Best way to use WD HD TV Media Player? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 12-29-2008, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm a long-time lurker around here, but a very infrequent poster. However, I asked for and received a WD HD TV Media player for Christmas, and now I need some help.

My thought was this: I've got several hundred DVD movies that I've collected over the years. I have a full 200-disc DVD changer, and then a whole bunch of DVDs laying around because I didn't want to spring for a bigger changer. I was thinking I'd hold out until there was an affordable alternative to a Kaleidascape or similar, and I really think this WD HD TV thing is it. I know what its limitations are, and I'm okay with them.

My question is, what is going to be the proper way to rip my DVDs for playback on a 60" HDTV? I'd like to preserve the surround sound and, obviously, the picture quality. Don't care much about menus, extras, etc. Subtitles would be nice - we have young children and often can't hear over them while watching the tube.

Handbrake offers about six zillion different presets, all of which can be tweaked - but I don't want to spend 20 years trying to figure out which settings to use. Same with DVDFab. I'd like somebody who knows to tell me which video encoding (Divx, AVI, MP4, etc.) and which audio encoding (AAC, AC3, etc.) to use, along with any other necessary settings to achieve optimal picture and sound.

Piece of cake, right? As always, thanks in advance for your help.
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post #2 of 44 Old 12-29-2008, 10:20 PM
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For std-def DVDs, I am and outputting MP4s using the Xbox 360 preset in Handbrake but adding in an AC3 audio stream as well.

Benefit of MP4s, for now, is that you can tag them with the DVD cover artwork (using something like VideoTag on the PC) and the WD TV will display the artwork. Not sure about MP4 subtitle support - am testing that now.

As a side benefit, if you want to keep a copy of the MP4s for network streaming to an Xbox 360 (via Zune Media Sharing) you will also see the artwork inside of the Video Library on the xbox 360. If you are going to do this, be sure to include an AAC audio track (default in the Xbox 360 preset) as that is all the audio the Xbox 360 will play.

Another (faster) option is to simply rip the DVDs to ISOs, but no artwork and no menu support so all the extras and such are wasting space at that point. I do rip the whole disk for other devices so have that copy anyway but if you don't want to double up (or triple up) space requirements then you don't have to.

I know you didn't ask for Blu-ray or HD-DVD - but...

I've had the best luck using Eac3to and tsMuxeR (combined via the "Eac3to and More GUI) to output M2TS files with not-re-encoded video streams (VC-1 and h.264 and the rare MPEG-2 ones here and there) and multiple audio (AC3, DTS, LPCM, etc.) streams in them. I cannot get subtitles to work for these M2TS files, but multiple audio streams work very well.

My setup = WD HD --usb--> WD TV --hdmi-->Yamaha 3800 --hdmi/dvi--> TV with the WD TV setup for Audio Output = Digital.

Update: Handbrake will "burn-in" the subtitles into the MP4 video stream so you cannot disable them...
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post #3 of 44 Old 12-30-2008, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, so I spent the day at work with a quad-processor machine encoding in the background. Did 4 different versions of a commercial DVD, final file sizes anywhere from about 1.5g to over 9g. Got home, hooked it all up, and I can't tell the difference between any of them (aside from one file not having any audio, which I attribute to encoding with AAC instead of AC3). This looks to be a very handy and cool device.

However, in my enthusiasm, I got online, registered the box, and downloaded the new firmware, which I promptly installed. Now, I cannot watch any of the same videos I just tested! WTF? The menus are there, and the new firmware features are there, but when I navigate to a video and select it, all I get is a black screen until I hit the home button and go back to the menus. Any ideas?

Also, how does one go about getting cover art into this thing?
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post #4 of 44 Old 12-30-2008, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ataylor View Post

Okay, so I spent the day at work with a quad-processor machine encoding in the background. Did 4 different versions of a commercial DVD, final file sizes anywhere from about 1.5g to over 9g. Got home, hooked it all up, and I can't tell the difference between any of them (aside from one file not having any audio, which I attribute to encoding with AAC instead of AC3). This looks to be a very handy and cool device.

However, in my enthusiasm, I got online, registered the box, and downloaded the new firmware, which I promptly installed. Now, I cannot watch any of the same videos I just tested! WTF? The menus are there, and the new firmware features are there, but when I navigate to a video and select it, all I get is a black screen until I hit the home button and go back to the menus. Any ideas?

