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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. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I’ve nearly filled three 10TB drives in as many months...the DVDs take up relatively little but the BDs are space hogs.

    One of my friends did a Plex server and he compressed all of his stuff - ran a bunch of tests to see at what point he noticed the extra compression and stopped just shy of that. But I can’t bring myself to do that. I want to do this once and be done. I don’t want to compress a bunch of stuff and then discover that what was good enough today looks like crap on my next TV.
     
  2. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Wow, Josh. That’s a sobering fact that a blu ray collection can take so much space on hard drives.

    I’ve pondered the idea of only doing TV shows and favorite films that will get viewing rotation.

    I have a friend who uses Handbrake for TV shows on DVD as he doesn’t care if it’s super high resolution. He cares more about the content. So that saves him a lot of space. I’d rather have the full resolution too.
     
  3. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I figure storage keeps getting cheaper. I don’t have an urgent need to have it all ripped by any particular time, so next time there’s a good hard drive sale, I’ll buy more and rip more. For now, the favorite movies and shows are in there so I’ve got enough to make it worthwhile.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've got about 15TB of media on 20TB of drives (plus an 8TB parity drive). My collection is not especially large, about 270 movies and TV series total.

    I'm haphazardly buying some 4K discs, so I've got about 500GB duplicate rips, until I get a 4K display and can delete the HD versions. I probably could also free up 1TB+ if I eliminated special features and commentaries.

    But media is cheap. The "expensive" part is my time to rip and manage media.
     
  5. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Yeah, you guys are right, larger storage is getting much more affordable. I would never have thought I would be able to buy a hard drive at 12 terabytes! Hopefully soon it will be possible to store 14 to 20 terabytes of data on solid state chips at lower costs.

    I see you guys likely have large collection of films on Blu rays, but you’re not converting all of them right now. That was how I was seeing this going as I look at the amounts of space needed for each film.
     
  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Mine's all converted. I spent a several months intensively ripping and organizing everything in 2016. When I buy a new disc, I rip it within a week so I don't have a backlog.

    But my library is under 300 titles (of which about 30 are TV series which take disproportionate amount of time).

    And now when I buy, I only get titles with digital codes. I'm planning fo the future when I quit the HTPC and move to online streaming only. My Movies Anywhere library is small, only 50 titles, but it's the future I believe. That and the streaming services like D+. But in this in-between times, I love the HTPC. :)
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've been sick this week (early Winter cold). So I did something I don't often do, which was to watch "comfort TV". And started re-watching my all time favorite, Futurama. And I watched several episodes on my media room. And then some episodes streaming on the iPad in bed. And then some episodes on my AppleTV in the living room. And I'm thinking, this is why I have an HTPC. I'm sure I could find it streaming somewhere, but I've got a decent solution and it's working. And I can rewatch with commentaries later, which are fantastic. (The main downside is the temptation to upgrade the series from DVD to blu-ray, which watching on a streaming service probably already has.)
     
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  8. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    My feeling is that I won’t collect physical at the rate I did in the past, so that I don’t need a HTPC to do 4K. Streaming and the handful of 4K discs I’ll get will handle that. I like the HTPC as a way to store everything I’ve gotten at this point.

    For a lot of current things, physical ownership doesn’t make sense for me.

    Take “The Orville,” a new show I love. I saw it weekly on Hulu in HD when it was new. It’s still on Hulu in HD. So why should I go out and buy it in lesser quality on DVD when I can press a button on my TV and watch it now? Or, why should I buy previous seasons of “The Crown” (which is a Netflix show) on disc when those seasons never left Netflix?

    The reason I had for buying TV on DVD used to be that although my favorite shows were in syndication all the time, I couldn’t watch the episodes I wanted when I wanted to. With streaming, the capability is built in from the start.

    I suspect with limited exceptions that I will no longer purchase current TV shows on disc.
     
  9. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    The only reason I still buy any tv show season sets, is when it is a show where I just play the episodes sequentially in the background when I'm at home. Basically where I'm too lazy to press buttons on the remote control and/or don't feel like swapping discs in and out of the dvd/bluray player. (I'm not currently subscribed to any flat rate vod services).

