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How to Build a DVD Server

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BioSniper 30th December 2009, 17:23 Quote
I'll be honest, there are much easier ways of doing this, Media Centre in Windows 7 has a movie library mode built right in, PMS (platstation media server) allows streaming to 360/PS3 devices and trans codes on the fly. You get the added bonus of being able to also use the 360 as a media extender this way too.

Also whats the obsession with using RAID? Most home users here will only be streaming, at best, to 2 places at once. I've streamed 4 1080p MKV's off a Western Digital Green Power drive with no performance dip. RAID imo only adds to the cost of the build.

I'm open to cirticism here, but I do think this is the way to over-do something that's terribly simple to build with an off-the shelf OS and free transcode/serving software.
Flibblebot 30th December 2009, 17:57 Quote
It's not so much the power of RAID, it's the other parts of unRAID that I needed: the ability to see several disks as one without having to worry what particular disk a movie is stored on; and, in particular, the redundancy. With a couple of terabytes of films, the redundancy that unRAID offers is peace of mind - and the hours spent re-ripping movies in the event of a hard disk failure. Added to which, with the unRAID server, all the noisy components are kept out of the cinema.

At the time I built the server, Windows 7 wasn't available (and I wasn't willing to build something using RC builds) - and to be frank, I don't need or use half the features that MCE, XBMC and the like offer - I don't listen to Internet radio, I already have a dedicated music server and I don't watch or record TV programmes in my cinema room. All I wanted was a system to rip, browse and play movies, nothing else. In particular, I wanted to be able to see lots of films on screen at once with a clean, uncluttered interface.

I know this approach may seem alien to some, but it suits my needs perfectly. I'm not saying it's for everyone (and to say it again: I know there are other options out there), but what I wanted to do with this article (and my solution) is explore the alternatives: to find some NAS system that wasn't FreeNAS, wasn't overly expensive and didn't come cluttered with additional options that I would never use. Similarly with the software, I wanted to find something other than MCE/XBMC/PMS/TVersity/etc, because I only wanted play films with it - none of the other additional stuff that I would never use.

Bear in mind that you're still paying for Windows licenses, Xboxes, PS3s and PCs to use this free software on - so it's not really as cheap as all that ;)

If you use something else, or have heard of another solution - that's great. I use what I use, you use what you use, and we're probably both happy with our own choices. Which one of us is right? Both of us (probably).
Toka 30th December 2009, 18:35 Quote
Cats and Dogs - srysly?

reading something like this article, or this one always makes me want to dust off a retired pc and get to creating.

I do quite like your solution, abouts how long did it take from the idea of setting up your own dvd server to getting the system running to a point that it passed the WAF test?
Burnout21 30th December 2009, 18:35 Quote
Loved the article, but cant help but feel something is missing...


I rip my DVD's with handbrake taking a 4.5GB film down to ~1GB, which helps a lot considering i cant afford to be laying out on drives every few months. (lovefilm account) lol!


Currently i run ubuntu 9.10 on my shuttle server, and just navigate a samba share on my machines to then play back the tv show or film at my own leisure, being a student still this is my best option.

But after uni i want to go the HTPC route as my girlfriend loves having the library of media to watch and your article seems an ideal solution.

Also have much hate for XBMC and a like, i hate WMC as its not a switch on a start, its just an awkward application to live with.
thehippoz 30th December 2009, 18:46 Quote
yeah I'm a ripper too.. guess you just have to know what's up.. he's talking about the holy grail in a rich guys household and how to rebuild it from scratch.. most of us here probably been doing this for years =]
Flibblebot 30th December 2009, 19:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toka
Cats and Dogs - srysly?
So you've got no films in your collection that you might be embarrassed about? :p
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toka
reading something like this article, or this one always makes me want to dust off a retired pc and get to creating.

I do quite like your solution, abouts how long did it take from the idea of setting up your own dvd server to getting the system running to a point that it passed the WAF test?
From finding all the bits to getting it all together probably took about 6 weeks before I was happy, but that's mainly because I was finding things out as I was going along and doing a lot of the hard work myself. I'm a persistent tweaker, so I'll probably never be 100% happy with it :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnout21
Loved the article, but cant help but feel something is missing...

I rip my DVD's with handbrake taking a 4.5GB film down to ~1GB, which helps a lot considering i cant afford to be laying out on drives every few months. (lovefilm account) lol!
It's more of an explanation of what I did rather than a step-by-step guide. But if you feel there's something missing, tell me what it is and I'll do my best.

