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Media Servers worthy of high end - Page 3

post #61 of 519
Thread Starter 
Isn't the Dune just a different end client device? That is, couldn't you incorporate on into your server setup as the client? From what I understand, it's not much different, just a embedded PC running and optimized Linux build. And works with My Movies.
post #62 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

I am tickled to have a brand new user choose to pop in with this much technical info re that line. Really I am. But it is curious. Dont' get me wrong, I wouldn't care a bit if you were the engineer in charge of product development. That would be awesome. In any case, welcome to the forum. Now if I may take advantage of your experience with VidaBox:

When you say "mine are running...", you mean Vidabox's thin (rack?) clients? Or do you mean some other box you put together that's working with it.

Extremely important to me is source direct video (and audio) output. I've asked them on a couple of occasions re source direct, what do you know along those lines? The sales folks said "interesting input" with my brief conversation re same. If you have any support channel or inside line, please let them know how much we'd like to see this. And/or let us know their plans (if any) in this area. If they want to move to the front of the pack, here's their chance.

What IS there mandatory video processing doing to the video stream. Or more importantly, what will it pass perfectly unaltered? Frame Rate, color space, video levels (PC or Video), scale, etc. Back when I was fiddling with creating and authoring my popular calibration DVD, I found it was no simple task to get a PC to leave all that alone. As any point of the process, particularly playback. Very difficult, very easy to have wrong, and not much way to know it without special tools.

Thanks!

No I do not work for Vidabox, but I did just purchase a system from them, so I'm trying to pass what I know about to help in your decision. By Mine I meant the Vidabox RackV2 client (running 3 RackV2, and 6 Thinclients). I have the exact specs on what I purchased, but it has the pricing on there so I can't post it here, but would be glad to send to you. I have talked Steve Chung[sic] (President) several times and would be happy to ask him your questions. I do not want to try an answer them because I simply do not know the answer for sure. If you would like to post me any more your specific questions I will see if I can get an answer, I'll pass on the questions in your post to them to try and get a definitive answer for you on those subjects.
post #63 of 519
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcb2122 View Post

No I do not work for Vidabox, but I did just purchase a system from them, so I'm trying to pass what I know about to help in your decision. By Mine I meant the Vidabox RackV2 client (running 3 RackV2, and 6 Thinclients). I have the exact specs on what I purchased, but it has the pricing on there so I can't post it here, but would be glad to send to you. I have talked Steve Chung[sic] (President) several times and would be happy to ask him your questions. I do not want to try an answer them because I simply do not know the answer for sure. If you would like to post me any more your specific questions I will see if I can get an answer, I'll pass on the questions in your post to them to try and get a definitive answer for you on those subjects.

Honestly meant no offense. I do appreciate the input. You are the only person who I've "spoken" to who has a setup.

I've got the pricing info, so I'm good there, thanks. But for the other, that would be extremely appreciated.
post #64 of 519
I hope it is acceptable for me to join in on this thread.

There are a few comments that I would like to add.

There is not doubt that the Kaleidescape systems are very nice systems indeed, but for many, the cost of these systems is too high to affort.

I wanted to throw in a comment about "My Movies for Windows Media Center" versus "My Movies for HDI Dune".

My Movies can store meta-data for the Dune, and while this is a nice solution, it is not in the same level of a "proper" intelligent front end such as My Movies for Windows Media Center.

There are many, many differences. The interface for the Dune have to be pre-build in files, and is therefore not intelligent, to mention some of the differences this gives:

- It cannot mark your titles as watched when you watch them.

- You cannot use intelligent parental controls.

- The amount of movie details information you can fit on a single screen is limited, one example is My Movies interface on Media Center, you get to move between sub areas of movie information, you can open covers in full size and similar, which you can't with the Dune.

There are many, many differences.

My Movies for Windows Media Center is to be seen as a totally different product than My Movies for Dune, just as the difference to My Movies for TViX is even greather step down.

