Movie Collection to HTPC

Discussion in 'Home Theater PC (HTPC) & Media Servers' started by aberkowitz, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. aberkowitz Audioholic Field Marshall

    aberkowitz
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,789
    Likes Received:
    485
    Location:
    Hoboken, NJ
    It's been a while since I've been very active here- small children kinda got in the way!! (Just had my second daughter 2 weeks ago)

    I've been doing research on and off for the past 6 months on a variety of sites- this one, HTPC Assassin, AVS, and a variety of others. I think what I really need is some guidance. There's a bit of info overload out there (the first time I looked at HTPC Assassin I got a headache), and historically I've found Audioholics to be one of the best places to have a conversation to filter through the flotsam.

    I have a collection of somewhere in excess of 300 movies (let's say about 1/3 are BD), and I'd like to eliminate the need for discs altogether... as much as I love watching my 3 year old try to take them out of the case! Movie buying has slowed down significantly over the years (partly because there's less worth buying in my opinion), but when I do buy movies or tv shows (gotta love children's television!) in the going forward I plan to skip physical media altogether.

    I'm looking for a bespoke solution- I'm starting from scratch and I have nothing tying me down to any particular hardware or software. I want this to be separate from anything I currently have. Given the multitude of devices I want to use with the HTPC, I believe PLEX makes the best sense for my software solution. I have no preferences towards hardware- I've been a Mac guy for a number of years, my gaming is limited to the PS3, but I'm an open book.

    (FYI- I have some tinkering ability when it comes to PC building, but it's been a number of years since I completely ripped one apart and put it back together. I'm also slightly behind on lingo, but that's easily fixed)

    Some of my key requirements/dreams: 1) Ability to store and playback DVDs, BDs, and digital downloads, 2) ability to stream multiple movies to multiple devices (ideally 3-5, 2 is acceptable) at the same time- understanding bandwidth limitations, 3) mobile connectivity through my iPad(s), 4) ideally (and I understand this may not be possible) the ability to store and then download a lower quality version to an iPad- would be nice to be able to easily swap out movies/shows for kids for long plane rides without having to permanently store on iPad, 5) future state- replace my DVR, 6) further future state- move all music to HTPC (less of a priority).

    I understand this may be a lot, so I'm fine with limiting myself to #1-3 for the time being and improving later.

    Budget- I'm looking to build for the long-term. Maybe physical media makes a huge comeback, but I think creating a digital solution for the future that can be upgraded over time is the best thing to do for now. I have the ability to spend $2500-3000 in the near term, but I consider that to be the ultimate system (it better have everything and also be good in bed :D). More likely I expect to put in $1000-1500 to get some of the way there now and improve later. I'm not looking to be a spendthrift, but I see this as an investment for the future.

    What I'd like from the community is a hard shove in a direction. Suggestions on a complete system would be great, or even just the best pieces that you've come across.
  2. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,252
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I would break this down into front of house / back of house. Lets start with back of house: You need inexpensive file storage and lots of it. For that I would get a refurbished PC and swap in a 30-60 GB SSD for the OS. So something like this plus this. Now you need external storage: This with four(4) of these for 9TB of storage (RAID5). Add an e-sata controller.

    Great to have you back :) plus one. Congrats. Mine is turning three in one month. Fun times and she can max out the SPL meter.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  3. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Warlord

    BoredSysAdmin
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    9,885
    Likes Received:
    3,282
    Location:
    New Joisey
    Oh Gosh, This was is going to a long one so you'd need to brace yourself. I guess you could build such machine, but it wont be one click magic.

