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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a WHS box and am contemplating adding a HTPC to the mix.

What has stopped me to this point is quality...

I need a small, quiet HTPC that does justice to my 92" HD picture and 7.1 surround.

Saw this one in the weekend ads: Jetway Mini-TOP HBJC600C99-52W-BW Intel Atom D525 CPU NM10 Next-Generation NVIDIA ION with dedicated 512MB DDR3 Barebone System (google it)


Also, I don't want a solution that requires ridiculously long and complicated processes to back up my BluRays on the WHS.

I am running Gigabit throughout my home network, so bandwidth is not a concern.

I have a PC that is more than powerful enough to quickly rip (and if needed, encode) BluRays.

I am already cataloguing my discs via My Movies on iPhone, iPad, and WHS.

Would really like to have an attractive UI and meta data for my music and movies readily available on screen.


Have read a little on Windows Media Center and XBMC, but still have lots to learn.


What recommendations do you have?
 

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If you don't want to build I would look at the ASrock core i3 HTPCs ( http://www.asrock.com/nettop/index.asp ) or the newer Dell Zino that is coming out soon. I have three HTPCs in my house that I built (1 mini-ITX and 2 Micro-ATX). I used the HTPCs purely for playback, and do all ripping on my desktop pc. I have a WHS running with about 20TB worth of data and all streaming is done via wired throughout my house.


As far as a UI, I use W7MC + MediaBrowser (see my writeup here - http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010...r-2-2-9-orion/ ).


If you don't want to do an HTPC you may want to look at the SageTV HD300 which integrates nicely with WHS (see my review here - http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010...d-theater-300/ )
 

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I use MediaBrowser on my HTPC but I have MyMovies installed on my WHS server. I used to use MyMovies/MyTV on my HTPC but I got annoyed with two programs handling the content. I still have MyMovies since I have an external Blu-Ray drive connected to it and I have enough points for it to do the ripping. It also uploads what discs I have onto the website which can be usefull for keeping track of titles
 

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I also have 3 HTPCs and a 35TB server running My Movies in my house. I love the convenience of dropping the disk into the external blu ray drive connected to the server and walking away. When it's done it pops the tray out. My Movies automatically updates AnyDVDHD whenever a new release comes out and the multiple ways you can display the covers, as well as the automatic backdrops, makes it really look great. All of the people who see it love the look and the ease of use. So on the HTPC all I have is W& Media Center and My Movies, TMT3 and Boxee. It satisfies my family. Absolutely no complaints.


I don't really have many TV series, almost entirely movies so the limited way My Movies handles the TV series is fine for now. The author is promising to get TV series functionality into My Movies but so far nothing has happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So, a couple points of clarification:


1) Not set on buying prebuilt, just happened across some smokin' Black Friday weekend deals and it got me thinking...

2) Fully intend to keep the HTPC to streaming and occassional internet, etc... No ripping/encoding, no high end gaming.

3) One of the biggest hang ups I have had with this whole concept of going disc-less in my home theater room is the time and complexity involved in properly ripping a BluRay. I don't want to lose quality (92" screen makes small defects look pretty big and audio quality is paramount) and I don't have hours to babysit the process. I am not as concerned about hardware, I can make that work if I can find an easy solution for ripping my BluRays, and I want a simple, attractive UI on the HTPC that will allow me to showcase my movie and music collections.


Sounds like some of you are doing this already, please provide some additional details on how you make this work.
 

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The easiest way I've found is the WHS running My Movies as the server and My Movies running as a client on the HTPC. You will need:


My Movies - free from http://www.mymovies.dk/

AnyDVD HD from Slysoft - this you have to pay for


Virtual Clone Drive (VCD) - free from the Slysoft website


An external Blu ray drive for the WHS (unless you have space in the case for an internal one)


You need to create an account at My Movies then install the My Movies for WHS using the WHS console so that part is easy. The AnyDVD needs to be installed on the WHS using Remote Desktop so that is slightly more challanging but there are a lot of places to get instructions for how to run Remote Desktop to the WHS. Once that is installed you set up your account info in the "Settings" part of the WHS console. Then install Virtual Clone Drive and the My Movies Client onto the HTPC, add your favorite Blu ray player software and when you start Windows Media Center you see the My Movies menu entries.


You can direct My Movies to import all of the current titles you have on your server by pointing it to the folders that they are in. It pulls all the metadata from it's servers and you instantly have all the cover art, and movie info ready to go. Really simple!


To get the Automatic Blu ray and DVD ripping your need to have 2500 donation points in your My Movies account. You can try and get those by addidng new discs that aren't in the library or you can make cash donations to get points.


I have over 450 movies ripped to my server right now, mostly Blu rays. And the family can access any of then using the universal remote in just seconds. The movies can auto play via a remote control button press and they never have to see a disc.
 

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Following up on Xuniman's pots, you need to decide whether you want to keep the full disc (i.e. menus/trailers/features) or if you just want the main movie. From a storage perspective you will probably save on average 10-15GB by just going with the main movie. If you just want the main movie I would use Clown_BD + AnyDVD.


Also, for playing back BluRay rips via WMC you will need to use 3rd party software (TMT5, PDVD, or to a lesser extent MPC HC)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbone1026 /forum/post/19556515


for playing back BluRay rips via WMC you will need to use 3rd party software (TMT5, PDVD, or to a lesser extent MPC HC)

following up on dbone1026's post, Media Center (without any external player) can play a blu-ray rip or a direct copy of the m2ts file from the BD to your harddrive when you have the proper codecs installed.