    Currently the only show I play in this manner on the htpc, is Criminal Minds.

    Otherwise buying current tv shows on dvd (or bluray) is less and less compelling for different reasons. Most of my current weekly shows have very little to no rewatch value, such as the Chicago and NCIS franchises.
     
  10. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Definitely.

    Nowadays if I don't feel any desire to check a newly purchased dvd/bluray disc for manufacturing defects via ripping the disc(s) to the computer, then I won't even bother buying it. Regardless of how inexpensive and/or interesting the movie/show is.
     
  11. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    As a current example of this ^, I have not purchased the recently released complete series set of The Big Bang Theory. (I watch the reruns just about every day, when I get home).

    At this point in time, I just don't have the desire/interest to rip all 24 (or more) BBT discs to the computer.
     
  12. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Interesting how you guys are thinking about the future of home video and I agree streaming is the future. Philosophically perhaps I’m still being old fashioned. I’m not sure if I’m fully in for that yet.

    I was interested in trying to convert my blu rays and DVDs for a couple of reasons. There is a big convenience for TV shows for easier and quicker access to episodes. For movies though, I wasn’t sure where I will be going. But initial interest in doing this was for immediate access to the library as Dave pointed out above. And I can view things without being connected to a service.

    As far as the future, perhaps you guys are also referring to purchasing titles that way and viewing them from the cloud rather then downloading the files and having it locally?
     
  13. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    For stuff that has no rewatch value for me, it doesn't matter if it is disc, stream, download, etc ....

    Ripping stuff from disc -> hard drive, only really matters to me for a few tv shows. (Almost no movies fit into this category for me). For just about everything else, ripping disc -> hard drive and downloading -> hard drive would be overkill and a waste of time.

    Streaming or generic broadcast ota tv is good enough for stuff that has very little to no rewatch value for me.
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Yes. Basically, building my Movies Anywhere library as I rip discs. https://moviesanywhere.com/welcome
     
  15. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I’m not even necessarily thinking of purchasing digital as Dave described. I’m thinking more that changes in the media landscape mean I won’t be making purchases in the way I used to.

    More detailed example:
    I watch a sitcom on Netflix called “The Kaminsky Method” which stars Michael Douglas. I love it. The first season was on last year, and the second season just debuted a couple weeks ago. In the past, I would have watched the season on a broadcast network and then purchase a disc at the end of the season so that I could watch it whenever I want it. But because it’s a Netflix show instead of a broadcast show, it never went away. I don’t need to buy a disc to see it. All I need to do is open Netflix and press play. There’s just no reason for me to purchase a second copy of something when I still have access to it.

    All of these subscription services are working to get to a model where they produce original content for their service which then never leaves that service. So the old paradigm of “I need to buy a disc if I want to see that show again” no longer applies. The old cycle of “it airs once for free and then you pay to see it again” is ending.

    I’m loving The Mandalorean on Disney+ but I probably wouldn’t buy a disc if they made one. Because why should I pay for a disc copy when it’s already on a service I have?

    Then you get to a newer broadcast show like The Orville. It aired on Fox in HD and was also included on Hulu in HD. And it stays on Hulu in perpetuity even though the season on Fox is over. And, on disc, it’s DVD only. So here are my choices if I want to rewatch The Orville:

    1) Press button on remote and see it in HD and commercial free at no cost to me. I could do that right this second if the mood struck.

    Or

    2) Pay $30 to order lower quality disc version and wait for it to come in the mail, and then view in inferior quality.

    Option 1 just makes way more sense to me, from every angle: financial, quality, convenience.
     
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  16. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Dave, Josh, JR,

    Yeah, prior to starting my blu ray converting exploration, since I already have an Apple TV and iTunes account, I looked at streaming more. I have enjoyed having the CBS All Access account and I could view Star Trek Discovery. I also took a look at all the shows available there. It is nice I could catch up with CBS shows like Big Bang Theory In the final season at my schedule.

