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How to Build a DVD Server

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Rkiver 30th December 2009, 11:33 Quote
Oooh, I rather like that idea. Nice write up and find for Cinemar also.
Yemerich 30th December 2009, 11:42 Quote
Nice idea! Really good article too.

I would like to see the machine an its innards in some photos if possible too. What can I say... I am a nerd....
PureSilver 30th December 2009, 11:42 Quote
Excellent writeup; now, you can blame yourself for the bank robbery I'm going to commit to buy parts.
yakyb 30th December 2009, 12:20 Quote
still think that XBMC connected to a simple Windows share / Local Drive is easier to setup and use all films just need to be in their own directory and named in accordance to theMovieDB.org however the easiest to setup (if not the most impressive) is mediabrowser with the Metabrowser installed for MetaData
Ross1 30th December 2009, 12:23 Quote
my 'server' is just my main pc.... the lian-li pc-a77 has space for a good 15 hard drives, more if you use 4in3's. Ive only got 10 connected at the moment (mainly because my mobo has 10 sata ports). span, 'share folder', done. my ion 330 with xbmc downstairs reads everything perfectly, including 18mbps 1080p stuff.

tis a bit of a power monster, but I use the pc all day anyway, download a lot of things during the night, so it would be on all the time even if it didnt act as a server for the house.
-Acid- 30th December 2009, 12:33 Quote
good soild well written guide

glad to see something that is bit-tech brewed and not a mag copy

I run a shuttle for my mcp connected to a projector and 5.1 setup
been on mce for years now i,ve something fo rthe new year to get stuck into :D
rickysio 30th December 2009, 12:42 Quote
Well, to be honest I was expecting something like a case mod or a DIY case... -.-lll
Flibblebot 30th December 2009, 12:56 Quote
I looked at XBMC, but it does a load of things that I don't need it to do - I already have a music server that pipes music around the house, I don't listen to internet radio, and I watch/record TV programmes on the Sky+ box and TV.

I'm a bit of a control freak, and I wanted something that did only what I wanted it to do: just keep a track of my film collection, let me browse it and play whatever film I choose with the minimum of fuss.

Cinemar handles that nicely for me, and it provides the expandability and flexibility that I need. Being used to home automation systems, it also does it in a way that is familiar to me.

If you like and use XBMC, that's fine - I'm not suggesting that Cinemar is better in any way, just that it's what I decided to use based on my own set of requirements. Just because I decided to use it, doesn't mean it's the perfect solution for others ;)
GW42 30th December 2009, 12:57 Quote
+1 on windows media centre (sorry, center...), mediabrowser and metadata. Mediabrowser has a very nice interface, fairly customisable (I think very customisable if you really want to and know your way around html??). I haven't bothered looking into that yet though as there are lots of standard options which look very good to me, so I haven't felt the need to customise further

I want my htpc to cover tv watching and recording (so obvious advantage to MCE there) but also cope well with ripped tv series, not just films. Mediabrowser and metadata do that well. And if you don't want any of the other MCE stuff, there are menu editors that let you remove the stuff you don't want so you don't see it.

I may have missed it, but Inot sure you mentioned whether Cinemar sits on tops of windows - given the other software plugins you've mentioned, I presume it must do. If you have a copy of windows with MCE included, then as mediabrowser and metadata are free it's a very competitive price!

(I've not ventured into HD or Blu-ray yet, but I understand that the plugins mentioned integrate with MCE as well?)

Having said all of the above, I am tempted to install mediaportal to see what that's like. (it is free after all) XBMC is no good to me, as it doesn't do TV recording or watching, but you don't want tv so I'd be interested in the reasons why you chose not to use XBMC (which is, again, free...)

EDIT: the problem with longish posts is that someone posts before you and answers the question before you've asked it
Devolve 30th December 2009, 13:00 Quote
nice idea, but i still prefer using WMC with media browser, such a nice interface. Plus with the many possible plugins, internet tv is a possibility aswell. The storage option is better than what i've been looking at though. nearly bought windows server.

Only problem is with me ripping films, even after a shrink im using 4gig a film. Its a hellish amount when you backup aswell (i didnt once and the disk drive failed, 50 odd indexed films down the pan).
Ross1 30th December 2009, 13:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devolve

Only problem is with me ripping films, even after a shrink im using 4gig a film. Its a hellish amount when you backup aswell (i didnt once and the disk drive failed, 50 odd indexed films down the pan).

encode to a more efficient codec than mpeg2, this one is obvious.
DeathAwaitsU 30th December 2009, 13:27 Quote
Tversity tbh :)
lacuna 30th December 2009, 13:37 Quote
Forgive me if I am wrong but this seems like a tremendous amount of effort for what has been achieved. I have a 1.5tb NAS which cost £170 which I have put a selection of films, music and photos on. This is accesible using the PS3's which arrange the files alphabetically, aswell as the laptops and my pc with all the files being arranged however I want. What does your system offer that mine does not?
ch424 30th December 2009, 13:45 Quote
Super article, thank you! ;)
barrkel 30th December 2009, 14:06 Quote
I'll stick with my Nexenta box:

[rupert] ~$ zpool list
NAME SIZE USED AVAIL CAP HEALTH ALTROOT
syspool 185G 1.97G 183G 1% ONLINE -
tank 9.06T 6.83T 2.23T 75% ONLINE -

9TB storage, though with redundancy it's closer to 5.
MajorTom 30th December 2009, 14:08 Quote
Fantastic article. Makes me want to build a new media solution for my flat. This is most definitely overkill but that's why I want it! It will be difficult to convince the misses that the TVersity server through a PS3 isn't doing the job though :|
Thatguy119 30th December 2009, 14:43 Quote
Nice idea, only problem is, I read through all of that and understood about 50% of it. I will be back after another 2 read throughs and related browsing :)
SteveU 30th December 2009, 14:59 Quote
Forgive me for being picky but the whole point of this article was to build a system comparable to the Kaleidescape system but for a lot less spondoolies yet you missed out the most important piece of info, namely how much (approximately) this setup cost you to build!

I appreciate you can't give an exact figure but it would have been nice to have seen a rough breakdown summary of the major 'required' components and cost.
mrbens 30th December 2009, 15:16 Quote
Wow, that setup you made is great.

I only watch movies in the living room tho, so I have my PC (which is also in my living room) hooked up to my 50inch plasma as a second monitor and store hundreds of 1080p MKVs on my PC. Now, if only film studios would sell movies in HD MKV format (and for a reasonable low price) I could stop being a criminal lol =)
Flibblebot 30th December 2009, 16:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveU
Forgive me for being picky but the whole point of this article was to build a system comparable to the Kaleidescape system but for a lot less spondoolies yet you missed out the most important piece of info, namely how much (approximately) this setup cost you to build!

I appreciate you can't give an exact figure but it would have been nice to have seen a rough breakdown summary of the major 'required' components and cost.
I did include some figures in my original article, but they appear to have been edited out!

Cost of unRAID is $70 for the 6-disk (5 data disks + parity) version, the 16-disk (15 data + 1 parity) is $120.
Cost of Cinemar with necessary plugins is around $350

I had most of the hardware for the RAID server, the motherboard cost around £100. Drives are dirt cheap these days, a 1.5Tb can be picked up for around £80, although bear in mind you'll need at least two drives. Adding new drives as and when to unRAID is a doddle, so it's easy to start small and grow as and when you need (or get more cash!)

I got the hardware for the HTPC box for my birthday - a dualcore ION motherboard with a couple of gig RAM, a cheap SSD for the OS, case and BluRay drive. Total cost was around £350, I think.

So all in all, total cost probably came in at well under £1000 - but then I used some drives and software that I already had hanging around. Even if you had to buy drives and other bits for the unRAID server, there's no reason why you should go much over £1500.

Last time I checked, startup cost for Kaleidescape or MediaMax is around £10-15k - so I managed to get most of the functionality for a tenth of the cost. That's not bad in my books!


Now, I know there are other solutions out there.. This is an article about what solutions I used and how I put it all together - this is what I have, it does what I need and I'm happy with it. If you're using something else, I'm very happy for you and I hope you'll be happy together - but I'm not going to change just because you're using something different or free or younger or prettier ;)
lacuna 30th December 2009, 16:20 Quote
That still seems excessively expensive to me, especially as it is so limited in what it can do. Sure it beats the Kaliedascape thing on price but its at least 4 times the price of a NAS and media streamer/ps3/xbox/etc. Im not trying to convince you to use something else, I am just curious to know what the advantages are over a much simpler and cheaper solution.
mrbens 30th December 2009, 16:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Now, I know there are other solutions out there.. This is an article about what solutions I used and how I put it all together - this is what I have, it does what I need and I'm happy with it. If you're using something else, I'm very happy for you and I hope you'll be happy together - but I'm not going to change just because you're using something different or free or younger or prettier ;)

very nicely put =)
Phil Rhodes 30th December 2009, 16:42 Quote
Aeon Flux?!
Devolve 30th December 2009, 17:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devolve

Only problem is with me ripping films, even after a shrink im using 4gig a film. Its a hellish amount when you backup aswell (i didnt once and the disk drive failed, 50 odd indexed films down the pan).

encode to a more efficient codec than mpeg2, this one is obvious.

very helpful, well done.
Tbh a combo of anydvd and dvdshrink is what i use, I dont have time to rip a dvd then convert, messing around. Show me another program that compresses a movie without too much loss and can keep my menus and extras but remove unnecessary languages, and convert to a "more efficient codec"......and is for FREE, and i shall change the error of my ways.
Flibblebot 30th December 2009, 17:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
Aeon Flux?!
I wondered how long it would be before someone commented on the films I own :D
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