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post #1 of 24 Old 07-05-2012, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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This thread is a work in progress description of my migration from a Meedio based HTPC to a Plex/UnRAID based whole house media solution. Any comments, advice or questions are welcome. I will be updating the first posts to reflect the current status. I will not document comprehensive build notes until I have the solution solid enough. As I might hit a show stopper at any time, I will not yet make any guaranties about finishing this wink.gif

Index
1. The Goal
1.1 Background
1.2 The Goal
2. Building the solution
2.1 Media Server installation and configuration
2.2 Media Center Installation and configuration
3. Pending issues
3.1 Blu-ray ISO playback
3.2 DVD Profiler support
3.3 Remote control (Harmony)
3.4 Batch conversion of Blu-rays in ISO-format and DVDs in Video_TS-format to MKV using makemkvcon
3.x Other pending issues
4. Resources
5. Screenshots


1. The Goal
1.1 Background
Me and my family have been using a Meedio based HTPC since 2005. Originally it was used for watching DVD-movies (TheaterTek), listening to music (built-in) and recording/playing OTA-DVB programs (DVBViewer). Main goal was to provide an integrated, remote controllable (Logitech Harmony), easy to use, interface which all family members would be able to use to play all media. The UI is based on the HDeeTV theme with some home made customisation and has been pretty much untouched since 2006. The secondary goal was to built it with AV-fidelity in mind so pixel-perfect display with proper refresh rates, 5.1 audio etc. were obvious requirements. Since 2005 the HTPC has been driving a Panasonic PT-AE700 projector and lately a LG LD450N TV. Third goal was to make it rock solid, or at least as robust as possible. This was initialised by using a "XPLited" Windows XP SP2 and rigorous control in what is installed/updated. Disk images were used in all update operation and roll backed if anything went wrong so the OS was kept "clean". Also all autoupdates were disabled, the only OS-update todate is SP3 and it was manually applied. The HTPC boot time has not significantly changed since initial install (which I cannot say for any other windows installation I've ever had)

As time went by new things came into picture like Blu-rays to be played with PowerDVD / AnyDVD HD. In 2009, pretty soon after starting to rip Blu-rays, emerged the biggest thing so far when I built an UnRAID server to store all my media. Before that most of the movies were on DVD-discs, after that everything, including Blu-rays were online. DVD Profiler has been used from day one to store all the meta data related to movies and the XML2Mee plugin to push it to Meedio. DVB recording do not have any additional meta data used except what can be parsed from the filename. TV-series covers have been manually managed with no other meta data. Quite a lot of manual work is required to make sure all the meta data is correct but since we have a lot of local or localised (Finnish) content there is no way around it even with magical scrapers.

I really like the media management, or actually better say media engine part of Meedio. One of cool things is the ability to define any media type and it's attributes simply by adding items containing those attributes. Of course you must then modify the theme to utilise the fields but you are definetely not stuck with a fixed set of attributes. The second thing is the View builder which enables you to define any kind of grouping, filtering and sorting on the media items. These views can then be called upon in the theme and without theme modification to be displayed. On the first look on Plex, I will be missing these features.

As some of you know, Meedio was bought by Yahoo in 2006 and further updates were not provided. MeediOS appeared quite soon but never really provided a replacement. So Meedio being discontinued I decided stick with it until I hit a brick wall like being unable to play some new media type. It's now 2012 and I'm yet to hit a brick wall. I've been semi-actively looking at alternatives like XBMC, Media Portal and Cinemar MainLobby. But nothing has really hit me big time. Well until Plex was recommended by a colleague of mine. At the time of writing this first post I have had three nights of Plex play time. And I'm completely sold, I've finally seen something which works vert nicely out-of-box and with quite some style too. It has some obvious imperfections but at least at the moment none of which could not be solved.

1.2 The goal
From the user perspective the goal is simple: provide all the media easily on all the wanted devices (pc's, Android phones, future devices). From the technical point of view the main goal is also simple: fulfill the user goal with as less work as possibly. Below is a more detailed list of primary and secondary requirements derived from these goals.