    Lets try to simply a bit first by trying to concentrate on important details first:
    A) Storage - How much you need: My recommendation is to keep exact digital copies of your DVDs/BDs as they are - storage is cheap now days and this no reason not to do it
    Math is simple 100 BDs = approx 4.5TB, 200 DVDs = approx 1.2TB = 5.7-6TB is what you need now. Since you want the data to be at least a bit protected - I'd recommend at least striping array with at least one parity disk or aka RAID5 - at hardware level at cheaper 2Tb (1.8 useful) = 5x 2Tb drives in raid 5 = approx 7.2TB usefull space.
    For future growth I'd recommend using 5x 3tb drives = under 11TB - price for drives only $670

    You could just get 4 drives NAS like this one: Synology DS413j Diskless System DiskStation - Newegg.com and IT WILL simply storage considerably, but it comes at price of $400 even before you'd need to get 4x 4TB drives which start at about $200/ea = total storage - $1200

    B) Case - I just built home server based on this case and with combination of low power components I choose - it is completely silent - I don't know if it's a priority for you, but it was crucial for me - Fractal Design Define Mini Black Micro ATX Silent PC Computer Case w/ USB 3.0 support and 2 x 120mm Fractal Design Silent Fans - Newegg.com
    I used this motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-H77M-D3H LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Newegg.com
    and this CPU - Amazon.com: Intel Core i3-3220T Dual-Core Processor 2.8 Ghz 3MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637i33220T: Computers & Accessories - It's TPD is 35W and even with stock fan it's dead quiet.

    c) about making personal BD backups - I'm not the expert on this subject and I'll let others chime in on this - I know of SlySoft AnyDVD HD but it may not be best solution

    d) Software: Since you mentioned DVR functional - Lets clear something first: Do you mean Broadcast TV DVR or Cable/Fios DVR replacement?
    For later you pretty much need one very specific software solution - Windows 7 Media Center and OCUR tunes like this one : Ceton InfiniTV 4 Quad-tuner Card for Watching Digital Cable TV on the PC, PCI-Express x1 Interface - Newegg.com
    The prior option will give you a much more flexibility

    e) Mobile Connectivity to iDevices you are looking for software with support for AirPlay. I know XBMC 12+ does it and probably PLEX will do as it been forked from XBMC

    f) I am afraid converting movies to smaller sizes/compatible for mobiles devices will be mostly a manual task AFAIK


    Much more to come, but I'll let it soak first
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Grador Audioholic Field Marshall

    Grador
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,576
    Likes Received:
    414
    Location:
    SoCal
    For ripping dvd/bd i use DVDfab. The free version will rip to folder structure [but not .iso], and I haven't had any real issues with it.

    The only thing I would disagree with on the advice given above me: If you do go with plex, PLEX server will do on the fly transcoding for your mobile devices, so you will not need to do manual conversions for mobile devices. I'm not familiar with PLEX in the least, so I cannot attest to how easy/difficult that is to set up or how well it works.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. ratso Full Audioholic

    ratso
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    468
    Likes Received:
    110
    ^^^^ yep. you need plex to transcode, a lot (and i mean A LOT) of storage for blurays, and a good ripper. i bought DVDfab also and have had nothing but problems with it (audio sync issues) - i have never had any problems with makeMKV and it's free.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Grador Audioholic Field Marshall

    Grador
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,576
    Likes Received:
    414
    Location:
    SoCal
    Are you using the transcoding? If not something has to be going pretty seriously wrong for you to get sync issues added from ripping.
  7. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,252
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    For rip I use AnyDVD HD $119 (lifetime updates) and a BD drive ($50-60) in my front of house machine. For transcode I use handbrake. I don't try to bother streaming to my phone since I'm not always guaranteed an adequate internet connection. I just plopped in a 64GB MicroSD card.

