Streaming ripped movies.. how do you do it?

So right now I've got a WD Live TV w a attached 3 TB USB HDD. Its almost full, and of course my library will continue to grow, if slow at times. The "original" goal of this setup was a proof of concept on how a HTPC could work, and how nice it would be to have my entire library ripped to it for easy access. I know I could just attach another one since it its got 2 USB ports, but that gets a little wonky....

Im curious how others of you are streaming your ripped MKV's, and what you've used and didnt like etc....

I've thought about building a small HTPC with the ability to connect up to 4 HDD's (like @ZLTFUL ) but its gonna run about 500 bucks to build a decent one, a cost which isn't "horrible" since its expandable as I run out of space up to about 12 TB's which is more than I would ever need anytime soon.

I could just put a 4 TB HDD in my main computer and set it up as a network share for my WD Live TV to see, but I'm concerned about the possibility of lag given my network is entirely wireless. Its wireless N, but still wireless. I could also get a 5 GHz capable router, but at that point, I'm at ~200-300 and then why not build a standalone HTPC...

Thoughts, suggestions, etc appreciated.
"....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)

Comments

  • 98Badger98Badger Posts: 302
    Check out the Mediasonic Probox at Amazon. Basically it holds up to 4 hard drives and connects via USB 3.0. Cost effective at $100.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-ProBox-HF2-SU3S2-Drive-Enclosure/dp/B003X26VV4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424031600&sr=8-1&keywords=Probox
  • Enders,
    I have been going through your scenario for many years. Here is what transpired.

    WDTV: many moons ago, I used two of their versions, one that supported True HD and one that supported Dolby Digital. While it worked good, the remote kept going bad.

    Router at this point is a Linksys wireless B.
    DLNA for Samsung TV. Installed the Samsung DLNA network on a pc and mapped the storage location. The downside is when I added new content, I had to refresh the mapped location. Sometimes it stalls, sometimes it crashes. Not very reliable. This option worked fine for MKV, however when attempting to stream m2ts, the network became the bottleneck.

    PS3 with PS3 media server running on pc. Sony seems to force installing their updates and every other update, MKV worked. Got tired of this quick.

    Xbox with Window Media. I hate windows media..

    PC with HDMI direct to Receiver. PC was too loud and I got tired of windows.

    Apple TV. MKV movies with higher bit rate caused many problems with streaming. This is router related.

    Updated to new Asus AC68 dual band. Connected drives directly to router and push to anything connected. Disaster. The router kept crashing and I had to perform one too many reboots. I still do not know what all the praise is for this brand. It simply sucks. Flavor of the month.

    Mac mini server connected directly to receiver. Ultra quiet, does its intended job. There is probably a setting somewhere that I am missing, but I have to restart the Mac every time I turn on my projector, else no signal is detected. Second issue, this may not be limited to the Mac, but I could not get DTS Master or Dolby True HD to work. Currently have VLC, JRiver and XBMC installed.

    I recently went drinking at a friends house and he has a setup that I will change to. He built a QNAP server that was dead silent and was using Plex as well as the Amazon TV. Interface was very responsive and everything just seemed to work. My collection will continue to grow as well once I get my hands onto more Dolby Atmos content while preparing for the upcoming DTS X.

    Last thing, I find that VLC is superior to JRiver for movies in every way (audio/video).

    Halen
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,755
    Halen:

    THANK YOU for writing thats, its exactly what I'm hoping to get more of lol....

    What did and what doesnt work.
    halenhoang wrote: »
    Enders,
    I recently went drinking at a friends house and he has a setup that I will change to. He built a QNAP server that was dead silent and was using Plex as well as the Amazon TV. Interface was very responsive and everything just seemed to work. My collection will continue to grow as well once I get my hands onto more Dolby Atmos content while preparing for the upcoming DTS X.

    Last thing, I find that VLC is superior to JRiver for movies in every way (audio/video).

    Halen

    I'm planning on using Kodi (formerly XBMC) for my videos and thats about it.

    The issues I've got with Plex are small (Ryan is using it with his build @ZLTFUL). Mainly if I understand its a bit on the expensive side (175 for a lifetime membership) considering then you still need a server and something capable of playing the videos, and a network that doesnt studder.

    We will see where this goes.... hopefully to a good solution.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • ZLTFULZLTFUL Posts: 5,049
    Lifetime is $149.99 for Plex Dan.
    Used to be $75 when I signed up for my lifetime but they upped it late last year.