Primary requirements:
  • Watch DVD and Blu-ray movies on PCs (3 x Windows 7)
  • Watch TV-series on all PCs
  • Watch DVB recordings on all PCs
  • Subtitles on all non-Finnish video content
  • Listen to music on all current devices (PCs and Android phones)
  • In PC environment use Harmony (or other) remote as the main control mechanism
  • Automatic creation/scraping of movie, music and tv-series meta data
  • Manage movie metadata in DVD Profiler and combine it's information to scraped one (online movies only)
  • Store all media on an UnRAID server
  • Ability to customise the UI and content views to our needs (filter, sort)
  • As few software used as possible, preferrably only one for playback
  • Sufficient AV-fidelity when in local network environment (1080p24, atleast DD5.1 or DTS, no transcoding)

Secondary requirements:
  • Media playback on selected new devices either direct support or DLNA (iDevices, standalone boxes/TV's)
  • Offline media support (DVD Profiler Slot/Location somehow indicated to end user and disc play capability)
  • Automatic creation/scraping of DVB recordings meta data
  • Use UnRAID as the Plex Media Server
  • Proper DVR-solution (eg. using Elgato streaming units)
  • Remote control PC-based Plex Media Centers with Android PlexApp
  • Parental controls to limit childrens' access to rated content
  • Multi-user support for watched-flag (eg. family members watching same TV-series separately)
  • Full AV-fidelity (HDAudio etc.)

Media content
We currently have ~1000 DVD and Blu-ray movies of which 240 Blu-rays and 350 DVDs are online. The amount TV-series episodes is ~500 and we have ~2000 songs. Everything is provided through the UnRAID "fused" user shares with the following directory structure:
Code:
\\unraid1\blu-ray\
        movie1_name.iso
        movie2_name.iso
\\unraid1\dvd\
        movie1_name\
                video_ts\
                        dvd_files
\\unraid1\tv-series\
        tv-series1_name\
                season 1\
                        tv-series1_name_S01E01_Episode_Name.avi
                        tv-series1_name_S01E01_Episode_Name.srt
\\unraid1\dvb\
        Date_Time_Channel_Programname.ts
        Date_Time_Channel_Programname.txt (meta data in non-xml format)
\\unraid1\mp3\
        artist#1\
                year - album1_name
                        song1.mp3 (with proper ID3 tags)
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-05-2012, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-05-2012, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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3. Pending issues
3.1 Blu-ray ISO playback
According to what I've read Plex does and most likely never will not officially support any kind of image based media to be streamed. This includes iso-images and also VIDEO_TS. Having said that the VIDEO_TS playback works on a Windows setup where the Media Server and Media Center are installed on the same machine. I haven't tested VIDEO_TS playback on another pc yet but it should fail. There is a way to utilise an external application to do the playback (and image mounting). This is accomplished by creating a custom playercorefactory.xml configuration file (see here). It would at the same time seem to solve the missing HD Audio problem. There are some outstanding issues like media meta data not being passed correctly.

However there is one big caveat in the above solution; it's basicly only supported on Windows playback platforms leaving things like iDevices and external devices out of the picture. An alternative solution is to convert all my Blu-rays and DVDs to MKV-format. This is what I'm currently now testing. I've downloaded MakeMKV (see here) and converting some Blu-rays to do testing of 1080p24 streaming and also streaming with transcoding to mobile devices.

Tried a few Blu-rays converted to MKV, conversion took ~30minutes / movie (25-40GB). I enabled DXVA2, set display refresh to match video and "Sync Playback to Display" = "Audio Clock". On the first run I got a picture with black bars all around the video. Took me a while to realise it was nothing to do with Plex but ATI underscan settings which is wrongly set by default (see here). Once that was fixed I really got to do some testing. I was really amazed, audio sync seemed perfect, no dropped frames, no microstutter on panning scenes, no tearing, no apparent video/audio problems. On my previous setup even with ReClock I wasn't even close to this kind of video quality. Still this is just initial impressions but it all seem very promising. Previously I had quite a bunch of different pieces of software in the display chain, now one seems to do all the work. CPU-load hoovered around 20% and this in a temporary setup where the server and client are on the same system.

I'll continue converting more movies to MKV and do some real life movie watching.

3.2 DVD Profiler support
Though online meta data scrapers are nice and really save time, they will always have been the following two limitations for me:
  • Some, especially foreign, content is not available in the free online databases. In my case I have over 300 movie titles which were not available in the DVD Profiler databases so I have manually added them. Most of them are localised children movies.
  • The meta data is usually stored in some application's database and suspect to change whenever the online data changes. Sometimes there are ways to export/backup this data but like with Plex this isn't at least officially supported. So if the database gets corrupted and the online service is not any more available (anything can happen in 2-5 years), my valuable meta data is gone. Backups can help on this one but migrating to another media center software will still not be easy.