    My front end is simple: Under $400 PC with Windows 7, Sempron 140 CPU, Radeon 5XXX series passively cooled graphics card, 92MM heatsink fan combo, and LG BR drive. BD Playback is with ArcSoft Total Media Theater (TMT) $100

    I use Windows MCE plus the My Movies plug-in. Rip to folder structure. OTA USB tuner. You can do cable card with Silicon Realms QAM tuner.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. aberkowitz Audioholic Field Marshall

    aberkowitz
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,789
    Likes Received:
    485
    Location:
    Hoboken, NJ
    Thanks for all of the help. Here are some thoughts/questions:

    15TB was about the level I was looking to go with, keeping in mind that I lose 1 drive for RAID, and a bit more for any software. The price difference between 2 and 3TB is not significant enough to warrant skimping on space (the next level jump seems much bigger). Thanks for the hint on RAID, backup/redundancy was on my mind but I hadn't thought about a solution. Stupid question: Aside from slot space within the case (although I guess that can be upgraded as well), is there ultimately a limit on the number of drives that I can hook up within the system?

    Low power usage and a quiet system are important. How good is the fan that comes with the case? I currently keep my components in a semi-enclosed space (custom built cabinet) and use a custom fan to cool off my Yamaha A/V. Based on your experience do you recommend additional cooling?

    I'm assuming you used an i3 chip to help control power usage and heat. I've seen a bunch of conflicting material debating the merits of i3 vs. i5 vs. i7. I have no pre-conceived notions, just curious if you think there's any benefit to a faster chip. Not that I can't upgrade in the future, I'd just rather do this once.

    I'm guessing you left out the graphics card for now, maybe because of "D" below, but from a hardware perspective I'm guessing all that's remaining is RAM (4 GB enough or do I need 8), a power supply, the graphics card, BD drive (something like this- LG Black 14X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA BDXL Blu-ray Burner, Bare Drive, 3D Play Back (WH14NS40) - OEM - Newegg.com), and a wifi adapter. Anything I'm leaving out?

    I've read good things about MakeMKV, ratso seems to like to below as well, so I'll test it out.


    The DVR is at the bottom of my list, so I'd like to keep as much flexibility as possible.

    I think the only software I really have an attachment to is PLEX. It has the most adaptability with the types of devices that I want to use (e.g. ability to stream to my Roku box in the bedroom), has a great interface, and just seems the most user friendly to me.


    What else you got?
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  9. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Warlord

    BoredSysAdmin
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    9,885
    Likes Received:
    3,282
    Location:
    New Joisey
    My Case pretty spacious for Micro-ATX has a space for 6 3.5" HD drives. In addition the two external 5.25 could be converted to another 3 HD spaces with something like this:
    StarTech SATSASBAY3BK HDD Accessory - Newegg.com
    For total of 9 drives. Of course you'd need to have pcie sata controller with at least 3 sata ports

    I additional one 120mm fan in front to bring total to 2 front and one back fan. Front one is controlled by smartfan controls on mobo, back one is on manual fan controller (one free with case)
    I feel that this is sufficient cooling solution for my needs afas cooling vs noise goes.

    Core I3 Ivy bridge is plenty fast for almost all tasks, but one - video compressing - IE instead of 10 mins transcode of 10 mins movie clip on top dog Core I7 it might take 15-17 minutes on core I3... (Numbers are rought, but you get the idea)
    For everything else like I said it's plenty o-fast.

    I don't know how much of BD recording you are planning to do, but afaik compressed 2h movie to 7Gb MKV with 720p and 5.1 DTS sound is plenty for me if I do need to record a media. I just follow Tom's hardware advice - pick the cheapest BD-Reader combo drive for about $20 and be done with it.

    I didn't suggest a video card, since I don't plan on gaming on my htpc or htpc server and all new processors have a build-in video sufficient for video playback in 1080p, Aero interface etc...


    Well, You'd need both. AnyDVD HD (to strip the protection) and MakeMKV to actually make the compressed file. To keep original ISO of the disk with unmolested content I guess ImgBurn software should work after AnyDVD made it's magic :)


    Like I said if DVR with Cable/Fios is not in the cards, the software choice are pretty wide.
    Recent XBMC has built-in support for MythTV DVR backend - which makes it very neat solution.

