PS3 as Media Center .. any good guides and facts ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 01-28-2008, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello Gents,

I am evaluating purchasing a PS3 as a Blu Ray player / Media Player.

I have an XBox 360 w the HD-DVD drive and a Wii. And not enough time to play all the good games on those hehe.. so .... the PS3 would be about the odd exclusive and superb PS3 title, but mostly about DVD and BD playback as well as media center playback.

I am using the XBox360 connected to Vista Media Center right now. It's OK, but the Media Center Extender interface doesn't support a Divx / Xvid and also doesn't support any HD formats with 5.1 or 7.1 audio.

As a result I will either make an HTPC or buy a PS3 as I want both BD and HD as well as network media playback capability. I want to keep it simple for the family, so I really don't want to have "photos and SD DVDs on the XBox, BD DVDs and network HD video on the PS3" sorta thing... I have to keep it within WAF parameters.

My questions relating to the PS3 are:
1. what 5.1 capable video formats does the PS3 support for SD-DVD from network? (I am thinking Divx is the best choice here ??)

2. what 5.1 or 7.1 capable video formats does the PS3 support for HD-DVD from network? (I will probably archive my HD-DVDs to a network format once the last drops of blood spills in the format war)

3. any issues with MP3 playback?

4. Any comprehensive guides for using the PS3 as a media center?

Any advice / tips / guidance much appreciated.

Cheers,
egg
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post #2 of 28 Old 01-28-2008, 05:08 PM
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I've been delving into the media center capabilities, lately- just playing stuff from hdd, actually...not so much streaming over a network.

I have resigned to the notion that the chances of playing every format under the sun is going to inherently be hit'n'miss (the pc world manages to do it, but in reality, this situation is a real mess for the novice who just wants their video to play). So I anticipate just the basic formats will play (mpg, mp4, newer wmv, some asf), and everything else (avi, very old wmv, mov, 3gp) , I plan to transcode into straight mpeg-4/aac in an mp4 container. It has really exposed me to an exciting challenge of learning all the settings that will make a working encode, and all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Google/psp videos seem to be play fine.

Right now, I have been playing around with freeware MediaCoder (which is not w/o some bugginess, but is surprisingly versatile). The most important thing I've discovered is that the ps3 media player seems to prefer the audio to be in stream 0 and video in stream 1. This is a setting you need to make/verify when you configure the "container" of the file (essentially, make the audio "first"). Otherwise, you will get a silent video or a black screen with audio.

On points 1,2,4, I do not know. On point 3, I have not seen much fussiness. It's seems to be all good with mp3 and aac. The one thing I did come across is that it does not seem to recognize "3gp" style aac audio. "Regular" aac is fine. Video/audio shot with your cellphone (3gp) might not work.

Mastering the file system seems to be a big step to optimizing your ps3 experience. You have to throw away the traditional notion of putting things in "folders". The key to making it all work is making use of the file descriptions, and everything else will fall into place quite cleverly. For instance, when you import your mp3's, it is best if the artist/album/genre fields already filled out. You can fill them in on the ps3, but things can get pretty hairy if you import a bunch of stuff at once. Once you got that down, you can sort stuff handily into the ps3 version of "folders", based on what is in those data fields. The real trick is using the "album" field as the identifier for what you would use as a custom folder. If you put "my car stuff", for example, as the album field for a group of files you want to keep together, then sort your collection by album, it will essentially show you a "my car stuff" folder. You should get the point on how to use that for myraid other uses, thereon...

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post #3 of 28 Old 01-28-2008, 05:57 PM
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I haven't messed around with 5.1 or HD video playback via streaming, as my computer is a bit old and can't handle the transcoding. But, there's a guide HERE for setting up TVersity with some essential codecs, and I've yet to come accoss a video or music file I can't play.
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post #4 of 28 Old 01-29-2008, 09:59 AM
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Another thing I notice is the ps3 media player gets fussy with videos with oddball resolutions. The container and codec might be just fine, but it just won't play it because the resolution is 240x180 (or maybe it is the combination of mpeg-4 and oddball resolutions that is incompatible). If I re-encode it with the same container and codec, except scale the resolution to 320x240, it then plays.

I am suspecting this characteristic is plaguing me on some hd style content I am trying to get to work, but I need to investigate further.

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post #5 of 28 Old 01-29-2008, 10:11 AM
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I am using my PS3 as a network DVD client, works great with straight mpeg2 w/ ac3 audio for 5.1

DTS doesn't seem to work in my limited experience.

Transcoding is no good for me as it results in a dramatic reduction in PQ.

I messed around with Divx/xvid a little, can't guarantee that AC3 for 5.1 was working on those files, but they seem to play just fine.

