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WHY WHY WHY!!!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Have been ripping the home collection use MakeMKV and I like XBMC (I know, good for me). Am quickly finding that MKV files are huge and I am running out of space and still have DVD's to go.

I have been going through the sticky threads, the other forums, and am just plain exhausted. It seems to difficult to get any straight answers from any of this, there are so many possible ways to do it all...UGH. Not sure if I really want to try and build a HTPC or can I just buy something from Bestbuy and keep what hair I have left. I love computers, playing with and tinkering, but have never built one...and the cost, really come on. I just want to rip the family movies so we can more easily watch them instead of having to pull the round thingy form the rectangle box and doing that dance, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR???

I found Media Browser add-on for WMC, that's great but the ability to play with the Meta Data sucked. Started using Media Center Master and that seems okay. But trying to push all this to my XBOX as an extended device yields crappy quality on my converted MKV files. What's the best format to take an MKV to so other things can play with it. Arrrgghhh....

Sorry for the ranting and raving, I feel a little better. If you have any input great, if you don't I hope this is what you went (going) through as well.
post #2 of 26
Buy more drives... I don't compress anything except blu rays. And even on those I only use clone bd to remove extra menus etc.. A regular dvd takes 8gb at the most so you could put about 200 movies on a 2 tb drive, $100 a drive not that much money imo for the convenience. I use media browser and my movies to add cover and meta. It works like a charm for me. A htpc is necessarily cheaper it's just more fun!!
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by joejmunro View Post

Have been ripping the home collection use MakeMKV and I like XBMC (I know, good for me). Am quickly finding that MKV files are huge and I am running out of space and still have DVD's to go.
I have been going through the sticky threads, the other forums, and am just plain exhausted. It seems to difficult to get any straight answers from any of this, there are so many possible ways to do it all...UGH. Not sure if I really want to try and build a HTPC or can I just buy something from Bestbuy and keep what hair I have left. I love computers, playing with and tinkering, but have never built one...and the cost, really come on. I just want to rip the family movies so we can more easily watch them instead of having to pull the round thingy form the rectangle box and doing that dance, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR???
I found Media Browser add-on for WMC, that's great but the ability to play with the Meta Data sucked. Started using Media Center Master and that seems okay. But trying to push all this to my XBOX as an extended device yields crappy quality on my converted MKV files. What's the best format to take an MKV to so other things can play with it. Arrrgghhh....
Sorry for the ranting and raving, I feel a little better. If you have any input great, if you don't I hope this is what you went (going) through as well.

Paypal $25 for assassin's guides. They are concise and illustrated and although they do show a few ways to do things, they also are well put together with step by step instructions.

For storage, when the drives go on sale you will see them posted all over here. I have 20TB of storage and could use some more but I think I'll take some watch once movies before buying more drives at this point.
post #4 of 26
+1. Assassin's guides are a wealth of useful information when it comes to HTPCs and anything associated with them. He also has a server blog that will cost you another $25 to join, but it's all money well spent.
post #5 of 26
RTFAG
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

RTFAG

??
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

RTFAG
????
Quote:
Originally Posted by joejmunro View Post

Have been ripping the home collection use MakeMKV and I like XBMC (I know, good for me). Am quickly finding that MKV files are huge and I am running out of space and still have DVD's to go.
I have been going through the sticky threads, the other forums, and am just plain exhausted. It seems to difficult to get any straight answers from any of this, there are so many possible ways to do it all...UGH. Not sure if I really want to try and build a HTPC or can I just buy something from Bestbuy and keep what hair I have left. I love computers, playing with and tinkering, but have never built one...and the cost, really come on. I just want to rip the family movies so we can more easily watch them instead of having to pull the round thingy form the rectangle box and doing that dance, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR???
I found Media Browser add-on for WMC, that's great but the ability to play with the Meta Data sucked. Started using Media Center Master and that seems okay. But trying to push all this to my XBOX as an extended device yields crappy quality on my converted MKV files. What's the best format to take an MKV to so other things can play with it. Arrrgghhh....
Sorry for the ranting and raving, I feel a little better. If you have any input great, if you don't I hope this is what you went (going) through as well.

Unfortunately your rant doesn't make much sense, so I'll try to re-state your problem in order of severity
  1. Storage space for ripped discs
  2. Extending playback to other devices
  3. MKV playback on extenders
  4. Cost of computers

Going through these you need to further describe your setup
  • What are you using to rip? If not a laptop, does it have extra hard drive space?
  • How many rooms are you trying to provide playback in?
  • Do you have network cables running to those rooms?

As for some of the other items . . .