The Dune's are great media players, but the two cannot be compared.
post #65 of 519
Glad I found this thread as I am looking for the exact same solution as GetGray. I cannot figure out any way to create a media server solution with a true source direct / passthrough feature for both audio and video. Whether it be DIY or high end. I want a VP to be able to handle all the processing to ensure no errors.

GetGray, you mentioned earlier that you might as well get started on a server solution and start ripping your movies. Can you offer any details on what route you've chosen in this area? Personally I'd like something with redundancy, that's hot-swappable, quiet, and has low energy consumption.

For me, ideally, I'd like an intuitive GUI with plenty of metadata, and a system that works equally well for ripped BD's and DVD's as it does with video container formats I've accumulated over the years such as .mkv, .avi, .mpg, etc, as well as music (mp3, flac, ogg, as well as multichannel formats), AVCHD (+ Lite) home videos, and photos (including raw and all other formats).
post #66 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by facesnorth View Post

Glad I found this thread as I am looking for the exact same solution as GetGray. I cannot figure out any way to create a media server solution with a true source direct / passthrough feature for both audio and video. Whether it be DIY or high end. I want a VP to be able to handle all the processing to ensure no errors.

GetGray, you mentioned earlier that you might as well get started on a server solution and start ripping your movies. Can you offer any details on what route you've chosen in this area? Personally I'd like something with redundancy, that's hot-swappable, quiet, and has low energy consumption.

For me, ideally, I'd like an intuitive GUI with plenty of metadata, and a system that works equally well for ripped BD's and DVD's as it does with video container formats I've accumulated over the years such as .mkv, .avi, .mpg, etc, as well as music (mp3, flac, ogg, as well as multichannel formats), AVCHD (+ Lite) home videos, and photos (including raw and all other formats).

Not wishing to answer for Scott and maybe Binnerup can add some additional information...

I've been looking at a combination of the Dune Smart with an HP EX495 MediaSmart server and My Movies for a home theater solution. You probably can build a server for a little less, but street prices for the EX495 seem to be very competitive. The EX495 gives you hot swap and lots of room for expansion. I'm interested in the WHS to also be able to use the cheap WDTV for bedroom TV's etc.

I don't fully understand the the three versions My Movies and how it would compare in this arrangement. As I think I understand it, in this configuration, the Dune would have a short cut on its GUI to My Movies on the WHS; correct?

The new Dune's seem to be the only media players with the possibility of source direct based on the user request list (Features Voting) at their web site. http://dune-hd.com/features/
post #67 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by b curry View Post

I don't fully understand the the three versions My Movies and how it would compare in this arrangement. As I think I understand it, in this configuration, the Dune would have a short cut on its GUI to My Movies on the WHS; correct?

It can be a bit complicated, indeed, especially since the overlap.

"My Movies Collection Management" is our movie library maintenance application. It can be used to simply manage a movie collection. It can then also be used to generate meta-data for various media players and softwares, including Dune, TViX and similar.

"My Movies for Windows Media Center" is our primary movie front end application for TV based browsing. It includes the "Collection Management" program as part of the package. This is typically the software users refer to when they refer to "My Movies".

"My Movies for Windows Home Server" is an optional back-end software for "My Movies for Windows Media Center", but can also operate as a standalone software. It allows multiple "My Movies for Windows Media Center" products to connect to the home server and use it as a common movie database for many clients, instread of each client having their own database. The home server software then also have functionalities to automatically copy DVD, HD DVD, Blu-ray and Audio CD's, detecting and embedding meta-data automatically. It then also have the option as the "Collection Management" program to store meta-data for the same devices as the "Collection Management" program.

The place where it gets a bit more complicated is that a "Collection Management" or a "My Movies for Windows Media Center" setup can be configured as "Standalone" (single machine) or "Server and Client" or "Client" setup, which means that both of these actually can act as a server for other clients as well, or act as a client to other servers.

