Digitizing My Movie Collection: Synology DS 918+ NAS Review

Introduction

I had put off digitizing my movie collection for quite a while because I didn't want to spend the time and money. I finally got around to doing a "proof of concept" study playing DVD and Blu-ray movies from a hard drive in an external enclosure. After that brief exposure to "moves at my fingertips", there was no going back.

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Figure 1. Proof of concept - movies from a hard drive.

A Synology DiskStation DS918+ network attached storage (NAS) was selected for the video server, along with four 8 TB Western Digital Red NAS drives. The DiskStation's memory was expanded from 4 GB to the maximum 8 GB. After formatting the hard drives and installation of the DiskStation's operating system, each hard drive had 6.98 TB of storage available (27.92 TB total). The DS918+ was very easy to setup and use.

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Figure 2. Synology DS918+ NAS. My entire movie collection now fits in a box measuring 6.53" H x 7.83" W x 8.77" D.

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Figure 3. Then and now. My video racks take up 11.5 cubic feet each. The NAS takes up
0.26 cubic foot.


For storage capacity planning, I assumed that each DVD had the maximum 8.5 GB of data and that each Blu-ray had the maximum 50 GB of data:

DVD discs: 580 x 8.5 GB = 5 TB
BR discs: 235 x 50 GB = 12 TB
Total disc storage required: 17 TB

Of course, many discs would have much less than the calculated maximum capacity. After ripping the first five shelves of the first video rack, I had used 78% of the calculated storage capacity. When everything was done, I had used 12.7 TB, or 75% of the calculated 17 TB.

This was my fifth media conversion project:

1. Conversion of VHS media to DVD.
2. Conversion of CD and SACD to FLAC and DSD files respectively.
3. Conversion of Vinyl records to DSD files.
4. Conversion of FLAC files to DSD.
5. Conversion of DVD disc media to MKV format and conversion of Blu-ray disc media to Blu-ray folders on a hard drive.

The project took six weeks to complete.

Ripping Laboratory Setup

The computers used were

1. Desktop computer, X990 Intel processor, 3.46 GHz, 24 GB RAM.
2. Laptop computer, T9500 Intel processor, 2.6 GHz, 8 GB RAM.
3. Small desktop computer, i5-6400 Intel processor, 2.7 GHz, 16 GB RAM.

Three computers were used and three discs at a time were processed during ripping sessions. The laptop and small desktop computer did not have Blu-ray drives. LG WP50NB40 external USB Blu-ray drives were purchased for them. Ripped files were stored on one of five hard drives in external enclosures.

Having six media drives available was of immense benefit because sometimes a disc would be unreadable or read slowly in one computer and process fine in another computer. Although the desktop computer was the much faster machine, its older Pioneer Blu-ray drive had some difficulty reading a few Blu-rays that the LG drives had no problem with at all. On average, the desktop processed Blu-rays in 25 minutes or less and DVDs in 10 minutes or less. The laptop processed Blu-rays in 45 minutes to an hour and DVDs in 25 minutes or less. The small desktop computer processed Blu-rays in 35 minutes or less and DVDs in 16 minutes or less.

Ripping Tools were MakeMKV ($50), AnyDVDHD ($87), and MKVToolNix (free). MKVToolNix was used to merge MKV files. There were three DVDs that had half the movie on one side and the other half on the other side of the disc. I was not interested in saving storage space, therefore no compression was used during ripping. I wanted bit for bit copies of my DVDs and Blu-rays, with everything that was on the discs transferred to the server.

MakeMKV is free for DVD full functionality. A $50 license is required for Blu-ray functionality. AnyDVDHD was used to rip all Blu-ray movies. I have some Blu-ray television series discs where I only wanted to rip particular episodes. MakeMKV was used to process those. MakeMKV claims to be able to decrypt any media disc without the assistance of third-party software. This was true in the vast majority of cases. There were a few DVDs that MakeMKV could not decrypt. I had to run AnyDVDHD in the background and then process the disc with MakeMKV. MakeMKV ran 30% to 50% slower with AnyDVDHD running in the background.

