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-   -   Considerations when choosing a HTPC Blu-Ray player (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-home-theater-computers/1516303-considerations-when-choosing-htpc-blu-ray-player.html)

gatorgrabber 02-06-2014 08:36 AM

I would like to replace my aging Blu-Ray player with one incorporated into my HTPC (Silverstone GD05B case). The different guides on the site have been very helpful but it seems the suggested models are a bit dated. My goals are modest; I'd like to both play existing discs and rip my BD/DVD collection to the HD. I know some drives prevent ripping, I just don't know which to avoid. Also, what other factors should I consider?

Any words-of-wisdom would be great.

Thanks!

pittsoccer33 02-06-2014 08:50 AM

I haven't heard of anything preventing ripping outright. Some drives employ a technology called "riplock" to slow down ripping. I think mine has it, doesnt really bother me. It keeps the drive spinning slowly enough that I don't hear it when I'm watching a movie (it makes a ton of noise when I'm burning a CD or DVD), which I think is the stated intent of the technology.

If you want to replace your hardware player with a software one, and get a fully functioning replacement, you need to buy one of the half dozen or so license bluray software players - Arcsoft, Cyberlink, Nero, Windvd, and maybe one or two others are the only "real" bluray players. They have decryption keys, menu support, 3D support, Cinavia support, etc etc.

A bluray software player like that can definitely play your physical discs. Playing ripped ones, well thats becoming a different story. Cinavia is a new DRM scheme that is able to seperate your ripped disc from your physical one. If you tried playing the ripped Cinavia disc in a bluray software player (like the ones I mentioned) then you will be out of luck.

There are plenty of other players that can read the audio and video information that is on a bluray disc. What they can't read is the encryption and the menus. So for starters you need software that can decrypt the disc (like Anydvd). Menus are really not an option for these types of players - they just look for the longest video file on the disc and assume thats the movie.

The solution for me personally, and I think the majority of htpc users, is to remux your movies to an MKV or M2TS file on your hard drive. Just the movie, audio, and maybe subtitles. No trailers, menus, featurettes, warnings, previews, or anything else. This works for me because I don't have a 3D television and I don't watch special features enough to care to save them. I use Windows Media Center's built in default player to watch everything, but by backing up this way you have a large choice of player software. The software I use to create my MKV file is a free beta suite called MakeMKV.

When I do want to watch a brand new disc I haven't archived or want do dig through some special features I use Arcsoft Total Media Theater 5's great WMC plug in.

gatorgrabber 02-06-2014 09:23 AM

Thanks for the information. Yes, "riplock" is the term I kept bumping into. I'm not interested in copying my BD collection to another disc, I'd just like to store them on my server's HD for future playback. It sounds like your personal solution is pretty much the same as mine. Regarding the BD player itself, just grab a current model Asus, LG or other known brand? I tend to buy last year's top components, figuring the parts have already been vetted.

wiley165 02-06-2014 11:34 AM

Riplock, IMO is a non-issue with modern BluRay and DVD drives. Even with the potentially decreased speeds, modern CPU's are processing the data faster.

With whatever drive you decide to purchase, if you feel that the speeds are too slow, you can always Google for a firmware update.

gatorgrabber 02-06-2014 03:30 PM

Again, really good to know. It's not like I'm in a massive hurry to rip a massive number of discs. Of the BDs out there, are there any to avoid?

ElJimador 02-06-2014 06:34 PM

If you're going to rip your movies and save them on your server anyway then why not just get a stand alone bluray drive for your main computer and keep the HTPC separate? If it's a money decision it's not likely to be any cheaper to try to have both in the same unit.

gatorgrabber 02-06-2014 07:08 PM

That's a thought, it's just the current player's acting like something trying to die. A second BD player would be useful since I'd like to add an optical drive to the server anyway.