Also, how does one go about getting cover art into this thing?

Yep, I got that black screen right after firmware update. I did a reset from the main settings menu and it fixed the problem. I haven't had any problems since then.

As for backing up your DVD collection, I would recommend ISO files for 2 reasons.

1. conversion to MKV, MP4, AVI takes too long. With my 2 year old pc, it's 4 hours using handbrake. ISOs only takes 10 minutes with DVD Shrink and it's a perfect copy of the original disc with menus, chapters, audio, etc.

2. WDTV does not currently support ISOs, but it does play most of them. I believe they didn't put it in their feature list because it's not complete. Their product manager has been on the forum taking suggestions and came out with the first firmware update less than 2 months after this hit the market. He's promised more updates in a few weeks. I'm thinking that they will eventually support ISOs in the future, which means using all the features of an ISO. The request for ISO support is on the feature request page of this forum

The downside is that an ISO takes up a lot of space. But with the price of storage dropping, I see it as a trade off for saving time.
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post #5 of 44 Old 01-02-2009, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, we're having some fun now! Based on the previous post, I ripped a whole mess of my DVDs (30 or so) to *.iso files. My process was, insert disc, let AnyDVD strip encryption, use DVD Shrink to deselect non-english subtitles and audio tracks, then rip whatever is left using no compression to an *.iso file. Took about 15 minutes per disc, as I recall, even with both DVD players in my work machine working simultaneously.

Plugged it all in when I got back home, and the unit brought up the list of movies no problem. However, some work and some don't. Some jump right to the beginning of the movie, and some jump to a deleted scene or other "Extra feature" usually with no sound, and no good way to navigate to the main feature. So, it's back to square one.

I do not have any HD content - no Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, no HD TiVo content, etc. Basically, all I want from this thing is a more convenient way to watch the 400 or so SD DVD movies I've collected over the years. I don't need menus (although that would be cool), I don't need subtitles (although that, too, would be cool - which reminds me, the *.iso files that DID work also had subtitles that worked properly). I am ripping these files from my original DVDs, which I plan to put into storage when I get all of this working correctly. I can live without menus/extras for now, because I will still have the original discs when somebody finally comes up with a good way to get the entire DVD structure onto a reasonably-priced media server, and I can do all of this over again...

That having been said, are *.iso files still the best bet? Will WD eventually come up with a way to attach cover artwork to the *.iso file? Or must I use another format to get artwork? The artwork is not necessarily a deal-killer, but it's pretty important when the wife wants to surf 400+ movies. Seems like my two most promising alternatives are 1) *.iso file with only the main title and subtitle set or 2) *.mkv / *.mp4 file and use iTunes to attach artwork.

I think for now that a working movie-only *.iso file with working subtitles and a cover-art thumbnail would be perfect. I guess my second choice would be the takes-much-longer-to-encode *.mkv / *.mp4 file with no subtitles but a working thumbnail.

Thoughts?
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post #6 of 44 Old 01-02-2009, 10:42 PM
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My guess is that WD will eventually support ISOs. Right now they don't support ISO at all, but they have obviously done some coding since some ISOs work. When they do support it, you can count on support for playback, subtitles, and chapters, but not sure about menus and cover-art. They don't support any menus and they only support cover art with a few file types.

Full ISO support will make this device rock.
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post #7 of 44 Old 01-03-2009, 12:53 AM
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post #8 of 44 Old 01-10-2009, 03:36 PM
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New to ISOs don't know how they work...
Will the WD HD TV show the ISO cover work on the files it works for?
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post #9 of 44 Old 01-10-2009, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanamaMike View Post

New to ISOs don't know how they work...
Will the WD HD TV show the ISO cover work on the files it works for?