I am using WMP11 on Vista as the server, the machine also runs Media Center but it doesn't seem to matter to the PS3.
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post #6 of 28 Old 01-31-2008, 07:52 AM
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Mr.Hanky

can you share your "preset" file of MediaCoder for to transcode to mpeg-4/aac?
I have no luck on this for week now.

Thanks for infomation.
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post #7 of 28 Old 02-01-2008, 04:37 PM
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To do mpeg4/aac, I have set the following:

audio
source is auto select
encoder=faac
resample, channel = original
average bitrate set to whatever you find appropriate
mpeg version set to mpeg4
object type = low complexity
container = mp4

video
mode=bitrate-based
bitrate set to whatever you find appropriate
format=mpeg4
container=mp4
auto select is enabled on source, backend

picture
resize not enabled, unless below 320x240 (then set to 320x240)
crop disabled
frame rate not enabled
aspect ratio set to either 4:3 or 16:9, as is needed


Mind you, some material still seems to be fussy with this configuration. So it is still not a universal solution to make a ps3 playable encoding.

Here are my updated transcoder observations with the ps3:

My methodology (for tiny internet videos) seems to follow this pattern:

-first try mpeg4/faac, use original res unless the orig is below 320x240
-if that doesn't work, try mpeg1/mpeg layer 2 audio
-if that doesn't work, try mpeg2/mpeg layer 2 audio

I have not been able to make any sort of playable encodings (on a ps3) using h264, mpeg2/ac-3 combo, mpeg1/mp3 combo.

I have been able to convert some realplayer videos, but not with working audio. Quicktime mov files seem to be a mixed bag to get working.

For the most part, vlc seems to play my encoding creations in all sorts of video/audio combos, but the ps3 is quite finicky in what it will recognize and playback.


Someone on another forum has suggested xvid (profile: unrestricted)/mp3 in an avi container. It seems to be encoding a few samples I have tried so far with little fuss. I don't know if they will playback on ps3...will try them out this evening.

Preset file? Do you mean the entries in the (global) Settings menu? I have only changed one thing from that screen, and that was in Overall/Container Options/Track Order=Audio First.

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post #8 of 28 Old 02-01-2008, 08:08 PM
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Click away on my link for some general guides and knowledge.

You can also read through this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=969198
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post #9 of 28 Old 02-01-2008, 09:12 PM
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I'm another guy who'd appreciate a FAQ or guide about the strengths and weaknesses/limited of a PS3 as Media Center. I'm tired of setting up my laptop for HTPC use, thinking of getting into a console (prefer 360 but if PS3 was better for streaming HD/5.1 that and BRD would probably put me over the edge) or buying a dedicated HTPC (that'd come later) so yeah, a clear FAQ would really be helpful.
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post #10 of 28 Old 02-01-2008, 09:15 PM
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Mr. Furguson, the page was open for a long time before I posted - so I didn't see your post before mine went up. Anyway, Can you explain what Tversity/Fruppes is? Software backends for Windows? What I really want is for the PS3 to just stream FILES from a server. If a PC/software must be involved then it defeats the purpose, for me.
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post #11 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 03:25 AM
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Tversity and Fuppes is a software backend like you said. It allows your PC to stream files to the PS3. Both programs have a very low memory footprint unless you are streaming HD content.
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post #12 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 04:51 AM
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I'm assuming Linux/VLC on the PS3 isn't powerful-enough to stream HD? If so, then basically I'm personally not interested as a PS3 as a streamer. Too bad. I'll probably end up with a 360 and a mid-range Mac (iMac) in my theater. I'd love to hear that my assessment is wrong, though!
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post #13 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfly13 View Post

I'm assuming Linux/VLC on the PS3 isn't powerful-enough to stream HD? If so, then basically I'm personally not interested as a PS3 as a streamer. Too bad. I'll probably end up with a 360 and a mid-range Mac (iMac) in my theater. I'd love to hear that my assessment is wrong, though!

I don't have a 360, but I don't think it can just "stream" without a PC either.

Both the PS3 and 360 require a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) server to stream media.

Software like TVersity and FUPPES are UPnP servers. I have FUPPES set up on my Ubuntu server, which stores all my media. You can also use Windows Media Player as a UPnP server, if that is what you want to do. Alternatively, you can plug in an external USB drive to your PS3 and play movies directly off the disc. Or copy them to the internal PS3 drive and play them direct from there.

When you want to play a movie on the PS3, you just go to the "Video" section, select your UPnP server and pick the movie you want to watch. It supports HD and 5.1.

If you want to get fancy, you can set up some UPnP servers to transcode audio/video on the fly. For example, the PS3 doesn't support FLAC, so you can set up your server to convert to MP3 or WAV on the fly.
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post #14 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 08:19 AM
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I'm having a very hard time streaming movies from my laptop to my ps3. I thought the addition of divx would help, but it doesn't look like it makes a differences with movies - which are .vob files and so forth.

