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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been searching for a good DVD megachanger for a while, and finally bought the CX777-ES from Sony this past weekend. While I like the operation and the video, the interface just flat out sucks. What I've been thinking is that I could build a mini-HTPC, specifically for web access from the living room (which I don't have right now) and to drive the megachanger. I haven't looked too far into it, but it looks like I can control the megachanger through the serial interface, thus using the PC to organize my discs into lists and do searches, and using the megachanger for storage and playback.


Is anyone else using this combination? Ideally, I'd be looking for a PC setup that would allow me to plug the PC right into the composite input on the TV, use the PC for browsing, etc., then when I select a DVD, pipe the megachanger's DVD playback through the card to the TV. Would that degrade the picture a lot? Is there a better way to handle this? Any recommendations on the video card to use? I don't want to have the PC on one TV input, choose a movie, then switch to another to watch...


Any help would be appreciated...even if it's just a pointer to a link with the answer. I've done some searches on this forum, but I've come to the conclusion that I don't know enough to know what I don't know. :) I've always been a consumer, but the disc search "features" on the few megachangers out there are bad enough to make me want to DIY...


Arthur
 

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Why use a changer, why not just rip all your DVDs to a HTPCs HD and play them directly. This allows for much greater flexibility in upgrades.... i.e. once you acquire enough DVDs to fill the slots of the changer you have to buy more changers versus just adding more HD space......
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Because a changer gives me 400 discs for $400-$800, while the disc space to store 400 DVDs would cost substantially more, as far as I can ascertain...:)


Aj
 

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Not necessarily. I recently bought 4 300GB drives for $230 each. Rip just the movie and it typically is ~5GB. That holds 200-250 movies...
 

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schulzpm,

Your argument doesn't make any sense. You can buy a DVP-CX875P 300+1 DVD changer for around $300 now. So for $300 you can have 300 movies plus all the extras versus your solution which only gets you 200-250 movies without any extras for $920. Even the $800 777ES 400 disc changer is more cost effective and it plays SACD's.
 

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If all you are doing is controling the Megachanger, then yes it is cheaper. If you are running the video through the HTPC then you would have to add significanly more to the HTPC. Around $1200 for the H3D Version II.
 

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$800 for the H3D-II now.


$800- H3D-II

$110- DVDLobby

$250- Slink-e

$300- DVD Changer

$1460- Total


$1380- six 300 GB hard drives (so you can get 300 movies- no extras of course)


It's really a wash for 300 discs. However, at 400 you have to add another 6 hard drives for the extra 200 movies and at 600 discs the DVD changer option is much, much cheaper. To add 300 more movies on a HD requires another $1380 but only $300 for another changer. I looked at the hard drive thing when I was building my HTPC but with two 600 disc changers it really isn't cost effective. Plus with the H3D-II I can scale other video sources besides the DVD players. I think both have merits- HD has more player options and streaming capabilities, DVD changer has lower cost per Gigabyte. If you have a ton of movies the changer option is more cost effective, for now.
 

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I also considered a DVD changer, but after more thought, realized that if multiple viewers wanted unto watch different movies, I would be out of luck. Instead, I got a media server (3 int 200 GB HD, 3 ext 250 GB HD, 1 ext 80 GB HD).Now, my friend's kids can watch one DVD in one room, my friends and I can watch another movie in the theater room, and my brother can hermit himself away in the guest room and watch another movie. With the changer, everyone watches the same movie at the same time, provided the house was properly prewired...

Essentially, with the media server, you are paying for a limitless, multizone, multimovie system, not just a megachanger on your harddrive. Also, as storage space gets cheaper, additions to your media server gets cheaper. If you already have 300 movies, how long do you think it will be before you need another 300. How many "good" DVDs are coming out a year anyway??


hjackson
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
And how much was all that? Including the video cards to drive 3 different display units? 1.3TB will store, what, 200-300 movie-only DVD contents?


I'm not being facetious, I really want to know how much it cost; I was originally thinking of going that route, and came to the conclusion that with the video cards and hard drive space, it would be a couple thousand just to get my PC up to snuff, and would be limiting wrt the contents I could store and how many movies I could hold...


Aj
 

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hjackson,

I agree with you that a media server is the ultimate home theater/music source. However, the server with all the hard drives is relativlely expensive, >$1500 (more likely >$2000). Not to mention that you have to have a PC at every display device that will pull the signal over the network, play it, and properly send it to a display. Now your talking even bigger money.


At this point in my life there are two people in my house, my wife and me, and two TV's, home theater and bedroom, so I don't need a big distributed system. Plus, if I'm going to watch a movie I'd rather watch it on my main display rather than on my 27" TV in the bedroom. If DirecTV would activate HMO on their Tivo PVR's I would have all the video distribution I desire at this point.