So what makes DVD Profiler any different from media centers' media managers? Well few things, for one it is independent and has extensive export capabilities. Second, it has a built in mechanism to combine online and end user meta data and protect end user contributed parts. Sure it has it's limitations like no fanart and no direct support for online media (ie. scanning directories) but there is only a very limited amount of things I *truely* need to be in the meta data.

Yet I would like to take the DVD Profiler information as the basis and then enhance it with scraped data. I have found two ways to accomplish this:
  1. Use a meta data agent which directly uses xml exported from DVD Profiler when it scans online media. This is pretty much what XML2Mee plugin did for Meedio. Unfortunately nothing like this seems to exist so I would have to develop it my self. Though I might be able to pull it off, it will not be a small task and I would hate to be doing anything in this "low" level.
  2. Manipulate the DVD Profiler exported meta data in a way that existing meta data agents can utilise it. More specifically create XBMC-like nfo.files and then use the only known to work agent (see here). The files must created within the media directory structure so also this will require some non-trivial coding.

So I'm now working on the second option. There are different approaches: use a DVD Profiler plugin called (see here) DVDProfilerLoop which goes through collection (or subset of it) and launches a given application/script for each movie passing selected attributes as parameters. To have sufficient robustness a Windows Scripting Host language like VBScript should be used at least (instead of batch script). I've done some experimenting on this approach and the interface seems to work nicely. The other approach is to write an independent application which will take the whole xml-export file. The latter part of the code will be exactly same, generating the nfo and poster files.

I'll report back when I've some success on this one.

3.3 Remote control (Harmony)
I have not had time to investigate this too much but stumbled on this wiki-article which seems to provide a comprehensive quide for setting up Harmony remotes. Even the model 525 matches mine.

3.4 Batch conversion of Blu-rays in ISO-format and DVDs in Video_TS-format to MKV using makemkvcon
All my online movies are in either ISO or Video_TS formats which are not properly supported by Plex. The same applies to many other currently available media center software so I decided to start converting my movies to MKV-format. As a bonus I would save quite a bit of disk space when all the extra-material is removed in the process. For DVDs I have always preferred and been able to rip only the main movie with correct languages (Finnish and English audio, Finnish subtitles) when using FabHDDecrypter. For Blu-rays I've been using AnyDVDHD which does not support movie-only ripping so some of my BR-rips take almost twice the disk space actually needed.

So started researching this and found quite many similar requests but to my amazement no direct support within MakeMKV and no proper plugin, extension or external application to do the batch conversion. I found one (1) GUI based batch tool (see here) and couple batch script based solutions using the makemkvcon/makemkvcon64 command line interface. The GUI based is very simple; you start as many MakeMKV instances you want, make the settings for each conversion and then let the tool run each of them sequentically. This works rather well but is far from true automated batch conversion (ie. no human input required at all in any stage).

Then I tried the batch script approach. I modified some of available scripts to my liking and let it run over night on couple of movie titles. The results were varying; on some titles there was only one mkv file produced (filtered by the minlength=1800 setting) but for others like Wall-E I got several almost identical mkv files. I think these are due to localisation of some video material (eg. a note is visualised in your selected language) and in my mind almost always totally unnecessary. I suspect the first title of these kind to be the original (usually the English) one.

The story continues here. I'll continue posting on that thread until I reasonable solution for batch conversion of my ISO Blu-ray rips is found and then make a clean up description here.

3.x Other pending issues
  • User defined media filters/queries
  • Purchase date support
  • Parental controls
  • Multi-user support for watched
  • HD bitstream audio support
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Update with some progress on getting my Blu-ray playback working (see here). Went with the "convert to MKV and 1080p streaming" approach. Though initial, the results seem too good to be true. I've yet to see any video playback problems. The only the minor thing is that it takes Plex player quite some time (10-15 seconds) to recover when skipping chapters or fast forwarding.
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 07:01 AM
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Wow, thanks for the write up! I really don't want to rain on your parade, but before you get to far, you should probably know that Plex has some serious limitations. I just don't want you to have to find this stuff out later.