    I have heard good things about Plex, but at the time of me building my media server/client I found Plex to be lacking support for some features I was looking for (ISO BD playback and Passthru of HD codes to avr), but I think they will catch up soon since their father (XBMC) recently implemented them.

    For my server build I have strongly considered FreeNAS - they have excellent plugins systems, but decided in the end to go with even more techy/geeky solution based on custom built of ubuntu server. All these systems allow me to manage my own "raid" array without purchasing a dedicated hardware card, but windows is not nearly as helpful for building disk arrays and you might have to get a hardware raid card like this one:
    Intel RAID Controller Card 6G SAS PCI-E x8 8 internal ports (RS2WC080) - Newegg.com
    But DO REad the reviews and specs - some might not support drives more than 2gb.

    BIOS (Host/Software) raid would not work for more than 4 drives (I think)

    ps: Another suggested solution in Unraid, but I haven't tested it.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  10. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,252
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    If all you are looking is for easy rip and playback inside of either Media Center or TMT etc just go with folder structure rips and not container formats like MKV etc...
  11. ratso Full Audioholic

    ratso
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    468
    Likes Received:
    110

    oh, i definitely agree something is seriously wrong with it, and i'm not the only one with the problem?

    DVD Ripper Audio out of sync - DVDFab Forum

    i counted once and a full 30% (!) of all my dvd rips had serious audio sync issues, and i'm talking about the audio track being off by seconds (the scene is over before the dialog stops type of things). it only happens with dvd's and i rip in mkv passthrough only. been happening through at least 10 updates now, and as i said, i gave up using it as makemkv works much better for free.
  12. Trev Audioholic

    Trev
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2012
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    I didn't have time to read through the entire thread, but I'd recommend the following:

    Thermaltake Level 10 GTS case (or higher grade model)
    Asus Motherboard: http://ca.asus.com/en/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z77V_LE/
    Ivy Bridge Intel Processor 3770K (K is unlocked. Do it.): Newegg.ca - Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K
    Pioneer BDR-2208: BDR-2208 - World's first 15x Blu-ray Drive. Internal BD/DVD/CD Burner. Supports BDXL™ media. Cyberlink® software included. SATA interface. | Pioneer Electronics USA
    Vengeance 16GB: Newegg.ca - CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10
    Samsung 840 SSD: Newegg.ca - SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
    The MOFO (I'd see what's best at price point. I use GTX460 and am happy): ASUS - Graphics Cards- GTX680-DC2-2GD5
    Seagate 3TB 7200 RPM or WD Caviar Black for drives. (I personally scope reviews and current standings. Seems hard drives have runs of bad shipments.)

    All those are all you need dude. I run my audio over my GTX 460 on HDMI to receiver. Decodes DTS-HD and everything on all blu rays etc.

    Software now... , by the way... I can vouche for all that hardware. It's insane. It's at awesome price points minus the video card.

    Software:

    Burning - Cyberlink Power2Go
    Playblack - VLC Player / Cyberlink PowerDVD 12 / ... and you can also experiment with JRiver Media
    Antivirus - Avast
    Media Center - XBMC Aeon | XBMC


    When it comes to ripping... honestly... yes... you're backing up your data. Hate to say it though, I'm pretty confident it's equally illegal in the money grabbers' eyes as downloading. I'd save myself the trouble is all I'm saying. Securely. Ultraviolet is also worth checking out. It may save you from having to rip content. It's just the time consumption factor. I apologize if this statement is interpreted in any manner or form that I condone unlawful content grabbing etc. Disclaimer blah blah, just saying someone who lawfully owns content and doesn't want to have mess with disc players anymore shouldn't be penalized.

    I'm an IT guy for a living. I build things, pimp machines, all sorts of things. Can PM me if you need any help with anything man.

