Moving to digital storage & streaming - What are my options ?

Discussion in 'Video Streaming Boxes & Services' started by DodgeTheViper, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    I've been thinking more and more lately about storing my media digitally and ridding myself of the physical media and the obligatory bookcase.

    I just need a few pointers and possible options that would serve what I need.

    The ripping of my own personal DVD's & BluRay's needs to be easy. Keeping the menus could be an option, but I'm not ultra fussed here if its easier without.
    I want to be able to watch my content in two rooms, cinema room and lounge.
    I've installed two runs of Cat5e between these two rooms with double face plates.
    I'd like a pretty slick interface for selecting the content. Not bothered about music as I have this sorted with my Sonos arrangement.
    The quality for video and audio needs to be as per the physical disc. So 1080p video along with HD audio.

    I won't state any kind of budget as I'm keeping my options open for the moment.

    This is what's on my mind right now:
    I'll swap out my BR player for another one if needed for streaming into my cinema room.
    Media streamer/s
    NAS drive with plenty of storage.
    HTPC.
    Software for ripping duties.
    An external BR drive for my Mac.
    I don't have a Windows based PC, I'm all Mac if that makes a difference.

    Where should I start looking ?

    Cheers ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  2. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    If you want Blu-Ray disc menu support then you will need an older media player such as a Dune Max, Duo, Smart or PCH C-300. The C-300 has built-in cover art scraping but the Dune's will need this to be done on a (PC or) Mac - use DuneX for a Mac.
    You will need 1 media player per room that you want to view your movies etc. Connect the NAS and each media player to router so each one can play the media off the NAS.

    With no compression applied to the rip each of the media players will output exactly the same picture & audio as if playing the actual disc. If no AV system in any rooms then the Dune players can also decode the HD audio formats, the PCH can't do this.

    Now the problem is that all the media players with the Blu-Ray menu support are either discontinued or end of life. So if you want one of these then it is most likely second hand or take your chances finding stock.

    Mark.
     
  3. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Thanks Mark,

    I wouldn't want to take a backwards step in terms of hardware. So media players that enable menus is probably out of the question for me.

    The cinema room houses my AV Receiver etc etc, the lounge has the daily TV viewing.

    So, a NAS drive with plenty of storage and a suitable media player for each room. I read a lot of talk about XBMC as well.

    My Mac Book Pro only has a DVD drive, so I'll need to purchase an external BR drive as well.

    I'm not too bothered what I need, I just want to get it right.

    Cheers ;)
     
  4. Sebastalona

    Sebastalona
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    I don't normally respond to these threads as I don't really have a lot of technical know how!

    However, not too long ago I like yourself wanted to convert all my physical media to being stored digitally, with the ability to stream around the home.

    So, I'll give you some input on my set up, and you can pick out the holes when comparing to what you need.

    Firstly, I store all of my media in iTunes, which is stored on a 4TB external drive connected to my iMac. I have 4 Apple TV's in my house, and I can access my whole iTunes library from each.

    For converting blu rays, I use Make MKV, and for converting for iTunes I use a program called iVI Pro.

    iVI Pro is a fantastic program, and is so easy to use. All you have to do is drop your MKV file into it, then you can select the artwork and metadata. After you have selected your settings, it automatically converts and adds to your iTunes library ready for viewing.

    Both these utilities are very easy to use, especially iVI.

    The only issue is Apple TV cannot output HD audio codecs, which I know you mentioned in your OP.

    However, I personally managed to forgoe this as the rest of the process just works so well.

    Anyway, that's my 2p's worth mate, I sure someone will be along shortly to offer you a much better solution!!!
     
  5. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Thanks Sebastalona,

    That's a useful insight into what you do with yours, and I also have a Apple TV in my cinema room.

    I just dont think that's the way forward for me, not least because of the HD audio problem.

    I appreciate your input, and you should post more into these type of threads as you seem to have some knowledge to me ;)
     
  6. Sebastalona

    Sebastalona
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    No worries mate, just thought I would present you with the option:)

    I do know what you mean regarding the audio sacrifice. I still watch my favourites on disc for the very same reason!

    I've subscribed to this thread mate, interested to see what solution you find. I went down the route I did because I am already locked into the Apple Eco system, so just made sense.

    I would still give iVI Pro a look when considering your software options though;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  7. metalguru

    metalguru
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    I just built myself an HTPC (after dipping my toe into XBMC with the Pi) with XBMC on it, boots straight into XBMC, ethernet cable connected to my WHS2011 server upstairs (which I also built from and old PC and whacked in some 2tb HD's), plays everthing and with HD audio:D
     
  8. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    If 3D is a requirement then fair enough as the older players will only do SBS half frame 3D. But if full frame 3D is not a requirement then the older players are more stable and generally handle everything well and are plenty good enough for playing uncompressed 2D Blu-Ray rips with HD audio. But the newer 3D players are still maturing and have some issues that may niggle until they get sorted - if they ever do. I always advise people to buy a media player for what it can do now and never on what has been promised as I've seen far too many of these promises never to see the light of day.

    Mark.
     
  9. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Thanks again Mark,

    3D is not important to me.

