Author Topic: Questions to users of MediaCenters  (Read 1074 times)

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Offline mr_lou

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Questions to users of MediaCenters
« on: 07:46, 06 July 14 »
I'm curious to know how many here is using a socalled MediaCenter.

By MediaCenter I mean something like XBMC, PowerDVD, ArcSoft Media Player, OpenElec, MediaPortal and so on. There are probably a ton of others, including hardware+software solutions that you buy ready-to-use.

I know that some people use a Rasberri Pi for the purpose. I presume other people use a normal PC. But I'm also guessing various play consoles nowadays can be used.

Some questions for you, if you're using a MediaCenter:
1: What MediaCenter are you using? (Provide link if possible). Any special reason you chose that one over another?
2: Do you find yourself moving completely away from physical media, like DVD's and Blu-ray Discs?
3: What is your primary reason for preferring a MediaCenter? (Online streaming? Getting rid of physical media? Other reasons?)
4: Have you spent a long time creating ISO files of your DVD's and/or Blu-ray Discs so you could store your movies in your MediaCenter?
5: Or do you just download movies from somewhere? (In my book, it must be legal to download the movie if you own it already?)
6: Do you buy digital movies, or do you just rent them? Or do you pay a monthly fee to watch all you want?
7: How important is resolution of movies to you? Is 720p (DVD) plenty enough? Or do you appreciate 1080p (Blu-ray)?
8: If you rip movies to MKV, you will obviously lose all the menus of the DVD/Blu-ray, and extras such as games and e.g. bloopers. Why not rip a complete ISO that contains it all? (Doesn't your MediaCenter support playback of ISO files?)

Thanks
« Last Edit: 14:57, 06 July 14 by mr_lou »

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: Questions to users of MediaCenters
« Reply #1 on: 11:50, 06 July 14 »

Some questions for you, if you're using a MediaCenter:
1) What MediaCenter are you using? (Provide link if possible). Any special reason you chose that one over another?
2) Do you find yourself moving completely away from physical media, like DVD's and Blu-ray Discs?
3) What is your primary reason for preferring a MediaCenter? (Online streaming? Getting rid of physical media? Other reasons?)
4) Have you spent a long time creating ISO files of your DVD's and/or Blu-ray Discs so you could store your movies in your MediaCenter?
5) Or do you just download movies from somewhere? (In my book, it must be legal to download the movie if you own it already?)
6) Do you buy digital movies, or do you just rent them? Or do you pay a monthly fee to watch all you want?
7) How important is resolution of movies to you? Is 720p (DVD) plenty enough? Or do you appreciate 1080p (Blu-ray)?



1) OpenElec on my 2 Raspberry Pi's and XBMC4XBOX on my original xbox
2) No, I still like having the physical media, But the players mean that I rip the disc and leave it in the box away from a 4 year olds fingers!
3) Convenience of having a selection of movies and music available without needing the discs
3a) As I no longer own a working VCR, using a Media centre means I can still watch my collection of VHS tapes
4) I use my hi-end Mac Pro to rip DVD and Bluray to MKV (Previously I used the xvid codec)
5) I do download movies where I have the VHS copy, that I am no longer able to watch
6) I Buy movies from iTunes and convert them to MKV where necessary if I want to watch them on non-Apple hardware
7) I bought the Pi's as the original xbox does not support HD formats. the Pi can easily handle MKV 1080p due to it's hardware decoders.


I hope that helps


Craig

IRC:  #Retro4All on Freenode

Offline Munchausen

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Re: Questions to users of MediaCenters
« Reply #2 on: 14:14, 06 July 14 »
Some questions for you, if you're using a MediaCenter:
1) What MediaCenter are you using? (Provide link if possible). Any special reason you chose that one over another?