-Plex does not respect forced subtitle flags (so you will have to manually turn on subtitles on movies with foreign language sections)
-the refresh rate switching feature cannot be customized, so if you have a TV that doesn't support 25p, but your computer thinks it does, Plex will switch to 25p and you will get a black screen
-Plex has serious audio/video sync issues (just google "Plex audio/video sync"); the issue has been acknowledged by the developer, but it hasn't been fixed
-no HD audio support at all
-there's a bug in ATI catalyst that causes your pixel format setting to spontaneously change, and this will really screw up your picture quality in Plex
-very poor support, especially for Windows users; many unanswered questions in the Plex forums

Your mileage may vary for some of these issues, but I thought you should know about them. It's a shame, because Plex is otherwise an absolutely amazing program. I've recently switched from Plex to Jriver, and I've been super pleased for the most part. You should definitely check out Jriver, which is IMO the most sophisticated and customizable media center solution available. Jriver meets just about all of your requirements, except I don't think it will run on an unRaid server.

Also, Plex is not going to work as a DVR. I know there are a couple plug-ins available, but they have major limitations and I don't think they work as DVRs at all.
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 07:11 AM
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Agreed. While Plex looks promising for Win7 use I don't think its there yet and don't recommend it as your primary player. I prefer XBMC although I do really like Plex Server for remote streaming on my smartphone and wife's ipad. It seems like the developers for the Win based Plex aren't interested or aggressive in smoothing out some of these issues.
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 08:05 AM
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I forgot to mention that I still use Plex Media Server for iPhones, android phones, and my Roku. Jriver actually has the ability to stream to these devices (except maybe the Roku), but I haven't tested it much. Plex Media Server is pretty outstanding, and it's pretty easy to use it and Jriver at the same time.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Agreed. While Plex looks promising for Win7 use I don't think its there yet and don't recommend it as your primary player. I prefer XBMC although I do really like Plex Server for remote streaming on my smartphone and wife's ipad. It seems like the developers for the Win based Plex aren't interested or aggressive in smoothing out some of these issues.

Hey assassin, do you have a server/client setup in your house with multiple TVs? I like XBMC, but from my experience it doesn't work very well for that kind of setup. There's a way to get multiple XBMC clients to sync information (like where you left off in the middle of a movie), but I never got it to work. Moreover, from what I know, there's no good way to sync artwork between multiple XBMC clients. I was curious what your experience has been.
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Hey assassin, do you have a server/client setup in your house with multiple TVs? I like XBMC, but from my experience it doesn't work very well for that kind of setup. There's a way to get multiple XBMC clients to sync information (like where you left off in the middle of a movie), but I never got it to work. Moreover, from what I know, there's no good way to sync artwork between multiple XBMC clients. I was curious what your experience has been.

I don't sync anything because to me its not really needed. But yes there are ways to do that if you want to try. I have a primary HTPC, a few test HTPCs and then a secondary HTPC in my bedroom.

I keep saying it --- all HTPC software options are great but none are perfect.
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post #12 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Wow, thanks for the write up! I really don't want to rain on your parade, but before you get to far, you should probably know that Plex has some serious limitations. I just don't want you to have to find this stuff out later.
-Plex does not respect forced subtitle flags (so you will have to manually turn on subtitles on movies with foreign language sections)
Fortunately I live in Finland so almost all non-kiddie content is with subtitles anyways and kiddie-content is dubbed to Finnish with rare need for forced subtitles. So this is most likely not an issue for me, for English speaking users this might be a bigger issue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

-the refresh rate switching feature cannot be customized, so if you have a TV that doesn't support 25p, but your computer thinks it does, Plex will switch to 25p and you will get a black screen
Once again I'm fortunate, when I purchased the LG LD450N I particularly made sure it natively supported all the needed refresh rates (24, 48, 50 and 60). In my old setup I had a custom self made playHD.cmd batch which did all the magic like mounted the ISO, changed resolution and started the player (PowerDVD, TheaterTek or MPC-HD) and of course reset all the things when playback finished. All this seems to be unnecessary with Plex when using MKVs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

-Plex has serious audio/video sync issues (just google "Plex audio/video sync"); the issue has been acknowledged by the developer, but it hasn't been fixed
I'm yet to witness this but my mileage is relatively low (~10 TV-series episodes, 5 DVD/BR movies). By reading on the forum posts there seems to be quite a lot of inexperienced PC and Mac users around. Considering the complexity of the things affecting av-sync this might explain the amount of reports. I have a very clean Windows 7 installation and no problems yet. Most of the average users install new things all the time and their systems are a mess from this point of view. So this might be an issue or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

-no HD audio support at all
My dedicated HT-room is still under construction and I have only a 2-channel system at the moment. I hope this will be solved in year or so. I have no personal experience on comparing HD Audio and DD5.1 but I would assume that difference will be significant only on high end systems. My dedicated HT-room setup might not reach that level.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

