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Author Topic: I found a home theater configuration expert!  (Read 3492 times)

superboyac

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I found a home theater configuration expert!
« on: August 31, 2011, 12:51:21 PM »
http://blog.insanege...d-bd-collection.html

I love this guy's blog.  I just found it, and he seems to have written in great detail all the things I've been trying to do lately.  And his tastes seem to be right in line with mine.  First, his primary goal is to store all his media onto hard drives, which will be multiple terabytes.  He has over-engineered it, like I would, and he's running a Windows server with the NAS for storage.  He uses MakeMKV for the video ripping (as I would), and he stores his catalogs using the collectorz software (which i also use).  He even talks about how to setup XBMC and Boxee for the home theater.  it's a great article for anyone going through this.

I love how he is doing this from a home user, home theater perspective.  It's difficult for me to understand all this stuff because all the information out there is about businesses and their requirements, and all the technical jargon associated with it.  It's hard to understand how that translates to a home user.  So this guy is really great with that.

lotusrootstarch

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2011, 08:11:54 PM »
Hmm, I agree with a lot of what he did in networking and storage areas, nevertheless the post is about content ripping/organization and not home theater entertainment.

Quote
all my ripped media in uncompressed format, I really need that much storage

This is highly unlikely. Pretty much nothing you get commercially available comes as "uncompressed". Even the BD 1080p m2ts file-based containers are quite lossy to be fair. The quality of the source is all the matters, converting a lossy format to lossless doesn't add any benefit. RAW format doesn't give you any plus unless the source format was RAW already.

Quote
I use MakeMKV for ripping DVD’s and BD’s... Below are screenshots of MakeMKV with the stream selection screen for a DVD and a BD:...
What he did not tell you is that authentic BD discs are encrypted using AACS, in order to rip them you need a decrypter such as Slysoft's AnyDVD or at minimum a bunch of BD+ decryption keys. You cannot expect it to just rip BD by clicking "Start"... there's a reason why film industry is packed of millionaires. ;)

Quote
I am currently using Boxee Boxes for media playback.
I failed to understand the whole point of getting all the "RAW" stuff ripped just to be played on a basic device like Boxee. There's no HDMI 1.4, poor DTS support, only plays 1080p video at 30fps maximum, 100Mbps ethernet...

Also there's no mention of any proper home theater component (no Boxee Box is just a networked player, not an entertainment-grade home theater device).


I think this is another example of getting 10% return on a 200% over-investment.  :D
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JavaJones

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2011, 08:55:35 PM »
I would venture to guess this person might have a Windows Server setup with domain controller and DNS setup for other reasons. It's certainly totally unnecessary for media archival and shared access, and in fact would tend to make management of it more complex (though admittedly gives more control if needed). Other than that what he's doing seems to make sense and be potentially applicable to your situation.

Lotus makes a good point about the quality of playback and feature support on the Boxees, but just because things are being ripped in "lossless" (in this case more like "not recompressed") format doesn't mean they have to always be played back with maximum fidelity. It's clear the person's choices are largely driven by archival needs in addition to playback and it's generally a good policy to rip media at max quality so that as your playback systems improve, your media keeps pace. An exaggerated example would be if someone ripped a bunch of HD movies to SD because they did not yet have an HDTV. Then when they got an HDTV they'd have to re-rip all their media to HD to take advantage of the new capabilities, whereas if they'd maintained the original (HD) quality of the media to begin with, they would immediately see benefit.

- Oshyan

superboyac

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2011, 11:31:17 AM »
What he did not tell you is that authentic BD discs are encrypted using AACS, in order to rip them you need a decrypter such as Slysoft's AnyDVD or at minimum a bunch of BD+ decryption keys. You cannot expect it to just rip BD by clicking "Start"... there's a reason why film industry is packed of millionaires.
I don't think you need AnyDVD for MakeMKV, at least not from what I understand.  I have both, and if I'm not mistaken, the advice from MakeMKV was that Anydvd is not necessary; it can take care of all that itself.  That's why i like MakeMKV so much, it really is a one-button, one-click ripping procedure.

The other thing that many people don't understand: I'm not trying to make the cheapest rig possible.  I'm trying to make a really nice, elegant setup.  So I'll spend a little extra to get a few nice things.  And after I rip something, i don't want to worry about ripping it ever again...I want, in the purest form possible, that disc in my computer.  From there, i can re-encode it to whatever I need.  The goal is to rid myself of the discs.  If this means I need to get several hard drives, so be it.  Again, I'm not trying to be perfectly efficient here...I'm trying to be elegant and robust.

Here's how I look at it.  I've spend many many hours/days/weeks of my life dealing with all my media over the years.  backing up, moving to discs, copying back to the drives, organizing files, renaming files, encoding files, looking for lost discs...I spend a lot of time with media.  I'm trying to cut out all of that annoying stuff and we now have the technology to do it.  i will pay a premium for a super-streamlined access to my media.  I watch tons of movies, I listen to tons of music, I record, i write, I spend most of my free time with this stuff.  It's as important to me as anything.  I will go to great lengths to make this all a better experience for me in any way.

superboyac

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2011, 11:38:34 AM »
I've never understood how a software player can downgrade the quality of a loaded video for playback.  Can anyone explain this?  I remember hearing about this when Win7 came out, and people were saying if you don't have the right licensing, the hardware will downsample stuff.  Where is this all controlled in the OS or software?  What settings do I look at?  What are the key vocabulary terms?  Let's take KMP for example: where is all this happening?

I'm curious because if I spend top dollar on a nice rig, I want to set everything up for maximum quality playback.  I don't want any desampling or loss in quality.  I have wondered about this for a long time.