No, WDTV doesn't show cover art on any ISO files.
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post #10 of 44 Old 01-11-2009, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ataylor View Post

all I want from this thing is a more convenient way to watch the 400 or so SD DVD movies I've collected over the years. I don't need menus (although that would be cool), I don't need subtitles (although that, too, would be cool - which reminds me, the *.iso files that DID work also had subtitles that worked properly). I am ripping these files from my original DVDs, which I plan to put into storage when I get all of this working correctly. I can live without menus/extras for now, because I will still have the original discs when somebody finally comes up with a good way to get the entire DVD structure onto a reasonably-priced media server, and I can do all of this over again...
Or must I use another format to get artwork? The artwork is not necessarily a deal-killer

I use DVD Shrink to "re-author" the DVD, selecting only the main movie and the audio track I want (usually 5.1 AC3 english). Then I use VOB2MPG or VideoReDo Plus to convert the VOB files back into a standard MPEG2 file. The whole process probably takes less than 10 minutes per disc, and the MPEG2 file is a standard file that plays on practically anything.

I don't have the WD HD so I don't know what it supports, but my TVix M-4000 lets me save an icon in the same folder as the movie file, and will display that as cover art.
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post #11 of 44 Old 01-11-2009, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by kmetek View Post

does full menu support PCH A110 ?

Dear Yoda,

Full menus the PCH supports.
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post #12 of 44 Old 01-16-2009, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, after more testing, this is what I've come up with. I would love to know if others are having the same results, or if I'm screwing something up somewhere in the process.

*.m4v files: Play fine, no subtitles, no chapters, 2-ch audio, no artwork, no ff/rew
*.iso files: Play fine, subtitles work, no chapters, 5.1-ch audio, no artwork, ff/rew work
*.mp4 files: Play fine, no subtitles, no chapters, 2-ch audio, artwork displays, ff/rew work
*.mkv files: Play fine, no subtitles, chapters work, 5.1-ch audio, no artwork, ff/rew work

Any suggestions on getting multi-channel audio on the *.mp4 files? I've tried making the selections in Handbrake, but either I'm doing something wrong, or it's not possible.
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post #13 of 44 Old 01-16-2009, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhue View Post

Dear Yoda,

Full menus the PCH supports.

lmfao, now that made me laugh, thanks for that!
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post #14 of 44 Old 02-05-2009, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ataylor View Post

Okay, after more testing, this is what I've come up with. I would love to know if others are having the same results, or if I'm screwing something up somewhere in the process.

*.m4v files: Play fine, no subtitles, no chapters, 2-ch audio, no artwork, no ff/rew
*.iso files: Play fine, subtitles work, no chapters, 5.1-ch audio, no artwork, ff/rew work
*.mp4 files: Play fine, no subtitles, no chapters, 2-ch audio, artwork displays, ff/rew work
*.mkv files: Play fine, no subtitles, chapters work, 5.1-ch audio, no artwork, ff/rew work

Any suggestions on getting multi-channel audio on the *.mp4 files? I've tried making the selections in Handbrake, but either I'm doing something wrong, or it's not possible.

I think we're in a similar boat. I've got about 500 dvds that I would love to put away forever, but finding the ideal method of transferring them so they're ready for WD HD TV is a pain. I like ISO, but I'm running into an issue where about every 10th iso or so isn't recognized by the WD media player. Whats the next best format, quality-wise? I'm weary of the formats that work out to a lot less GB's, since that implies to me that some quality is lost. What's the ideal setting on Handbrake you think?
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post #15 of 44 Old 02-05-2009, 07:51 PM
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I have ripped all my movies (400+) using DVDFab (platinum), I never have problems and I always only rip the movie itself (about 4-5 GB) its 100% quality because there is no compression.

I rip to VOB, I think its the most flexible way to rip and store movies, others like .iso but there is ALWAYS extra steps involved with playback of .iso. VOB is a one click playback with WMP, MPC, Zoomplayer, Theatertek and now Im buying WD media, PCH, Sage and what other device is out there to compare performances.

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post #16 of 44 Old 02-05-2009, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I spent about a month ripping DVDs to *.iso using AnyDVD and DVD Shrink. I now have about 260 or so *.iso files on a 1.5TB drive attached to the WD unit, with no problems so far. I decided to go with the *.iso files because they offer digital audio, FF/REW, and subtitles without any added work. When WD adds support for chapters and artwork in *.iso files, I will be one happy camper.

I didn't go with the VOB setup because I don't like looking at a zillion files when scrolling through the movies. I want to see one file, and press play and go. Your mileage may vary.

I have been unable to get the folks at the Handbrake forum to be of much help. They are all VERY techie geek types. I don't wanna do that much work just to watch my movies. By the way - an added benefit of DVD Shrink is that you can adjust the start and end points easily - ergo no trailers, opening credits, etc. Saves a few hundred MB per rip, and also makes watching the movie more enjoyable IMO.

