DVD on a home LAN?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom Koegel, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. Tom Koegel

    Tom Koegel Stunt Coordinator

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    I have just installed a wireless home LAN. I got the Intel 802.11a system on the theory that you always need more speed. As opposed to 802.11b, which peaks out at a theoretical 11mbps, 802.11a peaks out at 54 mpbs, and I don't have any problems getting a signal of 20 mbps or better anywhere in the house. I had the notion that this speed would come in handy because I have a couple of Sony Superslim notebooks that are fully capable of software DVD decoding but don't have any internal drives, and I thought I could share the DVD-ROM drive on the "server" box and allow one of the family to watch a movie wirelessly while the rest of the family is off doing something else in the family room/HT room.
    Looks like I had another think coming. Initially, I've tried the demos of PowerDVD and WinDVD, and neither want to recognize the shared drive as a DVD-ROM. Worse, though, even when I can get PowerDVD to play a video file off the share (by treating it as a DVD file on a hard disk), I can't get past the FBI warnings. The culprit, I suspect, is the Region Coding system on DVD. When the disc gets past the FBI warnings, there is the region coding check on the disc. Since the DVD-ROM isn't physically present on my system, the process bombs out at that point. Usual region coding tricks (like DVD Genie) don't seem to help, as they merely trick the software through the Windows registry.
    Has anyone else been weird enough to try this? Got any tips on how to work this? It seems like there ought to be some player out there that is not sophisticated enough to care that the drive (mapped as F[​IMG] isn't a physical DVD-ROM but a shared driver from another computer. But the usual WWW and USENET searches turn up nothing but pessimism. I guess it is possible to create a media server to play the video on the server and distribute it through the home network--see www.videolan.org--but setting up a Linux server for this purpose is a bit more work than I had planned.[​IMG]
    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. Greg Conti

    Greg Conti Stunt Coordinator

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    To the best of my knowledge, you can't watch a DVD off the disc over a network. At least not without a hack (I'm not aware of any).
     
  3. Tom Koegel

    Tom Koegel Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the reply, Greg. Somebody must've tackled this problem--I can't believe that the DVD-ROM servers out there (with ranges from 7 to 700 discs) are all being used for non-DVD video purposes. But maybe some very specialized software is required to "identify" the DVD-ROM server to the individual client software decoder.

    Tom
     
  4. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    Even with a hack, you're not even scratching the surface in terms of necessary bandwidth. Most networks operate at around 30-60% of their rated speed in practice, and DVD decoding would also place a pretty high price on latency. Not to say that it isn't possible, but in the few cases I've heard of it working it was very choppy, even over 100BaseT.

    Check over at AVS, they had a thread by some guy trying to do this. I think its the actual CSS key, not the region coding that causes the problem; it stipulates local access to the DVD media.
     
  5. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>I can't believe that the DVD-ROM servers out there (with ranges from 7 to 700 discs) are all being used for non-DVD video purposes.
     
  6. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    It is possible, I've done it with my network... but the playback was way too jerky because it's a 10Base-T network... errr, I need a new hub [​IMG]
    I don't know why it worked, but here's how I did it: I set up the NetBEUI protocol on both computers, and shared the DVD-ROM drive. I installed WinDVD 2.something on the remote client, and WinDVD saw the DVD drive on the network...
    Peter
     
  7. Tom Koegel

    Tom Koegel Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the input.
    Matt, I do know that I have enough bandwidth. On my Dell Win2K laptop, I have WinDVD 2000 installed. (I think this is the equivalent of WinDVD 2.1 for the 95/98/ME world.) For some reason, either related to the OS or the player, this machine can "see" the shared drive as an acceptable DVD drive to the player. I have burned some of my own DVDs (which of course presumably don't have CSS or Region Coding), and they WILL play through this machine. They actually play pretty darn well. The MPEG2s were encoded at a fixed bit rate of 4 mbps, so it's not an insubstantial data stream. 802.11a is fast. Commercial DVDs will play on this machine, but only through the FBI warning (and, in one case, the opening Walt Disney screen, which seems to be part of the same DVD title). Thanks for the AVS tip! I'll check over there.
    Steve_Ch: I would've thought that somebody would be using the DVD-ROM changers to serve DVD to serve up video over a network (training videos and the like). But maybe all those applications don't have Region Coding and CSS to deal with. But I would've figured somebody would be using it to deliver, for example, in room video at a hotel. As to the DMCA, to be fair to the content providers--they have been chasing after people who have hacked into CSS and published information about it or published the actual decryption software like DeCSS. Whether you agree with that or don't agree with that, I don't think they are going to chase after someone who is owns a legitimate copy of a DVD and is merely using a home server to move the video from one room to another. It would be a different matter entirely if I was opening this up to the outside world.
    Peter: Do you think there is some magic to using the NetBEUI protocol? Do you recall what OS this was?
    Thanks all,
    Tom Koegel
     
  8. Peter McDonald

    Peter McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    Both computers are Win98SE. I used NetBEUI because it has a lesser overhead than TCP/IP does.

    Peter
     
  9. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

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    >>But maybe all those applications don't have Region Coding and CSS to deal with.>But I would've figured somebody would be using it to deliver, for example, in room video at a hotel.
     
  10. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    We have a 10/100 LAN set up and it is fast enough to play DVDs accross it but only unencrypted movies. Dark Star by Dan O'Bannon works just fine.(From a P233 1XDVD drive to a P2-400 with Hollywood+ decoder card).DOS and Windows cannot authenticate the disk accross a network so most movies won't work.My understanding is that Macintosh's can authenticate accross a LAN so will act as a server for movies. I don't know about Novell or UNIX O.S.'s It probably depends on who was willing to pay for the licensing rights necessary to allow remote authentication.Macrovision and Region coding seem to have no effect since they are easily bypassed. I suspect a ripped movie put on a hard drive would probably work but that's a great waste of disk space and kind of defeats the purpose of a DVD server. Licensing costs is why XP and MediaPlayer8 won't play DVDs unless a software player is also installed.
     
  11. Jon_R

    Jon_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not 100% certain of the 802.11a protocol, but I had thought that latency was a bit of a problem.

    Ping another machine on your network.. what do you get?

    Anyway
     

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