How much is ripped 720p/1080i DVD/Blu-ray EXTENDIBLE MCE integration worth to you? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I have searched far and wide for a solution to this seemingly eternal problem. How do you rip your DVDs and Blu-ray discs and then make them available within Media Center and via extenders at a minimum of 720p/1080i without layer upon layer of plugins and kludgy apps? We've all asked for this. I now have the solution that is mostly hardware based, but offers virtually unlimited storage for ripped movies (fully legal for DVD and AnyDVD HD ripped for Blu-ray), gives your Media Center PC AND any extenders access to a 720p or 1080i, 5.1Ch stream of the movie without any additional software, and maybe has the one downside of requiring a separate remote control (or separate buttons on a programmable remote) to control the movie playback (chapter skips, etc).

How much is it worth to you? In reality, it would be over $8k to get all the right parts together to make it work, but it would be an absolutely rock solid solution. Is there a market for this or is that just too much? The price could be less if you limit the amount of disc space for movies.

I know that some of you may think that I am blowing smoke with this post, but I have a custom install business of my own and have been looking for the pieces to solve this puzzle for over 5 years now. They are finally here and at a price that is at least attainable by some (it's still less than the cheapest Kalidescape). The question is whether it's worth it. I'm debating this myself before spending the money for a live proof of concept and would love to hear your points of view.

Note: This solution would work with other HTPC apps as well, and even perhaps with better remote integration, but we only deal with Media Center, so that's why this post is slanted towards it.
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post #2 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 06:00 PM
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Dude, we're going to need a few more specifics than what you've provided here so far. I understand that you wish to keep the full solution secret, but what you're saying is way too vague. Most of us can achieve semi-decent 1080p integration and streaming throughout our houses for much less than $8k, so what exactly are you talking about here that's different than what we have now? Even the Kaleidoscope systems don't make much sense these days with WHS and cheap Win7 clients coming close to HTPC nirvana.

So, maybe I don't get it... what the heck are you talking about here?
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post #3 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 06:04 PM
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Dude, you're describing SageTV. A lot of us have been doing this for a long time. Including full TV scheduling and PVRing.

...And it is already fully integrated into our universal remotes.

-Suntan
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post #4 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I know I'm being purposefully vague here. It's basically a solution that takes a Kaleidescape-type solution and makes it available within Media Center, FULLY available to any HD capable extenders (including Xbox 360). That last point is the key that has never really been cracked with any reliability in my opinion.

I don't know that we will ever see such support built-in to Media Center. Even with managed copy bantered about, it may make Blu-ray titles available to 360 extenders but in my opinion will never be consumer-friendly.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Dude, you're describing SageTV.

I assume you're using a plug-in with Sage then that allows both ripped DVDs and BRDs to be cataloged and viewed on the PC and on a Sage extender (similar to MyMovies in MCE)? That's all fine and good, and for techies it's perfectly reasonable, but the solution that I'm talking about is *almost* dummy-proof once the pieces are in place.
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post #6 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 06:54 PM
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Your assuming incorrectly. SageTV is its own system. It has nothing to do with MCE.

I'm surprised you haven't heard of it after searching far and wide for 5 years.

www.sagetv.com

Might want to check it out. You'll be able to save about $7,500.

-Suntan
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post #7 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

I know I'm being purposefully vague here. It's basically a solution that takes a Kaleidescape-type solution and makes it available within Media Center, FULLY available to any HD capable extenders (including Xbox 360). That last point is the key that has never really been cracked with any reliability in my opinion.

I don't know that we will ever see such support built-in to Media Center. Even with managed copy bantered about, it may make Blu-ray titles available to 360 extenders but in my opinion will never be consumer-friendly.

Any $8k solution that is catered toward cheap extenders, like the Xbox360, seems kinda...silly...if you ask me.

For $8k, I could wire my whole house for centrally managed 1080p on GigE, without any issues whatsoever; and that includes multiple CableCARD tuners, Bluray rip streaming, AND all media playable on 360's (I personally avoid extenders like the plague).

My current system is easy enough for my 10-yr old nephew to use in any room of my house.

So, I still don't get it. Perhaps you could list out all the benefits of your system?
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post #8 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Your assuming incorrectly. SageTV is its own system. It has nothing to do with MCE.

Yes, I know Sage has nothing to do with MCE, but it's not cataloging and playing ripped Blu-rays straight out of the box, is it? I understand that yes, there are solutions that allow you to rip and view both DVDs and Blu-rays to your hard drive or attached storage, but they typically require some ongoing maintenance and aren't always 100% reliable.

What I'm talking about is essentially separating out the movie portion of the HTPC altogther to another system...A system designed to be absolutely fool-proof (and 100% legal) for DVD ripping, and requires 1 button for Blu-ray rips. It has the added bonus of making all those rips available to all extenders on the network.

