1500 DVD collection - How/Where to start converting to HTPC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 01-04-2013, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I currently have over 1500 DVDs. I'm looking to convert all of this into digital media. I expect to need a Network Storage device (NAS) and HTPC. Beyond that, I'm not sure where to begin to define the amount of storage I will need and what will be the most efficient way to transfer all those DVDs to digital storage.

Should I do this on my own?
Should I pay someone to do this?
How much storage will I need assuming I don't want to lose any video quality? (I'm okay with ditching the multiple languages and extra features)
What special hardware/software will I need?

Thanks,
Dave
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post #2 of 56 Old 01-04-2013, 05:11 AM
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The first thing is to decide which digital format you want to convert them to. You can rip them and keep the original folder structure or convert them to a more portable format, such as mkv's. Next, you'll have to decide if you want to keep the complete DVD or strip out any unwanted extras. Once you've made these decisions you can calculate how much storage you'll need. A full DVD is usually between 4-8GB. A stripped DVD will be more like 3-6GB. A safe bet would be to figure about 5-6GB per DVD for a total capacity of about 7.5TB to 9.0TB. Add an additional 10% for overhead and you're looking at about 10TB of storage. A four-drive NAS with four 3TB drives should give you all the storage you need for your collection plus room for expansion.

There are lots of freeware ripping programs out there for ripping top folders. DVDFab is another program that can rip and strip out the extras while retaining the folder format. MakeMKV is a free program that can rip to MKV and also strip out any extras in the process. For folder playback you'll need something like PowerDVD or Arcsoft's Total Media Theater. There are probably some freeware apps out there that will also work. I'm not sure, but I think VLC Media Player may play both folders and MKV's. XBMC is a great app for playback and organization of your movie files. It definitely works with MKV's, but I haven't tried it with DVD folders.

You might want to consider a server solution like unRAID, FlexRAID, or SnapRAID. They all provide parity protection to recover data in the event that a drive fails. With a home network, anyone can have access to the server so your DVD rips can be shared with everyone. It also provides external storage that can be hidden from view and streamed to your HTPC over the network.

If you're just getting into HTPCs and also considering a server, I highly recommend signing up for Assassin's HTPC and Server blogs. Each one costs $25 to join for unlimited access. Both blogs contain tutorials and essential information to get you started as well as additional information for tweaking your system for even more features and performance. Just find one of his posts and click on the links in his signature to get there.

Depending on your hardware setup for ripping, DVDs can be ripped and stripped in about 5 minutes, give or take. I converted my entire collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays (about 900 discs total) to MKV's and it took me a couple of weeks in my spare time. Blu-Rays take much longer to process but the DVDs went pretty quick. If you've got the time to invest then just do it yourself. If you only spend an hour or two per night you'll have them all converted before you know it.
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post #3 of 56 Old 01-04-2013, 06:10 AM
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With that many DVD's, I think My Movies for WHS 2011 is the best solution. Why? Because it's completely automated. You stick in the disc, it rips it, and spits it back out. You can even use multiple DVD drives to rip multiple DVDs at once, or if you're really serious, use a disc changer. In addition to ripping the DVD's, it will collect artwork and metadata automatically and organize the movies into folders with the movie's name. On top of that, you can have it automatically create mobile versions of every movie for playback on phones and tablets. AnyDVD, which is required for decrypting the discs, also allows you to remove the trailers and warnings out of the DVD, again automatically without user intervention.

-To rip one dvd at a time, My Movies requires a $50 contribution. To rip multiple dvd's at a time using multiple drives, it requires a $100 contribution.
-It looks like you can get 1-year of AnyDVD for $43.
-WHS 2011 is $50.

As for storage, you'll probably need 10-12 TB. I recommend using some sort of redundancy, so you don't lose files in the event of a hard drive failure. FlexRAID is nice because you can run in on the WHS 2011 machine. SnapRAID is also an option I believe. FlexRaid is $60. SnapRaid is free.

As for hardware, I would probably just get an inexpensive LGA 1155 mobo with as many SATA ports as possible. You can add more SATA ports though using expansion cards. 4-8 GB of ram is plenty, and you shouldn't need a strong CPU. The only reason you might want to use a faster CPU is if you plan on doing any transcoding on the server, which includes the My Movies feature that lets you create mobile versions of your movies.

As for your HTPC, My Movies already integrates with WMC. It can also create metadata for other programs like XBMC and JRiver. It even works with Dune media players if you want to go that route.
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post #4 of 56 Old 01-04-2013, 07:28 AM
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That's lots if ripping. Spend $20 and get a couple optical drives so you can do 2 or 3 or 4 at a time. It's worth the cost of a DVD.