I can likely simplify it a bit by mentioning what our recommend setup is:

You set up a "My Movies for Windows Home Server" server somewhere in the household. This machine holds all of your storage, and all your movies is placed on this. It also contains the common database for everthing you connect to it. To this server you attach an optional drive either directly if it's self build, or though USB - if you would like the drive placed away from the server you can use an USB extention solution. This drive is used as a "Bulk Loader" where you can insert discs, and they will automatically be copied to the storage without you doing anything more than that. The data copied in can be used on multiple devices. If you have a large collection of discs, you can use a "Nimbie NB11" disc copy device to copy 100 discs at a time. It is intented that these will be available for rent from partners.

You then set up a number of Media Center PC's with "My Movies for Windows Media Center", and connect these to your home server - every device here can then be configured with different parental control settings and similar, but all accesses the same Windows Home Server for title playback.

You can then optionally connect any number of HDI Dune, TViX, Mede8er or other "lower cost" playback devices to the Windows Home Server as well, but all of them must be seen as devices with seperate functionality and less options than the "My Movies for Windows Media Center".

I hope this makes it a bit more clear.
post #68 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binnerup View Post

...You can then optionally connect any number of HDI Dune, TViX, Mede8er or other "lower cost" playback devices to the Windows Home Server as well, but all of them must be seen as devices with seperate functionality and less options than the "My Movies for Windows Media Center".

I hope this makes it a bit more clear.

Thanks Binnerup,

So, if I use the Dune as a client with a WHS and without "My Movies for Windows Media Center" and no Media Center PC's what options do I lose?

Sorry to be so dense, but I'm not wanting to have a Media Center PC in the mix. Just the Media Player and NAS/WHS.

Thanks for your time and help.
post #69 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by b curry View Post

So, if I use the Dune as a client with a WHS and without "My Movies for Windows Media Center" and no Media Center PC's what options do I lose?

You look quite a bit actually. That does not mean that the Dune solution is not a nice solution, it is - but it is still just a media player - it is a media player that offers a lot compared to it's competitors, but it never becomes a proper Media Center front-end wise.

It's difficult to say what you loose in features, as the main thing you loose is more an animated and intelligent user interface.

Building a user interface for Windows Media Center, we are building an intelligent application on top of a graphical animated front-end - on the Dune we build a set of pre-defined files that the Dune can display and browse in.

There is technically a huge difference, and this ends up with there usage wise being a huge difference.

I guess the only thing we can do is get some proper user interface videos created.
post #70 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binnerup View Post

...I guess the only thing we can do is get some proper user interface videos created.

Thanks Binnerup.

User interface videos would be very cool.
post #71 of 519
I have seen very expensive media centers hickup and stutter, whereas the dune play flawless, also if you own a d-box media center wont work so some are forced to go the dune route for those reasons.
post #72 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by CINERAMAX View Post

I have seen very expensive media centers hickup and stutter, whereas the dune play flawless, also if you own a d-box media center wont work so some are forced to go the dune route for those reasons.

It is no secret that you can kill of any Media Center PC easily - it is often a matter of simply installing a codec pack, and everything is busted.

The problem is that many users threat them as PC's rather than a media box.

I think that you will see much more stability when users are not allowed to change anything, in Windows 7 Embedded based boxes where users does not have the option to change stuff...
post #73 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binnerup View Post

It is no secret that you can kill of any Media Center PC easily - it is often a matter of simply installing a codec pack, and everything is busted.

The problem is that many users threat them as PC's rather than a media box.

I think that you will see much more stability when users are not allowed to change anything, in Windows 7 Embedded based boxes where users does not have the option to change stuff...

I have to agree with that statement. If the client PC you intend to use is strictly a playback device, the issues will be minimal (if any). Some use My Movies on their primary home PC which is also used for internet surfing and have all types of application installed. I found a dedicated PC for the purpose of using My Movies was very stable.
post #74 of 519
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binnerup View Post

I hope it is acceptable for me to join in on this thread.

There are a few comments that I would like to add.

There is not doubt that the Kaleidescape systems are very nice systems indeed, but for many, the cost of these systems is too high to affort.