It is my opinion that since dbone1026 couldnt figure out a proper codec solution for himself, he feels no one can and suggests alternate players/solutions avoiding codec use altogether.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 /forum/post/19556585


following up on dbone1026's post, Media Center (without any external player) can play a blu-ray rip or a direct copy of the m2ts file from the BD to your harddrive when you have the proper codecs installed.

It is my opinion that since dbone1026 couldnt figure out a proper codec solution for himself, he feels no one can and suggests alternate players/solutions avoiding codec use altogether.

Wow Shark, what an informative post, way to go above and beyond to help the OP. The beauty of your posts is you do a great job at proving your a rear without any help



Let's tackle Sharks informative post. First off, if you notice Shark takes a shot at me talking about codec packs. The first thing to be aware, he is not specifically talking about ANY codec pack, but instead talking about his. There still may be some confusion as nowhere in this thread has there been any discussion of codec packs so what is Shark talking about??? Well, I guess Shark must've crossed threads as I believe he was responding to some posts in the WMC thread that I made (I guess not recommending his codec pack is bad business for him, so his best bet is to attack me in other threads as well...). I will respond to Shark in the appropriate thread and not here.


As for this thread, Shark, take a second and instead of attacking members maybe just try to answer the OPs question. I assume your method is not to simply copy the largest m2ts file from a BluRay disk as you would lose chapter support and it is terribly inefficient (you don't get full menus if that matters to the OP,you get extra crap in the m2ts that you don't need which doesn't make sense if you are trying to avoid all the extras, menus. trailers, etc..., need to have an alternative method to deal with seamless branch, etc...).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 /forum/post/19556585


following up on dbone1026's post, Media Center (without any external player) can play a blu-ray rip or a direct copy of the m2ts file from the BD to your harddrive when you have the proper codecs installed.

It is my opinion that since dbone1026 couldnt figure out a proper codec solution for himself, he feels no one can and suggests alternate players/solutions avoiding codec use altogether.

....
 

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What part of 'It is my opinion' do you fail to comprehend?

Not everyone can afford TMT5 or PowerDVD, and a free solution is to use codecs.

Properly installed and configured, Media Center can playback ANYTHING.


I wasnt promoting my codecs, just offering up a viable FREE solution.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark007 /forum/post/19556919


What part of 'It is my opinion' do you fail to comprehend?

Not everyone can afford TMT5 or PowerDVD, and a free solution is to use codecs.

Properly installed and configured, Media Center can playback ANYTHING.


I wasnt promoting my codecs, just offering up a viable FREE solution.

Once again Shark, no one was discussing codecs here, so why mention "your opinion" that I don't recommend codec packs, it had zero to do with the topic at hand.


Also, where in your post did you offer up a viable solution as you put it, that would actually involve giving the OP some detail (which is what you failed to do with only further supports your Troll like appearance...)
 

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there are a few other really good ways to rip movies to the server, namely MakeMKV and DVDfab.

MakeMKV does just exactly what it says. It takes the Bluray disk (or HD-DVD for that matter) and extracts the primary video stream, and however many audio and subtitle streams into one file. The video and audio are untouched from the bluray, so no quality is lost.


The 2nd is DVDfab. Its been a while since I have used this, but I know it will do the same and output to ISO or folders.
 

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"You`re almost as big as an idiot as Greeneyez"....and English isn`t my first language



Btw, try playing back any BD folder rip (folder structure) in WMC with or without codec packs, any codec pack....ahh, you can`t
. His statement is 100% true for this situation. If you rip to MKV, that`s another story.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenEyez /forum/post/0


"You`re almost as big as an idiot as Greeneyez"....and English isn`t my first language



Btw, try playing back any BD folder rip (folder structure) in WMC with or without codec packs, any codec pack....ahh, you can`t
. His statement is 100% true for this situation. If you rip to MKV, that`s another story.

Agreed, BD folders do not work in WMC. I have gone down the codec pack road before and it did not end well. I've also used ClownBD + makeMKV with ok results. Bottom line, the experience for the non-techies in my house was not acceptable. I can afford the storage space and have AnyDVD and PowerDVD10 licenses already. This more about the simplicity of the ripping process and the overall look and feel of the movie library and playback. Shark, please do not use this thread as an excuse to run another member, I'm not interested.
 

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You should know that there is no difference between an MKV with the untouched video and audio and the same movie in a BR folder or ISO (i`m talking about the main movie + main audio tracl) in regards to HDD space used. It`s basically the same video + audio stream, just in a different container.


The actual playback for MKV should be fine in the 7MC player + Shark Pack, it`s the subtitle management (switching between multiple subs or audio streams) that sucks, since the Media Control plugin for 7MC that does that is buggy. But if you don`t need multiple subtitle switching that you are fine with MKV. If you need them, XBMC will be a better solution, or launching MPC-HC as an external player.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenEyez /forum/post/0


You should know that there is no difference between an MKV with the untouched video and audio and the same movie in a BR folder or ISO (i`m talking about the main movie + main audio tracl) in regards to HDD space used. It`s basically the same video + audio stream, just in a different container.


The actual playback for MKV should be fine in the 7MC player + Shark Pack, it`s the subtitle management (switching between multiple subs or audio streams) that sucks, since the Media Control plugin for 7MC that does that is buggy. But if you don`t need multiple subtitle switching that you are fine with MKV. If you need them, XBMC will be a better solution, or launching MPC-HC as an external player.

You are correct, but this is more about the experience than the basic ability to play the file.

The look and feel of a high end disc less delivery system and catalog.
 
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