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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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DVD (movies) storage

I love watching good movies more than once and over time I've accumulated around 200 DVDs. The collection continues to grow and I don't like that it takes a lot of space. Also, some discs get scratched and replacing them is a PITA and waste of money.

The question: is there any good and not too expensive solution that would allow me ripping the DVDs and storing them on a file server? I know I can rip them to one of the video formats, but that doesn't do it for me because all the extras get lost and I prefer watching movies with subtitles (I'm a bit hearing impaired + is English is not my native language, so I use subtitles all the time).

Here are the requirements I have:

1) All files should be stored in one central location
2) I should be able to access file server over the network because I don't want loud and ugly box in my living room
3) DVD backups should preserve all DVD features - subtitles, extras etc
4) It must be very user friendly and easy to use. I am NOT using a keyboard and mouse in my living room. Ideally, I want to be able to control it with a regular TV/DVD style remote.
5) It must be fast. I want to be able to search for a movie title, find it and have it playing in 20 seconds or less.
6) It must work with all DVD regions and formats. I have a bunch of movies from Russia, Germany, England and Japan. It is a fucking PITA because of the region incompatibility and PAL/NTSC conversions.
7) It must connect without hassle to a regular TV
8) It must be compatible with Dolby Digital, DTS and all that crap (should feed the good signal into AV receiver)
9) Excluding the cost of the file server it must not cost more than $1,000.

Basically, it must work as a high-end, multi-standard, multi-region DVD player with the difference of reading the data from a network location rather than from a physical DVD disc.

What I am imagining now is storing DVDs as ISO images - this takes care of preserving all of the DVD features. Storing them on a regular file server somewhere in the house, with Gigabit Ethernet connection. Then I'm thinking small fanless media PC or Apple Mini might work. But then there's the problem with the software. I'm yet to see a software DVD player that would work directly with ISO images and mounting them by hand isn't exactly user friendly.

Thoughts?

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 10:50 PM
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Stas,

What you're talking about is possible, but it takes *a lot* of work.

I was backing up movies like this for a long time, but the production companies keep changing the copy protection, it takes more steps to crack, rip, compress, and store...and then there is the cost of hardware! Ugg! The only thing you really having going for you now is that 500+GB hard drives are cheap!

I think you're really going to have to do a ton of research, and take your time with it. It might actually get easier to do now that the focus is on HD/Blu Ray.

Honestly, it was such a hassle I just finally gave up. I still have a file server with 2 Terabytes of movies and videos...but lately it's only been updated with TV shows (commercial free is *so much* nicer).

I wish you luck man.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Stas,

What you're talking about is possible, but it takes *a lot* of work.

I was backing up movies like this for a long time, but the production companies keep changing the copy protection, it takes more steps to crack, rip, compress, and store...and then there is the cost of hardware! Ugg! The only thing you really having going for you now is that 500+GB hard drives are cheap!

I think you're really going to have to do a ton of research, and take your time with it. It might actually get easier to do now that the focus is on HD/Blu Ray.

Honestly, it was such a hassle I just finally gave up. I still have a file server with 2 Terabytes of movies and videos...but lately it's only been updated with TV shows (commercial free is *so much* nicer).

I wish you luck man.
True about the cost of the hardware - that's what got me thinking about it, actually. With the 500Gb hard drives costing just around a $100, it will take only around a grand to set up a 4 TB storage (8 drives, 2TB for the actual files, 2TB for back up, I'm not gonna rip the shit twice).

I'm aware about the problems with copy protection and I agree, this is a huge PITA. However, with DVD Decryptor, DVD Shrink and the likes being freely available it is doable.

So file server and ripping the disks are taken care of. The head unit can be a small fanless PC with Windows Media Center or something like that. My only problem now is mounting ISO images without much hassle... Worst case scenario, I just might write a utility that would maintain a catalog of ISO image files and use some external ISO mounting API/utility (I do software development for living).

