I have a 4 TB (and growing in the future) network share with my smallish collection of Blu Rays ripped to it in ISO format. I can mount using VirtualCloneDrive and play back works using VLC, PowerDVD 12, TotalMedia Theater 5, Media Player Classic HC.
The only hiccup I have so far is that I have a 2.35:1 Constant Image Height setup using the zoom method. If I set the HTPC to output 1920x1080, it projects an image a few inches above and below the screen's black borders. In the past, I've been using a Blu Ray player and just kind of living with the black bars being present when watching 2.35 content (and zooming out and using masking with 2.20/1.85/1.78 content). They're not too noticeable, but in movies like Tron: Legacy or The Dark Knight, where the AR changes from 2.35 to 1.78, some of the actual film bleeds onto the wall. So, between the black bars that are noticeable during dark scenes, and movies with variable aspects, I decided to build a HTPC. Solution:
I can set up the HTPC to output at 1920x810ish to fill the screen perfectly, but then Blu Ray playback of 2.35 content is pillar AND letter boxed (because the 2.35 movie has the black bars as part of the video encode), 16:9 content is only pillar boxed (but would be ~810p instead of 1080p, another [easily solved] issue for another day). *WITH VLC*, however, I right click on the video output, go to Video Stream > Crop > 2.35 and voila, the black bars are cropped from the playback and the video fills the screen.
The only problem is, VLC doesn't bitstream (or decode) HD audio, so while the video options are everything I want and need, the audio is nowhere close. I haven't been able to find a good way to crop the black bars in PDVD12, TMT5, or MPC-HC (even using their "crop black bars" modes), it's so frustrating that it's so freaking easy to do in VLC but none of the other, more "robust" players (VLC can handle basically anything but HD audio, it seems) seem to have the function. I've kind of messed around with ffdshow in MPC-HC, but the playback is stuttery and I haven't been able to get the settings to my liking.
Basically, I need a video player that can:
- Launch from XMBC
- Has Blu Ray ISO/m2ts playback support (XMBC auto mounts to VCD and opens the largest video file, I believe, so basically m2ts support.. this might change in the future so ISO support would be nice, as I ripped a 1:1 copy with menus and such)
- Bitstream HD audio
- Crop video (like I can in VLC)
I've looked everywhere, I feel like, and have come up short. Any ideas?