Time to lose the discs! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 01-15-2014, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a dedicated HT that I built a few years back after a lot of research and helpful advice from folks on avsforum. I've been interested in ripping/streaming movies for a long while, but when I first investigated it, there were too many trade-offs: sound quality, playable content and required a LOT of tweaking/hand-holding.

Things have clearly matured a lot and I think the time is right for me to lose the discs. I've done a lot of research, but it gets muddy because most folks are either also interested in streaming non-local content (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) or don't care as much about sound/video quality (possibly because it doesn't matter due to smaller screens, etc.).

I would appreciate advice from the experts on the best way to get closest to what I'm looking for...

Requirements:
  • UI that is beautiful, loaded with info about the movies and TV shows, and easy to use. Plex, XBMC and Kaleidoscope seem to set the bar here. I thought about using DLNA via my Oppo, but just not the same experience smile.gif
  • Can operate from a remote. Shouldn't require keyboard/mouse for normal operation (ignoring setup)
  • Don't care about streaming non-local content or live TV
  • No degradation of IQ. No plans to compress or re-encode if I can avoid it.
  • Must support TrueHD and DTS-MA (ideally via bitstreaming and let the receiver handle decode)
  • Media server to run on my NAS (Synology DS1512+) with a wired gigabit network going to the HT
  • STRONG desire to avoid any solution that requires constant tweaking to keep it working. Not an issue of being afraid of technology (I develop embedded systmes for a living), just don't have the time to babysit constantly after I get it setup. Reasonable amount of effort for the install and initial setup is fine.

Based on what I've read so far, it looks like the best bet is probably to find something appropriate to use as a Plex client, but I'm open to recommendations if there is a different direction I should be considering.

I haven't started ripping my library yet, so no restrictions there. I'll use whatever format works with the solution that makes sense.

Thanks!
Jay
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post #2 of 40 Old 01-15-2014, 09:05 AM
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WDTV SMP for well under $100 should satisfy all your requirements.
Streams local content extremely well and interacts great with Synology,
No need for PLex really since internal wdtv scraper can get all the movie info and coverart or you can use Thumbgen.
With the latest FW update it supports DTS-MA audio, and it has no problems with full Bluray rips (no BD menu though) so it's really hard to beat this little device.
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post #3 of 40 Old 01-15-2014, 10:20 AM
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No degradation of IQ.
Or PQ smile.gif. As morbidz suggested, WD SMP w/latest firmware fits what you're looking for. If you also need 3D, then I'd recommend Mede8er 600X3D. There's some set-up work involved with any media player to get your movies and TV shows to display properly via whatever the jukebox (movie/TV walls) may be.

HD Media Keen Videosaurus
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post #4 of 40 Old 01-15-2014, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion guys. Given the price, I picked one up this afternoon and started playing with it. Hooked it up in the living room initially to make it easier to bounce between my office where I'm ripping some discs to experiment with and the TV. So far so good!

I'll move it upstairs to my theater this weekend. Given the reaction from my wife and kids, it's likely I'll need to pick up a 2nd one for downstairs after I get some stick time on it to make sure I'm going to keep it.

Thanks much!

Jay
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post #5 of 40 Old 01-15-2014, 09:32 PM
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How is the browsing and content management interface? I've been using WMC with Media Browser and extenders, MKV files with AC3 audio, but I'd like an alternative for TrueHD & DTS-MA for my blu-ray rips. I had a first-gen WDTV that would play just about anything but the UI wasn't the best. Hopefully it's gotten better?

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post #6 of 40 Old 01-16-2014, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Too early for me to try to judge the content management aspect of it. I just started ripping my discs last night, so only have 10 done. I'll defer commenting on that for a few weeks at least.

Browsing seems to be fine, although a little slow popping up the initial backdrop from the movie as a flip through them. It doesn't stop me from flipping through things at a decent speed, but definitely a bit of lag to showing the interesting images and info on the movie.

From the eye candy angle, the UI looks nice. Not as slick as Plex, but I'd be perfectly happy with it as-is (with the content info scrapped) if I needed to. However, the default interface certainly isn't as slick as some of the themes I've seen screenshots of. Other than the constant swapping out of BDs in my computer to get things ripped, my next step is to find a theme I like and test that out. I may end up waiting a few days since the author of 2 of the more popular themes is getting ready to pull them and says there will be a new one going up the same day.

I'm hoping the approach the moviesheet themes take to the UI speed it up and eliminate the backdrop lag.

