Totally Overwhelmed and in need of Direction - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 69 Old 08-01-2013, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone.

This is my first post and it is a call for help. I have spent quite a few hours reading threads and articles to the point where I can no longer put it all together into a coherent plan. I do have a projector almost picked out but that's about it...Epson 5010 or 8350.

My goal is to have a home theater in a dedicated room 12'x12' with a projector, a 106" screen and seating for two people. 3D is not a priority. An excellent image and good sound is of the utmost importance. I have well over 400 DVD's and 150 BD's and counting.

This is an inventory of existing equipment in hopes that some of it may be useful and ultimately become part of this project. I have five PC's networked of which one is my work machine for AutoCAD (i7-3770, 16GB ram, GTX-680, 2TB HDD, BD player and lots of other extras) and the other is my laptop (i3-M370 with 750GB HDD, 4MB ram and DVD player). All are Win 7, 64bit OS. I also have a Yamaha RX-V596 which is a little old but still in excellent condition with a 5.1 speaker system. Excellent quality speakers.

First off I want to store all of my movies on HDD and box up all of the shiny round things and put them in a box in the attic. I need to be able to access my movies easily as I have so many. Second I need my new projector as well as several other devices (mostly TV's) in the house to be able to access the movies or my wife will get very mad at me. And lastly I want to be able to watch and/or record TV shows in my HT Room and store them for later viewing. Backing up all of these movies automatically is a must as once I have spent countless hours loading them on to HDD's I don't want to ever do it again if one or more HDD's goes boom.

So I have looked at HTPC's, servers, NAS's etc and I just don't have the experience to know what will do the best job and to put it all together into a package that even my wife, who is computer illiterate, will be able to use. Is there some one here who can point me to the end of this tunnel before I lose my mind. Just a footnote...I have been playing with PLEX and I find it might be an interesting piece of software to incorporate into this mess if at all possible (or not).

Thanks guys. I hope you can provide some insight into my situation.

Regards
John
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post #2 of 69 Old 08-01-2013, 12:35 PM
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How come not Epson 5020 ?

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post #3 of 69 Old 08-01-2013, 03:18 PM
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Break your project down into four separate tasks and tackle them individually to maintain your sanity.

1) Data storage: Ripping, storing, backups, growth, disaster recovery
2) Archive management: Metadata scraping & storage, content classification, transcoding
3) User interface: Browsing, searching, ratings restrictions, disc playback, metadata display.
4) Video playback: Upscaling, audio extraction, edid & hdcp management.

These tasks can all be done by one PC or they can be split up. They can all be done by one monolithic software package or they can be split up and handled by several pieces of software. You can even use a dedicated appliance to offload some of them such as using a SAN/NAS for (1) or a video processor for (4). However you implement things, it will save you many headaches if you work through them one task at a time.
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post #4 of 69 Old 08-01-2013, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFWall View Post

I also have a Yamaha RX-V596 which is a little old but still in excellent condition with a 5.1 speaker system. Excellent quality speakers.

So youre going to want a motherboard with both HDMI and a digital audio output - either the orange spdif connection or an optical toslink. that way you can get HDMI video to your projector, digital audio to your receiver, and should you upgrade to a more modern receiver your HDMI will be useful there.
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First off I want to store all of my movies on HDD and box up all of the shiny round things and put them in a box in the attic. I need to be able to access my movies easily as I have so many. Second I need my new projector as well as several other devices (mostly TV's) in the house to be able to access the movies or my wife will get very mad at me. And lastly I want to be able to watch and/or record TV shows in my HT Room and store them for later viewing. Backing up all of these movies automatically is a must as once I have spent countless hours loading them on to HDD's I don't want to ever do it again if one or more HDD's goes boom.

A couple of things in here:
-sounds like you want your new pc to be a DVR too. that more or less limits you to using Windows Media Center as your software interface. there are ways to use other programs like XBMC and Media Portal as a DVR as well, but there is a bit of complexity and your cable company will really dictate the experience.

-I like using mkv files to back up my movies - the video track, the high def english audio track, and the forced subtitles. This save a little bit of space on trailers, commentary tracks, spanish subtitles, etc.

-Because of forced subtitles, there is really not automatic ripping solution. DVDs are a bit easier in this regard, because I doubt you have many (if any) that use forced subs. They are subtitles used in parts of a movie that are in another language. They could be hard coded, meaning they are part of the video stream (like Lord of the Rings) or they could be a subset of the main english language subtitle (like Avatar). Something in the file tells it when to display the subtitle and when not to. The best software for turning your movies into mkv files is by far makemkv.

-If you want double redundancy you are going to need a raid array of some kind. Thats beyond my ability to help you.

