Video game addicts...

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by EvilGenius, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. McNeal

    McNeal Long timer

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    Build verses buy is one of the things I need to figure out. Since I'd like to convert my DVD's into some format so that I can view them on demand means additional storage and something tells me that X51 doesn't have the space or power for 3 or 4 drives.


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  2. Jonnylotto

    Jonnylotto All out of care

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    Buy a Roku3 for $99, use it for streaming everything to the TV, including stuff on your PC. The remote with earphone jack is to die for when you're watching porn late at night and don't want to disturb the family. :evil It also doubles as a game controller but the game collection is very limited right now and may never go beyond "casual gaming" like Angry Birds.

    I've slowly been ripping my 400+ DVD collection to MP4s for streaming and there are a couple of apps you can add to the Roku for streaming your own content, including some workarounds for iTunes.

    As for Gaming vs HTPC, gaming is geared for performance and can easily be used for htpc *but* it will probably be noisy unless you focus on acoustics. HTPCs are designed to be quiet and a smaller form factor.
  3. UnderNewOwnership

    UnderNewOwnership Thread Slayer

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    You could get an Ouya, instead, when it'll come out. It's $99 as well, and it's a bone-fide Android micro-console.

    A decent gaming HTPC needs an AMD Fusion APU, like the upcoming A10-6700 (and some high-bandwidth memory, like 2133 MHz).
  4. McNeal

    McNeal Long timer

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    I figured I would be using something like a Roku for our second TV and that it could stream from the main HTPC. I'm not to worried about noise and there might even be some benefit if the box makes it so others don't want to watch TV, movies, or whatnot from that room. I'm deaf, well not exactly ... I've got a profound hearing loss, and wear hearing aids. I've got a device that transmits the sound wirelessly from the output source to my hearing aids so I don't hear any external noise such as fans.

    So, I would like to have something that can rip all of my DVD's so that I can watch them on demand from either TV, run Netflix and maybe Hulu applications, record HD broadcast TV so that I can time shift my viewing, and play some games using my nice large screen TV. So, what I'm trying to decide and get opinions on is creating such a composite system possible? I think so. Would I save money? Has anyone done something like what I'm trying to do and have opinions they'd like to share.
  5. Jonnylotto

    Jonnylotto All out of care

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    You're adding functionality so you're spending money, period.:lol3

    It used to be "on Demand" movie watching meant getting up and loading the disc into the tray and pushing "play". :deal

    You'll get a lot more information from these guys than you will here:

    http://www.avsforum.com/
  6. McNeal

    McNeal Long timer

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    So true.
    A first world probably for sure. Another benefit of having the DVD's on demand is that I've got a couple of grandchildren that visit. We've already lost a couple of DVD's that have been scratched because little hands aren't so gentle. Some I can replace, but others not so easily. Scan 'em once and then lock the DVD's up.
    Thanks.
  7. Jonnylotto

    Jonnylotto All out of care

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    Same thing here. My youngest was swapping discs in the BluRay player before she was 3 years old. I bought a SkipDRx to take care of that problem.
  8. TheMuffinMan

    TheMuffinMan Forest Ranger Magnet

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    Basically you want a computer. Ripping DVD's and even Blu-Rays is easy nowdays and I am well versed in it. I am a fairly hardcore geek, and have been doing computer support for the last 5 years professionally and tinkering with the stuff for the last 12 years.

    There are several ways to accomplish what you want to do. What I'm going to describe is what I recommend and what will work well, but is by no means the only way to accomplish this. I will write this guide so you can rip, and play back Blu-Ray movies. For DVD's the requirements will be slightly less.

    First, lets take a look at what you'll need hardware wise for this venture:

    1. A computer to rip, compress (aka encode), and house your digitized movies.
    2. On each TV you'll need a blu-ray movie player that can play movies from network shares and can connect to a wired computer network. Most can do this by default and I can help pick one out. The Roku might work but I've never used one.
    3. A wired computer network between the computer, and each blu-ray player on each TV.

    Now for software:
    For ripping Blu-Rays and DVD's I highly recommend AnyDVDHD . That'll get rid of any copy protection and digital rights management junk on the movies and pull the movies files onto your hard drive from the disc.

