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Ultimate HD Movie Player

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I hope this becomes an interesting thread. If this has already been done then please pass me on to the link so I can read what has already been discussed.

I want to create the ultimate video server. Here are a list of my specifications to tantalize your taste buds. BTW, money is not an object (yet). And, yes, I plan to build this unit within 6 months (money permitting).

1. Needs to be stable. This is why I am in this forum.
2. It must support 1080p as it's primary output device format.
3. It will need to scan convert non-1080p content.
4. It will need to play HD-DVD and Blue-Ray content.
5. It will get content from a RAID-5 disk drive array (or equivalent). And, another processor on the gigabit network may be placing content onto the HDD array at the same time.
6. Image quality and playback is essential.
7. Audio quality is paramount.
8. HDCP is assumed.
9. Unit is assumed to be running 24/7.
10. I expect that I may have multiple "player PCs" all using the same HDD array described in item 5 above.
11. I want to create a "play list" of movies to play on a given "player PC".

What do you guys think?

htguyWA
post #2 of 9
Just a real quick thought... (I'll write more later probably). If it is going to be a server to "player pcs" then those player pcs are the ones that need to output 1080p and be HDCP compliant. The server can just stream content to them, unless you are planning on hooking up the server directly to the display devices. So what you really want us to comment on is both the server and clients (player PCs)?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I was originally thinking that the server would act as a media warehouse and essentially stream to the player pcs. Would consider alternatives if performance is unreasonable for three or four node players.

Great discussion. Thanks!
post #4 of 9
1. yes - I use fedora 6 soon to be 7
2. yes - I output at 1920x1200
3. yes - upconverts/scales up to your resolutio
4. yes - I have ripped .evo of a few of my hddvds and they play but eac3 support will be this summer (advanced hddvd and bluray audio)
5. yes - I have two raid 5 arrays (5 disk x 300gb) and (4 x 500gb) and have no problems doing 2 HD recordings, 2 sd recordings, commercial flagging and watching hd content at the same time. This is mostly dependend on your processor/ram/configuration. I would recommend a dual core core2duo right now and 1 gb of ram for just a backend or two gb of ram for a fe/be combo with these features.
6. Works fine for me using a pci-e 5300 nvidia and digital coax output with passthrough for everything so I get accurate digital sound
7. digital passthrough works great for anything with dts or dolby, etc in it. Enhanced ac-3 support should be finished by the Google Summer of Code work
8. no need for hdcp in linux. Just dvi out it or get one of the special vid cards that can pipe the digital audio into a hdmi cable if that is what you need
9. uptime of over a year is not uncommon - downtime is usually for updates or swapping out hardware - go with a intel core2duo and a high percentage of efficiency power supply and you should have a lower electric bill
10. gigabit network is a must. I use dual nics that are bonded to spread the load to the rest of my boxes in the house.
11. Everything is available from any frontend. if you mean an automatic menu of added moves then that's available in myth video. All recordings are by default sorted by series name.

for an idea of what I'm running that is close to what you want go here:
my myth backend

the only thing that linux/myth can't do is the hdcp-compliancy. Since it's not a windows box it wouldn't matter anyway. That means if you want hddvd or bluray you will be breaking the DMCA (i don't have a problem with that). Currently the only way to playback hddvds and bluray is with mplayer svn and some other programs.
post #5 of 9
I'm interested...Windows is killing me. This Apple TV thing ain't gonna work. Can someone who has never used Linux before hope to do this (meaning me)? Blackoper, maybe you could give us a more thorough blueprint? I'm really impressed.

Alex
post #6 of 9
1. Go with any Linux stable release, for myth I recommend Knoppmyth, mythdora, ubuntu, or fedora

2. Many video cards can do this. You may have to play around with proper settings for you display. Make sure to get a nvidia card(s) for your frontend(s). On my HD frontends I have a 6200LE and an integrated 6150 doing 1080i and 720p respectively - but I don't have a 1080i tv set. What you have to get is a good dual core processor until hardware support for decoding is more supported in Linux. I have an X2 3800 and X2 4200 doing my displaying.