    Also... if you want to get luxurious....:

    Drobo 5N

    (Oh and, reason for the Thermaltake... may not be the best case... but hot swap drivers are AWESOME. You can even buy extra trays and shelf them like VHS cassettes. Pull one off shelf, slide it back into tray without shutting down or anything.)

    level-10-gt.jpg
    Trev,
  13. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Warlord

    BoredSysAdmin
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    9,885
    Likes Received:
    3,282
    Location:
    New Joisey
    Wow, I don't even know where to start. I think that you didn't justed missed the whole thread. You didn't read the OP's first post, I think in fact you have missed the thread title, instead you read - "How to build uber l33t gaming computer which cost tons of money and I could show it off to my buddies."

    Sorry but you have no idea whatsoever how to design htpc. Building whitebox/custom computers =! being in IT
    I am a sysadmin for multi billion dollar financial institution and still HTPC is nothing but a hobby for me.
  14. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,252
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    That is way overkill. IMHO one of the tenets of building an HTPC is low TPD and low noise. I don't equate it with a gaming rig. Which is what you listed. You don't need 16GB of RAM for certain.
  15. aberkowitz Audioholic Field Marshall

    aberkowitz
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,789
    Likes Received:
    485
    Location:
    Hoboken, NJ
    I'm not a legal mind, and we can all differ on opinions, but I see Ultraviolet as a way for the movie companies to get another bite at the apple. They want to charge me AGAIN for movies I already own just so I can move from physical to digitally stored media. No thank you.
  16. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,252
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    it doesn't matter what the labels believe to be legal/illegal. The fact of the matter is not court case has ever been brought against someone for purchasing their DVD's and then ripping them. It's untested waters and a gray area at best.
  17. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Warlord

    BoredSysAdmin
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    9,885
    Likes Received:
    3,282
    Location:
    New Joisey
    If only Ultraviolet.... it's not the problem. the real problem is - Cinavia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    But in general you are 100% right - they like us to pay them several times for same content vhs->dvd->bd->ultraviolet.... Cinavia is one of most potentially annoying tools to stop people from doing backups of their own disks...

    That said this will not stop dedicated people
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  18. aberkowitz Audioholic Field Marshall

    aberkowitz
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,789
    Likes Received:
    485
    Location:
    Hoboken, NJ
    Thanks- that was just sloppiness on my part... I didn't realize that the motherboard came with a built-in HDMI port and that the processor could handle 1080p. I really don't game much anymore- I'll keep the PS3 for a while and use it to play an occasional game. I guess eventually upgrade if I decided to switch gaming to the machine, but that's not what I really want it for.

    Thanks for the clarification. I do like the ability to strip out some of the content. For example, I don't need the Spanish and French audio tracks for every movie- I was thinking that may save a little space. Then again, it may not be worth the time or the effort. AnyDVD seems like a must have, and then from there the software seems like a matter of personal preference.


    This is where I need to do a bit more research as well. I was planning to stick with a simple Windows 7 setup- per Jujinku's suggestion I was going to grab a smallish SSD to host Windows and my ripping/playing software. There are some tutorials online regarding building a RAID array, and I know HTPC Assassin has one. I'll see what I can find.

    I really do appreciate everybody's help so far. I've started to collate thoughts and suggestions into a list, once I finalize it I will post it back online and see if I'm missing anything.
  19. Grador Audioholic Field Marshall

    Grador
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,576
    Likes Received:
    414
    Location:
    SoCal
    Yeah sounds like their MKV muxer is bonked. I have ~250 dvd's ripped to folder structure with 0 sync issues.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. ratso Full Audioholic

    ratso
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    468
    Likes Received:
    110
    btw for the OP, i would also keep an eye on the new mediabrowser 3 (now in beta, out next month). it can do everything you want and looks killer. and i would really give a closer look to assassin's blog. it got me up and running in no time quick and i was a hardcore know-nothing noob when i started reading it. now my htpc is just amazing looking.

Share This Page

  • EMPTek.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
  • CEDIA