You can buy a DVD reader for about the cost of a single movie.

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #5 of 56 Old 01-04-2013, 08:22 AM
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I use whs with mymovies with four drives for ripping. Each DVD takes ten to fifteen minutes everything works flawlessly. Wmc plays dvd folder rips perfectly fine. I also use flexraid to protect the 8 disks that I have attached to the whs. I haven't had a drive failure yet so I can't speak to the restore abilities of flexraid. Overall I'm really happy with the setup.
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post #6 of 56 Old 01-04-2013, 08:34 AM
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start by buying 12 terabytes worth of hard drives. The maximum size of a DVD will be 8GB (many will be smaller) so 1500 will come out to around 12 terabytes.

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post #7 of 56 Old 01-04-2013, 10:16 AM
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That is a lot of dvds! before I bought anything though I'd sort them into two categories: must rip and not worth it. you may find the number of dvds to rip is a lot less.

once it comes time to buy drives, I'd suggest buying them from different vendors. I never put much faith into the idea that drives die in batches, but I've since seen exactly that. you reduce this risk by buying from totally different vendors.

good luck!
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post #8 of 56 Old 01-05-2013, 07:57 AM
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Good advice in this thread.

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #9 of 56 Old 01-05-2013, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek K. View Post

That is a lot of dvds! before I bought anything though I'd sort them into two categories: must rip and not worth it. you may find the number of dvds to rip is a lot less.

Because I don't have kids, the number would be 5 DVDs. There are very few movies I want to watch a second time, but that gets to another choice--Netflix vs. owning.
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post #10 of 56 Old 01-05-2013, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome responses everyone! Thank you so much for the advice. I was figuring I would need a minimum of 12TB. I will be researching the burning software suggestions everyone had made. I shouldn't need the SATA ports if I use a NAS though, right?
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post #11 of 56 Old 01-05-2013, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lektern View Post

Awesome responses everyone! Thank you so much for the advice. I was figuring I would need a minimum of 12TB. I will be researching the burning software suggestions everyone had made. I shouldn't need the SATA ports if I use a NAS though, right?

If the hard drives will all be stored in a separate NAS, then no, you will not need the PC to have a lot of SATA ports. If you want to use WHS though, you're better off connecting the drives directly to the WHS machine than using a separate NAS.
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post #12 of 56 Old 01-05-2013, 10:17 PM
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lektern,
I just wrapped up my ripping project and can give you some real world data. I have 2,256 movies which take up 4.11TB (this includes 546 Blu-Ray movies) and 140 TV Shows (with multiple episodes) that takes up 3.27TB for a total used storage of 7.38TB. Most of the TV shows were ripped to ISO images because there were more than one episode per DVD and I wanted to keep the menu format. When you rip the movies to the MKV format it removes all the "extras" like the menu, trailers, directors commentary, etc.

I purchased a Synology DS1511+ storage device which is a 5 bay unit that will use 4TB drives. I have 3TB drives in my unit now but will be replacing them with 4TB drives when the price comes down more. I went with this unit because it is expandable by adding up to two more 5 bay units (DX510, or the new version is the DX513). Since you are just starting, you may want to go with the DS1812+ which is their new 8 bay unit. If you bought this single unit and filled it with 3TB drives it would give you 21TB of usable, fault tolerant storage. This is achieved by installing 8 drives, one of which would be used as a "backup" in case one of the 8 drives fails. Another reason I went with the Synology is that it has hot swappable drives which means you can pull a bad drive out and replace it without turning off the entire unit. There are a few other reasons I went with the Synology over the others, one of which is the power usage, it only uses 50.6 watts when in use which is MUCH less than the power used by a server filled with disks. It has USB 3 connections, eSATA connections to the expandable units, two LAN connections (in case one fails), plenty of third party apps and support.

For watching movies and TV Shows I use XBMC, you can also use XBMC for music or you can use the JRiver Media Center which some people prefer for audio.

I did almost all of the ripping of DVDs myself, plus the 1,000+ CDs so it obviously took some time. I started with the CDs and then onto the DVDs. For ripping the CDs I used dBpoweramp and ripped the music to the FLAC lossless format. To rip the movies I used AnyDVD and used the MKV format. Some people like to use other formats to save space because the rips are smaller. I can notice the difference between a MKV and AVI rip and I wanted to go with the best quality since I only wanted to rip the movies once.