I wanted to throw in a comment about "My Movies for Windows Media Center" versus "My Movies for HDI Dune".

My Movies can store meta-data for the Dune, and while this is a nice solution, it is not in the same level of a "proper" intelligent front end such as My Movies for Windows Media Center.

There are many, many differences. The interface for the Dune have to be pre-build in files, and is therefore not intelligent, to mention some of the differences this gives:

- It cannot mark your titles as watched when you watch them.

- You cannot use intelligent parental controls.

- The amount of movie details information you can fit on a single screen is limited, one example is My Movies interface on Media Center, you get to move between sub areas of movie information, you can open covers in full size and similar, which you can't with the Dune.

There are many, many differences.

My Movies for Windows Media Center is to be seen as a totally different product than My Movies for Dune, just as the difference to My Movies for TViX is even greather step down.

The Dune's are great media players, but the two cannot be compared.

That's very good information and I was not aware of the difference. Thank you. Now if I can just find a PC that will do source direct. Know one?
post #75 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

That's very good information and I was not aware of the difference. Thank you. Now if I can just find a PC that will do source direct. Know one?

It's possible some of the very high end video cards by ATI or NVidia may be able to do it but I haven't looked into it. Maybe someone on this thread knows.
post #76 of 519
I need to know specifically what you mean by source direct?

Is that automatic refesh rate change per source material, or is it sending out the video unaltered?
post #77 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Binnerup View Post

I need to know specifically what you mean by source direct?

Is that automatic refesh rate change per source material, or is it sending out the video unaltered?

unaltered video bitstream is what he's referring to. I don't know of any PC or video card that can do that but I could be wrong.
post #78 of 519
I do not know that either, no....
post #79 of 519
from my research, i believe the dune is the most reliable unit for the diyer and is very inexpensive compared to the other options mentioned. the only real negative about it is source direct, but i have faith they will add this feature. its now #3 on the request list on their site so i think its something they will look into. they generally are pretty good with firmware and response time, so here's to hoping!

in any case, i like the gui of my movies, but i was wondering if the main menu icons can be customized just how you want it. for example, the wiki page shows about 6 icons (alphabetical, years, decades, etc.) if i wanted, could i setup the main page to only have 2 icons: movies and tv shows? or am i stuck with the stock main page layout and icon selection?

thanks.
post #80 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony A. View Post

in any case, i like the gui of my movies, but i was wondering if the main menu icons can be customized just how you want it. for example, the wiki page shows about 6 icons (alphabetical, years, decades, etc.) if i wanted, could i setup the main page to only have 2 icons: movies and tv shows? or am i stuck with the stock main page layout and icon selection?

You can create a custom template for the Dune:

http://wiki.mymovies.dk/HDI%20Dune%2...omization.ashx
post #81 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post


Honestly meant no offense. I do appreciate the input. You are the only person who I've "spoken" to who has a setup.

I've got the pricing info, so I'm good there, thanks. But for the other, that would be extremely appreciated.

I was not offended in the least. I emailed your questions and will post their response once he gets back with me.
post #82 of 519
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys.

In the case of a full blown PC client, that would take full advantage of MyMovies graphics etc (in lieu of a HD DUne client), surely there is a HTPC solution out there thet does source direct. Or are all standalone HTPC users forced to use PC player software scaling, deinterlacing, etc.?
post #83 of 519
in my experience with htpc's yes, it gets clunky with all the drivers, scaling, sharpening, etc. i like streamers because they offer a linux based os that doesn't rely on updates, updated drivers, etc. you rip the disk and play it.
post #84 of 519
Thread Starter 
Whichever one does source direct is good for me. Linus, Windoze, whatever. I thnk the rest can be worked around...
post #85 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

Thanks guys.

In the case of a full blown PC client, that would take full advantage of MyMovies graphics etc (in lieu of a HD DUne client), surely there is a HTPC solution out there thet does source direct. Or are all standalone HTPC users forced to use PC player software scaling, deinterlacing, etc.?