-there's a bug in ATI catalyst that causes your pixel format setting to spontaneously change, and this will really screw up your picture quality in Plex
You are likely referring to this. I will have do some reading on this one. Is this somehow related to color space issue?
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

-very poor support, especially for Windows users; many unanswered questions in the Plex forums
I agree on this one, other wise there is quite good activity. I will have to compare this to JRiver's forums.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Your mileage may vary for some of these issues, but I thought you should know about them. It's a shame, because Plex is otherwise an absolutely amazing program. I've recently switched from Plex to Jriver, and I've been super pleased for the most part. You should definitely check out Jriver, which is IMO the most sophisticated and customizable media center solution available. Jriver meets just about all of your requirements, except I don't think it will run on an unRaid server.
Also, Plex is not going to work as a DVR. I know there are a couple plug-ins available, but they have major limitations and I don't think they work as DVRs at all.
First of all thank you for the heads up, I will definetely check JRiver more closely. Also the "Plex discussion thread" started by you was very valuable when I was researching Plex.

I did a quick JRiver search on two most problematic things, namely Blu-ray ISO and DVD Profiler support. Blu-ray's are supported by mounting on the server side (uses Virtual Clone Drive) but DVD Profiler seems to be a no go (see eg. this). I have to research more but the lack of results on JRiver and DVD Profiler doesn't look too good. But I will also take a look on JRiver API / plugin model since that's how the DVDP problem would be solved on Plex too.
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post #13 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 08:46 AM
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I would say regardless of your front end choice, I would definitely convert your blu-ray ISOs to mkv's with makemkv or some other program. The only programs that support blu-ray java menus are TMT, PowerDVD, and WinDVD, and these programs have some major issues. Plus, it's best to avoid launching external programs. It seems like a pain, but it's well worth it in the long run.
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post #14 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

I would say regardless of your front end choice, I would definitely convert your blu-ray ISOs to mkv's with makemkv or some other program. The only programs that support blu-ray java menus are TMT, PowerDVD, and WinDVD, and these programs have some major issues. Plus, it's best to avoid launching external programs. It seems like a pain, but it's well worth it in the long run.
I'm just reading about batch conversion of Blu-rays using MakeMKV. What I would like to do to all my Blu-rays:
- Select the title largest in size
- Select all English and Finnish audio tracks
- Select all Finnish subtitles

I found this description on the makemkvcon, command line interface to makemkv. Time to do some Win batch scripting since most of the found existing "Multi/batch" apps/scripts were quite limited.
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post #15 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 03:31 PM
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Lack of Netflix support, HD audio, and a true Linux install sealed Plex's fate as a primary media player for me. I still use Plex Server with my Roku boxes as a cheap setup though. Development is much better on XBMC too. Although AVS is a far better than their site to find support for it.
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post #16 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Hey assassin, do you have a server/client setup in your house with multiple TVs? I like XBMC, but from my experience it doesn't work very well for that kind of setup. There's a way to get multiple XBMC clients to sync information (like where you left off in the middle of a movie), but I never got it to work. Moreover, from what I know, there's no good way to sync artwork between multiple XBMC clients. I was curious what your experience has been.

Try this : http://openelec.tv/forum/12-guides-tips-and-tricks/6172-guide-how-to-build-your-own-external-xbmc-library-and-use-it-for-multiple-boxes

Basically a common mistake is that you left out the "CHARACTER SET latin1 COLLATE latin1_general_ci" part when creating the databases, it happened to me too.
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post #17 of 24 Old 07-07-2012, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by GreenEyez View Post

Try this : http://openelec.tv/forum/12-guides-tips-and-tricks/6172-guide-how-to-build-your-own-external-xbmc-library-and-use-it-for-multiple-boxes
Basically a common mistake is that you left out the "CHARACTER SET latin1 COLLATE latin1_general_ci" part when creating the databases, it happened to me too.

Thanks for the tip! I might try it out sometime, although I'm pretty pleased with jriver for now XD
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post #18 of 24 Old 07-08-2012, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Having been trying to figure out batch processing with MakeMKV. I have read all the relevant threads in the Advanced section of MakeMKV forums (see here). Using the profiles one can define a default behavior for audio and subtitle track selection.

