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Media Center: Now Considering as the next step..

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by Kyrsten Brad, May 24, 2018.

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  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Talking in the Emby forum, my poor understanding is that MPV is adding HDR management, and it's available to some degree in Emby now. I'm really out of my depth here, but there's indication that HDR tone mapping will be available in all the major media servers and players in the coming future.
     
  2. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Screenwriter

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    I want to say a big thank you to everyone here for all this great information. I may go the NAS or HTPC route eventually but probably not for a few years (till I hit semi-retirement).

    For now I'll be taking DaveF's advice and spend the time and money (this year finally) on the following:

    1. Vizio P75, F-1 (2018 model) UHD 4K TV for the main home theater (for my birthday) replacing the current Viz E70, 2013 model (our friend's kids get the old E70).

    2. Vizio M55, WMS-1 (Wal Mart Special, 2017 model) UHD 4K TV for the bedroom. The current Viz M50 (2015 model, 4K, no HDR10 or DV) moves to the den.

    3. Vizio 5.1 Sound Bar system for the bedroom TV (no AVR setup there, going with the poor mans home theater setup on that).

    4. Sony UBP-X700 UHD Blu-ray player, maybe two (all region free). Yes I was going to get the Oppo but Oppo's decision to "close up shop" changed my mind.

    5. Last but not least by a long shot, a 14-day Carnival Southern Caribbean cruise for the Wife. Come December, I'll be walking the plank...err...walking up gangplank of the Carnival Miracle (my wallet will be the one walking the plank).

    6. A new IKEA or other bookcase to increase DVD/Blu-ray storage.
     
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  3. John Dirk

    John Dirk Screenwriter
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    You have a "Den?" Are you Mike Brady? :) Jokes aside, sounds like a great plan and enjoy that cruise!
     
  4. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Screenwriter

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    Well tonight I started ripping my first Blu-ray (Father Goose (1964)) on the laptop using MakeMKV and Handbrake. As Ringo Starr might have put it, "Oh My My".
    The first part, actual ripping of the Blu-ray went quite nicely, only about 20 minutes to do the rip and create the MKV file (34 GB).
    However when I got to the second step, file reduction using Handbrake, oh gee gun williguns golly gee.....four hours processing time on my oldest laptop (HP dv6100, i5 processor, 6GB main memory). On the stop-down process, I chose the Apple iPhone MP4 compatible, 720p setting. Its till running now (with about an hour to go) as that would be good enough for watching on a iPhone screen.
    Oh and once its done, I'll copy the resulting MP4 over to a 128GB EasyFlash drive (with both USB and Lightning connectors) to play it on the iPhone. I'll update this once I get it done.

    I'm beginning to understand the time investment in the conversion process. Imagine this over 500 blu-rays.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Don’t transcode. You’re throwing away quality and wasting time. Hard drive space is comparatively cheap.

    Also, on a current intel i5 system using QSV that transcode takes <30 min. So you’re using a old and slow laptop inappropriate for the task.
     
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  6. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    What Dave said is the key - I don't bother transcoding/shrinking. Even if you don't have a NAS, adding another 4TB external drive only costs $100 - so it's not worth giving up quality.
     
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  7. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the feedback. My only reason for transcoding is to be able to fit more movies on a iPhone compatible flash drive (128GB) so I can watch them on my iPhone where top-notch quality isn't necessary. Of course I'll retain the original MKV file. And I'll be buying one or two of those 4-6 TB external drives.

    I'll give the transcoding process another try on a newer laptop at home (my 17" HP, I5, 16GB RAM). Or I'll soon should have my wife's new one I'm getting her which will be i7 based. Any recommendations on how much RAM I should have (minimum)?

    Eventually I'll get the NAS but not for some time now. But I can get started ripping my Blus & DVDs.


     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    RAM doesn’t seem very important. I’ve got 8GB on my i5. What’s more important is to have either intel’s integrated graphics (to use Handbrake’s QSV option) or have a GPU. Transcoding with QSV gives me frame rates upward of 400 FPS, for 5x to 10x real-time speed.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    It’s also smart to use Handbrakes queue feature: setup 10 movies and transcode the batch overnight.
     
  10. John Dirk

    John Dirk Screenwriter
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    Dave - I'm experimenting with Kodi now and would love to return to it as my default front end since I also have Yatse, [which is (IMO) the best Kodi remote out there] running on my Tab S which controls my HT.

    As before, my problem is the PVR functionality. Since migrating to Windows 10, my previous client, [ServerWMC] is no longer viable. Are there stable alternatives nowadays?
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    What do folks like about Kodak vs Plex (or Emby)?

    Unfortunately all three services lack a feature I *really* want and need: audio track labels. More galling, Emby had this feature and then removed it early this year. It’s maddening.
     
  12. John Dirk

    John Dirk Screenwriter
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    I may not be properly interpreting what you mean by "audio track labels" as this seems too basic a feature to not be available in any serious MC software. I can almost guarantee JRiver supports it as it is rich in audiophile features. I haven't tried Plex or Emby yet. Those are both paid solutions [for full functionality], right? For now, (for better or worse) JRiver is my paid solution and Kodi is my free alternative. As I'm sure is the case with you, I have limited time for "test drives." If Kodi ever "grows up" I would like to use it exclusively as it appears to be the most robust. Although I have no problem paying for good software, JRiver's major upgrades have still not delivered markedly improved Live TV and PVR functionality which is part of the total package I need. Based on Dave's recent comments I'm giving Kodi another critical review.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Plex, Emby, and Kodi do not use the labels for audio tracks in an MKV container. That is, they won’t use information if available to describe audio tracks as “Directors Commentary” or “English Dub” or even “Atmos”. They just the generic “Eng DTS 5.1” or whatever.
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    EC9AF743-8982-4741-A680-FA6766C1E396.
    These tracks all have human-friendly labels in the MKV container describing the Japanese and English tracks, Descriptive Audio, etc. All major systems don’t use these labels and instead auto generate labels based solely on the audio format.
     
  15. John Dirk

    John Dirk Screenwriter
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    I see. MKV is something I know absolutely nothing about but you may want to take a look at JRiver for that functionality.
     
  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Searching the JRiver forums finds nothing on the topic, so it most likely doesn’t support it either. But I’ll try it out whenever I get around to doing s new trial of the various systems.
     
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  17. John Dirk

    John Dirk Screenwriter
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    I've been playing with it since this post [mid May] and the same problem persists. PVR functionality. Without WMC [ServerWMC] as the backend I haven't been able to get it to work. Experimenting with Media Portal now [it worked with Kodi in the past] so more to follow.
     
  18. John Dirk

    John Dirk Screenwriter
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    Results are in... I can't get Media Portal to work within Kodi either. The standalone Media Portal PVR client works fine. I can view Live TV outside of Kodi just fine using it.

    I also can't get Kodi to recognize the DLNA [uPNP] servers throughout my home. No relevant help available on the forums as far as I can tell. This is an important feature for me as it allows me to know what's going on in other areas of my home whilst I'm tucked in and completely disconnected in my Theater Room.

    I do understand Kodi is a free solution and greatly appreciate it as such but I would honestly rather it weren't. It has the potential to completely trounce anything out there but end users [even at the HTPC level] eventually just want things to work. As the classic movie [guess which one] says "I'd buy that for a dollar" but actually I would happily pay more.

    Just sharing feedback.
     
  19. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Take a look at Emby and Plex. They’ve been working hard on PVR support.
     
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