I would say that if you need a distributed system like you describe the media server would indeed be the right choice, otherwise, spending that kind of coin so you can watch a movie while sitting on the crapper seems like overkill. ;)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gtrogue
schulzpm,

Your argument doesn't make any sense. You can buy a DVP-CX875P 300+1 DVD changer for around $300 now. So for $300 you can have 300 movies plus all the extras versus your solution which only gets you 200-250 movies without any extras for $920. Even the $800 777ES 400 disc changer is more cost effective and it plays SACD's.
I was just pointing out that it is not substantially more as you said. When you factor in all the other benefits mentioned above it just comes down to what makes most sense for the way you are going to use it. I personally chose the media server approach. I had an extra PC sitting around doing nothing and a case with room for 8 drives and got a good deal on the drives. I don't want to load a DVD unit with my DVDS and I can always delete some movies and replace them with others instead of buying more drives:D
 

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You're right if the other displays are NTSC. I was thinking more about connecting to other high end video displays, ie, plasma in the bedroom, front projector in the HT, etc. I'm so used to watching movies on my main display I often forget that DVD's can be viewed on "regular" TV's also. ;)
 

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While not choosing sides by any means, the other negative (slight) is that with a Megachanger, the disk could wear out or be damage by mechanical failure. With the media server, hopefully the master DVDs are kept in a "safe" place and only needed if the HD file(s) need to be replaced. I guess the flip side might be that HD wear out. Seems to be more of a problem is you are using a RAID disk arrangement.
 

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gtrogue,

Keep in mind that (depending upon the native resolution of your plasma TV) you probably can't display true HD anyway. The highest resolution I have seen lately on the high-end models is 1384 x 860 which is several hundred lines short of HD at 1920x1080....

That's one of the biggest marketing scams out now is that there are dozens of flat screen TVs and LCD/DLA projectors saying they are HD compatible or HD ready, when what they really are is capable of taking a HD signal as an input but they then down-scale it to their native resolution, etc.....

buyer beware.......
 

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Gtrogue, we have no disagreement. :) You don't need a multizone system if there is only one zone! :D I was describing the benefits of a multizone zone system when you know that is a feature you can use. I know it's more expensive as well. My point is that a megachanger does not offer you the same functions as a mediaserver multizone system. Therefore, you SHOULD expect to pay more for a system that offers you more. A client PC can be as cheap as $800 (P4 w/ ATI 7500 and soundcard de jour) to the sky. A media server can be as cheap as $450 (Dell media server special) with extra for HD. Or you can get the cheapest P3 Celeron you can find, load it with XP Pro, and use external HDs (added to system as needed) In this scenario you can have your P3 with a 20 GB int HD and a 300 GB int HD for
I personally rip the whole DVD because I have a 100 " screen and sometimes I get an itch and I want to rewatch some of the bonus material.:p But, if you don't have those needs, compress your flicks!

Is $1100 worth a 550 movie media server for your 65" TV and other smaller TVs?


hjackson
 

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xstanbx, 1280 x 720 is also true HDTV. Several plasmas (like the Pioneer 50") display this. 1080 is an interlaced HD resolution that many argue is inferior to 720p anyway. I have a Panny 480p plasma. While not a true HDTV display monitor, the HDTV looks considerably better than SD and DVD. It almost makes the SD DirectTV unwatchable... actually, it does make the SD DirectTV unwatchable!:eek:


Oh yeah, and boobookitty, I whole heartedly agree with using a MainLobby, DVDLobby and Slink-e trio to control your changer. It could also be done with myHTPC (a free frontend), Girder (also free), and a Slink-e (using the Slink-e command lines), but that would be a bit of work for the uninitiated...



hjackson
 

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The other negative point to the File server approach is the shear amount of time taken to copy that quantity of discs to your HD's !! I'd prefer to spend that time watching them.


With the money you save with the multichanger route, get the pocketpc add on software for dvdlobby and a pocketpc with wifi to control the whole lot! Selecting the DVD using the a disc cover picture on the pocketpc is cool enough to outway any other benefits IMO :D


Apart from multiple DVD streams to other rooms I can see no other advantage over the multichanger ... infact stuff what the rest of your household want to watch ... your the boss, they have to watch which ever DVD you choose or they can watch terestrial instead !! :D :D


Minnow
 

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xstanbx, hjackson mentioned the 720p plasma. 1280x720p and 1920x1080i are both considered HD resolutions by the ATSC.



hjackson,

I didn't think we were disagreeing. You were making the case for a media server setup and I was making the case for the megachanger setup. We agree that what really matters is what works best for you.


boobookitty, as I mentioned in another thread, Girder, a USB-UIRT, MainLobby/DVDLobby, and a universal remote can do most of the things a slinke and MainLobby/DVDLobby can do. With the latter choice, you just send IR commands rather than s-link commands and the setup isn't as straight forward.
 
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