-regarding visual quality: to make your DVDs look at good as possible on that large screen you are going to want some special upscaling software on the computer. the most popular one right now is called madvr. HOWEVER, it will require a beefier video card AND cannot be used with the default Windows Media Center player. You can still use Windows Media Center and launch a compatible player when you want to watch a DVD based movie, but that adds a layer of complexity that *might* cause problems for a less computer knowledgable person.

Let me build your computer in my mind:
-an intel i5 or amd a10 processor. the intel will be better for running Plex, the AMD better for dabbling with upscaling software
-8gb of memory
-a motherboard with the digital audio out jack. anything in the $80 range should be ok. you will also want at least 6 sata ports
-a bluray drive. if you want to rip on the pc that already has a bluray drive and skip this part for cost sake thats ok. you could rip on that workstation and then move them via the network to your new media pc. i like having the optical disc drive for when i rent something or pick a brand new release up and dont want to screw around with ripping it before I watch it
-a 128gb ssd to put windows 7 (or 8) on.
-several hard drives. my ballpark numbers say your dvds will take up 3 terabytes and your blurays around 6. plus you will want several for your DVR function.
-a tv tuner. given that you have several other pcs the silicondust prime tuner could most easily be accessed by all of them. ceton's is really good too.
-since this is a theater room, I would build the PC into a tower case. I would build one PC for simplicity sake. it can be stashed out of the way and you will have one less piece to "break down" and cause a problem for your lady.
-a 350-450 watt power supply. the final number of hard drives youd run will be the determining factor. newegg has a pretty good calculator for figuring out what you need. i have three hard drives in my case and use an antec earthwatts 380watt psu

there are a few reasons my pc in the closet idea might not work for you. if you really want it in the same room you can get an receiver style case that holds about 6 or 8 drives. silverstone and lian li make some popular ones.

accessories:
-lenovo multimedia keypad. look this guy up - i love mine. there are often coupon codes that you can find for it.
-a remote and remote receiver. unfortunately very few htpc cases have ir receivers. you can buy a receiver that fits into a 3.5 inch floppy bay, or buy a usb connected on. this will make your pc feel more like an appliance and also cutdown the need for the keypad.

software
-as i said, given that you want to record tv I think you should just stick to using WMC for both recording and playback. for me personally the risk/reward to making it more complicated for playback just isnt worth it
-media browser. a fancy movie library viewer. it kind of looks intimidating to set up and i didnt use it for years, but im glad i moved to it. i replaced my default movie library icon with it and it looks great
-arcsoft total media theater. id only get this if you might ever want to play a bluray back right off the disc. otherwise an unneeded expense.
-makemkv. to rip your discs.
-shark007 codec pack. i think this is the best easiest way to make all your media files play correctly.
-plex. you can run this in the background for other things like your phone or smart tvs that can play mp4s.

now, what to do about your other tvs? that depends on what your really want to watch on them and who your cable company is. there is no really good go to solution for this.
-if you dont care about watching your dvr recordings there are dozens of inexpensive media boxes like the wdtv and patriot box office that will play your movie rips
-if you want your dvr recordings, ceton echols or xbox 360s will be needed. neither is a fully functioning movie player though.
-if you want movies and tv recordings, your best bet is to put small pcs at each tv. the only major drawback iwth this is that depending on who your cable company is, you might only be able to watch live tv, not recordings.

so in summary, if i were you, i would:
-rip the movies on your current workstation and move them to your new pc
-build a new pc full of hard drives (with room for more) that will be the main playback machine. you can also (in the future) buy a 4 or 8 bay external hard drive enclosure if you run out of room.

i just sort of think a server is beyond what you need but thats really because im not familiar with them. look for other peoples opinions of why you might want a dedicated server.

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post #5 of 69 Old 08-02-2013, 05:12 AM
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I think you should build a media server and a small SSD only client HTPC.

Use your desktop to control server , and rip media and set up HTPC to work off remote to keep wife happy

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post #6 of 69 Old 08-03-2013, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I think you should build a media server and a small SSD only client HTPC.

Use your desktop to control server , and rip media and set up HTPC to work off remote to keep wife happy

Agree 100%. Keep storage and playback separate. My environment is very similar to yours.

I use Windows Media Center on all PCs. Because I am in Europe and use satellite for live TV I am able to use DVBlink (dvblogic.com) which centralizes tuners to my media server where the DVBlink server application receives, decrypts and sends the broadcast streams to the client PCs where they are presented in Media Center just as if it had local tuners.
It works with DVB sat, cable and terrestrial as well as IPTV.

I believe the creators of DVBlink are close to releasing versions for NA users.