As far as ripping goes, I didn't want to shrink movies any more than they are - artefacts are easier to see on a 8ft screen! My family bought me a bunch of 1 & 1.5Tb drives for Christmas, so I've now got about 4Tb in the unRAID server. That's enough room for the timebeing - even now that I buy mainly BluRays, it's still room enough for another 50+ films, and I only buy one or two max per month.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnout21
Currently i run ubuntu 9.10 on my shuttle server, and just navigate a samba share on my machines to then play back the tv show or film at my own leisure, being a student still this is my best option.

But after uni i want to go the HTPC route as my girlfriend loves having the library of media to watch and your article seems an ideal solution.

Also have much hate for XBMC and a like, i hate WMC as its not a switch on a start, its just an awkward application to live with.
It's a brilliant way of choosing films - as I said in the article, having everything shown like this lets us see films that we'd forgotten that perhaps we had, or haven't seen in a long time. As a result, my wife and I have probably watched more films in the last couple of months than we have in a long time, basically because they're so more accessible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehippoz
yeah I'm a ripper too.. guess you just have to know what's up.. he's talking about the holy grail in a rich guys household and how to rebuild it from scratch.. most of us here probably been doing this for years =]
Exactly. My main aim was to keep the interface simple. I love Kaleidescape and MediaMax, they're wonderful systems, and simple to use - it's just that they're too damned expensive. I could never justify that kind of expense (even if I had the money to spare).
Burnout21 30th December 2009, 19:37 Quote
Your solution is boarder line dare i say it, an apple solution!

I can see apple developing there own version of this, apart from AppleTV. But its getting there...


Re-encoding them takes time and I wish i could write a script so that i can insert a DVD, it pop up allows the automatic naming or choice of naming, file format and rip it to the storage location.

Worst one is the process of ripping a TV series from DVD, argh!!!!
OWNED66 30th December 2009, 21:58 Quote
now tell us how to build a torrent server.
HourBeforeDawn 30th December 2009, 22:12 Quote
Great write up, now can someone do a write up that does the same thing with blu-ray playback and what not but at no expense on the software side of things. Thats what Im looking for. ^^
GregTheRotter 30th December 2009, 22:26 Quote
+1 on Aeon Flux xD

Great article btw.

Personally I'm not too bothered with sharing the collection around the house. I'm quite happy with the WD TV :)
H2O 30th December 2009, 22:55 Quote
Would this work if I had one large media center server tucked away in part of my house, and then several ION powered spoke PCs that were in the media centers? Would I need multiple copies of the software or would one be ok?
The_Beast 30th December 2009, 22:59 Quote
Very nice article


I have an old 320gb Hdd stuffed with movies waiting to be watched
Toka 30th December 2009, 23:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
So you've got no films in your collection that you might be embarrassed about? :p


From finding all the bits to getting it all together probably took about 6 weeks before I was happy, but that's mainly because I was finding things out as I was going along and doing a lot of the hard work myself. I'm a persistent tweaker, so I'll probably never be 100% happy with it :)

Uh, I have Cats and Dogs!

I just dashed upstairs to check and I do have a 2002 (ish) Lassie film that I think beats that on the Embarrass-O-Meter :D

It looks like a really good system to me, think I might go and move some movies over to an old pc :) - Time to find out if I still suck at Linux!
Flibblebot 30th December 2009, 23:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by H2O
Would this work if I had one large media center server tucked away in part of my house, and then several ION powered spoke PCs that were in the media centers? Would I need multiple copies of the software or would one be ok?
Absolutely. All you'd need to do is have MLServer on the central server, with the ION PC's with MainLobby (the client front end) and a player. Out of the box, MLServer allows up to 5 client connections, and the MainLobby clients are, in effect, free.

This is where the real strength of MediaLobby wins out - because all of the movie catalogue info is stored on the server, there's no duplication of information, and when you add a movie, it's automatically available on all the clients - no need to update each one individually.


Apart from unRAID, everything runs on Windows - and even unRAID comes as a precompiled system that you just copy to a small USB thumb drive - so there really isn't that much work involved.
LAGMonkey 31st December 2009, 06:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by OWNED66
now tell us how to build a torrent server.

Torrentflux

As for the article, an interesting way of doing it. I do like the way that you have your RAID mind. Shame its not for me at the moment. Ill stick with RAID 5 and my always-on beast. But then it does a lot more than just share files to my network.
H2O 31st December 2009, 06:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Absolutely. All you'd need to do is have MLServer on the central server, with the ION PC's with MainLobby (the client front end) and a player. Out of the box, MLServer allows up to 5 client connections, and the MainLobby clients are, in effect, free.

This is where the real strength of MediaLobby wins out - because all of the movie catalogue info is stored on the server, there's no duplication of information, and when you add a movie, it's automatically available on all the clients - no need to update each one individually.


