Video on demand....for my computer!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Weirdwolf, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. Weirdwolf

    Weirdwolf TFYLP Podcast Founder TFW2005 Supporter

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    Well, my goal of having a personal digital warehouse is one step closer today.

    As some of you may have remembered in the past from pics of my collection a while back, my wife and I have a rather extensive DVD collection. She and I love to watch movies or TV shows on DVD all the time--sometimes we'd rather do that than actually watch what's actually on TV.

    My goal has been to rip our personal DVD collection to my HD and external HD's to be able to watch them on the fly, without having to go hunt down the disc and whatnot. Today I bought an external 500GB hard drive (eventually I'm going to be picking up one or two Terrabyte drives to store our collection. Think of it like TiVo, only with DVDs. :p 

    Does anyone else have a setup like this, and if so, does anyone have any comments on how much storage you use? I'm figuring anywhere from 4-8 GB per disc, which would allow me to fit approximately 62 discs worth of material per 500GB drive (assuming the max 8GB per disc).

    For now, I'm only going to do our most watched DVDs as I haven't built up the storage space yet. It's hard to believe this is even possible now, considering only just 10 years ago the HD on my computer was only 700MB. :p 
     
  2. Gigatron_2005

    Gigatron_2005 President of Calendars

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    I've actually thought about doing this. With all the dvds I have, it would be much more convenient than having to hunt for discs.

    But how are you getting them from the HDD to the TV? Just a HomeTheater computer? Or are you streaming content through your house to some receiving media box?

    Anybody know if its possible to store videos on a computer, and then stream video from the computer to a PS3 through a home network? That would be what I would like to do.
     
  3. Sixshot

    Sixshot Jeff Goldbluman Group

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    You could always go with my setup. HTPC, 7.1 sound, and a 37 in HDTV. Works as my PC, TV, movie player, and game player. Yay!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A lot of my movies are around 700 megs, but that's heavy encoding. A full length movie encoded in 720P will be around 2.2 gigs, at least that's what 300 runs.
     
  4. Cax6ton

    Cax6ton Insufferable Smartass

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    Are you using a frontend for the HTPC, Sixshot?

    I started out doing this a long time ago, but after filling up a few drives and getting everything listed in the front end, I discovered that we just don't re-watch movies often enough to make it worthwhile. There's only a handful of movies that we go back and watch several times a year, so it wasn't an effective use of drive space to me. My HTPC can hold 3 drives, but even if I had all 750GB drives it wouldn't work, and I don't want to deal with the heat issues. My server could hold more drives (up to 7), but that's more heat/energy to deal with, and as I said, it didn't seem worth it just to have instant access to a movie we might watch once in a year.

    I ended up keeping only the most frequently watched movies on the hard drive. The wife prefers to keep menu and chapter support, so they're just saved as folders, only compressed with dvdshrink. The compression level depends on the film, and it took some trial and error to find the right setting for each movie. Extras are normally removed or heavily compressed, all the other non-essential crap is removed, so a movie folder ends up being somewhere between 1 and 4 gigs. I have dvdshrink create a hard disk folder, then the frontend imports the video_ts file from that.

    For the rest of the collection, I kept the frontend's movie library (I use Meedio), but I changed it to an offline library and re-organized my discs. I use the binders that look like leather books, numbered each binder and their pages, and put that location info into the frontend, so we can still browse our movie collection on the HTPC, but instead of hitting 'play', it tells me which binder/page to find the movie.
     
  5. Weirdwolf

    Weirdwolf TFYLP Podcast Founder TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yeah, convenience is the key here, especially since we have to store most of our DVDs elsewhere while we're sharing a house with my parents. Right now I plan on just using our monitors for viewing, but my computer has 5.1 surround and S-Video output so when we get a place of our own sooner or later, I can hook this computer up to the TV and use it as a "media box". Or, I could just upgrade it one more time with an HD output card, but since most of our DVDs are standard definition I really don't see a point in that.
     
  6. ShortCircuit

    ShortCircuit Decepticon

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    Those HTPC cases are soooo spendy.

    Id say a superlong HDMI cable from your comp to the TV. That will probly get you the best picture. Or conversely, put your comp by the TV you want too hook it up to, and go wireless mouse, keyboard. thats what Im gonna do sometime.

    Other than that, Svideo cables im sure are cheapo these days.

    streaming Audio is no problem, bluetooth, wireless signals and da-da-da.....

    500 gigs would get eaten up real quick.

    There is this thing from d-link but I never seen what it looks like on a screen.
    http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=438

    I think there is software you can use to compress the MB in the video. like a rar file, or divx recode, or nero recode and such, but other than that, burn to your HD and play.

    Theres that Slingbox thing too that is available.

    Then, when youre all done, get a wireless camera and set it up by the door so you never have to get up from the couch again!

    I swear I need to make a pop-up screen caller-id for the computer. It would sell sooo fast.
     
  7. Weirdwolf

    Weirdwolf TFYLP Podcast Founder TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yeah, that's exactly why I've went with only doing our most viewed DVDs first. Right now, I've got four full movies, and the entire G1 series PLUS DVD extras and it takes up right around 155 Gigs. I figure the Star Trek box sets will take up about half a terrabyte each, seeing as there's around 50 discs per series. While those are rather frequently viewed, they'll probably be the last to be stored to HD.
     