XBMC. I chose it because:
Good support for TV cards, recording etc (I'm using TV head end).
You can set up emulators with it pretty easily.
Good systems for automatically getting movie/music metadata automatically without me having to rename all my files or something.
Lots of good plugins: navi-x, tvcatchup, youtube, grooveshark etc
It's linux based, and I don't own a copy of windows. The only problem with this is some systems don't have decent emulators on linux.


2) Do you find yourself moving completely away from physical media, like DVD's and Blu-ray Discs?

No. We still have a lot of DVDs and people will still buy you DVDs, so you sort of have to live with it. We also make a point of buying DVDs of stuff before downloading them, but the DVDs generally just pile up in the loft. The media center has a DVD-RW drive.


3) What is your primary reason for preferring a MediaCenter? (Online streaming? Getting rid of physical media? Other reasons?)

Having everything in one place and fully under control. In the loft I have a lot of consoles set up with a TV and a sofa, but in the living room I have to keep the peace by keeping it minimal, so I have the media center and an xbox 360 and that's it. I can play movies/music/emulators and watch TV. In XBMC I've got emulators for pretty much every system up to the N64 and PS1. I also have XBMC on an original xbox in the loft which I mostly use for DVDs and watching TV through tvcatchup.


However we got a Sky +HD box recently and I've been using it less since then, as the Sky box does make it easy to watch TV and record stuff.


4) Have you spent a long time creating ISO files of your DVD's and/or Blu-ray Discs so you could store your movies in your MediaCenter?

No. In my experience it takes way too long and needs you to constantly change discs and stuff.


5) Or do you just download movies from somewhere? (In my book, it must be legal to download the movie if you own it already?)

I'm of the same opinion. From my undergrad degree (admittedly a while ago) I know that legally speaking it actually isn't strictly true - I believe the license doesn't even allow you to make backups. But the law is still catching up and I think if you get accused and the first thing you do is prove unequivocally that you have bought DVD copies of every movie on your hard disc then realistically nothing is going to happen to you.


6) Do you buy digital movies, or do you just rent them? Or do you pay a monthly fee to watch all you want?

We don't buy them, but we do rent from Sky sometimes. I'm thinking about dumping the sky subscription soon and getting netflix or something instead, as we really dont use it enough. We got a year of sky TV free when O2 broadband were bought by sky, but it will run out quite soon.


7) How important is resolution of movies to you? Is 720p (DVD) plenty enough? Or do you appreciate 1080p (Blu-ray)?
I'm really not all that bothered. Our TVs are both 720p, but I'm actually pretty happy with standard def most of the time (unless it's a particularly spectacular film). 720p is nice to have though.


Offline Gryzor

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Re: Questions to users of MediaCenters
« Reply #3 on: 14:26, 06 July 14 »
Raspberry Pi with OpenELEC/XBMC. Very cheap, quite powerful (plays very high bitrate 1080p files), can play everything, can be controlled from web browsers/mobile devices etc.

Somewhat harder to set up in terms of hardware than all-in-one devices, but much better than my previous WD TV Live Hub expensive player.

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Questions to users of MediaCenters
« Reply #4 on: 14:59, 06 July 14 »
Thanks a lot for your replies.

I have another question (added in the top post too), sorry:

8: If you rip/download movies to MKV, you will obviously lose all the menus of the DVD/Blu-ray, and extras such as games and e.g. bloopers. Why not rip/download a complete ISO that contains it all? (Doesn't your MediaCenter support playback of ISO files?)

I have a Rasberry Pi that my kidbrother gave me, and I'm thinking of setting it up as a MediaCenter. I would very much like to somehow keep the extras available of DVD's and Blu-rays though.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: Questions to users of MediaCenters
« Reply #5 on: 15:36, 06 July 14 »

8: If you rip/download movies to MKV, you will obviously lose all the menus of the DVD/Blu-ray, and extras such as games and e.g. bloopers. Why not rip/download a complete ISO that contains it all? (Doesn't your MediaCenter support playback of ISO files?)



