An idiot's guide?

Paddy!

Active Member
I am totally non-technical, completely new to all this and a self confessed idiot, so if you have the time and patience can someone please help and explain what to do please?

I have a iMac 24 [completely new to macs as well which isn't helping!] and I would like to reduce the DVDs on my shelves and store them in the internal/external hard drive so that I can stream them wirelessly downstairs to watch on the TV.

I have a PS3 which I bought and installed medialink onto today and had a quick play around with.

So, I tried to rip a DVD [layer cake, first one that came to hand] with Handbrake [it also told me to install VLC which I did] and it worked fine, bringing in as a .mkv file.

Q1. This won't play in normal iMac players but fine in VLC, is this the preferred file type now?

So with the file in a folder which should be viewable via medialink, I can't see it on the PS3.

Q2. Is this due to the file type? Or other settings? I've googled, used the search function here and seen that you can save to a pre determined PS3 file type on Medialink but I cannot find it in the version I paid for?

When a mate set the mac up, he installed Vuze which also shows up on the PS3.

Q3. Is it better to use Vuze? I'm a total anal retentive and can't see a way to make a neat and tidy file structure with this! :laugh:

Q4. Should I just bite the bullet and buy a dedicated media streamer? If yes, which one will satiate my OCD for neat file structures and even get cover art?

Q5. If this is the best route to go, I'll need something that is easy to install and use [for me AND the - unbelievably - even less techie missus!] works wirelessly [so I won't require one with an internal HDD] and can play the usual file types. I would like to download [LEGALLY!] some HD films in the future and/or transfer my BR collection if and when possible. I run an ONKYO 606 AV Receiver so would like to also get the best out of the sound if possible. A lot of people suggest the WD TV but exactly what model would I need? It's all very confusing! :blush:

Q6. Is Handbrake good enough or are people using something else? All the googles and searches on the subject seem to throw up 2 year old threads/reviews of everything and I'm sure it's all moved on since then? I've only tried this one film but I have a lot of TV series I'd like to catalogue and obviously be able to choose episodes rather than discs?

I know this is a lot of questions but I would really appreciate any help on any of them please! :thumbsup:
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Q1. This won't play in normal iMac players but fine in VLC, is this the preferred file type now?

MKV is the preferred container these days as it is a universal container so can hold any type of video or audio.

Q2. Is this due to the file type? Or other settings? I've googled, used the search function here and seen that you can save to a pre determined PS3 file type on Medialink but I cannot find it in the version I paid for?

Most likely yes, the PS3 does not support the MKV container you should have used the MP4 container instead when encoding the movie with Handbrake. Then the PS3 will be able to play the video.

Q4. Should I just bite the bullet and buy a dedicated media streamer? If yes, which one will satiate my OCD for neat file structures and even get cover art?

If you dont want to have to encode all your media to be compatible with the PS3 then yes getting a media streamer will be a lot easier/quicker.

Q5. If this is the best route to go, I'll need something that is easy to install and use [for me AND the - unbelievably - even less techie missus!] works wirelessly [so I won't require one with an internal HDD] and can play the usual file types. I would like to download [LEGALLY!] some HD films in the future and/or transfer my BR collection if and when possible. I run an ONKYO 606 AV Receiver so would like to also get the best out of the sound if possible. A lot of people suggest the WD TV but exactly what model would I need? It's all very confusing! :blush:

The only box that does free online video proper is the Boxee Box however the the Box is very new and has various issues that should/hopefully be addressed with software updates in the long run. It will handle all your video types + DVD's with menus and the Boxee Box can passthru TrueHD or DTS-HD audio to your AMP but it cannot play Blu-ray menus, you'll need to run your Blu-rays through MakeMKV so they are packaged with original video/audio intact into an MKV container and there is an OSX version of the program. In terms of paid for HD video items there is no such store on the Boxee Box though they are hoping to get the likes of LoveFilm there are no guarantees.

A player like the WDTV Live will handle video playback and DVD's with menus but it does not do online video (other than Youtube), it also cannot passthru DTS-HD audio tracks to your AMP and it cannot do Blu-ray menus.

If you just want to quickly put your DVD collection on an external HDD and play them with menus then the WDTV Live will do that.

Q6. Is Handbrake good enough or are people using something else? All the googles and searches on the subject seem to throw up 2 year old threads/reviews of everything and I'm sure it's all moved on since then? I've only tried this one film but I have a lot of TV series I'd like to catalogue and obviously be able to choose episodes rather than discs?

Handbrake is fine for video encoding its what most people use, well the x264 encoder that Handbrake also uses powers a whole other bunch of encoders too. Using MakeMKV on DVD TV show discs is a good way to extract the individual episodes so you can feed them to Handbrake though you'll need to use a nightly build of Handbrake as the old official version has some compatibility issues with files generated from MakeMKV.

If your going to be running everything through Handbrake then stick with the PS3 and just use the MP4 container in the Handbrake options. PS3 Media Server is a free UPnP/DLNA server, may be more preferable to Medialink and it also transcodes video so any video should be playable but only when run through this server.
 
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Paddy!

Active Member
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply and making sense of it for me!!! :thumbsup::thumbsup:

If you just want to quickly put your DVD collection on an external HDD and play them with menus then the WDTV Live will do that.

This is starting to sound like the best and easiest solution, especially as 1TB external HDDs are SOOO cheap now!!

Thank you again! :clap:
 

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