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Blu Ray drive for Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Nelson Au, Aug 2, 2019.

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  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Important note: Plex and Emby aren’t open source and they aren’t free. For full functionality you have to pay. I paid about $100 for “lifetime” Emby three years ago. I don’t know Plex’s pricing structure offhand.

    I recommend trying Plex, Kodi, and Emby and finding out which fits your interests and style and subscribe accordingly. :)
     
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  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I'm not opposed to paying for Plex, particularly if I have a use for some of the paid features. But so far, just for powering the house, the free version is fine. At the least, it's the free version is priced right to give it a try :)
     
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  3. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, Dave, thanks a lot! This is really cool information. That’s great you guys have your HTPC working for the home and remotely.

    I realized the answer to a question Josh, which is you can watch something in your living room or other room and control it from the Apple TV or Roku via the Plex or Infuse app and the Apple or Roku remote. This means I’m going to have to do something I’ve been holding out doing, connecting the Apple TV hdmi into my pre-amp so it can process the surround sound. I held off doing that because I like to have the Oppo and Apple TV hdmi plug directly into the Plasma TV, my old school thinking is that there is not signal degradation of the image quality or image coloring going on in the pre-amp. I’m sure one or both of you will tell me this is digital, the image from the Oppo and Apple TV going to the pre-amp and then to the TV is not going to be affected. :). I wish Apple would make the Apple TV have two HDMi outputs. I like that about the Oppo.

    Looks like I’ll be taking some time to do ripping. And then buy a large hard drive. And then look at a Mac as an HTPC. A newer Mac sounds like the better direction then an older one. For the time being I could install Plex or infuse into my Mac Pro to test this out. By the way, Josh, I’m also not geared for Atmos or 4K video yet. I sort of looked into Atmos last week to learn more about it. But I’d rather keep a 5 channel system for now. And for 4K, I might have a 4K set sometime so I’ll have to learn more about what it takes for an HTPC to drive 4K material. Just so I know what I’ll need when the time comes or to be ready for it now.

    Oh yeah, so it sounds like MakeMKV will rip DVDs too? I haven’t tried. I have a lot of TV shows on DVD too and would be great to rip them at full resolution.

    Interesting that Plex is a subscription, I hate this about so many software companies now. Again my old school thinking, I know subscriptions allows for easy updates to the software like what Adobe is doing, I’d rather pay to have a permanent license, so that’s good Plex allows this. Sounds like I’ll need Infuse as well for the DTS soundtracks.

    Thanks again guys. This thread has been a massive wealth of information on the topic of converting blu rays for home use in an HTPC! And I’m glad to see both Apple and Windows platforms sound equally served.

    ( for my viewing of the Hitchcock filmography now, I have all my Hitchcock discs laid out on a table. Would be great had they all been ripped for easy access. :). )
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Funny you mention Hitchcock. I just got Sabotage, Young and Innocent and Jamaica Inn from the UK. They’re all region B locked. I have the mod for the Oppo but rather than doing to code switch thing, I just ripped the disc and played it through the HTPC. No region coding to deal with. Beautiful thing.

    To answer one of your questions, yes, MakeMKV can do DVD too! I’ve ripped the entirety of our I Love Lucy and Mary Tyler Moore Show series discs over the past month. Tedious work but rewarding to have it done.

    And yes, I’ll tell you that plugging your AppleTV into your receiver is fine and won’t degrade the video signal. What you will have to do is check your receiver settings to make sure they’re set to just pass through for the video - you don’t want your receiver doing any extra processing.

    Remind me your Mac Pro specs - I have a feeling it would be more than enough to handle Plex for your home needs and most likely for streaming to just one iOS device at a time from out of the house.
     
  5. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, my Mac Pro is from 2012. It’s processor has two 6 core 3.03ghz. As I recall it has 24gb of ram. GPU is an Nvidia K5000. It’s currently running High Sierra.
     
  6. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    You'll have absolutely no trouble running Plex on that machine both for in-the-house usage and out-of-the-house streaming and transcoding.

    For me, I needed to get a dedicated machine because all we had were laptops - not always on and not always in the same place. I needed something that could be always on, and always connected to the hard drive that the media was stored on. In your case, the Mac Pro should already be able to meet those requirements.
     
  7. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the input Josh. It’s a speedy machine, great for doing the heavy lifting of the ripping. It’s also a machine for doing some work on. I can see setting up Plex on it to try it out and get to know how it works. I’m thinking if I need a server that’s always on it should be also just focused on the Home Theater. So maybe another Mac might be dedicated to this function. :). I’ll see how it goes on the Mac Pro first though.
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    What’s the “FPS” in handbrake during transcoding? That’s a good first estate estimate of how you machine will do in real-time transcoding for out of network streaming.
     
