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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,


A little background first before my big questions.


For the last 5 years or so I have been running 2 Kenwood Sovereign 400 disc changers hooked op to a Kenwood Entre. What this does is take all my dvds, look them up on the net, download cover art and descriptions with cast info, and present it on screen in a well organized gui where I can simply pick the movie I want and it plays.(hopefully)


I have been having alot of problems lately with the changers breaking down and am looking to possibly download all my movies to a drive array and create a movie server.


I have recently bougt a brand new HP mediacenter with dual core cpu and hd video. I only need HD in one room currently.


Here are my questions.


1. What is the best way to get the same functionality as I had with the Entre?(automatic lookup and point and click to play movie)

Someone mentioned Mymovies2 but said streaming movies with it was a problem.


2. How can I play the movies in multiple rooms?


3. What is the best format to save the dvds in?


Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I use Xlooby and its free. I just rip using DVDShrink and/or DVDDecypter or another ripper as needed along with AnyDVD. I use shrink to reauthor feature to just rip the movie only. I edit cover art from various source (like Amazon) and use as thumbnails. I didnt bother using the other options like getting movie info since it was more a bother for me then a benefit. BTW did I mention the Xlooby is FREE.
 

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MainLobby / DVDLobby will do what you need. Used in conjunction with TheaterTek and the new 2 way MainLobby interface will handle any hard drive movie needs. Plus DVDLobby can also control your Kenwood changers so that where you put the media is seamless to the user who just wants to watch a movie. You also don't throw away your investment in the changers. Put your lesser used movies on the changers and very common movies on the hard drive to make best ROI out of the more expensive per movie hard drive solution.


Not sure if when you say "stream" you mean for multiple renderers (PC's running Theatertek as example) to play a file sourced on the same, shared hard drive, or if you really mean the more technically accurate usage of "stream" to mean the rendering occurs on a PC, and the video / audio is "streamed to other players.


I assume you meant the former (as it is by far most common), which DVDLobby / Theatertek do just fine. The other is not recommended for movies, but is useful for security cameras and OTA TV. This is handled via our MLMediaStream plugin (optional and beta right now).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Smoothtlk


I checked the DVDlobby site but didn't see how to connect to multiple tvs.

I need one HD connection with digital sound and 3 more connections in SD and all must support .vob files. So far all I have seen that does this is Sagetv.
 

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I am also very interested in this. I would like to incorporate it into the whole home automation also, but primarily have the movies qued from a touch screen icon and stored on the hard drive. I have a dedicated theater, and I also want to distribute it to other rooms via component and 5.1. Not all at the same time though. I'm going to have to build my computer from scratch, so if anyone has any hardware suggestions or links. thanks!
 

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If you have money, it is very easy to do: just build computers for every display you want to be able to watch DVDs. Then have a central file server that holds all your DVDs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
olyar15 I cannot currently buy pc's which require higher end video and sound capabilities to handle HD and digital sound for each room. That just seems like overkill. I would hope there is a better solution then that. If not now maybe soon.
 

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Lemme understand what you're trying to do.


- Have a central storage mechansim, which can hold all your media.

- Have the ability to access and play that media from multiple zones SIMELTANEOUSLY, and potentially different streams (movies, TC etc) at the same time.

- Be able to CONTROL that stream individually from each zone.


The storage part is easy. A big file server/NAS can hold everything digitally.


Now, distribution is tricky. There are no Video cards with more than 2 individual inputs (regular consumer cards), and even with those running clone mode is tricky with different resolutions etc. You could potentially put a audio/video switcher in place, but then it can switch only 1 stream to different zones, since you have only one stream from a video card. You basically need a "video card" or equivalent for each zone. Then comes audio, same problem.


Control is even more tricky. How will you control each stream individually from each zone?


I see a couple of alternatives, but none of them is simple. The commonality is the storage server, that is common across all alternatives.


For DVD playing.

1. Build/Buy HTPCs for each zone that can access a central storage server. They give you total control for that zone.

2. Go the MCE route and use Xbox 360 as extenders for each zone. Total control for each zone.

3. Use some of the other client server type media portal programs, but you'll still need a PC for each zone.


For accessing/distributing TV (assuming each zone wants to watch a different channel at the same time).

1. Build/Buy HTPCs for each zone that have a TV tuner card and a local antenna/cable connection. They give you total control for that zone.

2. Get a couple of HDHomerun network tuners and stack them somewhere. You still need a PC/XBOX 360/ to use them locally in each zone.


What it boils down to is this.

- IF you want independent control in each zone with the freedom to choose any TV channel and/or movie, you WILL need a hardware box in each zone. What that box is going to be depends on you.