    I also bought two films from iTunes and redeemed a few codes from blu rays so I could download the actual files from iTunes and I enjoyed watching those. They looked great too. The 1080p files that is.

    I found to my surprise that the shows on CBS All Access like Star Trek TNG and Voyager, which were the shows I sampled, plus The Odd Couple and The Twilight Zone, I found the image quality to be good, but I could see compression degrading the image. Since I own all these shows I mentioned, I thought I’d rip them because I figured I’d have a much nicer image. And I can watch at my leisure. However I do see the extreme convenience of the iTunes and CBS accounts as I can view all those things on my mobile devices anywhere at anytime.

    Josh, while reading your detailed explanation, I was thinking about Star Trek Discovery. We watched that on the nights that new episodes are first to stream. But after the season, I still bought the blu ray! :). But Star Trek is a thing for me and I have to own each iteration. I actually did not rewatch episodes later except episodes I really thought were good. I did not know that The Orville was only available on DVD if one wants to own the series on disc.

    About the Mandalorean, I am interested in seeing that and I’m curious about it. I also saw a review of the new 4K remastered Star Wars films only available at Disney+. But I was thinking about Galactica and Mad Men, and now Westworld, I never got cable so I just wait for the blu ray to see them. So I might wait to see The Mandalorean. And hope the Star Wars 4K films come out.

    But I really get it, having the streaming services are a terrible convenience. I’ve experienced it. It’s great. And I mentioned this before, I remember an interview in the late 1970’s or maybe early 1980’s where Gene Roddenberry said someday soon, you will be able to order and see a film from home where it is transmitted to your home via the phone line. How did he know? :)

    It’s going to be interesting to see how the landscape of TV goes as we go further into streaming. I actually would like to see broadcast TV shift to streaming. I watch over the air now. But it would be nice if we didn’t have to pay for a service to see it. Today, I had my iPad on most of the day at work with the ABC news app to stay on the news event today. And it was free. But I get that some kind of pay scheme would likely be needed.
     
  17. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys, as you might know, I got an email from Plex that there’s a 25% off on their lifetime Plex Pass. So it’s $89.00.

    I haven’t gone beyond still setting up additional ripped discs. And josh helped me figure out how to add the extras like trailers and behind the scenes featurettes. I haven’t read up if a Plex Pass allows you to stream outside the house to a mobile device as I haven’t tried that yet. If a Plex Pass isn’t needed, I might skip on it.
     
  18. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    You don’t need the Plex Pass to stream outside the house.

    Frankly, I know a small number of Plex users so I’m not sure how representative this is of the entire user base, but no one i know personally uses the paid thing.

    I think if you don’t have the paid subscription, you may need to pay a small fee on the iPad/iPhone app to stream remotely - some but not all of my friends have reported that and I haven’t personally experienced it. I think that’s only necessary if you’re trying to remotely connect to a library that’s not yours on an iOS app. So, connecting your stuff, no fee. Connecting to a friend’s Plex library as a guest user from a remote location? If I understand my friends right, that may require a one time fee. But for your own personal use I don’t think it should cost you anything.
     
  19. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I can only say that spending the $100-something for Emby lifetime* was well spent. You're asking if the equivalent of 3 blu-ray discs is worth the price for radically improving your home media situation?

    But it's easy for me to spend other people's money and I don't know your situation. :)

    * lifetime of version 3, which is now 3+ years old. I'll evaluate whether to upgrade if/when version 4 gets released. But another $100 if I'm still using an HTPC won't trouble me after years of usage of the current version.
     
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  20. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys-

    Thanks a lot for the feedback. I was leaning towards not doing the Plex Pass, so thanks for your experiences. I think I’ll first get more into this and continue to build my library and server hardware needs. I’d like to see how far I go with this and what my needs might be. Can’t wait to install the new hard drive this weekend, then I can start to really add to the library!

    With that said, I’ll invest that $100 or more into Second Food Harvest to give to those less fortunate as my company will match my donation. :). I can afford to pay the full amount for the Plex Pass later should I decide it will enhance my experience.
     
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