I'd REALLY debated about using tversity, but I think as someone stated the picture quality decreases with the transcoding.
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post #15 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 11:20 AM
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Sorry I realize I was unclear. I meant an xbox 360 for gaming and an iMac for HTPC (and light big-screen gaming).

I'm planning to build an unRAID server, but I don't think it does UPnP like the PS3 requires. It's amazing how slowly technology progresses when there's no big budget copyright holders backing it up (and intentionally slowing it down I'd imagine).
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post #16 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfly13 View Post

I'm planning to build an unRAID server, but I don't think it does UPnP like the PS3 requires. It's amazing how slowly technology progresses when there's no big budget copyright holders backing it up (and intentionally slowing it down I'd imagine).

unRAID is just a linux distribution. You should be able to run anything you want, if you are willing to play around a little.

For example, here is some instructions on setting up a TwonkyVision (a UPnP server in unRAID). Unfortunately, TwonkyVision is not free.

http://wiki.lime-technology.com/wiki...y_Media_server
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post #17 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 09:24 PM
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I had a post on this a while back. It's an OK player. It's very picky about files right now, but when it plays them, it does it well.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ighlight=media
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post #18 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidboy View Post

unRAID is just a linux distribution. You should be able to run anything you want, if you are willing to play around a little.

For example, here is some instructions on setting up a TwonkyVision (a UPnP server in unRAID). Unfortunately, TwonkyVision is not free.

http://wiki.lime-technology.com/wiki...y_Media_server

So it is supported. That's promising. So theoretically I could do the quick transcode (sorry I'm hazy on the technical term) which basically changes the tags and extension, but doesn't transcode the whole video - and then the PS3 could stream the MP4 h.264 from the unRAID? That IS promising. I'll research on lime-tech if anyone's doing this now. Thanks!
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post #19 of 28 Old 02-02-2008, 10:21 PM
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BTW to save someone the clicks, twonkyvision is 30euros ($44.50).
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post #20 of 28 Old 02-03-2008, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfly13 View Post

So it is supported. That's promising. So theoretically I could do the quick transcode (sorry I'm hazy on the technical term) which basically changes the tags and extension, but doesn't transcode the whole video - and then the PS3 could stream the MP4 h.264 from the unRAID? That IS promising. I'll research on lime-tech if anyone's doing this now. Thanks!

Or if your files are in a format that the PS3 supports natively, you are good to go. Just set up Twonky (or some other UPnP software) and point it at your files. When you have files that the PS3 likes, it really is quite a nice streaming client.

It's the hassle of trying to figure out WHY a particular file isn't supported, or trying to figure out how to get the video/audio codecs that you want to play nice together. For example, you'll have a hard time getting H.264 and AC3 (Dolby Digital) together. Some people have gotten it to work, others just can't. Personally, I use full quality MPEG-2 files with AC3 audio, but obviously that will take more space than something like xvid or H.264.

Plus, you end up getting a Blu-ray player, if you don't have one already.
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post #21 of 28 Old 02-15-2008, 09:07 PM
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So you *must* have a uPnP server on the PC end? Can't the PS3 just reach across the LAN and grab & play a file from a shared folder, the way e.g. PowerDVD on a PC could?

What if I want one of those little networked hard drives for hosting my movie files? Can't run a server on that. Or would you have to run the server on another PC and have it access the file server across the LAN?
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post #22 of 28 Old 02-18-2008, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidboy View Post

Or if your files are in a format that the PS3 supports natively, you are good to go. Just set up Twonky (or some other UPnP software) and point it at your files. When you have files that the PS3 likes, it really is quite a nice streaming client.

It's the hassle of trying to figure out WHY a particular file isn't supported, or trying to figure out how to get the video/audio codecs that you want to play nice together. For example, you'll have a hard time getting H.264 and AC3 (Dolby Digital) together. Some people have gotten it to work, others just can't. Personally, I use full quality MPEG-2 files with AC3 audio, but obviously that will take more space than something like xvid or H.264.

Plus, you end up getting a Blu-ray player, if you don't have one already.



Can anyone tell me what files a PS3 supports? I have all my movies ripped down as straight VIDEO-TS files, that I currently stream to a VMC based HTPC. I would love to get a PS3 to eliminate the HTPC, but it must support Video_TS files, as I have no intention of re-ripping all my movies. I looked at TvVersity and it seems to only send 2.0 sound and may even compress the video a little. I need a way to do this without touching the quality at all, and it also must support DTS. Am I SOL on this one, or can it be done?

Thanks
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post #23 of 28 Old 02-18-2008, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davdev View Post

Can anyone tell me what files a PS3 supports? I have all my movies ripped down as straight VIDEO-TS files, that I currently stream to a VMC based HTPC. I would love to get a PS3 to eliminate the HTPC, but it must support Video_TS files, as I have no intention of re-ripping all my movies. I looked at TvVersity and it seems to only send 2.0 sound and may even compress the video a little. I need a way to do this without touching the quality at all, and it also must support DTS. Am I SOL on this one, or can it be done?