Thanks for providing the insight!

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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BTW, I found the commercial solution: http://www.kaleidescape.com/

However, the cost is a fucking murder. The basic setup with storage for 160 DVDs and one head unit is 27K. 400 something DVDs is around 30K. For that kind of money they must provide free blowjobs for several years.

The GOOD thing however, is that this spring they won a court case against the DVD copy protection fucks. Which means that other vendors might come up with similar solutions with a sensible price. Until now they have been held back by the DMCA.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Also, have you (or anybody else) tried playing the movies in Terminal Session (Remote Desktop) over a gigabit ethernet? A friend of mine claims that it works just fine. Personally, I find it hard to believe.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 11:17 PM
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What I think might be worth considering is making images of all your DVDs and storing them on a file server. Then get a small PC with a good video card and sound. Use something like Daemon tools and create a virtual drive. Mount the image from the file server onto Daemon. I've never dealt with file servers but I have two computer. One of the computer I hook up to my TV. Sometimes I will have a movie or DVD image on my other computer. I use basic networking to mount the image from my computer onto the virtual drive on the computer hooked up to the TV. That always works and I never have to transfer any files, Daemon tools takes care of everything. I'm not sure how you would do all the fancy Dolby sound crap and other theater stuff though.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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What I think might be worth considering is making images of all your DVDs and storing them on a file server. Then get a small PC with a good video card and sound. Use something like Daemon tools and create a virtual drive. Mount the image from the file server onto Daemon. I've never dealt with file servers but I have two computer. One of the computer I hook up to my TV. Sometimes I will have a movie or DVD image on my other computer. I use basic networking to mount the image from my computer onto the virtual drive on the computer hooked up to the TV. That always works and I never have to transfer any files, Daemon tools takes care of everything. I'm not sure how you would do all the fancy Dolby sound crap and other theater stuff though.
That's exactly the setup I'm thinking about. However, I don't like mounting ISO images with Daemon tools - you need a keyboard / mouse for that. I'm trying to find a either a DVD player that would play directly from ISO images or a library solution for ISO images that would be easy to control with a remote.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 11:22 PM
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Mac the ripper and popcorn or toast will make you your ISOs in no time. They can probably be automated through scripting too. Just keep swapping discs

Storage is as easy as about $350 per TB

Tagging the iso's w/ metadata is easy.. finder will find them and auto-mount them even over a network drive, so no big deal there.

Never used a 'remote' w/ an apple so I can not say how that requirement can be done to your liking w/out a mouse.

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2007, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Mac the ripper and popcorn or toast will make you your ISOs in no time. They can probably be automated through scripting too. Just keep swapping discs

Storage is as easy as about $350 per TB

Tagging the iso's w/ metadata is easy.. finder will find them and auto-mount them even over a network drive, so no big deal there.

Never used a 'remote' w/ an apple so I can not say how that requirement can be done to your liking w/out a mouse.
"finder" - is that a Mac analog of the Windows Explorer?

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2007, 12:14 AM
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"finder" - is that a Mac analog of the Windows Explorer?
Think of it as explorer on steroids and a lot more useful

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2007, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Think of it as explorer on steroids and a lot more useful
OK I checked out Apple Mini online demo. Looks good, I guess I'll need to bring a USB drive with several ISO images to Apple store and ask them to show me how that would work.

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2007, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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BTW, I did a simple test - ripped an ISO image (the DVD wasn't copy protected, so there is no DMCA violation, mind ), placed it on a network drive over a 100Mb network. Created a virtual drive with Alcohol 120% - worked like a charm. Monitored the network and it comes to about 1 megabyte per second.

So it looks better and better now. Also, I found that one of my computers - with a faster DVD drive - can rip a DVD in 11 minutes. Yeeee haw!

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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2007, 10:22 PM
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Sounds like you are getting closer.

Like I said, you really just need to work out the details.