The xbox nor any other small extender device can currently handle ripped blu rays with ease, and it's not a problem with the mkv format. Mkv is a low overhead container format that makes it great for streaming or transcoding. If what you ripped were all dvd's (not-bluray) your playback problems are likely the result of poor network performance, or not enough horsepower/memory on the instance of WMC that you are "extending"

I use htpcs for all of my screens (3). Nothing else is connected to the TV

Since you like XBMC, you can purchase the hardware rather cheaply and install OpenELEC (saves the cost of the Windows license). As for storage, you'd keep everything stored where it is currently, or move everything to a server or NAS. Where your storage exists is really a personal preference. I currently lean on the side of leaving 6 hard drives in my main HTPC (Windows 7) and letting the other two HTPCs pull movies and shows over the network. One htpc is wired and one is wireless, but the wireless connection is to a linksys wes-610n. I've found it's performance to be superior to pci or usb wireless cards

A playback htpc running xbmc should only cost as follows
Intel G645 ($50 at Microcenter, $70 elsewhere)
Asrock B75 motherboard ($55 at newegg, or an H61 board for $30 after rebate would still work)
4 or 8 GB DDR3-1600 ($25)
60GB (or deal on 128GB) SSD ($50-$70)
Case and PSU have lots of options. Cheapest is $20 full case and $20 Corsair 430W PSU. You can add the HTPC look instead of a normal case with the NmediaPC 5000B for $50 instead of $20. You can go way higher price-wise on cases as well, and add a nicer Seasonic or PC Power and Cooling Power Supply for $50-$70 instead of the $20 Corsair

Your cheapest build could run $200, but a more recommended budget build shouldn't cost more than $300

Load openelec and it'll play everything you throw at it with ease
post #8 of 26
+1 on Dark_Slayer's above comment. Also I'd add that you can recoup some of the costs (possibly) by incorporating a tuner and getting rid of cable co. set-top box rental fees depending on your current setup. A SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime network tuner costs $150 or less but can pay for itself in less than a year given that CableCARD rental is very cheap ($2/mo instead of $15 for the box).

Beware though - you'll never actually be able to save money once you go down this route as you'll quickly develop a case of the dreaded Upgraditis and will want to get an AVR, surround sound, rewire the house, stream your content while traveling etc etc. It can be fun though!
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

????
Unfortunately your rant doesn't make much sense, so I'll try to re-state your problem in order of severity
  1. Storage space for ripped discs
  2. Extending playback to other devices
  3. MKV playback on extenders
  4. Cost of computers
Going through these you need to further describe your setup
  • What are you using to rip? If not a laptop, does it have extra hard drive space?
  • How many rooms are you trying to provide playback in?
  • Do you have network cables running to those rooms?
As for some of the other items . . .
The xbox nor any other small extender device can currently handle ripped blu rays with ease, and it's not a problem with the mkv format. Mkv is a low overhead container format that makes it great for streaming or transcoding. If what you ripped were all dvd's (not-bluray) your playback problems are likely the result of poor network performance, or not enough horsepower/memory on the instance of WMC that you are "extending"
I use htpcs for all of my screens (3). Nothing else is connected to the TV
Since you like XBMC, you can purchase the hardware rather cheaply and install OpenELEC (saves the cost of the Windows license). As for storage, you'd keep everything stored where it is currently, or move everything to a server or NAS. Where your storage exists is really a personal preference. I currently lean on the side of leaving 6 hard drives in my main HTPC (Windows 7) and letting the other two HTPCs pull movies and shows over the network. One htpc is wired and one is wireless, but the wireless connection is to a linksys wes-610n. I've found it's performance to be superior to pci or usb wireless cards
A playback htpc running xbmc should only cost as follows
Intel G645 ($50 at Microcenter, $70 elsewhere)
Asrock B75 motherboard ($55 at newegg, or an H61 board for $30 after rebate would still work)
4 or 8 GB DDR3-1600 ($25)
60GB (or deal on 128GB) SSD ($50-$70)
Case and PSU have lots of options. Cheapest is $20 full case and $20 Corsair 430W PSU. You can add the HTPC look instead of a normal case with the NmediaPC 5000B for $50 instead of $20. You can go way higher price-wise on cases as well, and add a nicer Seasonic or PC Power and Cooling Power Supply for $50-$70 instead of the $20 Corsair
Your cheapest build could run $200, but a more recommended budget build shouldn't cost more than $300
Load openelec and it'll play everything you throw at it with ease

Well, almost everything.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

+1 on Dark_Slayer's above comment. Also I'd add that you can recoup some of the costs (possibly) by incorporating a tuner and getting rid of cable co. set-top box rental fees depending on your current setup. A SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime network tuner costs $150 or less but can pay for itself in less than a year given that CableCARD rental is very cheap ($2/mo instead of $15 for the box).
Beware though - you'll never actually be able to save money once you go down this route as you'll quickly develop a case of the dreaded Upgraditis and will want to get an AVR, surround sound, rewire the house, stream your content while traveling etc etc. It can be fun though!

Everything but now you need to include the cost of a Win7 License in your build.
post #11 of 26
Is your XBOX connected via a wired connection to the HTPC? If not, fix that first if you are planning on "pushing" anything media related in real time across your network.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Everything but now you need to include the cost of a Win7 License in your build.

Or not as the case may be wink.gif
post #13 of 26
I was thinking legally.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

??