All of that having been said, I'd keep an eye on this: http://wdtv.wetpaint.com/

This forum has gotten kind of hard to follow / keep up with. Threaded conversations don't lend themselves well to this type of information.
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post #17 of 44 Old 02-06-2009, 08:12 AM
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Quote:


I didn't go with the VOB setup because I don't like looking at a zillion files when scrolling through the movies. I want to see one file, and press play and go. Your mileage may vary.

Im just getting all these products now to test so I guess I will see what problems. I have VOBs because I have a full home video distribution system (PC based) and VOBs is what it needs.

This solution is for my remote setups (cottage, friend's houses, etc) and you are saying it shows all the VOBs? I thought it would just list the folders of each movie, I think click on the folder and click the video_ts.ifo (ala any movie playback software on PCs)

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post #18 of 44 Old 02-06-2009, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, kemosabe. What's going to happen is, when you click on a video TS folder (or whatever it's called; on my Mac it's Video_TS), you're going to see 8 jillion files listed (with no artwork, by the way). You'll have to navigate to the first one (not the first one listed - the one that contains the beginning of the movie) and remember to press "Play" instead of "Enter," which sounds easier than it is because "Enter" is the button in the middle of all the navigation buttons and is the one you naturally want to press when you've reached what you're looking for. If you press "Enter," though, the system will play that one file - and then take you back to the menu when it's over, which means right about the time the opening credits are finished. If you hit "Play," it should play all the *.vob files in order.

This is mostly hearsay, as I have avoided *.vob files for these reasons.
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post #19 of 44 Old 02-06-2009, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for the explanation on how it looks/works on WD HD.

My Folders are pretty clean because when I rip with DVDFab, I only rip the movie which creates maybe 6 to 8 files and usually clicking on the video_ts.ifo file starts the movie but from what you are stay, I click on the first VOB file which usually is very easy to find because its something like VTS_01_1.VOB.

Its too bad these devices do not work like all the other PC playback software packages, they should just take the video_ts.ifo file....

I could rip all my movies into one big VOB file but its not a big deal. I do need the video_ts.ifo file for my main house setup.

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post #20 of 44 Old 02-06-2009, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ataylor View Post

I spent about a month ripping DVDs to *.iso using AnyDVD and DVD Shrink. I now have about 260 or so *.iso files on a 1.5TB drive attached to the WD unit, with no problems so far. I decided to go with the *.iso files because they offer digital audio, FF/REW, and subtitles without any added work. When WD adds support for chapters and artwork in *.iso files, I will be one happy camper.

Interesting. I wonder why some of my .iso files don't seem to work. Again, most play fine, but occasionally I'll get a ripped .iso that gives me the dreaded "File Cannot Play" screen. Even after re-ripping the discs it does that for my problem discs.
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post #21 of 44 Old 02-06-2009, 12:45 PM
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I hope this isn't a stupid question, but can the WDTV display cover art at all? meaning is there a file format for ripped dvds or blu-rays that will allow cover art to be displayed as of now?
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post #22 of 44 Old 02-13-2009, 07:53 PM
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Guys, I registered to say this , but anyway I have WDTV too, reading this forum .
I'd convert DVD's in a way to not to be fixed specificaly to WDTV, that thing is gonna die some day .
I rip DVD's with AnyDVD AS IS , why is it that a space is important these days to cripple DVD's , I don't get it. I can check one box in there to navigate right into title menu.
If it is not playing on WDTV, again, I am not doing time consuming magic to fix it. Just renaming all VOB's I want to see to m2ts, it plays just fine. After there is working firmware in this matter will rename it back.

As for gadzillion files inside folder , yes one click more, after I choose a movie, my god, too much work , I click the first thing in there VIDEO_TS.VOB and here we go.
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post #23 of 44 Old 02-13-2009, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrock77 View Post

I hope this isn't a stupid question, but can the WDTV display cover art at all? meaning is there a file format for ripped dvds or blu-rays that will allow cover art to be displayed as of now?

