Poor Man's USB Media Server - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 2 Old 11-03-2013, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I pray I put this in the correct forum area.

 

I have several thousand DVDs and Blu-ray disks. My rules for collecting are relatively simple. I don't collect porno (perhaps because I like attractive naked women) or recent horror but otherwise if it is a good movie domestic or foreign, I probably want it and own it.  I have a particular affection for excellent documentaries, including those I purchased on VHS and never became available on DVD.

 

I don't have an elaborate home theater system (yet), maybe because of limited funds or because to some degree I place a priority on content over  hardware.  For several years now I have had a plan to put my library on a NAS and have a wireless media server.  This started when the first 1TB hard drives became available for sale and I have been waiting as slowly larger and larger drives have in turn been released.  For me it is a PITA to get out of a warm bed, select a movie, and the refile the disk when I am done watching it.  Handling also deteriorates media.

 

Money being what it is I have recently adjusted my plan.  Sure 10-18 4TB disks in a NAS might be impressive (to me anyway) but honestly how often do I want to view all six releases of "Little Women", or want to view the animated musical version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame"?

 

Looking at my needs I more often view in my bedroom than my home theater, and I wonder about having all those hard disks churning away 24x365 just so I can watch any one movie at a time?

 

More often than not I enjoying some broadcast quality documentary ("World at War", "Century of Warfare", "Story of English" or "Victory at Sea" more than what ever new release comes out each week.

 

New TVs in addition to having several HDMI inputs now often have USB inputs.  I tried putting a few movies on a hard disk and plugging it into my 2 year old 50" bedroom Samsung TV but the TV seems to drop out the audio stream or change to SAP after the first VOB file.   I tried a new 32" Samsung and it seemed to handle the video files better.

 

My ASUS_RT_AC68U wireless router supports two USB ports but I've not been happy because of the long delays just reading the hard drive directory over wireless. 

 

I have an OPPO BDP 93 Blu-ray with one USB port and it alone seems to work well reading a USB hard drive.   In any case, be it router, TV or Blu-ray player I seem limited to maximum 2TB hard drive. I can't get subtitles to work (which eliminates all my favorite foreign language films)  and I have had to go back and delete second audio streams because anything can and will go wrong as it jumps from one VOB file to the next.

 

Still about 450 DVDs can be placed on one 2TB and that is enough for 200 favorite dramas and another 250 favorite documentaries, and my mp3 collection.   A good 2TB AV rated hard drive costs about $100, the external USB 3.0 hard drive enclosure costs another $50-60.   I have zero lag issues with a direct connection.   I was planning thousand of dollars for a NAS disk farm and media server.  For me this compromise has worked out well.  I just have to remember that I am not running a film school.

 

I put all of kids movies, plus Little Rascals, Loony Toons; stuff like that so that on it's own hard disk so that when I entertain the great grand kids all I have to do is swap out the hard drive already in different USB external USB enclosure.

 

It's not the take-no-prisoners watch-anything-anywhere solution I had first envisioned.  But for the price and after a realistic review of my needs (not wants) I am very happy.

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post #2 of 2 Old 12-05-2013, 06:01 PM
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Timothy,
You can use a program like Handbrake to convert the movies from VOB format to mp4. By using H264 instead of MPEG2, you get a much higher compression. A typical 2hr movie is ~1-2GB. You can get 800-1500 movies on your 2TB drive. You can also 'burn-in' the subtitle tracks so they get put into the image instead of separate so you can still see them on renderers that don't normally support subtitles.

hope this helps.

If your OPPO-93 is hooked up to your local network, then you can actually put the movies/harddrive onto a local computer and use an application like Universal Media Server to stream them from the computer to your Bluray player. This gives you teh ability to stream to multiple clients potentially as well. I can stream 2 1080p movies and 1 400p(DVD) movie at the same time by using a 3 disk RAID and 1Gbit ethernet connections.
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