HTPCs have, and maybe always will, suffer from not being dummy-proof. Yes, this solution is expensive, no doubt, but is a viable way to get all of your disc-based media available anywhere in the house and let your wife enjoy it without breaking it Certainly it's expensive, and that's why I posted this to get your take on whether it's worth it.

There's no reason to stay away from the 360 as an extender. I've never had a problem with the extender functionality. To be able to add the full functionality of your HTPC to another TV for $300 PLUS get a gaming system is a great deal.
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post #9 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TheSkinsFan View Post

without any issues whatsoever; and that includes multiple CableCARD tuners, Bluray rip streaming, AND all media playable on 360's (I personally avoid extenders like the plague).

How would you stream your Blu-ray rips? Curious as to what you would use....
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

Yes, I know Sage has nothing to do with MCE, but it's not cataloging and playing ripped Blu-rays straight out of the box, is it?

Played back on the HD200 extender, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

I understand that yes, there are solutions that allow you to rip and view both DVDs and Blu-rays to your hard drive or attached storage, but they typically require some ongoing maintenance and aren't always 100% reliable.

Rip the disk to your hdd then go upstairs navigate to it in the Sage extender's OSD, click play and it starts playing. As reliably as any CE device available today.

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Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

HTPCs have, and maybe always will, suffer from not being dummy-proof. Yes, this solution is expensive, no doubt, but is a viable way to get all of your disc-based media available anywhere in the house and let your wife enjoy it without breaking it Certainly it's expensive, and that's why I posted this to get your take on whether it's worth it.

There is a significant difference in getting a HTPC to playback everything reliably on its own and just having it store & serve the video to a STB player.

My wife has no problems running Sage. ...She's a kindergarten teacher.

You asked, I answered. So far, what you have claimed your system can do is already available and more for $70 in software and $200 for one STB per TV.

And realistically, you're not going to meet a whole lot of people here that find the perk of "legally" accessing your DVDs worth thousands of dollars compared to the currently ubiquitous methods available.

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Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

There's no reason to stay away from the 360 as an extender. I've never had a problem with the extender functionality. To be able to add the full functionality of your HTPC to another TV for $300 PLUS get a gaming system is a great deal.

Other than the sound of a jet engine taking off under your TV?

Lastly, if you're going to charge 8K for it, it has to fully support 1080p 24hz playback with complete support for bitstreaming TrueHD and DTS HD-MA. Anything less would be a joke at those prices.

-Suntan
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

How would you stream your Blu-ray rips? Curious as to what you would use....

Well, like I said, I wouldn't use extenders of any kind. I use a central storage server and small HTPC's for each TV -- each running 7MC. My central storage server can serve up multiple HD streams, in full 1080p, to any display in my house. Hell, it even works over MOCA where I dont have GigE!

Storage/Backup Server: $450 + HDD's as needed
Gaming/Ripping/Encoding/PVR PC: $1600
Current HTPCs: $600 to $1000 each

The only trick is getting the HTPC's configured properly; but, once that's done, they're pretty much hands-off. My plan is to build a new master HTPC when the Intel Clarkdale chips come out. I'll then build three identical systems and simply image the fully configured front-end onto each one. They'll then be even easier to update and centrally manage.

So I guess my answer would be to avoid "streaming," and stick with "serving" instead... or you could go with the SageTV solution that Suntan suggests. (I just happen to prefer Media Center and full-scope HTPCs that can sometimes be used for more than media)

EDIT: like Suntan said, the 360 sounds like a jet engine during takeoff. That's fine when gaming, but it sucks when you're watching any quiet scene in a movie. One-touch ripping sounds fantastic though, but not for $8k. I might pay $200 for the one-button ripping alone, but no more... You might be able to market it toward lazy rich people though!
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post #12 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 08:16 PM
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You'd want to stay away from the 360 because anyone spending $8000 would ask you why the hell you want to place a bulky, ugly Xbox 360 next to their TV and then say "no thanks."
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post #13 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Played back on the HD200 extender, yes.

Good to know. I didn't realize the HD200 could play the rips straight up. That's a definite advantage over Media Center's extenders then!

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Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

My wife has no problems running Sage. ...She's a kindergarten teacher.