Cool that you have such a fast ripping drive.

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2007, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like you are getting closer.

Like I said, you really just need to work out the details.

Cool that you have such a fast ripping drive.
It might be a while before I actually implement this: I don't even have a TV yet . Contemplating projector vs large DLP... (I only watch DVDs, never watch TV shows).

But I want to work out the details now, so when I'll have the cash, I'll know what to get.

Yeah, I'm pleasantly surprised with the ripping speed. It's NEC-3550A, costs only $29 at newegg.com. I might get 2 of them per each PC to speed up the ripping. I guess it doesn't make sense getting more than 2 per box, as the HDD/RAID speed will become a bottleneck.

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-07-2007, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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All right, I might have found the answer. There's a Mac app called Matinee which does exactly what I need except that it operates with VIDEO_TS folders instead of ISO images. Which also should work just fine for me.

Here are some links on the subject:

http://www.macmegasite.com/node/2071

http://modmini.com/theatre/howto/dvdjukebox/videots.php

http://matinee.dizandat.com/

I might get Mac Mini over the weekend to try it out... This whole Apple/Mac thing makes me uncomfortable

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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-07-2007, 07:34 PM
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Fracker... once you mount the ISO image in the Operating system, the VIDEO_TS is a folder that's available on that volume

You don't have to burn ISOs to a disc.. you can just mount them.

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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-07-2007, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Fracker... once you mount the ISO image in the Operating system, the VIDEO_TS is a folder that's available on that volume

You don't have to burn ISOs to a disc.. you can just mount them.
I understand that much Matinee works with a bunch of VIDEO_TS folders. I would like it better if it would work with a bunch of ISO images. Of course, I can mount ISO image manually, so that VIDEO_TS would be available. But that's what I'm trying to avoid.

Say, what I want is a small app that would show a list of DVD titles that I have and when I click on one, it would automatically mount ISO image and launch a DVD player. I know it can be scripted, but I want it nice and slick

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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-08-2007, 01:14 AM
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I understand that much Matinee works with a bunch of VIDEO_TS folders. I would like it better if it would work with a bunch of ISO images. Of course, I can mount ISO image manually, so that VIDEO_TS would be available. But that's what I'm trying to avoid.

Say, what I want is a small app that would show a list of DVD titles that I have and when I click on one, it would automatically mount ISO image and launch a DVD player. I know it can be scripted, but I want it nice and slick
make an apple script called: play-dvd.scpt that contains:

tell application "DVD Player"
play dvd
end tell


------
then have a script that drives from a directory listing of your files an easy pick (You can even make this into a html page with ease), which does 2 commands based on what you click on:

open {filename.iso}
open play-dvd.scpt


It will mount the iso file, and launch the dvd player and begin playing it.

The fluff (prettiness) can be added to your liking and whim.

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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-08-2007, 01:34 AM
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fyi

powerdvd does support "play media files on pc" and source from video ts folders.


I have contemplated this as well but its alllllota work and allota space.
7gb a movie. x 200 dvds = 1400GB
3x 500gb hds.

I only have one backed up DVD and three hddvd. too much work for me to actuate.

Eventually they should have a new dvd media player program oto make this easier

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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-08-2007, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
make an apple script called: play-dvd.scpt that contains:

tell application "DVD Player"
play dvd
end tell


------
then have a script that drives from a directory listing of your files an easy pick (You can even make this into a html page with ease), which does 2 commands based on what you click on:

open {filename.iso}
open play-dvd.scpt


It will mount the iso file, and launch the dvd player and begin playing it.

The fluff (prettiness) can be added to your liking and whim.
Sounds good. Like I said, I'll need to try out different options. Turnkey solution would be easier, but there is always scripting / custom code to fall back to; luckily, I can do both. Thanks for the info!

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post #21 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-08-2007, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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fyi

powerdvd does support "play media files on pc" and source from video ts folders.