I hope this helps you in your journey. Some people thought I was nuts spending all the time and money, but in the end I think it was worth it. I have plenty of movies to watch, don't have to pay a streaming company for lesser quality movies and I have plenty of movies that they don't have. Others are happy to not spend the time and effort and just pay Netflix or Amazon, to each their own. I am VERY satisfied with my collection.
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post #13 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 12:07 AM
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We just ventured into this ourselves, with a 2000+ DVD collection. I built our HTPC, followed the advice here and bought the Assassin's Guide membership, and started ripping. We've ripped almost 300 movies in about 8 days (we went on vacation right after we built the computer and learned to rip), and we couldn't be happier. We're using MakeMKV (detailed instructions on A's blog) with AnyDVD, which we've owned for years. We have four 3TB HDDs in our HTPC, with right at 1TB used on the main drive (that includes Windows 7, all the programs we've installed (Chrome, FF, MakeMKV, AnyDVD, Handbrake, Media Broswer, etc) plus 282 DVDs and their metadata. Even our kids have commented that some movies look better playing off the HDD than they did playing from the DVD, which really surprised us.

We do plan to keep our streaming services (Amazon and Netflix) but I am hopeful it won't be long until I can talk the husband into giving up cable. (We only watch 4 channels anyway, and even those are very rare. We probably watch cable about 10 hours a month) To me, it definitely isn't worth the ~$100 a month for cable, but until I can find a suitable substitute for those channels, we're stuck with it, sigh.
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post #14 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 06:10 AM
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To be clear, you shouldn't need Anydvd if you're using Makemkv.
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post #15 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhays View Post

lektern,
I just wrapped up my ripping project and can give you some real world data. I have 2,256 movies which take up 4.11TB (this includes 546 Blu-Ray movies) and 140 TV Shows (with multiple episodes) that takes up 3.27TB for a total used storage of 7.38TB. Most of the TV shows were ripped to ISO images because there were more than one episode per DVD and I wanted to keep the menu format. When you rip the movies to the MKV format it removes all the "extras" like the menu, trailers, directors commentary, etc.
You must have compressed the living crap out of your Blu-rays if 546 movies only take up 4.11TB. At an average of 25GB per BD movie with all of the extras stripped out, I calculate about 13.65TB uncompressed, and that's on the low side. There is no way you could have created exact iso's at the size you're talking about. This is anything but "real world" data. You have obviously left out some details of your ripping process. I have about 900 movies converted to mkv files and about half of them are stripped Blu-Rays. They currently occupy over 20TB of a 26TB server.
Quote:
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To be clear, you shouldn't need Anydvd if you're using Makemkv.
To be absolutely clear, you shouldn't be using AnyDVD with MakeMKV because it will create a conflict with two programs trying to decrypt the same files. You should disable AnyDVD entirely when using MakeMKV. OTOH, if you find that MakeMKV can't decrypt the file, rip it as an iso with AnyDVD HD and try using MakeMKV at a later date when the decryption files become available for the title. You can forward a dump of the disc created by MakeMKV and they'll put it into the database. Just mount the iso using VirtualCloneDrive and then rerun MakeMKV. You could also see if AnyDVD will decrypt the disc and then rip it as an unencrypted iso. MakeMKV should then be able to convert it.
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post #16 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhays View Post

I have 2,256 movies which take up 4.11TB (this includes 546 Blu-Ray movies) and 140 TV Shows (with multiple episodes) that takes up 3.27TB for a total used storage of 7.38TB..

Are you sure you have the numbers correct? 546 Blu-rays alone would take up more than 7.38TB.

Edit - captain_video beat me to it biggrin.gif
lol at
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You must have compressed the living crap out of your Blu-rays
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post #17 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 11:44 AM
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I wouldn't rip DVD's down to a lossy format. You can afford to store them at maximum quality and its a lot faster. Rip them to 1:1 .iso's or video TS folders. I'd store them in a server stuffed with 4TB drives.
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post #18 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

You must have compressed the living crap out of your Blu-rays if 546 movies only take up 4.11TB. At an average of 25GB per BD movie with all of the extras stripped out, I calculate about 13.65TB uncompressed, and that's on the low side. There is no way you could have created exact iso's at the size you're talking about. This is anything but "real world" data. You have obviously left out some details of your ripping process. I have about 900 movies converted to mkv files and about half of them are stripped Blu-Rays. They currently occupy over 20TB of a 26TB server.
To be absolutely clear, you shouldn't be using AnyDVD with MakeMKV because it will create a conflict with two programs trying to decrypt the same files. You should disable AnyDVD entirely when using MakeMKV. OTOH, if you find that MakeMKV can't decrypt the file, rip it as an iso with AnyDVD HD and try using MakeMKV at a later date when the decryption files become available for the title. You can forward a dump of the disc created by MakeMKV and they'll put it into the database. Just mount the iso using VirtualCloneDrive and then rerun MakeMKV. You could also see if AnyDVD will decrypt the disc and then rip it as an unencrypted iso. MakeMKV should then be able to convert it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

To be clear, you shouldn't need Anydvd if you're using Makemkv.