I am sure one of you smart guys can figure out what RTFAG is though the joke is kind of spoiled now.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

I am sure one of you smart guys can figure out what RTFAG is though the joke is kind of spoiled now.

Ah, it sounded like a derogatory way of referring to someone who was a Windows RT Fanboy

All I got is "For Assassin's Guides" still can't get the RT, but I'm sure it'll come to me
post #16 of 26
I can't tell if you're serious or not because this is the internet and sarcasm doesn't always translate into text well. So if you are....Read The F*cking Assassin's Guide.
post #17 of 26
Yeah. I got the first part but the "AG" part threw me. I should have picked up on that based on the venue in which it was presented.
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by staknhalo View Post

I can't tell if you're serious or not because this is the internet and sarcasm doesn't always translate into text well. So if you are....Read The F*cking Assassin's Guide.

That's correct and it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek given all the prior replies. Anyway, sorry to hijack the thread. It was meant to be hah hah chuckle and move along to the helpful posts.

biggrin.gif Apologies to the OP.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sorry for the delay, was out of town for the holidays; will try for more detail now. I am using an older computer that has about 1TB of disk space and only a DVD-RW drive. Am ripping all DVD's using MakeMKV; can't rip Blu-Rays currently due to older PC. Was using XBMC to play the MKV's but found Media Browser for WMC. Given the size of the MKV's I am backing those up and off PC to a 2TB drive. Before I back them up I am converting them using Handbrake, they are becoming MP4's, much smaller file size and appears not to lose much quality on playback. Given that they are now MP4's I am also pushing them to my hard wired XBOX to WMC. I am also able to take the MP4's and play them on my GSIII but it isn't the most practical.

For all this said and done, thanks for listening to my rant and providing some, some, constructive feedback. For my first quasi-HTPC I don't think it is bad, only have an investment of the 2TB drive so far, maybe when the kids are older and I have the time and ability to watch better quality I will. Ultimately for now, I think this will work for me.

Things that I notice though are that the XBOX remote sucks, will have to see what else is out there. Thanks all.
post #20 of 26
OP you need to learn a little more to understand why your so upset
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by joejmunro View Post

Am ripping all DVD's using MakeMKV; can't rip Blu-Rays currently due to older PC. Was using XBMC to play the MKV's but found Media Browser for WMC. Given the size of the MKV's I am backing those up and off PC to a 2TB drive. Before I back them up I am converting them using Handbrake, they are becoming MP4's, much smaller file size and appears not to lose much quality on playback. Given that they are now MP4's I am also pushing them to my hard wired XBOX to WMC. I am also able to take the MP4's and play them on my GSIII but it isn't the most practical.

First off DVD's = MPEG2 video, which isn't as efficent as other video formats.

With handbrake you are converting the MPEG2 video files to MPEG4 which has higher compression rates and thus saves on disc space.
post #22 of 26
I think storage is cheap enough to justify higher quality larger video files.

HDDs are going to get bigger and cheaper in future.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I think storage is cheap enough to justify higher quality larger video files.
HDDs are going to get bigger and cheaper in future.
This. There is absolutely no reason to be converting HD files or compressing them if you want the best quality. After all, isn't that what HD is supposed to be all about?wink.gif
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

This. There is absolutely no reason to be converting HD files or compressing them if you want the best quality. After all, isn't that what HD is supposed to be all about?wink.gif

Well it depends on who you ask. I currently have about 250 HD movies and about 500 episodes of my favorite shows that I have stored on 3 2tb hds. For me buying the media and then buying more storage to save a 30gb movie file just isn't financially possible. Most of my hd movies are around 8-10gbs after encoding, while most of my tv episodes I save around 2.5-3gbs after encoding. I rip all my stuff because I like having all of my media at the touch of a button on XBMC. The "Wife acceptance Factor" with this is through the roof as she doesn't have to go looking for disc every time our 2yr old wants to watch one of her favorite disney movies... Did I mention I have a 2yr old, who the other day was sticking her string cheese into the opening of my Sub eek.gif I later found another one of her small toys already in the unit. The point being that with having kids, it is just easier to have everything all bundle into one and helps protect the disc from sticky little fingers. If only I could afford to buy more storage.
post #25 of 26
I hear you. Having little ones around the house tends to put a damper on any hobby, not that it's a bad thing. Both my kids are grown so I'm now able to divert resources to more personal things, like building a 24TB unRAID server. I don't generally keep a movie on the server once it's been viewed so I delete it to make room for more movies.

FWIW, I have a 14 month-old grandson who started walking about a month ago and he's into absolutely everything. I've had to go back and childproof all of the cabinets all over again and I've moved anything I don't want him messing with out of reach. Fortunately, my home theater setup is in the basement and the wife keeps him on the upper floors. My daughter and SIL decided they wanted two kids close in age so No. 2 will be here this summer. I'm not complaining because being a grandparent is an absolute hoot.
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Just discovered PLEX and am using it with my ROKU...BRILLIANT!!! Literally was nothing to set up this thing.
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