I have contemplated this as well but its alllllota work and allota space.
7gb a movie. x 200 dvds = 1400GB
3x 500gb hds.

I only have one backed up DVD and three hddvd. too much work for me to actuate.

Eventually they should have a new dvd media player program oto make this easier
Do you know if PowerDVD can work with ISO images (directly without mounting them into a virtual CD ROM) instead of VIDEO_TS folders?

I agree, that's a lot of work. But I still think it can be done. BTW, that sounds like a great job for a tech savvy kid: I provide hardware, DVDs and pay for the time. Beats lawn mowing.

Also, I think it's not ~1.5Tb / 3x500Gb drives. It's more like 4Tb / 8x500Gb drives - because I don't want to re-rip the shit in case of a drive failure + I need some room to grow .

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post #22 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-08-2007, 07:30 AM
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This is a program I used to do TV Recording and Video Cataloging. I beta tested a *way* early version of it, and I"m sure it's come a long way since then.

http://www.snapstream.com/

I'm not sure it does what you want, but at least have a look.

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post #23 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-08-2007, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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This is a program I used to do TV Recording and Video Cataloging. I beta tested a *way* early version of it, and I"m sure it's come a long way since then.

http://www.snapstream.com/

I'm not sure it does what you want, but at least have a look.
That's great! Definitely looks a little rough (from the support forums), but this is still an option. Thanks!!!

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post #24 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Still haven't got around implementing it, but getting close - at least I've got a TV and an audio system now :-).

Found couple of interesting things:
- Windows XP Media Center edition does pretty much everything I need right out of the box.
- My Movies program (http://www.mymovies.dk/) for XP Media Center does it even better and works with ISO images.
- Hard drives are getting cheaper and cheaper .

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post #25 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 04:11 PM
 
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I'm gonna throw out a non-technical thing out there and probably get ripped for it, but wouldn't it be easier to just buy a case that holds just the dvd and pitch the cases. i have about 150 dvd's and did just that and it takes up minimal space. Just a thought from a non-techy simplistic hillbilly that likes the easy way out.
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post #26 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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I'm gonna throw out a non-technical thing out there and probably get ripped for it, but wouldn't it be easier to just buy a case that holds just the dvd and pitch the cases. i have about 150 dvd's and did just that and it takes up minimal space. Just a thought from a non-techy simplistic hillbilly that likes the easy way out.
That's a good non-technical solution Seriously. I have considered it. What I don't like:
- DVDs can be scratched, broken, etc
- It can be a pain to find the disc you need
- Can't share DVDs across several rooms - need to physically carry them over there
- Regular DVD players won't play DVDs from Europe / Asia... Which is a problem for me because I several dozens of foreign movies. Yes, I can invest in multi-region DVD player, but I think I can spend the same money on the storage system.

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post #27 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-13-2007, 04:33 PM
 
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Quote:
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That's a good non-technical solution Seriously. I have considered it. What I don't like:
- DVDs can be scratched, broken, etc
- It can be a pain to find the disc you need
- Can't share DVDs across several rooms - need to physically carry them over there
- Regular DVD players won't play DVDs from Europe / Asia... Which is a problem for me because I several dozens of foreign movies. Yes, I can invest in multi-region DVD player, but I think I can spend the same money on the storage system.
yep to technical for me.

I wouldn't have a clue.
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post #28 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-10-2007, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,695
Location: Chicago
Sportbike: Multistrada 1100S; CBR600RR
Years Riding: Since 2004
How you found us: CRR
           
Well, in the end I decided to go with Intel + Windows simply because I'm more familiar with it and there is a lot of software for HTPC on Win out there. The components are on order, I should have them in a few days. If I'll feel like it, I'll document the build .

NB: I decided to start with the head unit - HTPC itself, not with the storage. I want to get it sorted out first and if it works well, I'll buy the storage.

- Stas

Thou shalt not disfigure the soul.
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