- IF you just want to be able to access the SAME streams but at different locations, you could buy an A/V switcher, with multiple zones, and run A/V wiring to each zone. Then the switcher routes the signals to the zone you choose. Some of the recent switchers have RF remotes allowing you to switch from quite far away.


You are running into the same problem facing a lot of us. Multi zone distribution and control, with emphasis on control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Kapone thanks for your reply.


To be a little clearer here is my situation. I currently have a Comcast dvr for each tv so I am not trying to share a tv signal. What I would like to do is be able to share pc content(pictures, music, and video content) from a 2tb nas on my home network.


The best way I have found to do this is with Media Extenders for each tv. The problem with that is currently thay cannot play the .vob file extension(for dvd). I know this is a Microsoft issue but maybe someome much smarter than me could figure a way around this (maybe a registry tweak)


I was hopimg that maybe there is some product on the horizon that may do this. Maybe someone saw something at CES.


The only other solutions I know of are dedicated pc's for each tv or xbox's which I believe need a modification to do this correctly. Or build a linux box which I do not have the knowledge to do.
 

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OP, you just said you only need HD in one room, I don't know your budget (or current TVs in the other rooms), but a "simple" computer will do it. The bottom basement Minis (pre-Intel models) can take care of that, if you can find (afford) them.


Other than that, you can buy those "Media" extenders than can work w/o a HDD and just point and stream. Mediagate, Tivisto, etc..
 

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


Kapone thanks for your reply.


To be a little clearer here is my situation. I currently have a Comcast dvr for each tv so I am not trying to share a tv signal. What I would like to do is be able to share pc content(pictures, music, and video content) from a 2tb nas on my home network.


The best way I have found to do this is with Media Extenders for each tv. The problem with that is currently thay cannot play the .vob file extension(for dvd). I know this is a Microsoft issue but maybe someome much smarter than me could figure a way around this (maybe a registry tweak)


I was hopimg that maybe there is some product on the horizon that may do this. Maybe someone saw something at CES.


The only other solutions I know of are dedicated pc's for each tv or xbox's which I believe need a modification to do this correctly. Or build a linux box which I do not have the knowledge to do.

Any possibility of converting those VOB files to a "DVD Folder" with AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders in it? WMP , Theatertek and several other players will play that.
 

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What you might want to look at is the D Link DSM-520 media extender box's. They aren't like the ones that are made for MCE. They are a stand alone unit that can play pretty much any video and audio file type over the network from a central file location.


The only problem you will have is that you WONT get the nice gui interface your looking for. IF you want to have a MyMovies or what I call a Kaledascape feature on every single TV you ARE going to need a PC at each TV.


Whats your budget? You can find used ultra slim PC's for cheap these days. I am currently working on doing a home automation system as well as a media distribution system and I cam across some older Dell ultra slim PC's that are still powerful enough for DVD and HD playback.


The Dell OPTIPLEX SX270 is what I found, 2.66ghz P4's, 1gig of ram, 120gig hdd's, basically a perfect all around media center extender for $120 used, can't go wrong with $120/piece you won't find the D Link DSM for under $200 and the Dell will basically play back anything and everything. Install Windows MCE on each box add my movies and you've got exactly what your looking for.


Another way is to switch to a different DVD changer setup, use Main lobby or CQC as already said, and then use a multiplexer to send the video over your existing coax. This setup of course will be for the SD tv's, then just have the DVD changers and mainlobby or CQC setup in the main area where the HD display is.


There are several ways to go about doing this, video distribution like this is still relatively new and expensive, right now the cheapest, easiest to use, easiest to install is getting the Dell Ultra slim pc's for each TV, and stream all my DVD's, Music, Pictures, ect.... from a central file server over cat5 network with gigabit switches.


- Josh


Here's some reviews on a couple network devices that will play back hdd stored dvd's:
http://reviews.cnet.com/D_Link_Media...-31524144.html
http://reviews.cnet.com/Acoustic_Res...-31749231.html


according to the DSM-520 review, the reviewer said teh Acoustic Research digital media brdige DMP 3000 was able to play back DVD's flawlessly so you might want to check out that one, but agian it won't give you the GUI interface your looking for.
 