Yes, but can she rip the disk without your involvement? Again, this forum is full of techies, so in most cases, that's not a big deal, and most of us would want to keep control of what is added, etc to the server anyway. I'll concede that if Sage can really just rip and go with BRDs on extenders, then some of the kludginess of the ripping process is not worth debating. However, the one downside is that Sage isn't built in to every Windows PC. I'd like to think that we'd all like to see the HTPC market continue to grow, which means more and more people will almost instinctively go with Media Center as their app of choice. So the question is what's the solution for BRD there? There are plenty of threads about ripping and reencoding, etc, to get video to a Media Center extender, but that will never be a mainstream solution. Not that the price point on mine is either, really, but for those willing to pay, it does take the techno-challenges out of the equation.
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post #14 of 21 Old 10-22-2009, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TheSkinsFan View Post

Storage/Backup Server: $450 + HDD's as needed
Gaming/Ripping/Encoding/PVR PC: $1600
Current HTPCs: $600 to $1000 each

That type of setup certainly isn't crazy, especially if you like to use the HTPC as a PC. If that's the case, then you'd want the full functionality at each location. In my mind though, the "PC" portion of HTPC simply means that you're using a PC as the backbone of the system. Maybe I take a different approach because I do help my customers configure their Media Center PCs in their homes and there is a lot of misinformation that common folk have about HTPCs in general.

Re: 360 fan noise -- that too is probably due to my installer background. Everytime we install a 360, it's in a cabinet or closet and the sound is well dampened. If you have it out in the open, then certainly it's a noisy son of a gun!
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

Yes, but can she rip the disk without your involvement?

Put the disc in, open DVDfab, hit the enter button and 10 minutes later the DVD is ripped to the drive. It's not that hard. Yes she can do it on her own.

You seem to think that it is *just* complexity that keeps the average person from doing this. No, it is not just complexity. It is that they don't care to do this.

Sorry, but I maintain that the market for what you suggest is *not* there. The number of people on the planet that would be interested in paying 8 grand just to not have to deal with the *complexity* of ripping yet would settle for an Xbox 360 as their interface for playback that is not even capable of full quality they could probably be counted on one hand and still have enough fingers left over to give you a high five.

Take it a step further. You mention that you would still need AnyDVD HD for blu ray ripping. Are you expecting a person to pay you $8,000 *and* then have to go to slysoft's website to buy a copy of AnyDVD HD to install themselves? The kind of person that is intimidated by ripping, yet willing to pay 8k for the service, isn't going to go through the hassle of buying software online and dealing with configuring it.

Or are you suggesting that you would offer them a turn key product that already has AnyDVD HD configured as part of the 8K cost? Because that would be illegal in the USA, even if you get a licensing agreement from Slysoft.

Sorry, I haven't heard a business case that makes sense given the claims you say it is capable of, the components that you have said are involved, and the cost you suggest it would go for.

-Suntan
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post #16 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

...A system designed to be absolutely fool-proof (and 100% legal) for DVD ripping, and requires 1 button for Blu-ray rips. It has the added bonus of making all those rips available to all extenders on the network.

I don't see how you could make this claim and sell this system in the us.
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post #17 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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The system I'm proposing here is literally pulling together off-the-shelf components. They are certainly components that are targetted for more of an upper bracket and even light commercial market, but potentially at a price point isn't completely insane (a Kaliedescape system with any significant amount of storage is $20k+). Granted, insanity is often a relative thing as I'm sure many of you think I'm nuts for even proposing such a solution at around $8k.

It's just putting pieces together that no one has thought of before. The legality of the AnyDVD HD part is up to that particular manufacturer, although, yes, the license for AnyDVD is included in my general estimate of $8k. I know that I am estimating on the high end for this. I'm including 6-8 TB raid NAS in that estimate as well, if that wasn't clear above. The price could be cut a bit if you already have storage.

I decided to go ahead and order one piece of this system, which is reasonable to try out on its own as designed. The question is whether to get the other pieces to put a proof of concept together. I wouldn't need the NAS (or at least that big of one) to prove it works.
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post #18 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 05:05 PM
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It is illegal, in the US, to offer for sale anything that allows for the circumvention of digital encryption.

No manufacturer, builder or custom installer would be in their right mind to offer integration of AnyDVD HD into any product or build.

-Suntan
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post #19 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 05:32 PM
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And we're lucky slysoft is in a country that doesn't give a crap about copy protection and doesn't give in to the Movie industry, or we wouldn't have AnyDVD either
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post #20 of 21 Old 10-23-2009, 06:03 PM
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I guess I still don't get it. What, besides the supposed "one-button ripping," is unique about this system?
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post #21 of 21 Old 10-24-2009, 10:18 AM
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For 8K I can buy a ReQuest system with a 5TB nas from Lacie and use the new Sony Blu-ray changer and have 800 moives stored on the nas 400 blu-ray movies in the changer and access them all through an on screen 720p gui on my tv, plus have 50K internet radio stations, Hulu, netflix, youtube content for free. Plus I can access my music anywhere in the world and stream it to my laptop. I simply connect the component out from my ReQuest IMC into a comp matrix and have movies anywhere in the house.
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