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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did some searches here on AVS Forum and can't seem to find a thread that handles this particular question:


I'm looking for a good general purpose movie streamer that can handle DVD Rips in .VOB folder format (the kind that MyMovies rips into) as well as can play standard H.264 files. Divx would be nice too, but not required.


Now, if those were my only requirements, something like the Popcorn Hour A110 which I have would fit the bill nicely, however, I'm looking for something a bit more sophisticated. The Popcorn Hour only allows me to browse movies by name in their lousy interface.


I really love the Kalaidescape approach in which you can view the movies in your collection by their cover art and select the one you want, but frankly, I don't have the $15K necessary to pick up one of those.


I use Windows Media Center (version 7) and get most of this functionality. The Movies menu option in Windows Media center lets me browse the movies I ripped to .VOB folder format by their cover are, and the Video menu option lets me browse the H.264 movies. (I'm sure there is some way to also browse these by cover art, but I have not figured out how to do that yet)


The Media Center box is in my home theater and I'm looking for a streamer that I can attach to my TV upstairs. I know I could build another Media Center, but I would prefer not to go down that road if there is another approach


The My Movies program goes out to the internet and downloads a thumbnail image of the movie once it finishes ripping it. This is the image used by Windows Media Center to browse by the album cover.


All of the movies by the way reside on a Windows Home Server.


My video network is hardwired, so Wireless connectivity is not a requirement.


Any ideas?
 

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The SageTV HD Theater will do that (video format support). How close it will get you to what you want from "Kaleidescape like" I can't say, if it's just the cover are you want, I think it meets your needs. And I believe MyMovies for WHS will drop cover art in the right place as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Does the Sage definitely display cover art? There are no screen shots on the website and I'm reluctant to spend $170 on something that may or may not do no more than the Popcorn hour player I already own.


How does it work with cover art? The My Movies app I use to rip full DVDs creates a .dvdid XML file and downloads a cover which it names folder.jpg and places it in the same folder as the movie. This is how Windows Media Center picks up the image for display of DVD folder rips.


I have not yet found a way to get folder art to appear on Windows Media Center for the h.264 rips I have, but I'm still looking for that. How would the Sage display cover art for those?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by insboswiz /forum/post/17046699


Does the Sage definitely display cover art? There are no screen shots on the website and I'm reluctant to spend $170 on something that may or may not do no more than the Popcorn hour player I already own.

Yes it does. See here:
http://www.geektonic.com/2009/01/sag...geektonic.html



I've seen mine do coverart too
You can adjust the number of rows/columns.

Quote:
How does it work with cover art? The My Movies app I use to rip full DVDs creates a .dvdid XML file and downloads a cover which it names folder.jpg and places it in the same folder as the movie. This is how Windows Media Center picks up the image for display of DVD folder rips.

It reads the folder.jpg file. I'm pretty sure MyMovies now supports dropping metadata in a format Sage supports. However I'm not sure if it reads the metadata in standalone mode (ie without being connected to a SageTV server on another PC on your network). Cover art works in Standalone mode for sure though.

Quote:
I have not yet found a way to get folder art to appear on Windows Media Center for the h.264 rips I have, but I'm still looking for that. How would the Sage display cover art for those?

Sage looks for a image with the same name as the video file, eg if you have a movie "My Movie.mp4", Sage looks for a "My Movie.jpg" and uses that for the cover art.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/17047108


Yes, but so does the A110 you already have. Look into YAMJ , My Lil Movie Jukebox , Movie Flow , or Movie Portal to scrape metadata and serve it to your PCH.


I have tried YAMJ under my ihome but it has a number of issues. First of all, it ignores the .dvdid xml file and the folder.jpg cover art image that is in the same folder as my DVD rips. Instead it tries to guess what movie it is and is frequently wrong.


Secondly, it won't stream DVD rips from within the myihome source. If I exit the myihome share and choose the DVD share specifically in the sources selection screen, then it does work, but no cover art.


The cover art it chooses for my h.264 and Divx movies is frequently wrong as well.


Finally, it requires software running on another machine to serve up the interface and that is not good. I want a media streamer that can work with nothing more than a share on a NAS somewhere on the network.


