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WHS a good solution for DVD management/streaming? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,
     
    I'm finally ready to go buy a WHS primarily for storing/sharing music and movies on my home network.  However, after looking at the forums and information available from Microsoft, the process of getting DVD's onto the WHS such that they can be viewed via a Media Center Extender (specifically a 360 and media center PC's) looks rather arduous.  I had the assumption that the WHS experience would be similar to Apple TV in it's ease of use but that's not the perception I have after looking more closely. 

    Can someone please give me some insight into how well the scenario I outlined above is enabled through WHS out of the box and if not ready out of the box, what needs to be done?

    Thanks.
    Michael
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 6:15 PM

Answers

  • Mike0418 said:

    Hi,
     
    I'm finally ready to go buy a WHS primarily for storing/sharing music and movies on my home network.  However, after looking at the forums and information available from Microsoft, the process of getting DVD's onto the WHS such that they can be viewed via a Media Center Extender (specifically a 360 and media center PC's) looks rather arduous.  I had the assumption that the WHS experience would be similar to Apple TV in it's ease of use but that's not the perception I have after looking more closely. 

    Can someone please give me some insight into how well the scenario I outlined above is enabled through WHS out of the box and if not ready out of the box, what needs to be done?

    Thanks.
    Michael


    Mine works fine.  I rip the main movie from the DVD, change the file type to a format Media Center recognizes (dvr-ms), then copy it to the server.  Then I start up my XBox 360, go to Media Center (which points to My Vista Ulitmate PC), and watch my movie.  :)  

    I also use the MyMovies for WHS add-in to display the movie titles and detail info for the on-screen movie selection.
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 6:37 PM
    Moderator
  • There are many guides on the web for ripping your own dvd's. Basically  i use dvd shrink to remove all the un-needed bits. It's freeware: http://www.dvdshrink.org/

    Then encode it to a playable format, i use Tmpgenc express: http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/te4xp.html which is not free but can encode a dvd to single file easily.

    Media streaming software is springing up all the time and there is no one 'best solution', i don't use the media extender because the file formats are limited to microsoft supported only. I use a program from Sybas called myihome and it streams any content from the folders on WHS. It is DNLA compliant, so if your receiving end supports DNLA then it will connect to the media server easily. I stream to a media box(pch100) connected to the tv and it does HD plus it handles most file types i sling at it.

    If you play with your Xbox workings, there's an alternative to the built in media centre, it's called XBMC and is an open source project.

    As i have said, there is no one perfect solution, the main thing is to get your dvd into a file that the xbox can understand. WMV seems ok, as it can handle HD and 6ch sound. Then the basic WHS media connect should do the rest.
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 8:14 PM
  • I use My Movies and transcode 360 Was really eay to setup and there is no converting files plus no compression or quality loss
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 8:42 PM
  • I like dvdfab and dvdshrink.  Thumbs up on XBMC too!!  Just started to look at that a couple of days ago.  The appealing thing is you can store all of your DVD's as ISO files and XBMC can stream them.  That is something the Media Center badly needs.  Not to rant, but with an ISO, you can use it later to generate mpeg-4, wmv, etc.. for specific mobile devices.  Waiting for my parts to come in to build my windows home server.  Currently use a vista machine as the media center to connect my xbox and linksys media center extenders too.
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 9:10 PM
  • Mike0418 said:

    So I'll just need a piece of software to handle the ripping?  What would you recommend?

    Thanks a ton for your help and quick response.

    Michael



    I use DVD Decrypter (to rip) and VideoReDo (to convert to dvr-ms).  Easy as pie. :)
    Monday, January 5, 2009 12:54 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Mike0418 said:

    Hi,
     
    I'm finally ready to go buy a WHS primarily for storing/sharing music and movies on my home network.  However, after looking at the forums and information available from Microsoft, the process of getting DVD's onto the WHS such that they can be viewed via a Media Center Extender (specifically a 360 and media center PC's) looks rather arduous.  I had the assumption that the WHS experience would be similar to Apple TV in it's ease of use but that's not the perception I have after looking more closely. 

    Can someone please give me some insight into how well the scenario I outlined above is enabled through WHS out of the box and if not ready out of the box, what needs to be done?

