Blank Slate - Best Setup?


#1

I’m starting out with a blank slate, well sort of…

I’ve got a Synology NAS (DS210j w/ (2) 1TB RAID 1) that I’m using for mostly backup at the moment.

I’d like to take all my DVDs and store them on the NAS and I’ve been considering the WD TV Live to view them.

I’ve browsed the net and this forum and there seem to be all sorts of opinions on the best setups. My questions are these…

  • Network Shares or the built in Synology Media Server?

  • How should I rip and store my DVDs (I’m not really concerned with menus or art - but that would be a bonus)

   - Best settings (formats, etc)?

  • Wired connection isn’t really an option. Which usb wireless adapter has had the most success?

  • I’m looking to also upgrade my wireless router to help the performance of this setup. Any suggested purchases?

Clearly I’m a newbie to this whole thing. If there is any other advice or resources online anyone could recommend that would be great.

Thanks,

adamcav


#2

I’m sure you’ll get a wide variety of opinions but here’s my take:

  1. Net shares, very definitely.  IMHO, media servers are just asking for trouble.

  2. I use Handbrake exclusively to rip end encode all my DVDs and blu-rays.  If you don’t need to re-encode then something like makeMKV is fine, but it’s a waste of disc space (again, IMHO) not to encode them since they are so wasteful of space (you can reduce by at least half or more with *exactly* the same quality).

  3. AnyDVD HD does the ripping, by the way.

  4. I can’t suggest wireless – I tried wireless and had to give up because *some* (not all by any means, or even the majority, but a precious few) of my very biggest encodes wouldn’t play smoothly.  However, if you don’t have any wireless devices yet then by all means try an N router (like the new Linksys).

Remember that if you have ANY legacy devices that use Wireless G you’ll be throttled at that speed – so you must either replace them all or be resigned to working at G speeds.


#3

Thanks Mike,

The only wireless device I’m using is my notebook which is N capable. I’m going to upgrade the router anyways. I live in a very old house and cabling to my living room from the 2nd floor office where the router and server is isn’t in the cards for me.

What format do you end up with as the final product to place in your network share? Are there any user changed settings I should watch out for to optimize these files for playback?

Sorry for being so uneducated in this area.

Thanks,

adamcav


#4

Hey, we all start off without information here – then you’ll get enough to help others yourself.

IMHO the Live really likes MKV files – that’s all I use and I have never had any issues (well, other than the two or three I mentioned playing wirelessly).  I rip my DVDs and blu-rays using AnyDVD HD, and then use Handbrake to encode to MKV (using the High Profile preset) passing through either AC3 or DTS audio for full surround sound (just got through watching “Shooter” again and it looks soooo good on my 55" LED).  Handbrake at the High Profile will produce results indistinguisable from the original, at 1/3 to 1/4 of the size (plus they stream well, although my blu-ray encodes of “Black Hawk Down” and “The African Queen” both exceeded my wireless capabilities, at 30mbps).

The one and only disadvantage is encoding time – if all you’re doing is ripping you can do it quickly (less than an hour for blu-rays, and 15 minutes or so for a DVD) but since I have hundreds of movies even my NAS gets full.  Plus what the heck else are you going to do with your PC while you’re asleep/at work? .  But if you don’t want to go that route you can use makeMKV.


#5

Actually with the new Wireless N routers you can run in mixed mode (G+N) and still get up to ~95Mb/s even while using legacy G devices. 

That being said I’d still stick with wired for streaming any kind of HD video.


#6

Mike,

I couldn’t have asked for a better run through. That’s exactly the info I was looking for. I’m going to get started right away.

I’ll get a router that can run in a mixed mode and once I upgrade anything I need to I can switch to the faster speed exclusively.

Thanks guys