You might be able to achieve similar but less sophisticated results with HD Homerun or other network tuners.

I also use Plex for viewing on phones and tablets, while I use My Movies for cataloging and presentation in Media Center.
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post #7 of 69 Old 08-04-2013, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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First I would like to thank you all for the reply's. It has helped me gain some direction and answered several question I hadn't posted yet.

I have decided to do all my ripping on my work machine as its fast and has extra storage space I don't need at the moment. I'll make all me files as .mkv files and transfer them to a server/HTPC on my network after hours so as not to tie up my network. TV programs can be recorded on my cable PVR for now and the cable box can go into my Projector with TOS link cable to my old receiver so I can watch regular TV. Same with the HTPC I will build with HDMI in to projector and TOS link to the receiver. I am going to use XBMC on the HTPC to access media for Home Theater (nice looking interface) and run PLEX in the background so all my other devices can access the data acting as a server. I`ll add an external BD player to the HTPC for first time viewing of BD`s and later rip them for the HTPC on my work machine.

I`ll use my laptop in place of the HTPC while the HTPC gets built and then transfer all the files on to the new machine.

So that pretty much covers most of the following
1) Data storage: Ripping, storing, backups, growth, disaster recovery................work machine for ripping, HTPC with Raid 1 for server and HTPC
2) Archive management: Metadata scraping & storage, content classification, transcoding.............XBMC for home theater and Plex for server
3) User interface: Browsing, searching, ratings restrictions, disc playback, metadata display..........XBMC
4) Video playback: Upscaling, audio extraction, edid & hdcp management.............if I am not mistaken the upscaling will be through a decent graphics card on the HTPC. Probably nVidia GTX xxx

The specs pittsoccer33 provided for the HTPC sound good other than the power supply I will upgrade to 750watts and I`ll use a desktop case as they look very cool sitting with the rest of my gear.

Thank you all again for your input. It really was a confusing exercise and it sure helps to have experienced people provide direction and clarification.

With respect to this new DRM `Cinavia`I think its called. I assume that wouldn`t be an issue as everything gets ripped to a HDD and played back from there. So if there is no physical BD player involved then it can't work. Is that correct.

Regards
John
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post #8 of 69 Old 08-04-2013, 03:59 PM
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750 watt psu is a big mistake, You using three video cards or something? Big mistake. You don't need more than 500 watts for any single video card, and you can actually use 400 watt without any trouble. 750 is way too much.

I am totally different on your choices.

Flexraid > RAID 1 hardware raid
WMC + MediaBrowser / SVP / MADVR / Reclock on MPC-HC as external player > XBMC
Metascraping and media organizing = MEDIACENTERMASTER > XBMC crappy scraper
User interface = Mediabrowser > XBMC
Radeon GPU > Nvidia GPU

I think the AMD Radeon are a better choice for HTPC for many reasons over Nvidia.

But there is always more than one way to skin a cat.

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post #9 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 01:01 AM
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I agree with Mfusick about 750W being overkill for the PSU although "mistake" maybe is a little strong. Better spend the difference on a higher quality unit than more watts. 430W will suffice.

I also prefer the nVidia cards as I have had it with AMDs driver mess. The latest nVidia Kepler cards are quieter and more power efficient for media playback, e.g. 1/3 to 1/2 power usage during BD playback vs corresponding AMD cards. Get the Asus GTX650ti DirectCU II.

W/ r t the choice of front ends it's a matter of personal choice. Try them all and pick the one you like best.
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post #10 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 05:55 AM
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AMD drivers are fine these says. Easier than messing with Nvidia 0-255 hacking ...

And AMD does better at MADVR and SVP, which is much harder than just normal playback. A $25 GPU can do normal playback.

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post #11 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 06:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFWall View Post

With respect to this new DRM `Cinavia`I think its called. I assume that wouldn`t be an issue as everything gets ripped to a HDD and played back from there. So if there is no physical BD player involved then it can't work. Is that correct.

Cinavia is a pretty sophisticated audio watermark and is part of the bluray disc standard. So any software that is licensed to play commercial bluray discs should now be including in Cinavia. It became a requirement over a year ago. There are three bluray software packages - Arcsoft's Total Media Theater, Cyberlink's PowerDVD, and Corel's WinDVD.

These are the only pieces of software that can read all the menus just like a stand alone bluray player will. They have decryption keys to decrypt the disc and navigation for playback. I use TMT5 when I just want to throw a disc I just bought or rented in - it integrates the best with Windows Media Center.

Cinavia will be a problem for you only if you do one of two things
-rip your blurays to folders or iso and then play them with TMT, WinDVD, or PowerDVD. this will look just like if you had the disc in as is kind of a requirement for 3D blurays.
-rip your blurays to mkv files or similar and play back with these same pieces of software. theres no good reason to do this because they are superior free software players that can play the remuxed discs as mkv files.