A9X-308 02-06-2014 09:26 PM

If you have a home network and a desktop/workstation, why not rip on the DT/WS and simply transfer them to the server once you have a bunch? It's the way I do it and I've ripped nearly 800 titles this way (700 or so to go). I've actually pulled all of my ODDs into the WS temporarily and rip up to 5 titles at a time. If you have a lot of DVDs too, DVD players are cheap and it might be worth the $30 or so to buy two more to speed up the process and keep them later as spares if you have the spare mobo ports. I use MakeMKV so I can have multiple instances at once no issues.

My ODDs are two new LG CH12LS28 BR and an Asus, Pioneer and Aopen DVD players.

gatorgrabber 02-06-2014 10:55 PM

It's a given that the HTPC will have a BD player so I can a disc at a moments notice. I've got lots of room in the server case and hadn't considered multiple ODDs over just the one. Thanks for the idea!

A9X-308 02-06-2014 11:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorgrabber View Post

It's a given that the HTPC will have a BD player so I can a disc at a moments notice. I've got lots of room in the server case and hadn't considered multiple ODDs over just the one. Thanks for the idea!
My HTPC will get one of the BR drives when the ripping is finished, but at the moment it is more useful in the WS as I'm next to it most of the time. With 5 drives, I once ripped almost 200 DVDs in an afternoon whilst I watched some old TV shows on another screen or listened to the radio.

I've gotten pretty disciplined at ripping new discs immediately so I then just watch it off a HDD: I seldom come home with a new purchase and want to watch it within the 10-30mins it would take to rip. Once they're on the server, the discs go into a box and are stored in the garage.

gatorgrabber 02-07-2014 06:05 AM

I like that philosophy! What software are you using for ripping? It sounds like your system for doing things is pretty well sorted out. biggrin.gif

pittsoccer33 02-07-2014 07:27 AM

If you want to rip BDMV folders or ISO images AnyDVD or DVDFab both work.

If you want to make MKV files MakeMKV is definitely the best. The easiest to use to pick and choose audio tracks and [forced] subtitles.

If you want to compress movies into smaller file sizes use Handbrake. You either need AnyDVD running to open the disc or need to make an MKV with MakeMKV first (that you then compress)

gatorgrabber 02-07-2014 07:39 AM

From what you describe, I'd be inclined to go with MakeMKV and save only the tracks I want. I don't need previews, subtitles, other languages and additional features. I just want to watch the movie, not play with it!

jmuskibum 02-07-2014 10:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorgrabber View Post

From what you describe, I'd be inclined to go with MakeMKV and save only the tracks I want. I don't need previews, subtitles, other languages and additional features. I just want to watch the movie, not play with it!

I just built my HTPC and been using MakeMKV. I recommend it.

Nice that it is free during Beta. The Assassin HTPC blog has some good recommendations about configurations so that you don't have so many checkboxes.

still haven't figured out to name the file before saving. Means I have to go to saved folder and then rename before moving tot he next disc so I don't overwrite. I can deal with it or am just too lazy to figure out to use the program correctly.

jdcrox 02-07-2014 11:42 AM

Just a minor Nit to Pick: wink.gif
What you are looking for is a Blu-Ray DRIVE. If you specify a Blu-Ray PLAYER, you are likely to get heated discussions as to whether PowerDVD, Arcsoft TMT, or WinDVD are best!

gatorgrabber 02-07-2014 11:47 AM

You are correct, thanks!

A9X-308 02-07-2014 09:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorgrabber View Post

I like that philosophy! What software are you using for ripping? It sounds like your system for doing things is pretty well sorted out. biggrin.gif
MakeMKV is what I use for ripping. To minimise work in clicking what I want, I set the selection rule to -sel:all which deselects everything (and then I click the few items I want), and the minimum title length to 30mins. It's really easy to use once you get the hang of it.
The reason I have it so sorted is from tons of good advice I received on this forum from a goodly number of posters, then filtered that to a system that works for me.


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