Apart from unRAID, everything runs on Windows - and even unRAID comes as a precompiled system that you just copy to a small USB thumb drive - so there really isn't that much work involved.

Very nice! I now have a reason to resurrect my E8400/X48 platform. ;)
jadawgis732 31st December 2009, 09:42 Quote
My implementation is much sweeter. I have two PCs that I use a laptop and a gaming PC, both are networked to a Optiplex GX520 which I've converted into a server with around 5 TB of space dynamic JBOD with Windows Home Server. I run MediaBrowser on both PC's complete with Media Center Master (getting all the <meta>data you can find on x movie) and StarkCovers to make the folder.jpg appear to be a DVD case for standard conversions (<1.45GB) and a BluRay case for HD (720P, 1080P). I have 426 standard movies 40 HD movies and about 11 TV Series (every episode of curb your enthusiasm, south park, and battlestar galactica). I'll even provide a few screenies.
http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-32-13-88.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-32-25-46.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-32-51-28.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-32-52-92.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-32-55-76.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-33-04-57.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-33-14-99.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-33-17-88.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-33-26-71.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-33-31-03.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-33-49-08.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-34-05-92.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-34-13-56.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-34-15-36.jpg http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x283/jadawgis732/Media%20Broser/thehshell2009-12-3103-34-18-79.jpg
theevilelephant 31st December 2009, 11:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732
....My implementation is much sweeter....

Come on this has been covered, he made a system that works for him, how he wants it to. It's not about whats better its about what works for you. Also if you want people to look at those pics, just post a few in IMG tags rather than a million in a badly formatted lump :)

Personally I found it a great read, this is something I've long been tempted by, but being a student I can't stump up the cash. Great read have some rep.
Cupboard 31st December 2009, 16:35 Quote
Now that is something to aspire to!

One of my friends from school had something like a Kaleidescape system - I don't know what it actually was but is was very nice. Once you highlighted a film it would re-arrange all the others around it to similar ones, the most similar being the nearest and biggest. The remote control was a touchscreen tablet running something that looked like it was based on Window CE. You could go on Facebook whilst watching the film :D

The entire set up was fairly drool-worthy, there was an HD TV on the wall, that when you wanted to watch a movie was covered by a projection screen that came down from the ceiling.

Out of interest, do you have no desire to be able to watch TV through this system or be able to record stuff on to your server? We have just got a PVR at home (I know, behind the times :D) and I love it! You can also offload anything it records onto an external disk which is rather nice.
andy1911 31st December 2009, 18:43 Quote
so how much to have one made?
Burnout21 31st December 2009, 19:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by andy1911
so how much to have one made?

i'd do it for 10 million in sterling!
fathazza 31st December 2009, 19:44 Quote
jadawgis732 1st January 2010, 06:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by theevilelephant
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732
....My implementation is much sweeter....

Come on this has been covered, he made a system that works for him, how he wants it to. It's not about whats better its about what works for you. Also if you want people to look at those pics, just post a few in IMG tags rather than a million in a badly formatted lump :)

Personally I found it a great read, this is something I've long been tempted by, but being a student I can't stump up the cash. Great read have some rep.

Actually with those tags all images are in their orig res. 1920x1080 it would take 30 seconds to scroll through. I was able to do this for the cost of 4 hard drives, a $100 desktop from craigslist, and a ton of time torrenting.
Flibblebot 1st January 2010, 15:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cupboard
Now that is something to aspire to!

One of my friends from school had something like a Kaleidescape system - I don't know what it actually was but is was very nice. Once you highlighted a film it would re-arrange all the others around it to similar ones, the most similar being the nearest and biggest. The remote control was a touchscreen tablet running something that looked like it was based on Window CE. You could go on Facebook whilst watching the film :D

The entire set up was fairly drool-worthy, there was an HD TV on the wall, that when you wanted to watch a movie was covered by a projection screen that came down from the ceiling.
Sounds like a Kaleidescape system being controlled by something like a Crestron or AMX automation system. Serious money :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cupboard
Out of interest, do you have no desire to be able to watch TV through this system or be able to record stuff on to your server? We have just got a PVR at home (I know, behind the times :D) and I love it! You can also offload anything it records onto an external disk which is rather nice.
Nope, I have a separate cinema room with projector and screen that I use for watching films and playing games. The TV is in the living room with a Sky+ HD box that I use to watch TV programmes.
Burnout21 1st January 2010, 15:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathazza
or just buy a 400 disc bluray carousel....
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10151&catalogId=10551&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665945153

tho sadly not on sale in the uk yet... :(

i just jizzed my pants! £400 for a 400 disc autoloader, yes please!!
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