Overall, it has the feel of a hack that was grafted on rather than part of a decent interface. The popcorn hour certainly plays everything I have thrown at it, but the interface is not intuitive (ie: my wife and kids won't bother with it) so I need to find a better solution.


Not sure if any of the other add-ons you mention would work better, but from the reading I did, YAMJ was touted as the best of the bunch and frankly was not that useful
 

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Sounds as if you are new to the DVD playing/Streaming options, I think most here know who My Movies works.


Option 1. Use the my movies client for your media center,You can see cover art and play it, build another smaller ligth weight media center as your second streamer.


Option 2. Better interface that looks way better than my movies is Media Browser.

It is a front end only, but it can scroll through your cover art through a nice interface, can still use my movies on your server for getting artwork or you can use a more manual process and use a media manager program.


Here are some good places to start:
Media Brower AVS Forum

Media Browser Homepage
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothtlk /forum/post/17048285


MainLobby / DVDLobby now support the Popcorn hardware.


Add MLSageTV plugin and SageTV software server and it supports PVR TV and their HD200 extender for TV / Photos / Movies / Music.


Can you point me in the direction of where DVDLobby claims to support the Popcorn hour? I checked out their website as well as the wiki and didn't see any mention of Popcorn Hour players.


Also, looks like I would need to buy Mainlobby at $100 plus DVDLobby at $60 to get this working and it still needs a pc back end.


Is this correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by connectedav /forum/post/17050507


Sounds as if you are new to the DVD playing/Streaming options, I think most here know who My Movies works.


Depends on what you mean by new. I've been building media centers and running Windows Media Center on them since the XP days. On the flip side, I am only recently trying to figure out how to stream movies with a nicer interface than what the Popcorn hour offers.


I mention My Movies only because I wanted to be clear what sort of metadata setup I was using. Didn't mean to imply that people did not know how it worked. Also, before I go and buy another hardware device, I want to be clear what sort of features I am looking for when the recommendations start to come in. I don't want to buy another device like the popcorn hour that makes me work with community supported add-on software to make it work the way I need. I want to buy something (if it exists) that handles movie selection well right out of the box

Quote:
Originally Posted by connectedav /forum/post/17050507


Option 1. Use the my movies client for your media center,You can see cover art and play it, build another smaller ligth weight media center as your second streamer.


Option 2. Better interface that looks way better than my movies is Media Browser.

It is a front end only, but it can scroll through your cover art through a nice interface, can still use my movies on your server for getting artwork or you can use a more manual process and use a media manager program.


Here are some good places to start:
Media Brower AVS Forum

Media Browser Homepage

As I think I mentioned in my original post, I'm aware that I could solve all of my problems by building another Media Center PC to use as the remote browser. I also mentioned that I would prefer not to go down this road for a whole variety of reasons that I did not get into.


Building another full blown computer is not an option at this time.


I'll take a look at media browser, but if its a front end for a HTPC, I don't think it will solve my particular problem.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by insboswiz /forum/post/17050665


Can you point me in the direction of where DVDLobby claims to support the Popcorn hour? I checked out their website as well as the wiki and didn't see any mention of Popcorn Hour players.


Also, looks like I would need to buy Mainlobby at $100 plus DVDLobby at $60 to get this working and it still needs a pc back end.


Is this correct?

First post in this thread introduces the support of Popcorn:
http://forum.cinemaronline.com/viewt...14665&start=15


You would need the MainLobby Combo which is like $179 (MainLobby client and MainLobby Server).


And DVDLobby375
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by insboswiz /forum/post/17050718


Depends on what you mean by new. I've been building media centers and running Windows Media Center on them since the XP days. On the flip side, I am only recently trying to figure out how to stream movies with a nicer interface than what the Popcorn hour offers.

You can download the SageTV trial and get and idea of how the HD Theater would work. The standalone UI is a little different, but the fundamentals are the same (save the possible lack of metadata in standalone mode).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by insboswiz /forum/post/17050316


I have tried YAMJ under my ihome but it has a number of issues.