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Figure 4. DVD playback: A movie folder contains the main movie in MKV format and one or more sub folders containing extra content (trailers, behind the scenes featurettes, cast and crew interviews, etc.).

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Figure 5. Clicking on an MKV (DVD) movie file title begins playback.

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Figure 6. Blu-ray movie folder playback can be done in two ways depending on how the content is connected to the player.

If the Blu-ray folder is contained on a hard drive connected to the player by USB cable, simply clicking on the (modified) folder that contains the Blu-ray files will start playback from the disc menu. If the Blu-ray folder is on a drive connected to the player over an Ethernet network, an extra step is required. The Blu-ray disc files must be copied into a folder titled "AVCHD" (Advanced Video Coding High Definition). That modified folder should be placed inside a folder with the title of the movie name. In order for the Oppo UDP-205 and UDP-203 Blu-ray players to play Blu-ray folders over a network, the "BDMV" folder had to be processed with a utility called "BDMV Modifier 2.0". This utility modifies the index.bdmv file in the BDMV folder in order for the player to treat the folder as a disc. BDMV folders do not have to be processed individually. The utility can be pointed to the main directory of a hard drive and it will find and process all BDMV folders on the drive. The utility can also reverse the modification in case the user wishes to burn the Blu-ray files to disc.

Blu-ray loading was much faster over a network or USB connection compared to loading from disc. Some examples:

Blade Runner 2049 Blu-ray: UDP-205 Blu-ray player - 23 seconds, DS918+ NAS - 8 seconds.

The Dark Knight Blu-ray: UDP-205 Blu-ray player - 18 seconds, DS918+ NAS - 6 seconds.

Star Wars Revenge Of The Sith Blu-ray: UDP-205 Blu-ray player - 26 seconds, DS918+ NAS - 6 seconds.

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Figure 7. Clicking on the "AVCHD" folder inside the "Alien 2 Aliens BR" folder immediately started the disc's interactive menu.

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Figure 8. Alien 2 menu. Playback from the NAS was identical to playing from disc.

"So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
"Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
"Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
"Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK

Comments

  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,569
    edited February 2018
    To my (and Oppo's) knowledge, there is no current way for disc players to replicate the disc playback experience for ripped DVD files over a network or external drive. There are software programs that will play DVD and Blu-ray folders, but they require a home theater PC. I wanted a hardware-based video playback system rather than a PC-based system.

    Whereas Blu-ray ripping involved only creating two folders and ripping the disc contents into a folder, ripping DVDs involved ripping the disc contents into a folder and then renaming each file. The result from MakeMKV is a series of sequentially numbered files. For movie discs, the main movie was easy to pick out because it was the largest file. Extra content like trailers and behind the scenes featurettes had to be played to find out what they were before renaming. The same applied for DVDs and Blu-rays of television episodes where there were several large files of approximately the same size. Tedious.

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    Figure 9. Movie files were ripped to external hard drives, the folder titles and file titles edited, then transferred to the NAS. The enclosures are Sabrent model EC-UEIS7.

    As with my music files, my backup regimen includes multiple backups including off-site storage. Backing up terabytes of data was by far the most expensive aspect of this project.

    Disc Rot - The Case For Backing Up Your Digital Disc Media

    During this project, I encountered eight discs (out of 835) that had "rotted" while sitting on my shelves. If a disc is not manufactured properly, or if it suffers some physical damage, the reflective layer can separate and/or air can get into the disc and oxidize the reflective layer and render it unreadable.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot

    The following eight discs were affected by disc rot:

    1. "Basic Instinct", Blu-ray, LionsGate Studios. Computer drives and Blu-ray players would not recognize the disc. The disc surface appeared flawless. Research revealed that there were some manufacturing problems with this, and other, LionsGate Blu-rays. I contacted LionsGate customer service and they agreed to send a replacement. The replacement was received three weeks after mailing back the defective disc. The "Basic Instinct" Blu-ray was among the first batch of discs processed. I went through the project wondering if I was going to find that a substantial amount of my collection had gone bad. Fortunately, lest than 1% of my collection was affected by disc rot.