3. This would be automatic if you do 2.

4. I don't do this, but it is currently possible as already mentioned, and eventually it will probably become more seamless and full featured.

5. Not a problem. Linux and RAID go well together
6. Just stick with nvidia.
7. i too do DD and DTS passthrough with myth using an optical output.
8. As already mentioned, if you rip the Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs first and since you are using linux) you don't have to worry about HDCP right now. DVI-HDMI should work fine, or if your display has a VGA in you could use that as well. Don't pay extra for an HDCP compliant card now.
9. Mine only goes down when I take it down.
10. Not a problem either. How many tuners do you want to have? how many frontends will you have? This should help you determine (along with budget and network bandwidth, but if you're going with gigabit not really a problem on the network side) how your layout is split between backends and frontends.
11. Welcome to mythvideo. In addition, for recordings - mythtv has a UPNP server. I have a Zensonic (ziovia) z500 which does up to 1080i through HDMI and it can play files (music, pictures and movies/recordings) through samba shares and from UPNP servers and it serves as a frontend for me too. It happens to run Linux as well, though you don't need to know anything about Linux to use it.


One other criteria you might want to have is to have your "player PCs" or frontends be quiet if they will be in the rooms where viewing is happening. This can be more difficult.

I didn't really use Linux until last summer and I have managed to get Myth running. To get it running okay was not hard or too time consuming. To get it pretty much exactly as i wanted took more time. So it is an investment of time, but well worth it, you learn a lot, and there is plenty of help out there. I recommend reading some good how-tos, picking a distro to install myth with, and getting to know you hardware before starting.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by redtyler1 View Post

I'm interested...Windows is killing me. This Apple TV thing ain't gonna work. Can someone who has never used Linux before hope to do this (meaning me)? Blackoper, maybe you could give us a more thorough blueprint? I'm really impressed.

Alex

Yes,

I used ubuntu for my myth install:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MythTV

Is a great guide. I recommend you read through it in general before trying to follow it. If you aren't in a hurry wait for the next release of Ubuntu (Feisty Fawn - 7.04) which will be released later this month. A lot of work has gone into making myth even easier to install and configure for Feisty.

There will be a learning curve. But it's worth it. And Ubuntu has a great community for getting help.
post #8 of 9
Well, I'm on board for giving this a shot when the next ubuntu release is out. As for ripping BD and HD DVD, do you use AnyHDDVD or some other program? This is probably idiotic, but is there good support for analog 7.1 sound from DVD's and tv?

I have been using My Movies on MCE, and have enjoyed it for the most part. Is there a comparable app in a linux system?

I also am already using the Hauppage PVR-500 which I understand works well. And the HD Homerun is supposed to work well for QAM HD recording right?

Alex
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by redtyler1 View Post

Well, I'm on board for giving this a shot when the next ubuntu release is out. As for ripping BD and HD DVD, do you use AnyHDDVD or some other program? This is probably idiotic, but is there good support for analog 7.1 sound from DVD's and tv?

I have been using My Movies on MCE, and have enjoyed it for the most part. Is there a comparable app in a linux system?

I also am already using the Hauppage PVR-500 which I understand works well. And the HD Homerun is supposed to work well for QAM HD recording right?

Alex

I don't do 7.1 (just measly 5.1) nor do I do BD or HD-DVD. Linux support for BD and HD-DVD is just coming around. for more info:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Re...BluRayAndHDDVD

In Linux I use mythvideo to watch movies I've ripped to disk. If you aren't using myth there are a number of alternatives, but mythvideo is integrated into mythTV. Mythtv also has an internal dvd player.

I have a hauppage 150 (the 500 is basically two of those) and you are right it is well supported, as is the HD Homerun in myth for QAM.
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