Thanks guys, I will disable AnyDVD! I thought it was necessary with MakeMKV, I must have read something wrong
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post #19 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 06:59 PM
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You don't need AnyDVD HD with MakeMKV. If you have it enabled, it gives a warning. What was being expressed was that if there is a disc MakeMKV can't decrypt, you can use AnyDVD HD and you'll be able to rip it with MakeMKV.

The other thing about AnyDVD HD is it'll remove HDCP handshake requirements because it'll split out media not requiring such as with blu rays. So, if you don't have a display that doesn't have capablities for HDCP, say on old analog display, media will still play. I've done this with my HTPC and office PC. The HTPC was connected to RPTV from 2002, which predates HDMI and DVI, and my PC display is analog. Yet, I can play BR with MPC in a pinch.

Back on topic, haven't come across issues with AnyDVD HD enabled with MakeMKV with my rips.
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post #20 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 07:04 PM
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Hard drive space is cheap. The labor/time to rip 1500 DVDs is not.

Please do not butcher the discs by compressing them, if you care even a tiny bit about video quality and long term storage.
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post #21 of 56 Old 01-06-2013, 07:51 PM
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If you are only ripping DVDs, I would use AnyDVD to decrypt and use DVDShrink to rip to native folders. It's called DVDShrink, but it doesn't compress anything unless you tell it to. Even though it's not supported anymore, It's been a rock solid program in my experience. MKV is probably a more versatile format overall, but if it's just DVDs, I can't think of any player that can't handle Video_TS folders. You can decide if you want to rip the entire disc or strip out just the main movie to save space without compromising video quality.
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post #22 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woody777 View Post

If you are only ripping DVDs, I would use AnyDVD to decrypt and use DVDShrink to rip to native folders. It's called DVDShrink, but it doesn't compress anything unless you tell it to. Even though it's not supported anymore, It's been a rock solid program in my experience. MKV is probably a more versatile format overall, but if it's just DVDs, I can't think of any player that can't handle Video_TS folders. You can decide if you want to rip the entire disc or strip out just the main movie to save space without compromising video quality.

this has always been my process, but lately dvdshrink is having issues reading with more and more dvds. my solution in the past has been to use anydvd to rip the dvd to the hard drive then dvdshrink can read the ripped disc and do its thing. however this is a pain for one or two discs, nevermind potentially 100's.

Since I happen to have a clone dvd license as well, I gave it a shot and it worked just fine. it took a few more steps than shrink, but it read the dvd without ripping it first. I will probably use this going forward for all my dvd rips.

something else to consider...
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post #23 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woody777 View Post

If you are only ripping DVDs, I would use AnyDVD to decrypt and use DVDShrink to rip to native folders. It's called DVDShrink, but it doesn't compress anything unless you tell it to. Even though it's not supported anymore, It's been a rock solid program in my experience. MKV is probably a more versatile format overall, but if it's just DVDs, I can't think of any player that can't handle Video_TS folders. You can decide if you want to rip the entire disc or strip out just the main movie to save space without compromising video quality.
I've never been a big fan of DVDShrink, although I know a lot of people feel otherwise. I always preferred J.Dobbs' DVD Rebuilder. The end result between the two programs was quite obvious, at least to me. I never shrank the original DVD to less than what would fit on a DVD-5 disc (i.e., single layer DVD). With hard drive prices ridiculously low these days by comparison, there's absolutely no reason to be shrinking DVDs anymore.
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post #24 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapone View Post

Hard drive space is cheap. The labor/time to rip 1500 DVDs is not.

Please do not butcher the discs by compressing them, if you care even a tiny bit about video quality and long term storage.

+1

Waste if time if your not doing a full rip.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #25 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 08:18 AM
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Step 1: Go through all those DVDs and decide which ones you will actually watch more than a couple/few times more. I'd bet that number is a heck of a lot less than 1500.

Step 2: Plan for storing/ripping only those you selected from step 1.
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post #26 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 09:27 AM
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I would suggest a NAS with some kind of parity check. Re-ripping a couple hundred dvd's isn't fun.

