0.0.0.0
· HTTP Port: 8181 is fine unless you already have something running on this port
· HTTP Username/Password: These can be left blank unless you need to secure your Web UI
· SABnzbd Host: Assuming SAB is running on your current machine, 0.0.0.0:8080
· SABnzbd Username/Password: Enter your SAB username and password
· SABnzbd API key: Get this from your SAB general tab
· SABnzbd Category: music (unless you specified something totally different for your music category)
· Music Download Directory : If you specify a music download directory in SABnzbd, plug that in here.
Enter your Usenet providers
Select whatever search
provider you currently subscribe and enter the necessary information. If
following my guides you probably already subscribe to NZBMatrix.com as I
highly recommend it, so check the appropriate box and enter the required
fields. Torrents… HA.
Quality and Post Processing
Quality and Post Processing
All of these settings are really all for you to decide for yourself, depending on what you want for your music collection, I suggest deleting leftover files and correcting metadata though, bad metadata is annoying, especially if you use iTunes to manage your music!
Advanced Settings Tab
No recommended settings to change, but once again, feel free to experiment.