Yes you can display cover art with the .mp4 format. I tag my files with metax in mkv format and then rename to mp4 (only file format that the wdtv will display art)
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post #24 of 44 Old 02-22-2009, 09:53 PM
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Yeaa, sounds like most of you are having the same issue with your WDTV, some ISO's play and others don't, but the bright side of things, you have a copy of your DVD's and one day some other manufacture will come along and make a better device that will play all ISO's or any other format that comes along. BTW, has anybody seen that new media player from LaCie called the BlackMax, it's like the Popcorn device, plus has built in network. For now WDTV is pretty cool, I'm happy with it, hopefully the next firmware updates will include more additional ISO support and hopefully USB LAN or USB Wireless support would be sweet. If WD can provide those, I will defiantly buy some extra units for the other rooms in my house.
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post #25 of 44 Old 03-04-2009, 07:58 AM
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I just got the WD HD media player. When I connect the harddisc to the mediaplayer it shows all the individual VOB, IFo etc files.
So when I want to watch a certain movie I have to open several of the vob files before picking the right one.

What must I do so that the WD Media Player shows the dvd's as a complete folder instead of automatically opening all the folders and listing the individual files
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post #26 of 44 Old 03-07-2009, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruitjerru View Post

I just got the WD HD media player. When I connect the harddisc to the mediaplayer it shows all the individual VOB, IFo etc files.
So when I want to watch a certain movie I have to open several of the vob files before picking the right one.

What must I do so that the WD Media Player shows the dvd's as a complete folder instead of automatically opening all the folders and listing the individual files

I dont seem to have that problem. I have the "Media Library" turned off, not sure if thats the reason. I also have the listing feature set to details, not icons. I dont give a hoot to need a pretty picture with each movie, just a name works for me.

I use DVDFab5 to rip my DVD's. I set it to only rip the main movie. DVDFab5 rips the movie into a folder using the dvd label (title). I rip directly to the USB 1.5TB ext HD. When I hook up to the WDTV, I go to the video icon. All the movies are in their own folder. Then I just keep clicking on the enter button, like this ( example ):

Forest_Gump> Video_TS> VTS_1_1.VOB

And the movie plays. No mess, no fuss.
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post #27 of 44 Old 03-16-2009, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jupi1 View Post

I dont seem to have that problem. I have the "Media Library" turned off, not sure if thats the reason. I also have the listing feature set to details, not icons. I dont give a hoot to need a pretty picture with each movie, just a name works for me.

I use DVDFab5 to rip my DVD's. I set it to only rip the main movie. DVDFab5 rips the movie into a folder using the dvd label (title). I rip directly to the USB 1.5TB ext HD. When I hook up to the WDTV, I go to the video icon. All the movies are in their own folder. Then I just keep clicking on the enter button, like this ( example ):

Forest_Gump> Video_TS> VTS_1_1.VOB

And the movie plays. No mess, no fuss.

Thanks
It works. I nomally delete the folder Video_TS to have quicker access to the files
The WD Mediaplayer apparently needs it.
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post #28 of 44 Old 03-16-2009, 12:27 PM
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Does WD really not support isos?...I just watched an ISO file on it last night...Was this addressed in the latest firmware then?

Physical media is on the way out
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post #29 of 44 Old 03-16-2009, 12:36 PM
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Have been following this and numerous other threads on the WD TV. As for me, I have taken this with a small passport essential drive on holidays and it worked flawlessly on every hotel tv!! I use various software to copy all files as either vob or m2ts files, ignoring DTS audio. Sure nice to carry 20 or so movies on a usb drive rather than the physical disks. Bonus - can use the same files on my laptop - if so desired. In fact, I now routinely copy dvds to the drive and use the WD in place of the dvd player with my Onkyo 606 HDMI input. Yes, I would like full dvd menu support, proper iso support, but being in the IT business I am a realist as to hardware and firmware.
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post #30 of 44 Old 04-01-2009, 05:58 PM
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When I play sequential files on WD HD, I get about 2 seconds blank screen between transition. Does that happen to you guys also.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ataylor View Post

remember to press "Play" instead of "Enter," which sounds easier than it is because "Enter" is the button in the middle of all the navigation buttons and is the one you naturally want to press when you've reached what you're looking for. If you press "Enter," though, the system will play that one file - and then take you back to the menu when it's over, which means right about the time the opening credits are finished. If you hit "Play," it should play all the *.vob files in order.

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