    2. "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (original version), Blu-ray, Fox Studios, Computer drives and Blu-ray players would not recognize the disc. I contacted Fox customer service and they agreed to replace the disc. Four weeks after mailing the defective disc back, the replacement has not been received.

    3. "Black Snake Moan", DVD, Paramount Studios, multiple CRC errors when ripping. Paramount did not respond to two email inquiries to their customer service email address.

    4. "Iron Man 3", Blu-ray, Paramount Studios. CRC errors when ripping. Disc would hang at the menu.

    5. "Out Of Time", DVD, MGM Studios, multiple CRC errors when ripping.

    6. "Transporter 2", Blu-ray, Fox Studios, computers and Blu-ray players would not recognize disc.

    7. "When The Levees Broke", DVD, HBO Documentary Films, multiple CRC errors only on disc 2 of a 3 disc set. Disc 2 would hang on playback.

    8. "Jack Reacher", Blu-ray, Paramount Studios, multiple CRC errors when ripping.

    Wireless LAN Upgrade

    Soon after the Synology NAS was set up, a popup message appeared informing me that the NAS had analyzed my LAN speed and found it too slow to stream high definition content. I knew that. The wireless-N LAN equipment was replaced with an Amped Wireless Athena R2 wireless-AC router (5 GHz/2.4 GHz) and two Amped Wireless Athena EX wireless-AC range extenders (5 GHz/2.4 GHz). The first range extender is at the two channel stereo equipment cabinet. The Bryston BDP-2 music server and PS Audio P10 AC regenerator are connected to it. This range extender serves the very important function of relaying the router's signal around three walls and the kitchen refrigerator, which is in direct line of sight between the router and the range extender at the home theater equipment cabinet. Without the relay range extender, the signal strength at the home theater range extender was 39%. However, even at that level, the range extender was able to flawlessly and simultaneously stream two different Blu-ray movies from the NAS to two networked Blu-ray players in my home office and master bedroom, while a third Blu-ray movie was playing on the home theater plasma TV. With the relay range extender in place, the home theater's range extender signal strength rose to 81%. The range extenders' specs claim the ability for up to four HD or UHD wireless streams.

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    Figure 10. Amped Wireless Athena R2 AC2600 router. All the marketing photos show the antennas tilted, but it actually worked best for me with the antennas oriented vertically.

    The 4-port media hub in the home theater equipment cabinet was replaced with a D-Link DGS-10164 16 port Ethernet switch. The Blu-ray player and NAS are wired to the home theater range extender. All other networked home theater equipment (plasma TV, TIVO, preamp/processor, etc.) is wired to the Ethernet switch, which is wired to the range extender.

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    Figure 11. Retired. The Sony BDP-S2000ES Blu-ray players in my home office and master bedroom don't fit in with the modern age of networked home entertainment devices.

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    Figure 12. Hired. Two new Oppo UDP-203 Blu-ray players for the home office and master bedroom.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,569
    edited February 2018
    Discussion Of Results

    This project was costly in time and money, but I am very pleased with the results. During the testing and evaluation phase, I thought that the picture quality was better than I remembered, but I attributed this to the excitement of new toys. However, as I watched more on the plasma TVs in my home office, master bedroom, and home theater, and as I compared the same movie played from disc to the same movie played from the NAS, there was a difference.

    The screen shots below are from the time point 1:12:44 of the "Mission Impossible 4-Ghost Protocol" Blu-ray. This is the point just after the female assassin shouts "kill him!" when she notices ocular devices on Brandt's eyes during a document sale.