    But you are right on the "stuff" needed to make it all work seamlessly.
    "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
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,755
    ZLTFUL wrote: »
    Lifetime is $149.99 for Plex Dan.
    Used to be $75 when I signed up for my lifetime but they upped it late last year.

    But you are right on the "stuff" needed to make it all work seamlessly.

    I've heard that the Chromebox "might" allow you to install XBMC on it, in which case thats 129.... but thats "assuming" my network can handle streaming a blu-ray rip....

    I'm testing that tonight by transfering a movie BACK to my main PC to see if I can stream it to my WD Live TV w little to no drop-outs...

    If that works, I might have a viable option of just keeping the WD Live, buying a bigger HDD on my main PC say 4 TB and then buy another later (one for a kids drive, one for a non kid drive) and go that route...

    I'm also looking at the AMD AM1 platform as it "might" be a cheaper alternative to the FM2 or Intel Mini-itx stuff.....

    But as you know its driving me a bit mad lol.....
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,755
    98Badger wrote: »
    Check out the Mediasonic Probox at Amazon. Basically it holds up to 4 hard drives and connects via USB 3.0. Cost effective at $100.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mediasonic-ProBox-HF2-SU3S2-Drive-Enclosure/dp/B003X26VV4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424031600&sr=8-1&keywords=Probox

    Missed that until just now.... That may be what I end up going with as another short term solution since it would let me keep using the WD Live TV which my wife likes because its just so simple.

    I know with the right amount of work (by me) I could get the XBMC HTPC working seamlessly, but I'd be pulling my hair out for a little bit and I'm sure end up annoying her with my annoyance at things...... which is bad lol...
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,755
    Looking at moving my main computer to a new case (same one as Ryans) so when I eventually get rid of my desk and put my rack in that space I have what looks like a piece of 2 channel gear, but really houses my computer. Then add a new 4 TB HDD in that unit to make it my "media server" similar to Ryan's setup.

    I'm going to just keep the WD Live and external drive and leave that setup alone while I work on getting my entire house wired with ethernet, or at least get a strong enough wireless network in place and then eventually use the main computer as a PC/ Media Server.

    I've got enough space for about another 15 movies and I dont acquire movies that often anymore, so I'm hoping I can get 6 months to a year before I need the extra space on my existing setup....
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • TurboGTUTurboGTU Posts: 188
    I've been around the block a few times as well.

    My 2 favorites at the moment:
    1. Plex Server w/ Xbox One as front end
    2. Kodi on Raspberry PI (Library in Mysql on my server so it can be shared over multiple pi's and used by plex).

    If you only have 1 tv, Raspbmc (soon to be OSMC) on a Raspberry Pi (or not Raspberry PI 2 with 4 core, still $35) with a usb drive hooked up to it would work as well.

    Btw: You don't need PlexPass to run Plex. If you run the server and use Plex Home Theatre (based of XBMC/Kodi) you can run it for free and wouldn't even need to buy any apps. Alternatively you could pick up a Roku and spend 4.99 on the channel and be up and running that way.

    Been a regular on the Plex forums for awhile now, so hit me up if you have questions about it. Another software in this same vane is MediaBrowser3 which is coming on strong feature wise.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,755
    Thanks... I likely will.... I dont need it for my phone or even for outside my house.

    Here what I've got where I'd want to stream it

    HT: WD Live TV & Xbox 360 (eventually a Xbox One)
    2 Channel Room: (files would eventually live here could just use Kodi/XBMC for direct playback)
    Bedroom: Roku

    Really thats about ALL I need to stream to. In the future I could "possibly" forsee streaming to my daughters room.... but she's 2 so we are years away from that even being a possibility...

    My ONLY concern is that the HT room get 1080p uncompressed video and lossless audio streamed to it. Dont care if the bedroom gets lossy audio as all I've got in there is a soundbar.....
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • TurboGTUTurboGTU Posts: 188
    If you went the Plex route, Plex Home Theatre (using possibly Rasplex on a Pi is a nice compact route) in your HT room would likely do the job. This obviously depends on how your media is encoded using the Pi, if you use h264 your good for 1080p since it has a hardware decoder.