    Thanks.
    Michael


    Mine works fine.  I rip the main movie from the DVD, change the file type to a format Media Center recognizes (dvr-ms), then copy it to the server.  Then I start up my XBox 360, go to Media Center (which points to My Vista Ulitmate PC), and watch my movie.  :)  

    I also use the MyMovies for WHS add-in to display the movie titles and detail info for the on-screen movie selection.
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 6:37 PM
    Moderator
  • So I'll just need a piece of software to handle the ripping?  What would you recommend?

    Thanks a ton for your help and quick response.

    Michael
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 6:41 PM
  • There are many guides on the web for ripping your own dvd's. Basically  i use dvd shrink to remove all the un-needed bits. It's freeware: http://www.dvdshrink.org/

    Then encode it to a playable format, i use Tmpgenc express: http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/te4xp.html which is not free but can encode a dvd to single file easily.

    Media streaming software is springing up all the time and there is no one 'best solution', i don't use the media extender because the file formats are limited to microsoft supported only. I use a program from Sybas called myihome and it streams any content from the folders on WHS. It is DNLA compliant, so if your receiving end supports DNLA then it will connect to the media server easily. I stream to a media box(pch100) connected to the tv and it does HD plus it handles most file types i sling at it.

    If you play with your Xbox workings, there's an alternative to the built in media centre, it's called XBMC and is an open source project.

    As i have said, there is no one perfect solution, the main thing is to get your dvd into a file that the xbox can understand. WMV seems ok, as it can handle HD and 6ch sound. Then the basic WHS media connect should do the rest.
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 8:14 PM
  • I use My Movies and transcode 360 Was really eay to setup and there is no converting files plus no compression or quality loss
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 8:42 PM
  • I like dvdfab and dvdshrink.  Thumbs up on XBMC too!!  Just started to look at that a couple of days ago.  The appealing thing is you can store all of your DVD's as ISO files and XBMC can stream them.  That is something the Media Center badly needs.  Not to rant, but with an ISO, you can use it later to generate mpeg-4, wmv, etc.. for specific mobile devices.  Waiting for my parts to come in to build my windows home server.  Currently use a vista machine as the media center to connect my xbox and linksys media center extenders too.
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 9:10 PM
  • Thank you all for the suggestions!
    Sunday, January 4, 2009 11:32 PM
  • sben76 said:

    I use My Movies and transcode 360 Was really eay to setup and there is no converting files plus no compression or quality loss


    True, but there's virtually no FF with Transcode 360 either (and REW is absolutely terrible).  I used to do that (before WHS), but I got sick and tired of waiting for the file to transcode so I could skip ahead.  Not worth it in my book.
    Monday, January 5, 2009 12:53 AM
    Moderator
  • Mike0418 said:

    So I'll just need a piece of software to handle the ripping?  What would you recommend?

    Thanks a ton for your help and quick response.

    Michael



    I use DVD Decrypter (to rip) and VideoReDo (to convert to dvr-ms).  Easy as pie. :)
    Monday, January 5, 2009 12:54 AM
    Moderator
  • Question: does VideoReDo have the ability to pull an arbitrary audio track, including a surround sound/Dolby Digital/DTS/THX track?
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 5, 2009 5:35 PM
    Moderator
  • This may be a silly question but can I also play these movies back through the 'My Videos' menu in the XBOX dashboard or is going through Media Center a requirement?
    Monday, January 5, 2009 5:43 PM
  • I am using WHS to server my DVD movies up in this way. I use MyMovies (http://www.mymovies.dk) , AnyDVD, and Nero Recoder. For Mymovies, I use both the Server installation, and the WHS Add-On. The WHS add-on is nice, but I prefer the SQL based Collection Management solution. I rip to HDD using AnyDVD, and then recompress the entire DVD (minus foreign languages, and DTS) using Nero Recode. If I remember correctly, the DVD compression part of Nero Recode was written by the person who wrote DVDShrink, but it is updated and better. From there, I just store my shrunken DVDs on WHS and play them back via Windows Media Center. It can be a bit painstaking, but it is worth it.
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 7:12 AM
  • What about for those of us that don't have Windows MCE?  I have an XBOX 360 which works pretty good but I have a server with tiversity installed in order for my 360 to see the files.  Can home server deliver content with out tiversity or windows media installed?