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    Figure 13. Closeup of Brandt's eye from the disc played by the UDP-205 player.

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    Figure 14. Closeup of Brandt's eye from the Blu-ray digital file from the NAS.

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    Figure 15. Side by side, NAS capture on left, Blu-ray player capture on right.

    Pictures were taken with a Fuji FinePix S9000 digital camera. Camera lens was 4.5 feet from the TV screen. Exposure was f/5.0 at 0.62 second, ISO 200.

    Pictures from the server were brighter, had more detail (especially in dark areas), less grain, and had better, more natural color rendition.

    The movies from the server are decrypted versions of the BR's and DVD's. Therefore, the player is relieved of the computational load of having to do complex decryption in real time. This reduces the load on the player's power supply. An even bigger load off the power supply was not having to supply power to the disc transport motor and laser assembly.

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    Figure 16. All my movies are in a little box on a shelf in my home theater equipment cabinet.

    My home LAN and Blu-ray players are 4K-ready. In the future, when I am more dedicated to video than I am now, I will upgrade to a 4K television, but for now, I am thrilled with "ordinary" Blu-ray and upsampled DVD.

    Associated Equipment

    Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD 60" Plasma TV
    Oppo UDP-205Blu-ray Player with external Samsung EVO 850 500 GB solid state drive
    Bryston BDP-1 digital player with external Samsung EVO 840 500 GB solid state drive
    Yamaha CX-A5100 Preamp/Processor
    Adcom GFA-565se Power Amp (250 wpc 8 ohms)/Front Speakers
    Adcom GFA-565se Power Amp (250 wpc 8 ohms)/Center Channel Speaker
    Adcom GFA-565se Power Amp (250 wpc 8 ohms)/Surround Speakers
    Polk Audio LSiM 706C Center Channel Speaker
    Polk Audio LSiM 705 Front Speakers
    Polk Audio LSiM 702 F/X Surround Speakers
    SVS PB12 Ultra/2 Subwoofer
    PS Audio P5 AC Regenerator
    PS Audio P10 AC Regenerator
    PS Audio AC-5 Power Cords for AC Regenerators
    PS Audio Statement SC Power Cords for all electronics
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver Digital Coaxial Cable
    AudioQuest Cinnamon HDMI Cables
    Monster Cable Z3 Reference Speaker Cables, Front, Right, Center
    DSR Silverline (Out Of Wall) And Monster UL/CL3 (In-Wall) Speaker Cables, Surround
    Blue Jeans LC-1 In-Wall Subwoofer Cable
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution XLR Interconnects (Preamp to Power Amps)
    Two PS Audio Soloist SE In-Wall Passive Power Conditioners
    Two Dedicated 20 amp AC Circuits
    Salamander Synergy Quad 30 Audio Cabinet
    Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 Tablet Computer For System Control
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,820
    Introduction

    [sic]

    MakeMKV is free for DVD full functionality. A $50 license is required for Blu-ray functionality. AnyDVDHD was used to rip all Blu-ray movies. I have some Blu-ray television series discs where I only wanted to rip particular episodes. MakeMKV was used to process those. MakeMKV claims to be able to decrypt any media disc without the assistance of third-party software. This was true in the vast majority of cases. There were a few DVDs that MakeMKV could not decrypt. I had to run AnyDVDHD in the background and then process the disc with MakeMKV. MakeMKV ran 30% to 50% slower with AnyDVDHD running in the background.

    Something felt funny when I read this and I meant to check at the time, but I forgot and just got around to visiting MakeMKV's website today.

    I just wanted to clarify, MakeMKV is free while it is in Beta. That goes for DVD, AVHCD, and BluRay discs. This is straight from the developers mouth here:

    https://www.makemkv.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1053

    They come out with new version approximately every month or two. When that happens, the old license seems to expire. You just have to download the update and somtime reinstall the key from the link above.

