DVD "Rental" System for ship

stevebrace

Standard Member
I work on a Ship trading world wide, rarely docking at ports (we tranship to smaller ships as we are to big to dock most places).

We used to be supplied with DVD's on a semi rental basis from a specialist firm (proper licences etc) but this was recently dropped due to the poor quality of titles.

We are now supposed to buy our own DVD's. This is basically our only onboard entertainment. We have been recently supplied with internet access, but our "broadband" connection is 1 Mbit at max and normally 256Kbit shared between 25 people, so Glacial doesn't cover it, pretty much e-mail only in the evenings.

Anyway so much for background. As our shiny new discs tend to go missing very quickly, either appropriated by visitors or frequently "confiscated" by 3rd world officials. I have been taking a backup copy and distributing this, whilst holding the original for protection.

I would like to be able to distribute this backup copy over wireless network, so that crew members can download a timestamped copy that would self destruct after a set time.

Does anyone know of any software that would do this?
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
You would need to invest in a licencing system that effectively issues a short term key for the file, which is cancelled after a set amount of time. This is similar to how ultraviolet copies work, but I don't know of any system available to purchase on the open market.

Maybe a manual system would be to set up file permissions for each crew member and add the film to their directory, deleting it after a certain length of time? Not sure how you would prevent them from copying the file from the directory, but this may be possible?

The other way would be to build a website - hosted internally and save all the films as flvs. Again, you could issue short term logons to the film page, expiring after a set period of time. This would be time consuming to set up, but once working, the whole process could be scripted and automated. There are templates available within Droople, so not too much coding would be required.
 

stevebrace

Standard Member
You would need to invest in a licencing system that effectively issues a short term key for the file, which is cancelled after a set amount of time. This is similar to how ultraviolet copies work, but I don't know of any system available to purchase on the open market.

This was the sort of thing I had in mind, but I wasn't sure there was anything available.

The intranet idea sounds workable too but I am not sure how ell the wireless network would cope with all the streaming. We have a seperate repeater for each deck so the max share would be between 10 guys
 

next010

Distinguished Member
The intranet idea sounds workable too but I am not sure how ell the wireless network would cope with all the streaming. We have a seperate repeater for each deck so the max share would be between 10 guys

WDTV Live media player in each room and a PC running a media server like Mezzmo would do the trick most likely. You might want to find a way to bolt the WDTV's down so people dont go walkies with them.

You can transfer the DVD's to a standalone digital video with no conversion of the video using MakeMKV, this allows you to play the movie straight away with no DVD menus. As there is no conversion it only takes 10-15 minutes to transfer the DVD to the PC (how fast your DVD drive is the limiting speed).

Wireless can be tricky for streaming media which is why you want to use something like Mezzmo as a media server where I could get into techy detail but trust me it's better suited to it.

If your wireless network isnt up to the task then you could compress the videos that MakeMKV creates from the DVD's (use Handbrake) this will make them more manageable over the wireless and take up less space on the PC acting as the media server.

You can also avoid wireless, if people are willing to have their own USB HDD you can just stick everything on that and plug it into the WDTV Live to play it directly.


If thats too much a legal gray area a PC or Mac running iTunes can serve legally download local copies to AppleTV's, when you buy selected DVD/BD's they come with a coupon that can be redeemed in iTunes that allows you to download the copy. You turn on Homesharing in iTunes and connect to the PC running it, from there browse your media library and can play the digital copy.

The upside to this is all the metadata and nice UI is provided by iTunes not just text entries, the downside is Homesharing has a limit of 5 iOS devices per iTunes so only 5 AppleTV's could play content downloaded by the PC running iTunes, there are claims you can expand the number to 10 iOS devices via a workaround by using iTunes match but I dont know if AppleTV's can make use of that.

If you wanted the nice UI like iTunes with movie library jukebox but without the limits you could get Roku boxes which have a Plex client and use Plex media server on the PC. However for best performance your DVD media would need to be converted into m4v videos, the Roku only support those, the Plex server on the PC can convert in real time (like a temporary copy) but your PC may or may not be up to the task.
 
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stevebrace

Standard Member
If you wanted the nice UI like iTunes with movie library jukebox but without the limits you could get Roku boxes which have a Plex client and use Plex media server on the PC. However for best performance your DVD media would need to be converted into m4v videos, the Roku only support those, the Plex server on the PC can convert in real time (like a temporary copy) but your PC may or may not be up to the task.

Plex and Roku may be the way we will go. Probably fit a gigabit network up to hook them up. Although we would need to confirm the system could handle the traffic. We have a couple of playstation 3's in the common rooms we could use there to try things out first.

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Plex and Roku may be the way we will go. Probably fit a gigabit network up to hook them up. Although we would need to confirm the system could handle the traffic. We have a couple of playstation 3's in the common rooms we could use there to try things out first.

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.

A 100Mbps network is more than enough, you wont have any problems, the bitrates from DVD's are really low.

There are more advanced Plex clients than the Roku, in that they support more video codecs so your PC acting as server wont need to convert, which could be an issue with multiple clients using it at the same time unless it has a really good multi-core CPU.


* The GoogleTV devices - however getting them is not easy, only the more expensive Sony GoogleTV's are available in the UK however if your in the USA there are several GoogleTV devices to choose from like Netgear NeoTV Prime, Visio Co-Star.

* Smart Blu-ray players, Samsung ones are the best option as they have a Plex client developed in-house by Plex, LG are the next best after that but Plex dont make it LG do. Anything from the 2012-2013 range should do.

* Raspberry Pi -use Rasplex low cost option but DIY so needs some putting together. SDcard to install OS, remotes, cases, software license for MPEG-2 video (only a few bucks).
 

stevebrace

Standard Member
I may look into the Rasplex method if we can source the cases etc DIY is no problem to the team onboard. It would be a small effort after ripping down the deckheads to run cable for the network.
 

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