Looking for advice on managing media across multiple platforms


#1

Hello,  I am looking for pointers from experienced users on managing media on my My Book World Edition.  I have successfully installed the devide on my network and have moved my pictures, music, and videos to the My Book public folders.  I can see and access them successfully.  What I need is some help in theory on how to organize and synch it.

I currently have several deviced that are on the network:

1 Windows Vista Desktop using Windows Media Player

2 Windows Laptop using iTunes and synched with iPhones

1 Play Station III

Currently all of the music is in .WMA format since it lived on the Windows Vista Desktop.  I guess what I need to know is how to best manage and synch the music between all of the devices.  For instance hsould I remove the local files from the original PC and point Windows Media Player to the My Book?  Or should I continue to rip to the desktop and manually copy the files up?  The main problem I think will be iTunes since it (I think) does not read WMA files and we had to convert the Media Player library to iTunes on the laptop.

Also, since I amusing the World Book as a media server, should I create a separate back up somewhere else?  Or is it better to synch everything to the desktop and just use the World Book as a backup?


#2

I have pretty much the same setup.  I use Sound Taxi software to convert all of my media files to compatible files. its really easy to use and it has a batch file option to it.  The software converts it to whatever file extension you want and it strips the copyright protection at the same time.

My files are setup like this

Videos.

.AVI (DivX)

Music

.MP3

I stream , sync and backup everything from the NAS drive.

hope this helps.


#3

Well I was able to convert everything to MP3 and store it on the World Book.  I lost all of my album art though, so I guess I will have to go back and manually add an AlbumArt .jpg to each folder.  Yuck!


#4

What I do is rip my CDs to my desktop, then use MS SyncToy to automatically synchronize the local files with the files on the NAS. I leave a copy on the local drive as a backup (I really don’t want to have to re-rip my entire CD collection if the drive in the NAS dies), but use the NAS to share the files with my XBox, laptops, and other computers. This way, I don’t have to leave my PC on 24x7 and can leave the NAS running, which uses far less electricity.

As far as ripping goes, you will have to use MP3 files for iTunes, since it doesn’t support WMA. However, rather than converting from WMA, why not rip directly to MP3? You can set Windows Media Player to rip to MP3 or use a different application to rip, which will give you more control over the MP3 settings and even let you use a variable rate encoding.

Not only will ripping directly to MP3 save you time, it will improve the sound quality. WMA is a lossy format (well, most of WMA, except for WMA Lossless, which takes up a lot of space). What this means is that you lose some of the data when you compress, and it can’t be replaced. The data that’s lost is data that most people won’t notice missing. It would be like cutting some margins off a letter to make it fit in an envelope that’s just a little too small. Most people aren’t going to notice that the letter isn’t quite the standard size.

However, when you convert from WMA to MP3, you’re recompressing with a second lossy compression method. The MP3 codec will remove even more data, magnifying the data loss. Once again, you’re trimming the margins, but this time, you’re out of margins, so you’re cutting into the text slightly. You’re still able to read the letter, but you can see the difference between the trimmed letter and the original.