  9. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    There's really no wrong way to do it, but test it out on your Mac Pro before you buy anything else.

    A friend of mine runs his Plex server on an iMac that's a couple years old, and he uses that machine for all of his regular computing as well - both he and his live-in girlfriend share the computer, plus they use it for Plex within the house, plus they have out of house streaming turned on and between themselves and friends and family, usually have at least one transcoding stream going most of the time -- and the computer hasn't so much as hiccuped.

    It just wasn't practical for me to arrange to have a laptop that was always on and was always plugged into a large external hard drive, which is the sole reason I didn't first try running my server with the hardware I already had. But if I had an iMac or a Mac Pro, I would have tried that first.

    (Also, it doesn't technically need to be always on - it just has to be on when you want to stream. So if, for instance, everyone in your house goes to bed by midnight and no one will be streaming anything overnight, there's no reason you can't exit Plex and turn your computer off for the night. It's just that, in my case, I wanted it on all the time so I didn't have to think about it.)
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  11. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Yeah, I’m still ripping on my dying laptop and will run it into the ground - more convenient to rip where I am instead of having to be tethered to the Mac Mini box.
     
  12. AndyMcKinney

    AndyMcKinney Cinematographer

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    I use Plex to send MKV, TS, MP4, etc. files to my TV on a 2009 Macbook Pro, via Wi-Fi, and running El Capitan. For that kind of usage, you don't really have to have anything 'new'.

    Incidentally, I use a 2008 Mac Pro (with Snow Leopard!!!) for disc burning. I usually take files (such as MKV) and mux them on the Macbook pro (giving me a TS file), then use those TS files for burning in Toast. Muxing them before burning saves a buttload of time!

    Sorry for going off on a tangent there. Long story short, there's a good chance you don't need anything super-new for most uses. In fact, if you're wanting to use large drives (without having to have external ones), older might be better. Apple are moving away from having actual replaceable drives in their Macs. I think the newest MPBs all have soldered-in storage, so you cannot replace/upgrade your hard drive anymore.
     
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  13. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys! Yeah, I’m thinking the Mac Pro will be doing the ripping. Something else can do the server and playback functions. There are a lot of options to explore now.

    Understood that the server doesn’t have to be on all the time. Only on when in use.
     
  14. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, I forgot to ask, you mentioned you got three Hitchcock blu rays that are Region 2 and you could rip them. Did you have to reset the region code on your blu ray drive? I’ll be curious also if there is any speed differences in playback since it was PAL?
     
  15. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Nope, didn’t need to touch a thing on the drive. MakeMKV ignores or works around the region coding, and the rip itself has no coding.

    No speed difference - unlike DVDs, Blu-rays from overseas run at the same 24fps that American discs do. That’s what makes international Blu-ray much cooler than international DVD for me.
     
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  16. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, wow I did not know that about non Region 1 discs. That’s cool. I really like Young and Innocent and I’m hoping for a Region 1 Blu Ray. But it’s good to know there’s that option. :)
     
  17. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Andy, great to know that an older Mac will do ok for a Plex server.

    I had to look up what mux is. And if I read it right, MakeMKV has tools to allow you to change the container type from MKV to another.
     
  18. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    This evening I did a test rip from Star Trek TOS. I wanted to see what it will be like to rip this series. I took a guess at which titles to select once they came up. I wanted to find The Cage and took a guess at one file. And I guessed the file called angle 2 was the original effects, and that was what I wanted to see. It worked. I assumed I needed to select both files. The rip was fast, and the file was 11.67GB. The other file was 427mb and doesn’t even play. Just took a look at it on my old Cinema Display and it looks great. I am amazed as you guys said this is an exact rip.
     
  19. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Guys, I’ve not been doing much ripping as I feared that I needed to get some hard drive space! So I went to get a 10TB drive last night as you suggested Dave. The Wedtern Digital Easystore was still on sale for $179.00 at Best Buy. But I saw this morning it’s price dropped to $159.00! I’ll have to make them give me a refund for that $20. It would be tempting to buy a second drive too as a back up drive. Amazing that the drive prices are dipping lower.

    However I’m worried it appears the drive while saying Mac OS compatible, the box says it needs the NTFS software download to write. Seems like it needs reformatting. But I’ll try it before doing any alterations to the drive.
     
  20. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    There’s no need to worry. Simply use Disk Utility to reformat the drive to a Mac format the first time you plug it in. Takes all of two minutes.
     

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