You're doing it wrong. Ignore whatever metadata your ripper found, because it's not likely to work with anything. YAMJ and all the other PCH addons have their own scrapers. Use those to get the correct metadata for your rips.


Look at the other PCH addon options I linked and see if you like the other interfaces better than YAMJ. Try to find one you like, because the next step after a PCH is a HTPC, and that's another $400 or so. No standalone is going to give you a more polished UI than PCH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by almostinsane /forum/post/17050893


Do you have an Xbox 360? You could use that in Media Center Extender mode and so the same UI that you do on your HTPC.

I do have an Xbox 360, however, unless they have changed things, there are two basic problems with using the Xbox


1. In the past, the Media Center Client in the Xbox 360 would not play h.264 files. You could play h.264 through the video section in the regular Xbox interface, but it has the same problem as the Popcorn hour in that it only shows the list of movies, not the box art.


2. Xbox 360 extenders do not extend the play DVD function of the Media Center itself and they see a ripped DVD folder the same way they see a DVD and refuse to play it.


I have not tried using the Xbox 360 extender with the Windows 7 version of Media Center nor have I tried it since they shipped the interface changes a couple of weeks ago. Are you aware of any changes made that would make the two aforementioned problems go away?


Also, even if it all works, the Xbox is a noisy and relatively hot system to use if all you want to do is run it as an extender. My only Xbox 360 is hooked up to my bigscreen TV (the same one that my Media Center is plugged into) so I would need to pick up another Xbox for the upstairs TV if that was the way I went.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/17051109


Look at the other PCH addon options I linked and see if you like the other interfaces better than YAMJ. Try to find one you like, because the next step after a PCH is a HTPC, and that's another $400 or so. No standalone is going to give you a more polished UI than PCH.

I'll take a look at the other add-ons. thanks for the lead. That said, the SageTV streamer looks like it might be able to do what I want with box art, etc.


I'll also have a look at the mediabrowser add-on and see how it works with the Xbox360
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by insboswiz /forum/post/17051235


I do have an Xbox 360, however, unless they have changed things, there are two basic problems with using the Xbox


1. In the past, the Media Center Client in the Xbox 360 would not play h.264 files. You could play h.264 through the video section in the regular Xbox interface, but it has the same problem as the Popcorn hour in that it only shows the list of movies, not the box art.


2. Xbox 360 extenders do not extend the play DVD function of the Media Center itself and they see a ripped DVD folder the same way they see a DVD and refuse to play it.


I have not tried using the Xbox 360 extender with the Windows 7 version of Media Center nor have I tried it since they shipped the interface changes a couple of weeks ago. Are you aware of any changes made that would make the two aforementioned problems go away?


Also, even if it all works, the Xbox is a noisy and relatively hot system to use if all you want to do is run it as an extender. My only Xbox 360 is hooked up to my bigscreen TV (the same one that my Media Center is plugged into) so I would need to pick up another Xbox for the upstairs TV if that was the way I went.

Windows 7 will transcode x264 files on the fly so the 360 can play them. Not sure about DVD folders as I run them through VideoReDo and create DVR-MS files out of them that stream perfectly to extenders. No quality loss at all. There's always the HP/Dlink/Linksys extenders that are silent.
 

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J. River Media Center can do all of the above, including display cover art. It's usually $40 or less, and has a ton of features if you're willing to explore. You can search your movies by any data you set up a library field for and can populate. e.g. actors, genres, keywords, MPAA rating etc. Its audio library handling features are very impressive indeed, but I use it mainly for video - will play back anything you have directshow filters set up for..



The image above shows an older version of the Theater View - newer versions are nicer looking than the above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Does the J. River system work with any kind of extender/streamer or does it just provide that cool interface on the computer it is running on? It's the extender/streamer where my problem lies.


Looks like this problem may be a bit of a tougher nut to crack than I originally thought.


The Sage looks to be the most promising. I'm going to give that a try. If it works the way I want it to, I can probably dump my Popcorn hour for close to what I have to pay for the Sage.


I'll post again to this thread with the results of my experiments in case anyone is interested. In the meantime, if anyone else has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.


Thanks for all of the input
 
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