    So I could possibly be looking for a 4 bay NAS, 2 media players for 2 seperate rooms able to read off the NAS, a BR drive, relevant software that is Mac compatible.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  10. xsnv

    xsnv
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    Subscribed as i'm in the exact same position.

    I am presently using a:

    Mac Mini
    Icy Dock 2x 3.5 Hdd bay
    2 x 3TB Hdd's
    Harmony Smart Control
    Plex

    It's not the most painless system and i've been thinking about upgrading. I discovered the apple HD audio limitation yesterday (right after subscribing for a year for Plex Home Theatre).

    @ Sebastalona, interestingly enough i purchased iVI a while back but never actually used it. Does itunes have a media player interface for movies?
     
  11. Sebastalona

    Sebastalona
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    Yes mate, you can watch movies either purchased from iTunes or your own rips in iTunes.
     
  12. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Well I'm not a Mac user so don't know what software you would need for ripping your discs. I use Slysoft AnyDVD HD but I don't think that is Mac compatible. The main alternative is DVDFab which I believe is Mac compatible, but I've not used it - DVDFab DVD & Blu-ray Copy, DVD Ripper, Blu-ray Ripper Software. Copy DVD, DVDR, Blu-ray Disc to PSP, or iPad/iPhone/iPod. Copy Blu-ray to BD-R, MKV, or Hard Drive for both Windows and Mac.

    Any Blu-Ray drive should be fine

    I have for a few years now been very happy with my Dune media player. I would therefore say any of the Dune Smart players would be good - Dune HD Media Players - Items - Custom built Home Theatre PCs from my-HTPC

    As for NAS well Synology & Qnap are very highly thought of - Network Attached Storage - Items - Custom built Home Theatre PCs from my-HTPC

    Mark.
     
  13. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Which part of the system has the nice looking GUI for selecting the content ?

    So selecting BR movies is like looking at the BR case, is that XBMC ?

    10 points for guessing that this isn't my area of knowledge :D
     
  14. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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  15. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Would I be losing out anywhere if going down this route as appose to a HTPC ?

    Bearing in mind I need to feed two rooms ?
     
  16. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    An HTPC will give you more functionality, ie full web browser & unlimited media support. However you then have a PC that needs to be maintained, ie anti-virus software and Windows updates if running Windows etc. Just keeping an HTPC running can be a fair amount of work, not to mention getting it all setup in the first place. A media player is dedicated hardware & software/firmware so should just work, but is unlikely to be able to be upgrade much as new features etc become available.

    Mark.
     
  17. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Ah right, that's the HTPC off the shopping list :D

    I need this to be as simple as possible. HD video rips with HD audio as if playing the physical disc.

    For me, the NAS with media players seems the way to go.

    Cheers again Mark :smashin:
     
  18. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    With the latest Dune firmware you can set it so when it powers on it automatically loads DuneX (or whatever scraper you use) so you never have to see the Dune UI once it is setup the way you want it. I don't think it can get much easier than that :p

    Mark.
     
  19. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    So to help me understand, because I don't like to not know. What's a 'scraper' and why wouldn't I want to see the Dune UI ?
     
  20. Phil1975

    Phil1975
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    Oh interesting thread Mr Mod :D.
    I'm looking for something similar, ill be picking your brain when your done.:D
     
  21. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    DuneX is a program that creates cover art and a synopsis of the film - aka a scraper as it scrapes this information from the internet.

    Once you have the output resolution etc set why would you want to see text based menu system for changing the setting of the player? Auto load DuneX and you get cover art displayed instead of text menu's. Far more WAF I would think.

    Mark.
     
  22. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Good luck finding it - I've been trying to find it for years :D

    Seriously - ask away.

    Mark.
     
  23. metalguru

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    I went from a Dune to my HTPC and am more than happy, not had any problems setting up or maintaining it, in fact I had a few problems with my Dune and Yadis where it stopped playing the film and gave error messages, sorted it out once but then the second time I gave up.

    No such problems on the HTPC and XBMC looks gorgeous.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  24. Phil1975

    Phil1975
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    I collect steelbooks but don't want to take them out all the time only a certain few.
    So ideally for me i want something that will rip the disc store the media, then i can access it either nice UI like xmbc.
     
  25. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Brilliant, text based menus, a big no no ;)
     
  26. MarkE19

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    In your situation then the media player used instead of playing a physical disc is a good option. If you use a Mac then most of what I've said already should be relevant to you. But if you have any specific questions that you want answered, just ask.

    Mark.
     
  27. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    I guessed that would be the case, but often forget that a lot of the terms used are only known by those that use them :blush:

    Mark.
     
  28. Phil1975

    Phil1975
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    Don't want to hijack Dodge's thread so will pm you if that's ok.
     
  29. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    I guessed that would be the case, but often forget that a lot of the terms used are only known by those that use them :blush:

    Mark.


    I understand that ;)

    Is it XBMC that allows you to see the cover art as the BR case, as oppose to it looking like just the art itself ?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  30. DodgeTheViper

    DodgeTheViper
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    Ask away Phil, it'll all help ;)
     

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