In my case I would like have the following two scenarios supported (simultaneously and automatically):
1. Movie with English audio track (no Finnish audio track)
-> include all English audio tracks, make the first one the default
-> include Finnish subtitle(s), display Finnish subtitles by default

2. Movie with Finnish (and English) audio track
-> include all English and Finnish audio tracks, make the first Finnish one the default
-> include Finnish subtitle(s), do not display subtitles by default

The second part of the solution is the automatic title selection. Some movies contain only one large "main" title but others like the PAL version of Wall-E contain eight main titles with equal size. I suspect them to be related to language localisation since the number of titles match the number of individual language tracks (assumption supported by this) . In most cases the differences are really small and you could easily pick the first (English?) one by default and not loose anything critical.

I searched quite intensively and found zero tools for this kind of batch processing which would provide 100% automated ripping with correct audio/subtitle and title selection. In other words zero tools for true one-click ripping of Blu-rays. This seems very surprising. Even without the batch part I would think people would love to set their default settings once and then on the rip just verify that the autoselection has done it's job correctly. If this would work, then batch conversion would be trivial.

I f anyone has some insight or even a working solution either using MakeMKV or some other tool I would really appreciate if they could share it. I will study this some more, while I'm at it I might even code the thing...
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post #19 of 24 Old 07-08-2012, 07:55 AM
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Unfortunately no such solution exists. You're not the only person who finds that frustrating.
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post #20 of 24 Old 07-15-2012, 07:52 AM
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I would keep an eye out for Plexbmc. The developer just rebooted the project and already has an open beta. The idea is to integrate Plex into XBMC so you get the best of both worlds: the ease of use of Plex Media Server and all the features of XBMC. I'm looking forward to the end result!
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post #21 of 24 Old 12-18-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Finally found enough time to put some real progress into this. One of the pending issues was the missing support for utilising DVD Profiler meta data. Since there were no existing Meta Data agents for this purpose I decided to do it on my own. Just released the first version of DVDP2Plex Metadata Agent:
http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/54071-dvdp2plex-dvd-profiler-metadata-agent/

It has been implemented as a real Meta Data Agent adhering to the metadata agent plugin framework so it integrates nicely into Plex. It also supports combining meta data from other sources to the DVD Profiler data.

On the Blu-ray ripping / conversion side of things I'm really waiting for the release of Slysoft's Slyce. I just hope it will not turn into same kind of everlasting wait as for SlyPlayer...
http://forum.slysoft.com/showthread.php?t=53392
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post #22 of 24 Old 12-22-2012, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
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And now I think I have a solution for playing Blu-ray ISO rips using an external player (PowerDVD in my case). With my approach I'm able to convert the unusable url-like file link provided by Plex into real filename. With this solution I will be able to play all my content without any conversions, the only downside is that only client's being able to use external players on client-side are supported:
http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/54335-using-external-player-to-play-blu-ray-isos-and-basicly-anything-you-want/

This is still under development (Christmas preparations are priority number 1 right now) but most likely I will be able to make a public release before New Year's Eve.
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post #23 of 24 Old 12-28-2012, 04:11 AM - Thread Starter
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The playback of Blu-ray ISO-images using external player (PowerDVD in this case) is solved. Just finished with the implementation and results are located here with full setup description:
http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/54335-using-external-player-to-play-blu-ray-isos-and-basicly-anything-you-want/

I will eventually update also this writeup but it will have to wait until I have all the critical parts solved. Next I will be looking at getting my Logitech Harmony remote working with Plex and PowerDVD. I will also take a look on creating a meta data agent for DVBViewer recordings.
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post #24 of 24 Old 01-14-2013, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Just stumbled into a mystical Daemon Tools Lite (DTL) problem. I was trying to mount an ISO image using DTL but it failed saying "Error adding virtual device". It had been working nicely so I thought one of the programs (like ImgBurner) I had installed lately had broken it. When I debugged it further, I noticed that the virtual devices were created but there were no drive letters assigned and the devices were not visible in the DTL gui. But for instance AnyDVD showed 4 devices being available. I could even see the drive briefly appearing in the explorer with proper drive letter before disappearing.

Like now I'm sometimes accessing my htpc through Remote Desktop Connection and fortunately I took a look locally. The drives were visible even in the same session I just viewed through RDP. I quickly found the following:
http://forum.daemon-tools.cc/f19/impossible-add-virtual-drive-but-drive-created-mount-image-disk-29479/

So by default you DON'T have access to any removable media added during a rdp session, you have to add the access right through group policy setting.
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