    1. The Xbox 360 is limited to 720p and doesn't have the best audio options (No surround I believe via the Plex app at least, can't attest for DLNA).
    2. The Xbox One will display blurays quite nicely, but you are limited in what you can have for audio as DTS isn't supported via Media Player app or Plex (Plex will transcode to AC3 however).
    3. I don't know the specs on WD Live TV or what it can support unfortuantely, have never had one.
    4. Roku will do the video fine, but again here you are limited to what the device supports for audio. Multichannel can be hit or miss from my understanding.
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,755
    Thanks. All my movies are ripped to MKV's and are uncompressed and I will likely NOT compress them.

    1. Yeah that stinks, but it is what it is.
    2. Does the XBox One do lossless audio (i.e DTS-MA or TrueHD)? If not see #3
    3. The WD Live TV will play MKV's @ 1080p and Lossless audio to boot, so worst case I just set the WD Live up to view the computer upstairs as Network Storage rather than Local Storage (ie attached usb drive) and playback everything from there.
    4. If I have the movie ripped in 1080p with only either Lossless or 5.1, will the Roku just downsample it to whatever it can do? Quality in my bedroom not as important as just having access to the movies in there.

    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • D'privedD'prived Posts: 190
    I have a Dune HD in the living room and a Popcorn Hour C-200 in the master bedroom. I use YaDIS on the Dune GUI and YAMJ on the Popcorn Hour. Both steam movies from a fairly small Shuttle cube PC (i5 / 8GB RAM) with 4 Rosewill R2 USB boxes for a total of 10TB of hard drive space (2x2TB HD and 6x1TB HD). All the movies are 1080p MKV's. Been doing it for about six years now and it's worked well for me.
  • TurboGTUTurboGTU Posts: 188
    4. If I have the movie ripped in 1080p with only either Lossless or 5.1, will the Roku just downsample it to whatever it can do? Quality in my bedroom not as important as just having access to the movies in there.

    I "think" this would actually be handled with a combination on the server side and downsampling. Just depends on what the roku supports. With the Plex app on roku, if the roku can't handle it Plex will give it to you in a way that will via on the fly transcoding (whether it be audio or video that requires it).

    My favorite thing about having everything hooked up to plex is the shared watched state (which you would also get with mb3 and xmbc upnp). What something in one room, stop, pick it up in another room. Or in the case of tv series, it shows the "on deck" which is basically the next unwatched episode in the series so you don't have to constantly try to figure out which episode your on.

  • Ender -

    Been awhile since I've been on the site, so hopefully what I can offer may be of some help.

    I have all my movies either ripped as ISO or MKV on a Synology NAS. I went the NAS route to simplify things and for lower power consumption vs. a dedicated HTPC. All my music, movies and photos are on the NAS and using the Synology apps, I can access the data anywhere via the web and use it as a personal cloud storage solution (backup iPhone photos via the web without paying for Apple cloud storage).

    I use the WD TV Live for play back of the videos from the NAS. I also set up the Plex server on the NAS that can be accessed by the WD TV Live as well. The one BIG difference for my particular model NAS vs a dedicated HTPC is that my NAS will not do transcoding of movies or music if the play device doesn't support the format. A HTPC has the horsepower to do that - my model NAS does not. Some Synology NAS solutions do allow for that, but they get a lot more expensive. Mine is older, but the equivalent of the DS215J ($199 without drives) which allows for 2 drives at 6TB max each. So you could support 12 TB of data if you don't want to do RAID. You can also connect a USB hard drive on the back of the NAS for data backup if you want (which I do for photos and music). The NAS also supports Amazon Glacier services if you want to have a cheap cloud backup alternative in case of fire/flood or anything of that nature and want offsite backup.

    I'm sold on the Synology NAS solution for my needs. It's low power and supports the MKV and ISO formats so transcoding is not an issue for me as we use the WDs for playback. If I wanted to watch the movies on an iPad via Plex it would be a no go though as the iPad doesn't support MKV files and the NAS doesn't do transcoding. You could rip movies to the h.264 format and that should work fine through Plex to any apple device as it's supported natively. Just depends on your requirements. As I said, you can get one of the "play" Synology solutions, but it's more expensive - however it will do transcoding if needed.

    Our NAS is connected directly to the router and I do have one WD TV Live that is direct wired and one that is wirelessly connected. Each are fine for MKV sourced from a DVD over wireless N. I don't know about Blu-ray though as that would have higher bandwidth requirements so I can't comment on that over wireless.

