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- Donny -

building a media pc set up

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I'd check out a program called Winavi all in one converter, it should be able to do what you need a far as ripping the blu rays, I use it to convert from avi to vob so I can burn movies for daughter and it does the trick, pretty straight forward to use, there are torrents available for it or you can buy.....

 

Can't help with os, old man uses Linux but I wouldn't have a clue about it's abilities or even why to switch too

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as far as a program Im not so sure. But probably something that does MP4s

 

Keep in mind PS3 and most smart TVs won't play MKV files (unless someone on here knows how to get them working) So MP4 will offer the best quality. From my experience you will never find softwafe that will fully offer no downgrade in quality at the very best it will be minor and unnoticable. Unless you just simply want to copy the Blu Ray dics to your hard drive in which you will need A LOT of 2TB hard drives

 

As far as the PC goes try and have it hard wired to your router via a KAT6 cable, If you are streaming wirelessly you are gonna need a bloody fast wireless connection atleast of 300mbs if not more. It wouldnt be a bad idea getting a dual band router so people can access the net via one band and stream movies via the other.

 

However in saying that A lot routers now days have 1 or 2 usb slots for external harddrives which can act as a media server. But if you will be ripping blu ray movies onto it @ 30+gig each its not going to take long to fill them up.

Edited by Shakey Bones

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I've got one of these: http://www.popcornhour.com/onlinestore/index.php?pluginoption=catalog&mainItemId=47

 

It takes a fair bit of work and stuffing around to set it up and customize it with YAMJ/TOMY, but once it's up and running it's awesome.

For HD stuff and music, I have a 2TB HDD inside the unit, 2x 500GB external HDD plugged into USB2.0 (take these HDDs with me travelling or to pass onto friends). I also have a 1TB RAID setup on my Desktop PC linked via Wireless which i use for TV shows.

 

Reason i went this is because;

- it's the most cost effective 'dvd' sized box that i can put near the tv

- Inbuilt torrent/newsgroup options

- Can plug in multiple USB drives

- Internal SATA spot

- Can buy addon BlueRay player that slots inside (Blueray player is just loud when in use)

- Easily network multiple Jukeboxes Wirelessly. ie. I've got my Home Desktop, Laptop and even my tablet networked and can stream anything up to 720p quite easily.

- Will play almost any video and music file (MKV, OGG, FLAC etc)

 

XBMC PC is however better in a few ways.

- Customize to suit your needs

- Can include multiple HDD slots

- Easier integration for automatically downloading tv series and adding them to the system. (With the PCH i've had to set up a scan which runs automatically from my Desktop PC once a day to update the index).

 

If you're just looking for a media centre program, XBMC is the way to go IMO. I had a look at them all and nothing else really competes.

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Slightly OT, I've just started putting HD tv shows and Blu-rays onto my external drive then just directly plugging it into my tv then running a optical audio cable to my amp, will I be loosing quality doing it this way or am I better getting one of those WD HD media players ?

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IMO building a media centre is a waste of money.

 

You are much better off buying a small off the shelf unit with onboard HD graphics. It is much smaller, much cheaper and uses less power than anything you could build from component parts.

 

Something like this perhaps :shades: :

 

http://www.nissansil...em&item_id=3922

 

Run Openelec on it for a tiny, fast booting, HD XBMC media centre with no fuss.

 

Some advice:

 

You will eventually end up building a dedicated media server.

 

Here is how I suggest you progress towards a server. Start by buying a small off the shelf unit (like above) and plug your external drive into it. When you inevitably fill your external drive start adding internal drives (and your external drive) to your desktop machine and using it to stream to the media centre pc (no need for a beasty network machine as all the processing is done on the media pc itself - you simply need a desktop machine with some spare drive bays and a network connection) .

 

Once you have run out of physical drive bays in the desktop build yourself a dedicated server utilising the internal drives that were in the desktop - you could even open the external drive up and extract the HDD and add it to the server if you no longer need an external drive..

 

Now that you have a centralised server all you need to do to add multiple tv's into the mix is to buy a small off the shelf pc's for each tv. Each media pc will stream everything from the central server. This also means no need to syncronise machines, as the entire media library, all fanart, watched/unwatched status etc is stored on the server and automatically distributed to all machines, it also means you can pause a show on one tv and pick it up from the same point on another tv.

 

Building a server is neither as daunting or as expensive as it sounds, but that's a story for another time.

Edited by SIR ASHMAN

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*snip*

 

Couldn't agree more with this. It's EXACTLY how to do things. I built a full on media centre setup and have loaded it with XBMC and TV show management programs, etc. But I've almost filled both 2TB drives with movies and TV shows, and that's not even a lot when you're library consist of high end HD movies only. There's no more room for more HDD's. I'm now wanting some sort of NAS (network access storage) which I could load up with a lot more HDD's. I've just gone the wrong way about it. Could have bought an off the shelf box and a NAS for not much more than I've paid already, and had a lot more storage space and flexibility.

Edited by Dan.

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^^ I suggest building an Unraid server rather than using an off the shelf NAS.

 

You will eventually run out of drive bays in your NAS and have to buy a second one - and that's expensive.

 

With an Unraid server you just add a new disk when you run out of space. The software supports up to 20 data disks (1 extra is for parity) and supports 3TB drives so it can be expanded up to 60TB.

 

*Note* obviously you need to have a case capable of holding and cooling that many drives, a psu capable of powering that many drives and enough sata ports to connect all the drives, but all that is do-able and for much less than it would cost to make a 20 disk array out of off the shelf NAS units.

Edited by SIR ASHMAN

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Building a server is neither as daunting or as expensive as it sounds, but that's a story for another time.

 

True that! Just finished building a small one. I wish I read your comment on unRAID beforehand though, looks pretty fantastic.

Currently just setting up devices for streaming from server to TV. I've seen the WD TV Live used quite well but if anyone has any other, better ones then I'm happy to listen (I don't need it to have any storage capability, just want a simple streaming box)

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Yes, use XBMC.

 

I've got one, and it's honestly very cheap, buy a $50-$100 CPU, a $50 MB or a $150 with good onboard graphics. Some quiet fans and the two most important things IMO:

 

1. Lots of HDDs (I'm talking 5x 2TB drives + 1 DVD) - Make sure you pick a MB with 6x SATA ports.

2. The CASE!!!

 

The case is one of the most important things IMO, since it's meant to look stylish.

 

What I would love, but unfortuanetely they're impossible to find, is a case that was about 2HDD wide (lengthways) , 3 HDDs long (short end) and about 100mm high. That would be f**king perfect, BUT, no one f**king makes a case like that.

It would be the size of a DVD player, with 10TB of storage, a DVD/blue ray drive, great sound, have windows on it if you want that in your living room. etc.

 

Anyways, I ended up with that but with an ugly case of a normal PC. Cost f**k all made it out of old components I had lying around.

 

The problem with dedicated HTPCs is that you run out of space.

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I used this to build my brothers HTPC. Silverstone LC16. Room for 6 HDD's.

 

A little larger (ok, a lot larger) than a typical DVD player, but if you want decent storage, you can't be too fussy.

 

http://www.silversto...?pid=81&area=en

 

LC16B-MR-Front-4-3.jpg

 

LC16m4.jpg

 

thumb_lc16m_54.jpg

Edited by Dan.

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