JavaJones

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2011, 03:40:19 PM »
I don't think anyone is under the illusion that cost is much of a concern for you at this point. ;) Most of what's being discussed on the merits of various approaches is how actually useful and impactful the "over-engineering" really is. The point I've been trying to make is that just because you throw expensive, high-end, high-performance hardware (or software) at a problem doesn't mean the end results will be any better, easier to use, more convenient, more secure, etc. A well engineered, elegant solution may also be low cost (or maybe not, depending on the circumstances and needs).

The video downsampling issue should only occur when playing a non-decrypted original Blu-ray disc through a non-HDCP compatible graphics card and/or display and/or software player. In your case you should already be decrypting the blu-ray disc in the ripping process so you shouldn't have any issues regardless of player. That's one of the major benefits of doing it that way.

Something to also consider, which is mentioned in the blog post above, is whether you want to make actual rips of just the main video stream (and maybe commentary tracks or whatever), or if you want to try to make full disk ISO copies of the blu-ray contents. Only in the latter case will you have a true full archive with all extras, etc. however it may maintain DRM (which could cause playback issues in the above circumstances), and ISOs are generally harder to play with normal software media players. If you have commercial blu-ray playing software you would ideally use an ISO mounter each time you wanted to watch a movie and the blu-ray software would read it as a normal disk, giving you full access to the menus, special features, etc. Personally this sounds like more hassle than its worth and the extras are of debatable value for me personally. Also you can usually rip at least some of the extras in the form of additional video files for e.g. a "making of"/"behind the scenes" video. As long as you keep all your videos in folders these are easy to organize with their parent movies.

- Oshyan

lotusrootstarch

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2011, 08:19:02 PM »
I'm curious because if I spend top dollar on a nice rig, I want to set everything up for maximum quality playback.  I don't want any desampling or loss in quality.

From what I've read above, for your holy grail of "maximum quality playback", stop thinking along the lines of "re-encoding" and "PC-based software playback". Playing back HD content on a PC is like running Windows 7 in safe mode... dissatisfaction guaranteed.

The formula for maximum fidelity playback is nice and simple:
BEST available source content + Bit-by-Bit ripoff + Professional HT-grade playback devices = Maximum satisfaction
Get my apps in Android Market! Go droids go! :)


JavaJones

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2011, 10:25:42 PM »
Actually quality playback from a PC is quite simple. Rip the BDs without re-encoding, play your file through a good player (KMP, LA, etc.), have a graphics card that can output HDMI with a digital audio stream in native format (or use some other digital audio format from your sound card) and set output of your audio to that digital connection type, pipe the digital audio to a good stand-alone surround amplifier and you're good. HDMI video from a non-recoded BD source will be 1:1 as good as playing from the disc.

- Oshyan

lotusrootstarch

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2011, 10:45:45 PM »
A few things will be missing with most PC playback solutions for now:
1. 48-bit deep color (xvYCC) playback... the vividness, accuracy, and saturation cannot be matched by True-Color displays.
2. Intelligent contrast using localized LED dimming... I don't see any LCD monitor does it.
3. Sitting on an office chair and staring at a 24-inch monitor does not give you immersive experience.

I agree with JavaJones on the digital sound part. :)
Get my apps in Android Market! Go droids go! :)


JavaJones

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2011, 08:32:05 PM »
Er, I am talking about PC playback *through* an HDTV. A good PC player is actually far more accurate and controllable as far as color, gamma, gamut, conversion bit depth, rendering methods, etc, etc. than any blu-ray player is. As long as you have it setup right and sending the signal through HDMI to a good flat panel display, you're golden.

- Oshyan

skwire

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 08:23:00 AM »
Er, I am talking about PC playback *through* an HDTV. A good PC player is actually far more accurate and controllable as far as color, gamma, gamut, conversion bit depth, rendering methods, etc, etc. than any blu-ray player is. As long as you have it setup right and sending the signal through HDMI to a good flat panel display, you're golden.

I'll concur with that.  Blu-Ray rips played back on my 42" HDTV plasma look phenomenal.

lotusrootstarch

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 08:36:51 AM »
Er.. I have to respectfully disagree a bit on this but hey I just realized that standards on what actually qualify as HD experience do vary from person to person. Maybe it's just a preference/bias - a recent CNET review reckons that 60 inch is now the new minimum, while I would get distracted by the edges on any display smaller than 55 inch when visiting friends, and my mom is totally happy watching 1080p movies on a tiny 13-inch MBP.
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JavaJones

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2011, 01:19:58 PM »
You're disagreeing on what point and on what basis? That I can process color from a raw blu-ray rip in 32 bit color space on my computer and output that to HDMI? Or that I can have precise control of the gamma and levels? Or something else? Most LCD display panels don't have the gamut to show much of a difference anyway, but at least the underlying processing capability is there and, most importantly, can be updated in pure software on the computer.

- Oshyan

lotusrootstarch

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2011, 06:20:57 PM »
Sorry JJ I kept thinking along the lines of "a PC must be connected to an LCD monitor". :redface: :wallbash: My bad.

I did raise a question to myself about the capability of GFX card passing through 5.1/7.1 TrueHD audio via HDMI without downmixing it to stereo. Looks like this problem can be overcome by purchasing a right model of GFX card connecting to the right TV, which will pass the audio in original lossless format via ARC link to a home theater amplifier.

P.S. Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra is pretty good for software playback.
Get my apps in Android Market! Go droids go! :)


JavaJones

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Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 05:06:59 PM »
Yeah, there are plenty of Gfx card solutions that can do unaltered passthrough of digital audio. It's quite common actually.

Regarding displays, while it may not be best for movie watching, a good IPS display is actually going to give you a wider color gamut than many large flat screen LCD displays. Many large displays are not IPS and so they don't have the wide gamut.

- Oshyan