    I have been using MakeMKV since 2013 and it has always been this way. Free to use.

    Yes, they do have a purchase page, but I'm not entirely sure the developer is looking to make a commercial product out of this...because if he does, it will most likely get shut down like all the previous apps (DVDFab, DVDDecryptor, etc.)

    So, contribute if you like the product. I have donated. But it is not required.

    Also, MakeMKV works much better on those troublesome discs if you set it up to use Java to help decode the discs that use obfuscation (Lionsgate primarily). It is a fairly recent improvement of MakeMKV. Once setup properly, I find it has not had trouble with any disc. Screenshot below. Beware that Java updates will change the path/file. I have turned mine off to prevent this.

    ak69co111r9m.jpg

    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 5,058
    To expand on Bill's post, make sure you keep your Java up to date as it will make the identification of the correct title on those obfuscated discs.
    "Some people find it easier to be conceited rather than correct."

    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 12,029
    Java. I can’t believe that abomination is still in use. That freaking language has caused me more grief in just trying to get an app to work.
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,569
    edited March 2018
    billbillw wrote: »

    I just wanted to clarify, MakeMKV is free while it is in Beta. That goes for DVD, AVHCD, and BluRay discs. This is straight from the developers mouth here:

    https://www.makemkv.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1053

    They come out with new version approximately every month or two. When that happens, the old license seems to expire. You just have to download the update and somtime reinstall the key from the link above.

    Thanks for the tip on Java/MakeMKV.

    As I mentioned, the only Blu-ray discs I used MakeMKV on were television series Blu-ray discs where I wanted to rip particular episodes. When I tried to rip Star Trek: The Next Generation discs, I received a popup screen saying I needed to buy a license to rip those discs. I thought this was odd since I was well within the 30 day beta expiration period, but I chalked it up to some recent policy change regarding BR disc decryption. I was using the latest MakeMKV beta version, (v1.10.10). After the registration key was installed, the ST:TNG discs ripped with no problems.

    When I googled "makemkv star trek the next generation blu-ray", I found that others had experienced various problems ripping these Blu-ray discs.

    The developer also said that third party decryption tools were not required with MakeMKV, and in fact, use of third party tools tools was discouraged. However there were some DVDs that absolutely would not decrypt unless AnyDVDHD was running in the background.
    Post edited by DarqueKnight on
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,569
    edited March 2018
    My replacement for "The Day The Earth Stood Still" (original 1951 version) Blu-ray arrived 6.5 weeks after sending the defective disc back to Fox. What I received was the 2008 remake version.

    cu4feqpqqzsn.jpg
    Tale of two discs: On the left-what I wanted. On the right-what I received.

    I emailed Fox customer service the picture above and requested the 1951 version and a return shipping label for the remake. They replied two days later stating that the 1951 version Blu-ray was out of print, but they could send me a DVD of the 1951 version and they would send a return shipping label for the 2008 remake Blu-ray. I decided to keep the 2008 remake.

    I have six other defective discs, from Fox (1), Paramount (3), HBO (1), and MGM (1). I was able to borrow replacements for the defective discs and complete my ripping project. I'm not sure it's worth the trouble to seek replacements from the studios at this point. LionsGate and Fox were responsive and helpful. Paramount did not respond to repeated emails to their customer service. I have not contacted HBO and MGM.

    Reminiscing On The Good Bad Old Days

    p21ia46k4c8r.jpg
    FULL: This hall nook was the perfect size for my two media racks. But disc-based playback is now played out...like the dinosaurs.

    e5g63a9ro9yy.jpg
    EMPTY: I think I'm on to a good thing.

    bja75nb9o16b.jpg
    GONE! I like this look much, much better. I was going to hang a couple of artworks in place of the media racks, but I find this sparse, zen-like aesthetic appealing.

    I have a nephew who makes a run for the media racks whenever he visits. I'll offer a reward if he can find where I "moved" the DVDs and BRs to.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
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