The biggest suggestion I can make is that wherever your metadata(movie information, pictures etc.) gets stored should be a ssd. With that many movies it would be painful to browse your movie collection on a mechanical hdd. Most of the time this is on your htpc's local hard drive.

It is very wise to seperate these movies out into atleast two categories:

Kids(assumption)
DVD's

XBMC and most other media centers can easily make custom playlists that you add to the home menu. This is much easier if the DVD's are in different folders.

By the time you are done with all of this it will have cost you a lot of money and a lot of time. When building your NAS and HTPC you *will* have to troubleshoot something, be patient and you will get through it.

I would highly suggest not using wifi between your NAS and HTPC. Use a minimum of 100mb ethernet and I would suggest a gig network(cat5e or higher cabling).

I have used dvdfab and makemkv to rip somewhere around 500 dvd's/blu-rays. The second biggest issue after spending the time to rip the movies is making sure they are labeled in a way that your media center software of choice will understand. Quite often it is a good idea to use the year of the movie in the name ex. movie (1981). Rip a couple movies then find what media software you want to use and find there suggested way for labeling it.

What else are you going to do with your htpc? tuners, games etc.
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post #27 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Lots of great advice so far!

I'll probably add my music collection to the HTPC as well, about 600GB of music.
I would estimate only 200 of the 1500 are children's DVDs. I don't consider Disney movies "kids" movies.

Everything I've found regarding server style NAS is double the cost of desktop style. I know that provides a ton more capability, but I'm not 100% sure I can justify the cost.
I guess I can convince my wife that when we start collecting BluRays we're going to need more storage. wink.gif
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post #28 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 10:43 AM
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You can build an inexpensive server using basic PC parts and a software RAID utility such as unRAID, FlexRAID, or SnapRAID. There are numerous threads that discuss each program with pros and cons of each one. They'll give you far more flexibility than a NAS device and may actually cost you less. Both unRAID and SnapRAID have free trial programs and I believe SnapRAID is completely free. UnRAID has a couple of different license prices, depending on how many drives you want to use. It's booted from a flash drive and does not require an extra drive with an OS to operate. SnapRAID runs on several different platforms and does require a drive containing the OS and FlexRAID to boot from. Assassin has a server blog that costs $25 for unlimited access. It contains evrything you need to know about installing and configuring any one of these servers. The link is in his signature so just look for one of his posts to get you there.
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post #29 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

Step 1: Go through all those DVDs and decide which ones you will actually watch more than a couple/few times more. I'd bet that number is a heck of a lot less than 1500.
Step 2: Plan for storing/ripping only those you selected from step 1.

I don't know...we have a lot of DVDs we may not ever watch more than once....but the problem is we have never watched them because our file system/storage solution for our DVDs is just a pain in the butt. (We used disk sleeves in a drawer, sorted by title (NOT alphabetically, but all the As were together, Bs were together, etc, with labeled dividers in the drawers) Over the years, it's become a hassle to find what we want to watch, and the kids have mixed them up, etc. Husband and I have sorted them and cataloged (in Excel) about 5 times, and we're tired of that.

Now that we are ripping them to the HTPC, we have actually watched several that we would have never touched before. (These are things like travel DVDs, documentaries, etc) If/when I get low on HDD space, I can delete them, but for now, having them on the HTPC is wonderful.

I also found a new solution for the DVD storage, so we are cataloging them one last time as we rip them and then putting them away. (Portable DJ CD organizing cases with tabs/numbers) I'm also recording in our Excel catalog what hard drive they are on, that way if I lose a drive, I can easily re-rip those DVDs again in the future.
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post #30 of 56 Old 01-07-2013, 11:32 AM
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By NAS what I really mean is that you should use UnRAID. Build basically a pc and install unraid to a usb stick and forget about it. This leads to unlimited(well, 21 hdd's) upgrades in the future and you can expand the raid array with any size hdd. FlexRAID and SnapRAID have similar features.

The biggest problem with a physical NAS is that if the hardware dies you have to drop another $$$ down or wait a month to go through the RMA process. On a PC you just order the needed part for next day shipping or in some cases go pick it up from a local store.

1500 x 5GB = 7500GB

5GB is a high average if you're ripping out the extras and menu. 4 3TB hdd's would leave you with 9TB and a parity drive. If you have any old drives you could throw them in also as long as the motherboard you pick has enough sata ports. Don't forget about add-on sata cards either or usb sata adapters, jbod enclosures etc...

When you upgrade your htpc you pass the old parts down to your NAS/file server...

The other added benefit is that a file server will be faster!
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