I don't screw around with it enough to care, but I believe both Slysoft's AnyDVD and Fengtao's DVDFab are working on ways get around Cinavia. Those are pieces of software that are popular for cracking disc encryption to either rip them to your hard drive or allow a non official piece of software (like Media Player Classic or VLC) to read the disc contents and play your film.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #12 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

750 watt psu is a big mistake, You using three video cards or something? Big mistake. You don't need more than 500 watts for any single video card, and you can actually use 400 watt without any trouble. 750 is way too much.

I am totally different on your choices.

Flexraid > RAID 1 hardware raid
WMC + MediaBrowser / SVP / MADVR / Reclock on MPC-HC as external player > XBMC
Metascraping and media organizing = MEDIACENTERMASTER > XBMC crappy scraper
User interface = Mediabrowser > XBMC
Radeon GPU > Nvidia GPU

I think the AMD Radeon are a better choice for HTPC for many reasons over Nvidia.

But there is always more than one way to skin a cat.

Yes, I can see that.eek.gif

I am simply amazed at all the different combinations of software that is available for home theater. I'm also glad I found you guys as I wouldn't have been able to put together a quality system without help.

I have a few questions about what you are suggesting Mfusick. I'm not familiar with some of the acronyms or names you have indicated as this is all completely new to me. So forgive me for asking what might seam dumb questions. I have done some searching on several of them but not sure how they would be integrated into things.

Flexraid...this is better than a hardware based system because?

I'm not sure what you are recommending with this statement. "WMC + MediaBrowser / SVP / MADVR / Reclock on MPC-HC as external player > XBMC"

I have also decided to move my GTX670 from my work machine to the HTPC as I want to upgrade my work machine with the new GTX 700 series video card. With the addition of this card to the HTPC it will now allow me to do gaming on it which I originally did not consider adding. But with this card and a bit better processor gaming becomes a reality on the HTPC.

I am also curious about the media browsers. I thought that you used the media browser to play the movie. But apparently that is not correct?
Quote:
rip your blurays to mkv files or similar and play back with these same pieces of software. theres no good reason to do this because there are superior free software players that can play the remuxed discs as mkv files.
What would be a high quality player for ripped BD. How would you tell a media browser to use a certain BD player to play a .mkv? I was planning to rip all my BD with MakeMKV as it is so easy to use. If I do that, I would need to use a player that will not be affected by "Cinavia".

@Mfusick you asked "How come not Epson 5020 ?" I think I have decided upon the EPSON 8350. From the reviews on this forum and other forums, it looks to be an excellent projector, it will fit well in my space, I don't want 3D, its in my price range and Epson's warranty and customer service appears to second to none. Also lamp replacement costs are at an acceptable level although this issue of lamps burning out before their half way point had me concerned but I do believe that to be a lamp issue and not the projector. But the choice of projectors could be a long and convoluted thread in itself.tongue.gif


.
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post #13 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 11:41 AM
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Traditionally Media Browser has been a program that runs inside of Windows Media Center. Its basically just a fancy movie library. There is a newer version that runs outside of WMC, but I'm going to skip that right now.

You do not need to run Media Browser at all. WMC comes with a built in movie library and it is fairly nice. You need to manually add the metadata (the covers, synopsis', lists of actors) by finding and downloading a dvdid.xml file. I did this for several years since Media Browser or the similar program My Movies just seemed too complicated.

But running Media Browser really helps make the system look great. It automagically will add the summaries and backgrounds for each movie. You can create custom categories and add neat icons. You can lock the kids room out from seeing anything PG13 or higher.

The other benefit is the ability to use an "external" player. Normally when you launch a movie, recorded tv show, or video file, it plays in WMCs default player. This is what I do just to keep things simple. But it can also minimize WMC and open an external player such as Media Player Classic Home Cinema (aka MPC or MPC-HC) or official bluray playback software (like PowerDVD). If you try playing a bluray or hd-dvd through WMC even without Media Browser this is what happens - minimize WMC and open the external player.

Since you are using MKVs you never need to worry about an external player if you don't want to. Windows can be configured to play MKV files with all different kinds of audio and video streams without a problem (and no problems from Cinavia either). But lots of forum videophiles and tinkerers have elected to use an external player (most often MPC-HC) because it has many advanced configuration settings such as MadVR, SVP, and Reclock.

MadVR is a renderer - basically think of it as a software video processor. There is a pretty large consensus that says using MadVR in place of the default Windows video renderer will give you a superior picture.