    Next, you'll want to compress your movie file so it's easier to play over the network. This part gets slightly complicated but needless to say you'll want the free program Handbrake. You might need a couple other free programs to prepare the files for conversion. I can show you the ropes if you'd like, that goes too for the handbrake settings. Now converting movies is extremely processor intensive. Basically the faster your CPU/processor in the computer the faster the movie is compressed. Depending on quality settings you can compress a DVD in about one to three hours depending largely on your processor. A blu-ray can take 8-12 hours or more. These times can be lessened if you want crappy compressions that loose video quality. I'm kind of a stickler for quality, and you only have to compress the movie once so I say do it right the first time. For specifics on hardware for this computer ask me.

    Anyway, after your movie is converted you'll need to house it somewhere. Depending on how many movies you have you will probably want a 2TB (about 1000GB is in 1TB) hard drive at a minimum. This isn't that complicated until you want to back up your digitized movies in case your hard drive fails. I highly highly highly recommend backing up your movies. Nothing sucks more than loosing 3-4 years of digitized movies and having to start over again; don't ask me how I know.

    To back things up you'll want what's called a RAID system which basically for your purposes we'll keep it simple. We'll do RAID level '1' called mirroring which means you plug two hard drives of the same size (and ideally the same model) into the computer and when the RAID is setup on the computer it will automatically back up every bit of data from the first hard drive to the second. You won't ever see the second hard drive unless you need it and will never have to manually back up any data.

    So for hard drives (storage) I would say a minimum of two 2TB drives in a Raid 1 'mirroring' setup this gives you a total usable space of 2TB since the second drive is an exact copy of the first. If you're buying new computer components most main boards support Raid 1 if you buy parts seperately, if you buy a pre-built computer like a Dell or whatnot you'll probably need an add-on card for the RAID. So after you have your storage hard drives I would buy a 500GB-1TB hard drive to be your system and encoding drive. It's a good idea to keep the movies and the system drives separate. Then lastly you'll need a blu-ray drive for the computer which are about $50-60 these days.

    For the comptuer network I would wire it up. You'll need some Cat5e or Cat6 network cables and a network switch. Depending on how the house is located and everything is situated you might want to put the Cat5e/6 cables through the walls of the house but that's up to you. Another option that I've had mixed results with is the powerline networking adapters. Basically it uses the existing power wiring in the house to transmit network signals. It's easier then running network cables through the walls but I've seen flakiness with some of the powerline adapters. If you do go the powerline route buy all the same brand and model of adapters, and make sure your speeds on the adapters are 200Mbits/sec or higher.

    Then after that's all setup and you have a couple movies compressed you'll share the movie folder over the network and then you connect to the share from your Blu-ray players and play the movie(s) on the TV's.


    Now if you want to use the computer for gaming you can eliminate one of the blu-ray players and connect the computer directly to one of the TV's. The drawback to this is the fans and hard drives can be slightly loud (relative to a quiet room) in the computer which could be a distraction.

    Another option IF both TV's are within 50 feet of where the computer could be located is you can connect the computer to both TV's with 50 foot HDMI cables; I wouldn't go further then 50 feet with HDMI or the signal degrades. If this works out you wouldn't need the computer network stuff. Then to access and control the computer you could remotely control it from an iPad/Tablet or a laptop computer from your couch over the WIFI and start your movie playing through that remote connection to whichever TV.

    The basic configuration for the computer remains the same either route you just eliminate the network and some complexity.




    Anyway that's all I feel like writing for now, PM me or post here for more info.
  9. Jonnylotto

    Jonnylotto All out of care

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    You do know this is 2013, right? :lol3

    Between 802.11ac & n, Homeplug AV and wireless HDMI repeaters there's 0 reason to run a wired home network or 50' HDMI cables, especially for a single family home. The only required wire (and even this is debatable) is between the broadband modem & router and the primary ripping station and NAS box.

    and I know you've heard this one: "RAID is not a backup".:freaky
  10. TheMuffinMan

    TheMuffinMan Forest Ranger Magnet

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    Hey if you have a better idea then feel free to post your setup. I like my way.