My only other real nit with the UI is some odd steps I had to take to get the "Get Content Info" option to show up. Google plus the user forums helped track down that answer quickly enough.

It's good enough so far that I think there's a 90%+ chance I'm going to need to get a 2nd one.

Jay
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post #7 of 40 Old 01-16-2014, 08:12 AM
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Thanks Jay. Hopefully you can continue to report back, I will watch this thread to follow the evolution of your solution.

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post #8 of 40 Old 01-16-2014, 09:06 AM
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You can also change the look/UI by using custom themes.
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post #9 of 40 Old 01-16-2014, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Otter0911 View Post

You can also change the look/UI by using custom themes.
+1. google wdtv titan theme, or simplicity
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post #10 of 40 Old 01-16-2014, 01:31 PM
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Which WDTV is the best one? Amazon has two of them, the "WDTV Play Media Player" and the "WDTV Live Media Player WiFi 1080p"?

I don't care about WiFi but I do want all of the streaming services with the added ability to play my local stored BD collection with the lossless audio and direct ripped video from the disc. I would like captions as well if it can do that but that won't be a deal breaker smile.gif

-Evangelo2
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post #11 of 40 Old 01-16-2014, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Evangelo2 View Post

Which WDTV is the best one? Amazon has two of them, the "WDTV Play Media Player" and the "WDTV Live Media Player WiFi 1080p"?

I don't care about WiFi but I do want all of the streaming services with the added ability to play my local stored BD collection with the lossless audio and direct ripped video from the disc. I would like captions as well if it can do that but that won't be a deal breaker smile.gif

-Evangelo2

This one....

http://www.amazon.com/Live-Media-Player-Wi-fi-1080p/dp/B005KOZNBW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1389908643&sr=8-2&keywords=wd+tv
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post #12 of 40 Old 01-19-2014, 10:15 PM
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This is interesting, I tried a few Network Players over the years and I sent them back withing days of getting them. I am back on the hunt and just can't make up my mind which one to try next. The price of the WD is certainly attractive but would you choose it over others like Mede8er, Popcorn Hour, Dune or even an HTPC?

 

I'm also going to track this thread and see what your results are.

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post #13 of 40 Old 01-20-2014, 05:17 PM
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Depends on what ur needs are. I have all my stuff on my pc in my office and stream it to my LR and downstairs. Soon will be adding another zone in the bedroom. All cat6. Couldnt be happier. Dont want to manage 4 computers in my house. Too much time and $. Pc is set to sleep in 30 min. And have a wake on lan app on my phone. Ran a htpc for years and did nothing but tinker. Worked great when it worked but always tinkering. I have a wdtv smp and a kdlinks. These things play full bd and dvd rips through network shares. Love them.
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post #14 of 40 Old 01-20-2014, 05:18 PM
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Amazon has a very liberal return policy. Try it.
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post #15 of 40 Old 01-21-2014, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by funhouse69 View Post

This is interesting, I tried a few Network Players over the years and I sent them back withing days of getting them. I am back on the hunt and just can't make up my mind which one to try next. The price of the WD is certainly attractive but would you choose it over others like Mede8er, Popcorn Hour, Dune or even an HTPC?
The real distinction is 2D vs. 3D. If you only need a 2D player then IMHO the WD Live-SMP is a clear choice. With the addition of support for DTS-HD passthrough with the last firmware update, I don't think anything touches the Live-SMP in the under $200 player class. WD's support of this player has been very solid -- 16 FW updates in the last 2yr.

If you want 3D then you need to step up to the $200+ class. There, Mede8er seems to be currying the most favor followed by PCH A400. Dune seems to be slacking off in both product and support.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #16 of 40 Old 01-21-2014, 04:45 PM
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The real distinction is 2D vs. 3D. If you only need a 2D player then IMHO the WD Live-SMP is a clear choice. With the addition of support for DTS-HD passthrough with the last firmware update, I don't think anything touches the Live-SMP in the under $200 player class. WD's support of this player has been very solid -- 16 FW updates in the last 2yr.

If you want 3D then you need to step up to the $200+ class. There, Mede8er seems to be currying the most favor followed by PCH A400. Dune seems to be slacking off in both product and support.


Thanks for the information Kelson - I actually just picked one up and I have one question. I am playing a Blu-Ray ISO from my network and I can't seem to figure out how to go through the various chapters I can only fast forward / rewind. What am I missing?