Reclock is software for achieving 24p playblack. Playing video at 24p means to sync the video frames to your video card's output, and then to your tv's refresh rate. Given that a PC costs a lot more than a $65 bluray player you would think a PC would shine at doing this, but it doesnt. Reclock attempts to keep audio and video in sync, at 24 frames per second, to your tv. This is more or less only relevant to bluray disc rips - definitely not to recorded tv.

SVP does frame interpolation - it takes a movie shot at the normal 24 frames per second and attempts to fill in the spaces between those by artificially creating frames - almost all new middle of the road and up tvs do this (I think many projectors do too). So if you have a 120hz tv it can be set to do this without necessitating an external player or powerful video card.

If I had a projector like you're planning I think I would give these pieces of software more thought. I've never done it for a few reasons being
-my tv doesn't support 24p
-my dvd video looks good enough on a 50" tv
-it just adds some more complexity and things that could go wrong.

Like I said with a projector I would definitely try them out. But I'd never worry about it for a bed or bar room.

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Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #14 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
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I have a few questions about what you are suggesting Mfusick. I'm not familiar with some of the acronyms or names you have indicated as this is all completely new to me. So forgive me for asking what might seam dumb questions. I have done some searching on several of them but not sure how they would be integrated into things.

Flexraid...this is better than a hardware based system because?

Read this:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1484300/does-anyone-still-prefer-hardware-raid-5-for-media-server-with-windows-as-the-os/0_100

The short answer is Flexraid is very flexible tongue.gif It allows you to pool all your drives together into one big drive (this is called pooling). It also provides parity based back up so that if any of your data drives should fail you have the ability to rebuild it- or basically rewrite the information that was on the failed drive to a replacement hard drive. It's level of protection can increase so you can tolerate 2 or 3 or as many simultaneous failures as you want protection from. With flexraid you can add empty or full drives to your pool- you can remove drives and they are readable in other windows systems. So if your server hardware died you still have your data on your hard drives too. You can also grow as you go-- so you can start with 12TB like I did and end up with 30TB like I have now. Flexraid has allowed me to add drives when I needed more storage and to add them one at a time as I find a good sale on hard drives. It's got great performance too- usually as fast as your hard drives can perform so it's easy to get over 100MB/sec transfers to and from a Flexraid server. It's not expensive and it works really well for an affordable consumer level media server.

In contrast RAID (hardware) is usually much more expensive to implement properly and it more an enterprise solution. RAID hardware at the consumer level can be tricky and often people run into many issue on rebuilds- and suffer data loss. In order to have reliable hard ware raid you need a proper RAID controller card (more $$$) and you need proper enterprise level HDD that support TLER and do not have head parking. Those types of hard drives usually cost more money too. Plus with RAID hardware you need more hard drives- often you need many more to achieve the same amount of storage.

With FLEXRAID- let's say you had only 5 hard drives. Let's say they are 3TB each and you paid $99 each for them. Total investment is $500. Your usable storage amount is 12TB, with 4 of your 3TB drives being your data drives and 1 of the HDD's being your parity drive. That parity drive can protect you against the single failure of any of your four data drives- so you are protecting all 4 hard drives with only 1 hard drive. In many raid set up's you might need 4 more hard drives to back up your first 4 hard drives. So that's $400 more you need to spend to get the same amount of storage space. As your storage pool grows and the amount of HDD's grows the value in flexraid also grows. I have 12 HDD's and about to go to 15 hard drives - and I am certainly glad I do not need to buy another 15 hard drives to back them all up because even on sale that is an extra $1500.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JFWall View Post

I'm not sure what you are recommending with this statement. "WMC + MediaBrowser / SVP / MADVR / Reclock on MPC-HC as external player > XBMC"


Well technically there was a bunch of stuff there so I will start with definitions.

WMC = Windows Media Center.
MediaBrowser = Mediabrowser 2 (and now media browser 3 is available in beta)
SVP = Smooth Video project. This is 60fps frame interpolation- like the fancy high end TV's do.
http://www.svp-team.com/





http://www.avsforum.com/t/1458550/svp-1080p-animation-omg/0_100

Good read ^

MadVR is upscaling software.


http://www.avsforum.com/t/1477339/so-youve-built-your-htpc-now-what-is-next-how-to-get-the-ultimate-picture-and-sound-quality-from-your-htpc-madvr-svp-xbmc-mediabrowser-jriver/0_100

You can give that a browse through. Also-

Here is a sneak peak from the first page post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by renethx View Post

Image upscaling under madVR

Screenshots in a FHD screen at ~30 seconds of [F1. SD] Ratatouille (2007).mkv (ripped from the DVD with MakeMKV). Pictures below are cropped to 480x270, then enlarged by x3 (1440x810) with Nearest neighboring (that won't affect PQ) for your convenience. Look closely at, for example:

- Curved TV screen frame: How smooth is it?
- Channel knob: Does the texture look natural?
- "HORIZ" knob: Is there ringing around the knob? (BTW "VERT" knob is underneath, not seen in pic.)

madVR Level 0 (Nearest Neighbor / Nearest Neighbor)



madVR Level 1 (Bilinear / Bilinear)



DXVA2 AMD (identical throughout all models of AMD Radeon cards, integrated or discrete)



DXVA2 NVIDIA (identical throughout all models of NVIDIA GeForce cards)



DXVA2 Intel (identical throughout all models of Intel SNB, IVB and Haswell iGPU)



madVR Level 2 (BiCubic75 / Lanczos3): This is madVR's default setting.



madVR Level 3 (BiCubic75+AR / Lanczos3+AR)



madVR Level 3.5 (BiCubic75+AR / JInc3)



madVR Level 4 (BiCubic75+AR / Jinc3+AR)



madVR Level 5 (Jinc3+AR / Jinc3+AR)



Comments

- madVR Level 0: The original.
- madVR Level 1: The most primitive algorithm. Image is blurry and dull. TV screen frame is juggy.
- DXVA2 AMD: Close to Level 2. Note that his works with EVR and XBMC, but not with madVR. madVR DXVA2 always reduces to Level 1 with AMD.
- DXVA2 NVIDIA: Close to Level 2
- DXVA2 Intel: Close to Level 3
- madVR Level 2: Lanczos is a very popular algorithm. Sharper, coarser with lots of ringing.
- madVR Level 3: Anti-ringing filter improves PQ greatly.
- madVR Level 4: Warmer, finer, natual. Actually it looks near perfect in my eyes. The best upscaling algorithm available today. Madshi's anti-ringing filter is the hallmark.
- madVR Level 5: The difference from Level 4 is not so clear in this screenshot (and in the majority cases), but there is definitely a difference in certain cases and Jinc3+AR chroma upscaling is better.

In a nutshell

- Lanczos: Sharper, coarser, metallic (based on trigonometric function)
- Jinc: Warmer, finer, woody (based on Bessel function)

Jinc (in particular with anti-ringing filter) is the best image (as well as chroma) upscaling algorithm. Garbage in, gospel out. smile.gif



Reclock is Reclock biggrin.gif

The purpose of ReClock is to definitely get rid of jerky playback of AVI and MPEG material on a PC (or a HTPC driving a TV, a flat panel, or a video-projector). It's a DirectShow filter which is loaded in place of the default directsound audio renderer.
It provides a new reference clock that is locked to the video card hardware clock, in order to ensure that frames are played at the exact speed of what is expected by the video card vertical sync.
It also provides a frame rate adaptator for media files that do not match a multiple of the video card refresh rate (ex: playback of 23,976fps IVTC NTSC on a PAL TV).
The combination of the two will give you the true experience of smooth playback with your PC.




"on MPC-HC as external player" = Windows Media Player Home Classic: MPC-HC is an extremely light-weight, open source media player for Windows®. It supports all common video and audio file formats available for playback. We are 100% spyware free, there are no advertisements or toolbars. It's very popular because it's simple and light weight and it allows for the use of SVP, MADVR, and ReClock eek.gif It's the player of choice for using the advanced goodies like those. Using it as an external player means you would bypass XBMC's crappy internal player and choose to launch your video's for playback with MPC-HC (and usually MADVR, Reclock, SVP etc ). You can set it as an external player with both XBMC and Mediabrowser
http://mpc-hc.org/
Here is what you need to learn about and set up MPC-HC (and MADVR etc... )

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1357375/advanced-mpc-hc-setup-guide/0_100


Quote:
I have also decided to move my GTX670 from my work machine to the HTPC as I want to upgrade my work machine with the new GTX 700 series video card. With the addition of this card to the HTPC it will now allow me to do gaming on it which I originally did not consider adding. But with this card and a bit better processor gaming becomes a reality on the HTPC.

A GPU card is a great idea if your chasing better frame rates and you want to use things like MADVR upscaling or SVP. Nvidia was always disliked for HTPC for a few reasons. First, they have issues with full scale 0-255 output. Limited output is 16-235 scale. You can hack them to do it- but in contrast AMD does it natively as an optional setting. Second, AMD cards seem to do MadVR and SVP very well, and often cost a little less. Third, the AMD catalyst control center is more favorable to the aging Nvidia one and it's more HTPC friendly (my opinion). But you can certainly get great results with Nvidia card. Saying otherwise is like saying you can't use AMD cpu only Intel. reality is both are great. They are different, but both good.