  8. Sixshot

    Sixshot Jeff Goldbluman Group

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    I don't know what you mean by a front end. All I am using is my PC with a DVI out to my TV with an HDMI in. I also have an awesome sound card that upconverts all audio to 7.1 DTS. Wireless mouse and keyboard and you're set.
     
  9. Mr.Roboto

    Mr.Roboto YOU'RE A SHRUB ROCKETEER! Veteran

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    DVD Shrink will compress a whole DVD to 4.35 GB each. That includes all the menus and such.
     
  10. Cax6ton

    Cax6ton Insufferable Smartass

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    I'll have to post pics of the htpc setup later, the wife took the camera out of town on her last trip.

    Sixshot:
    A frontend is a program that organizes and displays all of the htpc functions and gives you a non-pc kind of interface, more like a jukebox. Think something like itunes or Windows Media Center Edition. The idea is to both organize all of your media and have a jukebox-like selection, as well as simplify the control so that you can navigate everything with a normal remote. Although I have a wireless KB/Mouse, everything is controlled through a universal remote (I use a Logitech Harmony). the remote is vital for the wife- she won't bother using it if she has to drag the keyboard out everytime.

    This one is Meedio, which I like because everything is database driven, and the entire skin is customizable.

    Main menu, where you access music, movies, games, weather, pictures, internet browser, etc. I have TV shows and recorded tv set as different libraries. Video is random video clips/documentaries/etc, DVD library is ripped DVD's, and of course DVD Player is for discs.
    [​IMG]

    Click on TV shows and you have a list of series. I cheated here, there's actually a step before this for series, and a generic banner for Transformers, but you get the idea.

    [​IMG]

    Click on a particular series, and you get a season/episode view. Navigate left to change seasons, go right and up/down to select an episode. I am in the middle of changing the text boxes on the right, the background I am using does not work well with white text. It's an easy fix in meedio though
    [​IMG]


    More info than you could possibly ever use is at MeediOS, and their forums. Meedio itself is defunct, but still works while the people at Meedios work on an open-source version with a few modernized changes.


    Weirdwolf:
    155 GB seems kinda high. For tv series, a lot of people rip them out to separate files and compress with something like AutoGK. Use DVD Shrink in reauthor mode and save the episodes as individual .vob files, then use AutoGK to recode to avi. I have all of the G1 episodes (all 3 seasons) in one 17GB folder. AutoGK can get the file sizes way down, especially for old animated stuff. My entire TF folder of what's ripped so far (Armada, G1, Headmasters, Masterforce, Victory, Zone) is only 55GB.

    Unless you just HAVE to have menus and individual discs for TV shows, it's not worth keeping the structure. For just about every tv show we have on disc, I have ripped the episodes out to individual avi files.

    For movies, you can get aggressive on the dvd shrink compression settings for some stuff (if you're keeping them as folders or .iso files) ....movies with lots of action won't look good below about 65% compression, but stuff without much action or contrast can go down to 50% in some cases. It takes trial and error, but you don't have to take Shrink's default settings. If you're keeping it on a hard drive, there's no real reason to maintain the "one movie = 4.7 GB" standard. If you plan to drop DVD structure / menu support and change the movies to .avi or something, then don't let DVD Shrink do any compression and use AutoGK.
     
  11. Weirdwolf

    Weirdwolf TFYLP Podcast Founder TFW2005 Supporter

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    Thanks, I'll give that a try with the Star Trek: TNG eps. If it works well with me, then I may go back and redo G1.
     
  12. Aaron

    Aaron Master of Crystalocution Moderator Content Contributor

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    Why not buy one of those 400 disc DVD changers? The ones I remember seeing at Best Buy were around 500 bucks, which is surely more than buying a few TB of harddrives would be.
     
  13. Weirdwolf

    Weirdwolf TFYLP Podcast Founder TFW2005 Supporter

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    Versatility and portability. If I ever go on vacation, all I need to do is drag a few select DVD rips to my portable external HD for my laptop and away I go.
     
  14. Aaron

    Aaron Master of Crystalocution Moderator Content Contributor

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    Why not just rip them before you go on Vacation?
     
  15. Weirdwolf

    Weirdwolf TFYLP Podcast Founder TFW2005 Supporter

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    Because I also like handiness right now, plus I'm able to hook my laptop up to the living room TV and stream the video straight from my computer on the other side of the house without having to go to the trouble of digging out our DVDs (which are mostly in storage right now as we're living with the parents).
     
  16. kronos

    kronos PSN = KRONOSX1

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    I have considered this! I have always wanted a media pc to store my movies and such! someday i will build one! I will use it for movies, music, pvr, games, internet, and porn! I have an apartment with a wireless network. I just dont have the time or money to invest in a media pc.
     
  17. Cax6ton

    Cax6ton Insufferable Smartass

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    It's also worth noting that the 400 disc changers are NOT portable - tilt one the wrong way while it's full and comedy ensues - unless you own all the discs that just slipped out and are rattling around inside the player. It's also &^%ing heavy if it's full. They're not a bad option to connect to a HTPC since they can be controlled by a PC and they work for those that don't have the time/patience/knowledge to rip their entire collection, but it's not a universal solution.
     
  18. Shin-Gouki

    Shin-Gouki Rebuilding Veteran

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    I do something similar with my HDs and Xbox Media Center streaming whatever I want to watch off the HDs to the TV via the Modded Xbox
     

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