    I've also gone and set up a domain for $15 a year (www.name.com) and set that to my home IP address and then port forward through the router to my NAS for music. It's nice to be able to be on the road and listen to my own music from anywhere. I'm listening to my music right now as I type this at a Marriott hotel. Pretty slick. I like this as my iPhone is only a 16GB model and I have at least a TB of music. So I don't have to use iTunes to copy music to my phone to be able to listen to music.

    If you want to know more, I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    I guess I need to read up on Plex, I thought that program was specifically for transcoding all videos to a given format which I have never been a big fan of, I always prefer to play in the native format. So I'm not sure what Plex does or why it's necessary.

    The setup I use is more for convenience than ultimate quality. I have an Apple TV in every room in the house and a Mac Mini running iTunes and am able to stream to every room simultaneously without any lag. My setup is really simple, I know I'm giving up things like MKV support but ultimately that's a trade off I can live with.

    I've found that for most movies I don't really get any additional enjoyment because it's in full HD or has Dolby Atmos or whatever. I do have about 50 or so movies where the full quality is part of the experience and important and for those I use the BluRay discs, but that's a very small percent of my total library.

    I'm actually considering going back to a 2 channel setup for movies anyway...
  • From my reading of Plex, it will do transcoding only if necessary and that has been my experience as well given my setup. Plex is a nice interface to your movies and music if you want to view it all in a nice visual way with descriptions and what not.

    Although it's nice, I don't find it necessary for me. Most of the time I just watch the movies via a file list on the NAS to my WD TV Live. Everything is organized on the files structure in a way that's easy to find and navigate so Plex for me only offers a pretty front end.

    If you rip your movies in a fromat that Apple TV can play in it's native format, then you would be good to go with Plex without requiring the extra horsepower to transcode the files. Same for music. I have a lot of music ripped to FLAC and and plays through Plex without an issue.
    Speakers
    Energy RC-70 Mains, Energy RC-LRC Center, Energy RC-R (x4) Rear Channels, Energy RC-R (x2) Front Effects
    Polk 5jr+
    Polk SDA 2B
    Polk SDS 3.1TL

    Equipment
    Panamax 5510 Re-generator Power Conditioner
    Yamaha RX-V3800 Receiver
    Digital Sources: Sony CDP-X339ES CD Player, HHB CDR830 BurnIt Professional CD Recorder, Sony PS3, Oppo DV-983H DVD Player
    Analog Sources: Sony TC-K890ES Cassette, Nakamichi DR-1 Cassette, Technics SL-7 Turntable
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,755
    Most of the time I just watch the movies via a file list on the NAS to my WD TV Live. Everything is organized on the files structure in a way that's easy to find and navigate so Plex for me only offers a pretty front end.

    Yeah, that may be what I end up with, just move the movies to my main computer in my office and stream from there... We will see if the network can handle it, I hope it can as that would be the easiest option since I have the WD Live already.
    If you rip your movies in a fromat that Apple TV can play in it's native format, then you would be good to go with Plex without requiring the extra horsepower to transcode the files. Same for music. I have a lot of music ripped to FLAC and and plays through Plex without an issue.

    Dont think Apple can do MKV and it can only do 720p which isnt something I'm willing to compromise on (at least in the HT).

    So as a start to this, I've purchased a new piece of gear.

    I bought a Silverstone GD-08b cpu case and a new CPU cooler. It will allow me to take my existing computer upstairs, make it look pretty and setup for a later move to my equipment rack, and its got enough storage for 8 HDD's.

    Now my existing Antec P182 case can hold more HDD's, so if I ever need more storage, I will likely just build a computer in it with as much storage as I can. The case is REALLY nice, and I will miss it since I put noise dampening stuff in it and the case is basically silent until you get right up to it.......

    Then I will be buying a 3 or 4 TB drive if not 2 to replace my existing drives and allow me to remove some of my existing drives and move everything over to these drives..

    Anyway we will see how it goes once I get all that done, then I will double check my network to see if it can handle it, then ensure the WD Live can...

    I've heard rumors that the Chromebox's can be hacked to install XBMC on it and that they will not break a sweat with the stuff I'm doing, so if lag is an issue with the WD Live, I may take a look at adding that....

    For now the WD Live TV will stay and I will work on moving over to more networked solution slowly until I've got all the pieces in place.
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
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