Quote:
I am also curious about the media browsers. I thought that you used the media browser to play the movie. But apparently that is not correct?
What would be a high quality player for ripped BD. How would you tell a media browser to use a certain BD player to play a .mkv? I was planning to rip all my BD with MakeMKV as it is so easy to use. If I do that, I would need to use a player that will not be affected by "Cinavia".

You can use XBMC or MediaBrowser to play back - but for a full bluray disc you need bluray software. If you rip your bluray as an MKV you can playback with basically any player. I rip all my discs to MKV. I never use a disc to play back from- I think that sucks and that is noob.

Quote:
@Mfusick you asked "How come not Epson 5020 ?" I think I have decided upon the EPSON 8350. From the reviews on this forum and other forums, it looks to be an excellent projector, it will fit well in my space, I don't want 3D, its in my price range and Epson's warranty and customer service appears to second to none. Also lamp replacement costs are at an acceptable level although this issue of lamps burning out before their half way point had me concerned but I do believe that to be a lamp issue and not the projector. But the choice of projectors could be a long and convoluted thread in itself.tongue.gif

.

Keep in mind that is from 2010 so all the reviews are based from 2010 era and products compared against. There is no contest a 5020 would smoke an 8350 in 2013. But I also understand price- there is a big price difference.

The issue with 8350 is that it does not have very much light output. Is your set up perfect set up ? Do you have no windows, perfect light control, dark walls, ceilings, floors ??? If not then you won't appreciate those great black levels and you might crave more light.

Have you checked out an OPTOMA HD25 For $949 ? 1080p + 3D + More light output. The model launched in June 2013. Nothing wrong with 8350, but just giving you ideas.

What is your set up and budget ?

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BTW-- I am not sure my post helped. It might have overwhelmed you more tongue.gif I did not learn all that in one day or one post.

You can certainly start simple- like just XBMC or just mediabrowser and use the internal player and just play back movies and watch them biggrin.gif Nothing wrong with that. Please don't think you need to do all this fancy stuff to enjoy HTPC.
If you think any of anything I said interests you- then just food for thought. Usually it's nice to build a HTPC and set your self up so in the future if you want to do any of those things you can without needing a bigger investment or new hardware. All the software is basically free.

I do wish someone said all that to me when I started. I learned a lot of it the hard way. I am on rebuild #3 of my server, rebuilt #4 of my desktop, and rebuild #2 of my HTPC and still I need to grab a GPU card. But I am an enthusiast and enjoy tinkering too.

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MEDIACENTERMASTER = better program for media organization

http://forums.mediacentermaster.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7666

Give it a try.

Make a folder and then make 10 folders inside that folder. Name those 10 folders 10 of your favorite movies (or whatever movies you like or can think of)

Then set that folder as the scan folder for MCM - and let it run autoscan. Watch what it does biggrin.gif It's like magic biggrin.gif

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

WMC + MediaBrowser / SVP / MADVR / Reclock on MPC-HC as external player > XBMC
Metascraping and media organizing = MEDIACENTERMASTER > XBMC crappy scraper
User interface = Mediabrowser > XBMC

Why do you always post Mediabrowser / SVP / MADVR / Reclock on MPC-HC as external player > XBMC as if they are mutually exclusive? Why even bother mentioning SVP / MADVR / Reclock on MPC-HC since you can use MPC-HC the SAME WAY on BOTH Mediabrowser and XBMC? Also, I find mediabrowser and XBMCs internal scrapers to be on equal footing. MCM is my preferred choice over either
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True. I specifically said you could use it on both.

I just like mb > XBMC

The MPC-HC can be used on both as external player.

I'm like 60% MB and 40% XBMC. Neither is clear winner but I give media browser the edge. (Opinion)

What I am really excited about is MB3 theater which is a stand alone like XBMC but its internal player supports direct show and LAV so you can use MADVR and SVP and Reclock on the internal player and keep the integrated menu and HD overlays. It's only beta testing still but should be released vet soon.

Media browser 3 should be a game changer.

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post #19 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

True. I specifically said you could use it on both.
True, but that was about 2000 words and 11 large pictures later

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I just like mb > XBMC
Understood, and consequently I like XBMC > mb. MB just feels like an outstretched hand in so many ways, and once all the premium plugins are purchased one would have some feeling to get their maximum value. There's also youtube, pandora, google music, icefilms, etc type plugins for XBMC which give it the biggest advantage if money is no concern whatsoever
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I like pictures biggrin.gif You say they are large pictures you must have a small monitor. tongue.gif

Actually I prefer Mediabrowser because I prefer it for Pandora and Netflix. Netflix is probably the 800 pound gorilla in this instance. Netflix is better on WMC/MB

I totally get that some people don't like or want to pay for the premium plug in's for mediabrowser- and that XBMC being free is attractive.