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I'm going through the same thing... i changed my mind about 6 times already


I'm also looking to distribute to 3 locations...there are soo many options and things to consider(at first i was looking for a whole audio\\video distribution too all TVs using Vista MCE, the reason why I chose MCE was because it has everything all in one, meaning i can choose my movies, music,pics,videos, FM,DVR, watch live TV... etc using the same GUI, which i think is easier for my wife to use and understand

I looked at almost all the current frontends (xlobby,mainlobby,CQC,etc) but none of them offer a GUI where it will be used on a TV+ no live TV with DVR... these are all for mostly controlling our Home Theater stuff. Basically i wanted every TV in my house with the same GUI(frontend) and access to watch TV recording from any location


So i went from adding HTPCs to each location, to using Xbox360 @ each location..each have there drawback...

HTPC are timely to configure, setup, the reliable factor is also at risk on the more PCs you have setup on ur network, things can go wrong+ more Vista licenses

the 360 would great, nothing to setup and configure, but again the reliable factor comes into play because of those DAM codecs it doesnt support..Im using Transcode 360 w/My Movies on the 360 and i dont think its that reliable..sometimes the movies skip, or ends early + to rewind\\FF takes about 15min cause its transcoding...so i dont know anymore


ohh and i think transcode 360 allows you to play(transcode) DVDs to the 360




umdivx - good idea on those dells, but where did u get them for $120..i searched ebay and seen some for about $300..Do you really think those are good for HD playback..I recently backed up some of my HD-DVDs and played them on my 3.4Ghz Duel Xeon machine and CPU usage was around 30-40%, It ran fine but it might studder a little on those dells, no?
 

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


umdivx - good idea on those dells, but where did u get them for $120..i searched ebay and seen some for about $300..Do you really think those are good for HD playback..I recently backed up some of my HD-DVDs and played them on my 3.4Ghz Duel Xeon machine and CPU usage was around 30-40%, It ran fine but it might studder a little on those dells, no?

Local PC shop near me does alot of refurb work for large business, they got a hold of nearly 600 of these ultra slim box's and I finagled them down to $120 a piece with out an operating system.


As far as HD playback Im not sure, but I don't plan on using them for HD playback, just DVD, SD TV, ect....


The only HDTV I have is my projector setup in my basement which I have my main HTPC hooked up to, as well as my 360.


Really all I wanted is a way so that the wife can DVR her soaps, and other TV shows and watch them on any tv she wants, I mostly spend most of my TV watching time on the projector.


Also its nice to get into bed an throw on a movie from a stored DVD and not go all the way downstairs to watch a movie that I know I'll fall asleep watching.


But if your planning on doing HD DVD streaming and such I don't think these pc's will be what your looking for. But honestly I think the whole point of ripping HD DVD's and streaming them is just pointless. Upscaled DVD's with a HTPC looks fantastic.


- Josh
 

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yea i wasnt planning on streaming HD DVD, i was just testing some things out


whats the differene between reg. DVD and a upscaled one?

I ripped all my DVDs(300+) to Xvid, they look great on my 32" LCD...but some rips look ok\\decent on my 50" and 60" plasma's


Since HardDrives have come down in price i might just re-rip then to there Video_TS folders, the most 4Gigs each movie
 

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


whats the differene between reg. DVD and a upscaled one?

Pretty much nothing, basically what I am doing is using the PC with FFdshow to upscale the DVD's I have stored on my network.


Instead of having a bunch of unspcaling DVD players at each tv, I use the PC to do the upscaling.

Quote:
I ripped all my DVDs(300+) to Xvid, they look great on my 32" LCD...but some rips look ok\\decent on my 50" and 60" plasma's

I just ripped my dvd's stright to HDD no compression or anything. basically just like they came right off of the DVD, keeps the integrity of the quality better IMHO.


- Josh
 

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


yea i wasnt planning on streaming HD DVD, i was just testing some things out


whats the differene between reg. DVD and a upscaled one?

I ripped all my DVDs(300+) to Xvid, they look great on my 32" LCD...but some rips look ok\\decent on my 50" and 60" plasma's


Since HardDrives have come down in price i might just re-rip then to there Video_TS folders, the most 4Gigs each movie

How much room does a Xvid movie take up and did you use the highest quality for your rips?
 

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This may not be the best way, but this has been working great for me.


1. A 1.6TB server with all my movies stored as .vob (I use DVDShrink and rip each movie as 1 large .vob file without compression). I am using a RAID 3 card with a 5 drive SATA enclosure. So far so good.


2. My server is running a program called swisscenter. It runs as a service in Windows and can run on other OS (linux). I have it running on Windows 2003 Server and have no issues.


3. I use Media Players to stream video, pictures, music to each room. There are many flavors of these devices. I use Snazzio and Buffalo. There are a ton.


You can play multiple movies from multiple rooms at the same time. I am hard wired at all locations. There have been issues with these setups if you use wireless. Hope this helps.
 
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