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Starting this thread to consolidate a lot of info out there re: playing DVD's (let's stick to movies only to keep it simple) from the HTPC's hard drive. I'll start with a list of goals and Windows-compatible software and would appreciate any pointers in this thread or others.


My overall mission is to have a post in here that will provide an A-Z walkthrough of this process as I gain/consolidate the knowledge, using the most common (and possibly, the lowest cost and/or easiest to aquire) software and configuration.


Simple Goals to get started:


0. Add all CD's to DVD database that pulls cover art, overviews, disk details, etc. from the internet. Preferrably via UPC or manul lookup when not found.


1. Rip/re-author owned DVD's to \\dvd\ itles\\videots directory. For example, "c:\\dvd\ his is title one\\videots\\videots.ifo" and all the vob/etc files would be one title, etc. Assume has enough space for all rip/re-author data.


2. Test rip/re-author by playing files from HDD using software DVD player on local machine.


3. Use one of the popular front-ends to "easily" show what is in your library, pulling information from the local DVD database, yet only showing what you have on your hard drive.


4. After choosing DVD from collection displayed by the front-end, launch software player, full screen, playing the selected movie.


5. Future: Insure all software has keyboard shortcuts so command and control can easily be accomplished via a wireless keyboard/mouse combo and, later, a learning remote of some sort. Also a plus would be touch-panel control of the client players while sitting across the room from the TV, i.e. movie output device.


6. Future: Insure that the "client" app (front-end, player) can use network shares/UNC names/etc. for data access so a home network could be used to "distribute" to any TV around the house that has an HTPC client machine attached.


7. Future: Ability for customization of front-end, software players, etc.


Software to Use:


A. DVD File Server/Client OS - Windows XP Pro or Home


B. DVD Library/Info management - DVD Profiler Std or Premier


C. Rip/Re-author - DVDShrink, DVD Dedryptor


D. Software Players - Windows Media Player 9, ZoomPlayer Std or Pro, TheaterTek, PowerDVD, WinDVD


E. Front-ends - myHTPC, XLobby, MainLobby w/ DVD Lobby


What I've accomplished so far (the easy stuff):


1. Rip/re-authored more than 1 movie and stored them in the directory structure outlined above.


2. Manually started multiple software DVD players and opened the .IFO files and successfully started movies. I have also manually configured, once playing, the players to be the foreground application, when needed, and gone full screen and controlled, via keyboard, the player. I have also "associated" the IFO files to various players to try and get "click and run" capability from within Windows Explorer for some players.


3. I've installed all of the above front-ends to test with and have, with varying success, displayed a few DVD titles, either manually or via loading DVD Profiler XML export.


Next Steps:


1. I plan on starting a new post (probably with attachment) in this thread soon that walksthrough an example of what I've been able to successfully do re: DB mgmt, rip/re-authoring, manual playing for testing, etc.


2. I am having a devil of a time connecting the front-ends to the data. I would love for someone to take what they've done, on that front, successfully, document it for a newbie, and either reply to this thread or pm me with the details so I can include it in the overall walkthough.


3. I know many people will want to use different pieces of software, so, I will try to make the guide "modular" so anyone can use it by going to the right section depending on their software preferences.


Before any of this begins, does anyone see any holes in this process? I.e. is it do-able or will there be too much debate on the various "inter-changeable" pieces? Am I leaving out some very important goal that the majority of people need accomplished? Is this information already compiled somewhere in an easy to read/find format?


My hypothesis is that every newbie to this oft-requested information can use most of this "walkthrough/guide" if it is boiled down to the lowest common denominator, with the most popular software pieces. Mid to advanced levels of customization can come after the basics are put into place.
 

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0. Add all CD's to DVD database that pulls cover art, overviews, disk details, etc. from the internet. Preferrably via UPC or manul lookup when not found.


Xlobby (free) can do this, i think it pulls from Amazon. I have used both Xlobby built in as well as DVDprofiler. Xlobby has support for dvdprofiler and can import the xml file.


1. Rip/re-author owned DVD's to \\dvd\ itles\\videots directory. For example, "c:\\dvd\ his is title one\\videots\\videots.ifo" and all the vob/etc files would be one title, etc. Assume has enough space for all rip/re-author data.


dvdshrink (free) turning off compression. I just rip all the files into dedicated harddrive folder like this: DVDs\\Road to Perdition\\VIDEO_TS\\files...


2. Test rip/re-author by playing files from HDD using software DVD player on local machine.


:confused: :confused: are your wanting to reauthor or play the dvd? There are a million threads on which software dvd players are used. Most would use WinDVD, NVDVD, Sonic or Powerdvd, by just using the filters in an app like zoomplayer.


3. Use one of the popular front-ends to "easily" show what is in your library, pulling information from the local DVD database, yet only showing what you have on your hard drive.


xlobbyy does this very well. You can have your offline collection shown as well and it will prompt you to insert dvd if that is chosen.


When setting up Xlobby, just make zoomplayer your dvd player and then point Xlobby to your DVD folder. It can draw movies from multiple hd's over your LAN.


4. After choosing DVD from collection displayed by the front-end, launch software player, full screen, playing the selected movie.


xlobby. Just have zoomplayer set up to launch in fullscreen mode and xlobby takes care of the rest.


5. Future: Insure all software has keyboard shortcuts so command and control can easily be accomplished via a wireless keyboard/mouse combo and, later, a learning remote of some sort. Also a plus would be touch-panel control of the client players while sitting across the room from the TV, i.e. movie output device.


xlobby has ppc support and zoomplayer kb commands


6. Future: Insure that the "client" app (front-end, player) can use network shares/UNC names/etc. for data access so a home network could be used to "distribute" to any TV around the house that has an HTPC client machine attached.


xlobby can do this. It has a client/server mode, but i have not used it. I just map my dvd drive from my media server on my htpc and it works.


7. Future: Ability for customization of front-end, software players, etc.


xlobby is skinable and can launch any program from interface.


I am pretty sure that myHTPC can do most of the same things as well. The MAin Lobyy suite would also do these things, but it costs alot of money when you add up having to purchase all the separate programs for dvd, music, pocketpc, and web.
 
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