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post #21 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I like pictures biggrin.gif You say they are large pictures you must have a small monitor. tongue.gif

Actually I prefer Mediabrowser because I prefer it for Pandora and Netflix. Netflix is probably the 800 pound gorilla in this instance. Netflix is better on WMC/MB

I totally get that some people don't like or want to pay for the premium plug in's for mediabrowser- and that XBMC being free is attractive.

There's a plug in for Netflix and Pandora in MB that I didn't know about?

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BTW-- I am not sure my post helped. It might have overwhelmed you more. I did not learn all that in one day or one post.

Wow. That surely is a lot of information to digest but I will go through it all and then see if I can put it all together into a working solution. That may take a day or so.tongue.gif Pittsoccer33 and Mfusick, thank you for taking the time with me to explain much of this. It really helps A LOT.

First of all the Flexraid system is absolutely the best system I have seen in some time. I have Raid1 on several machines and I have always begrudged having to use the same size drives for each HDD I want to secure. The cost would be prohibitive for a 20-30TB system as I expect I will have when all is said and done. I will implement Flexraid in the HTPC.

The extra add on bits of software such as MADVR, SVP and Reclock looks to be very useful and I will spend some time reading and digesting this and will be back with questions I'm sure. This does carry some importance as far as I am concerned. My goal in setting up the home theater is not just to have easy and fancy access to my library but to obtain the best picture possible with my new system.

With respect to the projector, I have not had any real opportunity to discuss this with anyone but salespeople. And that of course means I get biased recommendations and I don't get objective information. I have been trying to decipher what would be best for my room and my needs based on reviews, forums, projector calculators etc. I welcome any input you may have and to that end I offer the following specs on my room. Its is 12'x12' (basement) with three small windows with blackout curtains, one overhead incandescent fixture and two black lights (from my hippy days 45 years ago:p). Basically it can be totally blacked out. Estimated screen size is 93"+/- in width (106" diagonal?). Ceiling height is 83". Estimated throw is 11' and viewing distance is 8"-6". I like sitting relatively close to the screen when we go to the cinema so as to be fully immersed in the action. During the day it is never totally pitch black as in can't see your hand in front of your face kind of black, but it is very dark. Most viewing (90%) will be at night so I expect it to be black when in use. And I rarely watch sports, don't want 3D, Mostly action, sci fi and love stories (yah right!)rolleyes.gif

So that's what I have to work with and I budgeted $1500-$2000 for the projector, $1200 for a screen and $1200 for the HTPC although that may be a little light.
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post #23 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 03:45 PM
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I like pictures biggrin.gif You say they are large pictures you must have a small monitor. tongue.gif

Size doesn't matter.
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There's a plug in for Netflix and Pandora in MB that I didn't know about?

Yeah smile.gif

I'll link it from my Dropbox when I get home biggrin.gif

I think it out of production but I'm not sure. I been using it for years. It's awesome.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

There's a plug in for Netflix and Pandora in MB that I didn't know about?

Yeah smile.gif

I'll link it from my Dropbox when I get home biggrin.gif

I think it out of production but I'm not sure. I been using it for years. It's awesome.

Sweet. Not sure of the usefulness of the Netflix one as I turn that on and off all the time. Currently it is on for some testing of various things but will probably be off again in a couple months but maybe not. Pandora is a different animal all together. I use MOG but it would be nice to try out Pandora in a MB plug in.

Now for the million dollar question. Do these work in MB3?

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Pandora is tricky you need to copy code.

Netflix I have as an installation package .exe which actually installs it into WMC as a plugin. It requires .net4 and also silver light be up to date.

Do you use spotify ?

I'm at town fair tire waiting with wife. She needs two new tires on her car. I will link it when I get back home.

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post #27 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 04:33 PM
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I don't really want to get into hacks to install Pandora. I do not use spotify. I only sometimes use MOG. I mostly playback local rips of my CD collection (and even some black vinyl) and stream FM radio.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Pandora is tricky you need to copy code.

Netflix I have as an installation package .exe which actually installs it into WMC as a plugin. It requires .net4 and also silver light be up to date.

Do you use spotify ?

I'm at town fair tire waiting with wife. She needs two new tires on her car. I will link it when I get back home.

Is spotify easy?
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post #29 of 69 Old 08-05-2013, 04:51 PM
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http://www.milliesoft.co.uk/

Anyone using this ???

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Is spotify easy?

It's like pandora, but you can pick what songs you want in addition to making stations.

https://www.spotify.com/us/download/windows/

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