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Modding How to Build a DVD Server

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Claave, 30 Dec 2009.

  1. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    I did include some figures in my original article, but they appear to have been edited out!

    Cost of unRAID is $70 for the 6-disk (5 data disks + parity) version, the 16-disk (15 data + 1 parity) is $120.
    Cost of Cinemar with necessary plugins is around $350

    I had most of the hardware for the RAID server, the motherboard cost around £100. Drives are dirt cheap these days, a 1.5Tb can be picked up for around £80, although bear in mind you'll need at least two drives. Adding new drives as and when to unRAID is a doddle, so it's easy to start small and grow as and when you need (or get more cash!)

    I got the hardware for the HTPC box for my birthday - a dualcore ION motherboard with a couple of gig RAM, a cheap SSD for the OS, case and BluRay drive. Total cost was around £350, I think.

    So all in all, total cost probably came in at well under £1000 - but then I used some drives and software that I already had hanging around. Even if you had to buy drives and other bits for the unRAID server, there's no reason why you should go much over £1500.

    Last time I checked, startup cost for Kaleidescape or MediaMax is around £10-15k - so I managed to get most of the functionality for a tenth of the cost. That's not bad in my books!


    Now, I know there are other solutions out there.. This is an article about what solutions I used and how I put it all together - this is what I have, it does what I need and I'm happy with it. If you're using something else, I'm very happy for you and I hope you'll be happy together - but I'm not going to change just because you're using something different or free or younger or prettier ;)
     
  2. lacuna

    lacuna Member

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    That still seems excessively expensive to me, especially as it is so limited in what it can do. Sure it beats the Kaliedascape thing on price but its at least 4 times the price of a NAS and media streamer/ps3/xbox/etc. Im not trying to convince you to use something else, I am just curious to know what the advantages are over a much simpler and cheaper solution.
     
  3. mrbens

    mrbens New Member

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    very nicely put =)
     
  4. Phil Rhodes

    Phil Rhodes Hypernobber

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    Aeon Flux?!
     
  5. Devolve

    Devolve Deadbeat

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    very helpful, well done.
    Tbh a combo of anydvd and dvdshrink is what i use, I dont have time to rip a dvd then convert, messing around. Show me another program that compresses a movie without too much loss and can keep my menus and extras but remove unnecessary languages, and convert to a "more efficient codec"......and is for FREE, and i shall change the error of my ways.
     
  6. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    I wondered how long it would be before someone commented on the films I own :D
     
  7. BioSniper

    BioSniper New Member

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    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.
     
  8. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    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).
     
  9. Toka

    Toka Member

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    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?
     
  10. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    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.
     
  11. thehippoz

    thehippoz New Member

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    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 =]
     
  12. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    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 :)
    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.

    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.
    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).
     
    Last edited: 30 Dec 2009
  13. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    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!!!!
     
  14. OWNED66

    OWNED66 New Member

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    now tell us how to build a torrent server.
     
  15. HourBeforeDawn

    HourBeforeDawn a.k.a KazeModz

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    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. ^^
     
  16. GregTheRotter

    GregTheRotter New Member

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    +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 :)
     
  17. H2O

    H2O Burnt Acrylic - Mmmmmm

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    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?
     
  18. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    Very nice article


    I have an old 320gb Hdd stuffed with movies waiting to be watched
     
  19. Toka

    Toka Member

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    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!
     
  20. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    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.
     
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