Thanks

I'm looking to do the same thing (I don't have a htpc though). My movies were ripped the same way - straight into one audio and video folder.

I'm hoping for an update that will support these formats and provide 100% playback quality.
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post #24 of 28 Old 02-19-2008, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garyfritz View Post

So you *must* have a uPnP server on the PC end? Can't the PS3 just reach across the LAN and grab & play a file from a shared folder, the way e.g. PowerDVD on a PC could?

What if I want one of those little networked hard drives for hosting my movie files? Can't run a server on that. Or would you have to run the server on another PC and have it access the file server across the LAN?

Yep, the PS3 requires a UPnP server. It doesn't supported shared folders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davdev View Post

Can anyone tell me what files a PS3 supports? I have all my movies ripped down as straight VIDEO-TS files, that I currently stream to a VMC based HTPC. I would love to get a PS3 to eliminate the HTPC, but it must support Video_TS files, as I have no intention of re-ripping all my movies. I looked at TvVersity and it seems to only send 2.0 sound and may even compress the video a little. I need a way to do this without touching the quality at all, and it also must support DTS. Am I SOL on this one, or can it be done?

Thanks

The PS3 Supports the files listed here:

http://manuals.playstation.net/docum...filetypes.html

The PS3 doesn't support VIDEO_TS folders directly. However, you can convert your VIDEO_TS folder to a single MPG file using VOB2MPG, which only takes a few minutes.

I haven't ever tried DTS, so I can't confirm whether it works or not.
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post #25 of 28 Old 02-19-2008, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidboy View Post

Yep, the PS3 requires a UPnP server. It doesn't supported shared folders.

Well that sux. I guess I could run the UPnP server on a PC, and have it serve files that it pulls off a network drive. I'd much rather not have to have the PC running to provide files to the PS3. Ohwell...

Quote:


The PS3 doesn't support VIDEO_TS folders directly. However, you can convert your VIDEO_TS folder to a single MPG file using VOB2MPG, which only takes a few minutes.

That doesn't sound *too* bad. My current network-capable DVD player (a Momitsu v880N) only plays .VOB files, so I already have to strip the VOBs out of the VIDEO_TS structure. VOB2MPG can't be much worse, though it would be nicer if the PS3 just worked with the VIDEO_TS structure. As I said, Ohwell...
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post #26 of 28 Old 02-19-2008, 09:22 AM
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I hope this helps, its worked for me for the past 4 months or so

For my setup i use Tversity to stream my dvd collection to the Ps3 with out Transcoding turned on (the ps3 knows what to do with .vob files) with the quality upscaled to 1080p. The audio seems to come accross in 5.1 just as the playing the disc would. I have a 1.8 P4 processor with 512 ram in that server and it keeps up just fine when buffering, playing the dvds almost instantly.

For ripping, I just use dvd decryptor to rip the dvd to one huge (typically 4.5 -7 gb) .vob file. After ripping, i take the Vob, rename it to the movie title with .vob as the extension and cut it into my TVersity share directory.

The server makes a wireless connection to my router and the ps3 is directly connected to my router. I have the P3 setup with a static IP with Upnp turned off in the router.

The only problem i have discovered with doing this is that some dvds come with multiple languages and the ps3 has no way to select them when streaming that i have found. The first time you play it will play in english, if you stop it and resume play, it plays in a different language, and eventually it gets back to english if you resume enuf times. You can eliminate this via dvd reauthoring software, by unchecking the various other languages.
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post #27 of 28 Old 02-19-2008, 10:00 AM
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Thanks Greg,

Sounds like your process of ripping is very similar to what I've been using. But you're still using DVD Decryptor? That hasn't worked for me (for a lot of disks) for a long time. I generally use DVDshrink when I can, or DVDFab Decryptor when I can't.

No language selection, eh? Hm. That's a bummer. With DVDshrink you can select to rip only the English soundtrack. Forget if DVDFab can do that or not.
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post #28 of 28 Old 02-19-2008, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garyfritz View Post

Thanks Greg,

Sounds like your process of ripping is very similar to what I've been using. But you're still using DVD Decryptor? That hasn't worked for me (for a lot of disks) for a long time. I generally use DVDshrink when I can, or DVDFab Decryptor when I can't.

No language selection, eh? Hm. That's a bummer. With DVDshrink you can select to rip only the English soundtrack. Forget if DVDFab can do that or not.

I think i actually use Rip It For Me which loads dvd decryptor. I couldnt remember what the name of the reauthor software was, thanks, I use Dvd Shrink too to take out the non-english soundtrack and to make a copy on disc for a separate backup. We have too many TVs and Dvd players in the house.
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