    Thanks...
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 5:04 PM
  • I tried converting DVDs to another file format before but found it to be way too time consuming, so chose to leave them in DVD format and just rip the movies out, which usually takes 10-15 minutes to rip and also retains all DVD functions.  I currently use SageTV media extenders to watch those movies on TVs, but I've also in the past used an old laptop with bluetooth keyboard/mouse connected to the TVs to do the same.  My media extenders also upconvert when connected via HDMI, so uncompressed DVD movies look much better on large screen LCD TVs.  My suggestion would be to leave them in its native uncompressed format and find other ways to connect to TV, either by media extender, an old laptop or desktop pc. 

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 7:51 PM
  • Ken,

    You may want to look at eac3. This might help, maybe...

    http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=916&start=75

    The post in the middle of the page-

    Ben

    Ben Ogilvie
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 8:45 PM
  • inlvnv said:

    I tried converting DVDs to another file format before but found it to be way too time consuming, so chose to leave them in DVD format and just rip the movies out, which usually takes 10-15 minutes to rip and also retains all DVD functions.  I currently use SageTV media extenders to watch those movies on TVs, but I've also in the past used an old laptop with bluetooth keyboard/mouse connected to the TVs to do the same.  My media extenders also upconvert when connected via HDMI, so uncompressed DVD movies look much better on large screen LCD TVs.  My suggestion would be to leave them in its native uncompressed format and find other ways to connect to TV, either by media extender, an old laptop or desktop pc. 



    Just to make sure I understand, it seems the biggest challenge to this process is that I'm using a 360 as my media extender.  Is that a fair assessment?  Without the XBOX in the mix I could just pull the DVD files to the server and play them through another extender or client?  With the XBOX there is the additional layer of needing to convert the file type and it looks like I'll lose DVD functionality which I assume means the ability to select by chapter, etc.?

    Thanks again for the help everyone.
    Thursday, January 8, 2009 8:53 PM
  • Mike0418 said:

    Just to make sure I understand, it seems the biggest challenge to this process is that I'm using a 360 as my media extender.  Is that a fair assessment? 

     Yes.  Basically, you are trying to make everything work around/with your XBox360, and Microsoft obviously also wants their console, using their file format, to be the center piece of your home theater system.   But nothing wrong with that and a lot of people are doing it successfully, and happily.

    You won't have problem playing back DVD movies in its native format stored in WHS from your client PCs or iMac, and you will retain DVD functionality.

    Whether you decide to leave it in DVD native format or decide to convert to another format, I think it's a win/win situation for you.
    Friday, January 9, 2009 7:04 AM
  • Thanks. The server arrives tomorrow, looking forward to getting it all set up!
    Friday, January 9, 2009 3:25 PM
  • Ben, thanks, but that seems to be an HD only solution, and I have many DVDs but few Blu-Ray discs. I am unconvinced of the staying power of Blu-Ray; I think it will be a matter of a year or two before we see HD content delivery being primarily via streaming from e.g. NetFlix (already possible via a number of devices including your Xbox 360), and so I'm not entirely willing to invest huge sums of money in conversion to Blu-Ray.

    I suppose I'm going to have to take a look, though, since I'm not very satisfied with my current approach: storing ripped discs on my server and playing them by pointing Vista Media Center at the appropriate folder.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, January 9, 2009 4:51 PM
    Moderator
  • Ken,

    You might want to look at Playon, it has instructions for WHS setup, and will stream directly from Netflix or Hulu.

    Ben

    -oh, and it is free while in beta

    Ben Ogilvie
    Friday, January 9, 2009 9:45 PM
  • Wanted to follow-up with my solution for getting DVD content on my WHS for the purposes of streaming through my XBOX in hopes of adding some value as thanks to all who provided feedback.  :)  Basically I opted to go with the .avi file format and in this process am preserving only the Dolby 5.1 audio:

    I'm ripping with DVDFab (Free Version):  http://www.dvdfab.com
    Merging the .VOB files with:  http://evilmaster.net/index.php?page=tools
    Encoding with AutoGordian Knot:  http://www.autogk.com
    Using MyMovies to do metadata but haven't fully installed that piece yet.

    It's kinda arduous, and I assume there is a way to automate step two but haven't found it.  That said I like the results and the software is all free, however not open source.  Thanks to all who provided feedback, without it I would have been absolutely lost. 



    Wednesday, January 14, 2009 9:43 PM
  • The latest version of MyMovies has a WHS component built in.

    Having moved onto Blu-Ray, I find it usefull to back up my BD disks onto WHS, and my wife can easily play them back via VMC.

    Gene
    Saturday, January 17, 2009 6:29 PM