    Thanks for your valuable input. :freaky
  11. Jonnylotto

    Jonnylotto All out of care

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    I thought this was a clear indication that he wanted to get away from wiring? :lol3
  12. McNeal

    McNeal Long timer

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    I was wanting information or opinions on combining the two systems, a gaming machine and HTPC, wondering if anyone had done that and what conclusions they came to.

    I'm not worried about the nuts of bolts of putting the system together since I've been working in the computer industry for 30 years. I've ported various flavors of Unix (Version 7, BSD, SysV, SunOS, Solaris, and Linux) to more hardware than I care to remember.
  13. YakSpout

    YakSpout Obstacle Allusion

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    Not sure I'd combine them.

    Generally gaming rigs are power-hungry noise makers in a mid-tower or larger case for airflow and HTPCs are quiet mini-ATXs with a big HDD and 1080p output capability that have to be on for hours everyday.

    If you're looking for just a media server, you can load Tomato onto just about any WAP that supports USB-connected HDDs and you've got a Plex server. (have that at my house on a NetGear 3500 with a 1TB external drive attached.) Plex playback is now supported on Roku and just about any recent Samsung TV or BluRay player and there are iOS and Android apps for it, too.
  14. McNeal

    McNeal Long timer

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    If you look back a few posts you might notice that I stated I've got an unusual situation. I've got a profound hearing loss and wear hearing aids. For watching TV, playing games, or just listening to music I've got a device that wireless distributes the sound to my hearing aids. This means that noise from a computer wouldn't bother me and such noise might have the added benefit of keeping others out of my TV room. :D

    I need to do some more research into the Home Theater space and then ask questions on the avsforum.

    So, any rumors on Fallout 4?
  15. YakSpout

    YakSpout Obstacle Allusion

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    Saw that. Just figured that burning an 850+w power supply to run a GTX680 and a ripping proc wasn't the best plan to watch your ripped copy of "Four Weddings And A Funeral." :D

    Horses for courses. HTPCs are small and quiet and draw little power, in general. Gaming rigs are the opposite. Your HTPC won't play games like a full-built rig will, and if you want to do both, you build the rig and shoehorn it into the HTPC role. So it burns more power than your TV to idle while you stream video off of it. It also won't sit unobtrusively next to a TV, which you'll need if you plan to use it to time-shift off-the-air programming. (Or some way to get the antenna/cable feed onto the PC, and record it, then some way to play it back out to the TV.)

    Lots to discover over at avsforum. You can lose days there. :lol3
  16. Jonnylotto

    Jonnylotto All out of care

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    I have. :lol3
  17. Dismount

    Dismount Boring bastard

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    I can speak from experience that the home theater thing......ROCKS.

    Even a ghetto setup like mine. A 9 or 10 foot screen and a recliner is a wonderful wonderful thing. With a little practice you can manage to operate a keyboard securely on one leg, and a mouse on an old laptop pad on the other. :deal

    If you've got windows in your room, some blackout curtains and a little velcro makes a great addition.
  18. Dysco

    Dysco Puppy wrangler

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    I have $25 code for Hawken and Planetside if anyone wants to trade for $15 towards WOT.
  19. KungPaoDog

    KungPaoDog Been here awhile

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    I'm sure I'll get jumped all over for this, and I know I'm a bit late to the party, but why not get a used PS3? You can buy five to fifteen used PS3's for the cost of a decent gaming PC, and the PS3 won't ever need new hardware to play the latest game, or to just stay ahead of the curve. Any game you put in it will just work (after it downloads update for an hour:lol3), and you can still watch DVD/Blu-Ray/Netflix/Hulu. I think it can even pull stuff from a media server.
  20. Jonnylotto

    Jonnylotto All out of care

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    Let me be first. :thwak

    :lol3

    Skyrim and Fallout both play best on the PC and you can still use a game controller if that's your fancy. The PS/3 (and other consoles) eventually go out of support and then become obsolete. The new games won't work and you'll end up doing your own repairs on a device that wasn't designed to be repaired.