If anyone would know.. Mikinho would. The guy is an expert and genius on HTPC. He writes special apps and tools for HTPC to overcome certain limitations of some apps and OS. I will ask him to chime in this thread...
post #86 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

Thanks guys.

In the case of a full blown PC client, that would take full advantage of MyMovies graphics etc (in lieu of a HD DUne client), surely there is a HTPC solution out there thet does source direct. Or are all standalone HTPC users forced to use PC player software scaling, deinterlacing, etc.?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post

If anyone would know.. Mikinho would. The guy is an expert and genius on HTPC. He writes special apps and tools for HTPC to overcome certain limitations of some apps and OS. I will ask him to chime in this thread...

Just so I'm clear on what you mean by "source direct". You are a looking for a HTPC solution that will decode ANY source material without video pre\\post processing and output the source material color space (i.e. RGB 4:4:4m YCbCr 4:4:4, YCbCr 4:2:2, YUV 4:2:0, YUV 4:1:1, etc...) and resolution?

If so, no I don't believe is there is a solution that works. At least not well.

Most Blu-ray playback software has VPP disabled but the GPU will convert the color space to the configured output and most GPUs will do some post processing.

Some GPUs are severely limited in the color space output. For instance Intel's Clarkdale is limited to RGP (no YCbCr support or 24p). Various ATI\\AMD chipsets support some YCbCr color spaces but will do a YCbCr -> RGB -> YCbCr conversion.

Almost every stand-alone player will do some video processing of sorts so you aren't much better off going that direction either. Many GPUs can have a higher PQ (measured by HD-HQV) than stand-alone players even when converting YCbCr to RGB with dithering.

I believe some of the higher end QUADRO cards have full color space support and will disable their post-processing algorithms. I'll verify and update. You'll still have to deal which each content type individually though.

For ripped files madVR offers exceptional PQ and will prevent video processing algorithms typically used by graphics card.

Also, If I have incorrectly assumed what you are after please correct me.
post #87 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by GetGray View Post

...surely there is a HTPC solution out there thet does source direct. Or are all standalone HTPC users forced to use PC player software scaling, deinterlacing, etc.?

Assuming that source direct means native output (480i -> 480i, 720p->720p, etc) the HTPC story (at least on Windows) is a bit muddled.

There are software players that can change resolution/refresh rate based on content (like MPC-HC and 7MC with the DTBAddin). So while clearly possible to push scaling downstream, it is unclear if "native output" actually skips DI on the PC or if DI occurs then the content is reinterlaced for output (I've asked a couple contacts at MS because the documentation is unclear but seems to indicate that it's not possible to not DI interlaced content during the render phase of playback; unfortunately I haven't been able to get a straight answer from them either).

That said, both ATI and Intel do a decent job with DI and scaling most common types of content (ATI currently has a clear lead in cadence detection so DI performance will be better on a wider variety of content with their hardware), so unless you have a very good downstream DI/scaler the PC's GPU is in many cases the best choice for video processing.
post #88 of 519
Mikinho and Andy, Thanks for jumping in. This will make the thread even more interesting. I also feel this is a hot topic for those trying to achieve high end video performance from HTPC.
post #89 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikinho View Post

Some GPUs are severely limited in the color space output. For instance Intel's Clarkdale is limited to RGP (no YCbCr support or 24p). Various ATI\\AMD chipsets support some YCbCr color spaces but will do a YCbCr -> RGB -> YCbCr conversion.

Intel "supports" 24p, they just don't do it right When 23 or 24Hz is selected the GPU always outputs 24.000Hz (instead of 24.000 for 24 and 23.976 for 23).
post #90 of 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by babgvant View Post

Intel "supports" 24p, they just don't do it right When 23 or 24Hz is selected the GPU always outputs 24.000Hz (instead of 24.000 for 24 and 23.976 for 23).

I think Intel claims this will be corrected with Sandy Bridge but we'll see..
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