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post #17 of 40 Old 01-21-2014, 09:15 PM
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Thanks for the information Kelson - I actually just picked one up and I have one question. I am playing a Blu-Ray ISO from my network and I can't seem to figure out how to go through the various chapters I can only fast forward / rewind. What am I missing?
You are missing nothing. The Live-SMP will only play the biggest .m2ts file in a BD.iso. It has no support for chapters.

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post #18 of 40 Old 01-21-2014, 10:06 PM
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You are missing nothing. The Live-SMP will only play the biggest .m2ts file in a BD.iso. It has no support for chapters.


Is there a way to do it if the Blu-Rays are copied differently? Does it work for DVD?

 

Any chance this would be added in the future? I am really impressed with this little guy but this is really a deal breaker for me.

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post #19 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

The Live-SMP will only play the biggest .m2ts file in a BD.iso.
That's incorrect. As discussed in the WDTV Live thread, 2.01.86 will play the main movie from a complete BD.iso that has menus.
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Is there a way to do it if the Blu-Rays are copied differently?
Ripping the main movie to MKV will keep the chapters.

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post #20 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 06:26 AM
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It seems as though the wdtv will now play bd rips with seamless branching. If this is the case it must read the playlist then?

Dvd rips will play with chapter and menu support, assuming you are not using dlna.
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post #21 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 06:29 AM
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That's incorrect. As discussed in the WDTV Live thread, 2.01.86 will play the main movie from a complete BD.iso that has menus.
Yes, I know what was claimed there for seamless branched titles. I haven't seen anyone else verify it and I haven't verified it for myself yet.

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post #22 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 06:31 AM
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It seems as though the wdtv will now play bd rips with seamless branching.
Have you verified this?

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post #23 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 09:38 AM
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I haven't seen anyone else verify it and I haven't verified it for myself yet.
So obviously I'm making this up. Makes perfect sense.

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post #24 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 10:04 AM
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So obviously I'm making this up. Makes perfect sense.
Never said that. I just find it odd that WD would go through the trouble of implementing support for a BD playlists to handle seamless branching and yet not bother to support the chapter points that are also in the playlist. I don't typically rip main titles to BD.iso, so the next time I rip a seamless branched title I'll make it a point to take a look at the BD.iso. I'm curious enough to want to reproduce and verify the observation myself.

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post #25 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 10:13 AM
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guys, guys.....Kelson, I asked you the same question in the other forum rolleyes.gif

I have one I could try out. A real test would be trying to play Monsters University.
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post #26 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 10:20 AM
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guys, guys.....Kelson, I asked you the same question in the other forum rolleyes.gif

I have one I could try out. A real test would be trying to play Monsters University.
If you do, please post details of what you did.

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post #27 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 12:26 PM
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no player can play seamless branching titles without menu support consistently. Some discs through hundreds of playlists at you that are all similar and only the menu structure (either the hdmv menus or more likely the bdj menus) are able to programatically pick the right one. Until someone builds a CDDB type system for blurays (i.e. gives titles to the playlists for use by bdlite systems), I don't see this actively changing.

Players can make guesses, but it wont be consistently accurate. The best choice in these cases is to use somethign like dvdfab to remux a specific playlist into an mkv (with its chapters)
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post #28 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 12:54 PM
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no player can play seamless branching titles without menu support consistently. Some discs through hundreds of playlists at you that are all similar and only the menu structure (either the hdmv menus or more likely the bdj menus) are able to programatically pick the right one.
While what you say is true for a full disk rip, what we are discussing here is a main title rip to BD.iso. For example, you can use DVD Fab to rip the main title of a BD to the BDMV folder structure. Subsequently that folder rip could be fed to ImgBurn and packaged as a BD.iso. The rip will have a single 00000.mpls in the BDMV\PLAYLIST folder corresponding to the main title. The player would simply have to go to the PLAYLIST folder and pick up the first playlist file it finds -- no menu support is needed. If the title is authored as seamless branching, DVD Fab will not concatenate the segments. The BDMV\STREAM folder will contain a bunch of .m2ts files whose playback order is specified in the 00000.mpls file.

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post #29 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 01:10 PM
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ok, though at that point, xbmc can also do that, so wouldn't an xbmc box (say a NUC) be best?
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post #30 of 40 Old 01-22-2014, 01:14 PM
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I'd also note that libbluray is making slow but steady progress, I still have high hopes for it being able to handle bdj reliably one day.
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