8: If I want the extras I can always pop the disc into the Bluray player. I generally only rip the movies to mkv, however there is nothing that says if a particular extra is wanted I can rip that too.


Regards


Craig

IRC:  #Retro4All on Freenode

Offline The Last Bandit

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Re: Questions to users of MediaCenters
« Reply #6 on: 15:11, 08 July 14 »
1> Openelec on a AMD Fusion board, found RaspPI too slow. All media on a NAS.
2> Nope, still play some stuff from BR/DVD. Mostly stuff I can't be bothered rip
3> Got pee'd off using the PS3 for media playback
4> Nope
5> Download some, mostly TV shows though particularly HD versions I don't otherwise have access too
6> Nope, never bought or rented digital 'media'. If I buy it I want to hold it.
7> HD is preferred, particularly for SciFi stuff. 
8> Not bothered about extras

Offline Bryce

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Re: Questions to users of MediaCenters
« Reply #7 on: 15:28, 08 July 14 »
1: Xtreamer Sidewinder 1, cos' it's cheap and doesn't need any setting up. http://dev.xtreamer.net/xtreamer/overview.aspx
2: No, still buy films (mainly Blu-ray) on real disks.
3: Had lots of content on hard drives, too much bother to burn it to disks to watch.
4: No, haven't converted any of them, they get watched from the original disk.
5: I've never downloaded a film or piece of music yet.
6: I rent real Blu-ray disks.
7: 1080p if available.
8: ISO supported, but the files would be huge.

Bryce.
« Last Edit: 15:43, 08 July 14 by Bryce »

Offline Executioner

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Re: Questions to users of MediaCenters
« Reply #8 on: 04:49, 09 July 14 »
1: What MediaCenter are you using? (Provide link if possible). Any special reason you chose that one over another?

I use a dedicated HP N40L as my server running PS3 media server on Fedora 16, and any of the PS3 scattered around the house to watch stuff. I've been running this for a few years now and I chose PS3 media server because I could get the source code and make my own mods. The HP can struggle converting video formats though. I also have SAMBA shares to access the media files directly on my PCs.

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2: Do you find yourself moving completely away from physical media, like DVD's and Blu-ray Discs?

Almost. Most my DVDs have been converted to ISOs, and I don't tend to buy them any more. I still have a few Blu-Rays which I won't bother converting since they take up so much space.

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3: What is your primary reason for preferring a MediaCenter? (Online streaming? Getting rid of physical media? Other reasons?)

Physical media boxes take up too much space. Still not having much luck with high quality online streaming, especially when multiple people are trying to watch stuff, just not enough reliable bandwidth. At least I've finally got unlimited downloads though.

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4: Have you spent a long time creating ISO files of your DVD's and/or Blu-ray Discs so you could store your movies in your MediaCenter?

Answered above, I still have a lot to do.

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5: Or do you just download movies from somewhere? (In my book, it must be legal to download the movie if you own it already?)

More often entire series of TV shows. I can't stand watching one show a week full of adverts any more.

Quote
6: Do you buy digital movies, or do you just rent them? Or do you pay a monthly fee to watch all you want?

No, they are too expensive. Why would I want to pay twice as much to rent a digital movie when I can rent it from the video shop. That said, I've got so many movies backed up to watch and I don't have time to watch them any more, so I don't rent anything.

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7: How important is resolution of movies to you? Is 720p (DVD) plenty enough? Or do you appreciate 1080p (Blu-ray)?

I prefer high def (1080p), but I generally find the quality of lower res stuff acceptable once the PS3 does its magic upscaling.

Quote
8: If you rip movies to MKV, you will obviously lose all the menus of the DVD/Blu-ray, and extras such as games and e.g. bloopers. Why not rip a complete ISO that contains it all? (Doesn't your MediaCenter support playback of ISO files?)

That's why I do use ISOs. I want to keep the whole disc contents and structure.