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Old 8th June 2010, 18:29   #1  |  Link
jcalcote
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Data storage for HTPC using Matroska

My question has general and specific aspects to it. First some background.

I'm setting up a home theater PC. My original goal was to use W7MC to stream content to my XBox 360, but over time, I've become disillusioned with this approach. First, the XBox is noisy, error-prone, and finicky about what formats it likes. Seconds, W7MC sadly seems less functional in key areas then WVMC. Additionally, it seems that m$ is more often than not working against its customer base by a) trying not to compete with its XBox content division, and b) catering to the content providers' overly strict copyright constraints.

Recently, I've discovered xbmc (the PC edition), and have changed my tack. I'm now considering putting a cheap quiet nettop box next to my projector and stereo and simply running xbmc as a dedicated OS. This also allows me to simply access AV content over network shares or various streaming protocols from my big (and rather noisy) storage and transcoding machine in my hobby room. I love xbmc for many reasons, not the least of which is that its DVDPlayer supports mkv containers and any codecs that ffmpeg supports, as well as several very high quality audio codecs.

I've also recently discovered matroska and am enthralled by it. An open standards/open source A/V container that can handle anything! Cool! Anyway, here are my questions:

1. I want to transcode my entire dvd/blu-ray library into a multi-terabyte htpc disk-based media library. I'm not interested in maintaining absolute quality at the expense of hard drive space. I have hundreds of movies, and I want them all to fit on a few terabytes of space. I do care about video quality, but I'm simply not the purist that some folks on these forums are. At my age, and with the older display equipment I have, I simply can't tell the difference between a 5 Gb h.264 encoded 1080p video and a 50 Gb AVCHD stream. I do, however, have a very good 7 channel Dennon decoder/amp driving quality speakers that I built myself, so I want a high-quality audio stream. (I also think audio plays a bigger role in suspension of disbelief than most people give it credit for.) What should I put into my matroska containers to preserve good sound quality, reasonable video quality, and disk space?

2. I bought AnyDVD HD, which does a fine job of decrypting my disk library. But I'm having trouble finding a solution to the VC-1 problem. That is, I can't seem to find a tool to transcode the m2ts VC-1 HD video streams into h.264. I have tools to demux. Whenever I've seen people on forums ask questions about this, the answers invariably contain references to avisynth and other command-line tools. I'm a programmer myself, so I have no particular aversion to this sort of thing, but avisynth, like most of the other tools of it's class relies on an underlying set of codecs/protocols that are installed separately. So if you're going to give me an answer that references avisynth or other such tools, please refer me to the correct codecs and an example input script that will read a VC-1 stream as input.

Thanks in advance,
John

Last edited by jcalcote; 8th June 2010 at 20:25.
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Old 9th June 2010, 16:18   #2  |  Link
beandog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcalcote View Post
1. I want to transcode my entire dvd/blu-ray library into a multi-terabyte htpc disk-based media library. I'm not interested in maintaining absolute quality at the expense of hard drive space. I have hundreds of movies, and I want them all to fit on a few terabytes of space. I do care about video quality, but I'm simply not the purist that some folks on these forums are.
How many hundreds are we talking about? I'm in the same boat, but I've opted to do everything at the expense of space, thereby ignoring problems of quality, encoding issues, and time.

DVDs are only gonna cap out at about 6 GB anyway, and I've ripped my entire collection (~150 movies) and it's only sitting at around 750GB IIRC.

I can understand wanting to transcode blu-rays though.

Anyway, just curious.

Last edited by beandog; 9th June 2010 at 16:22.
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Old 9th June 2010, 17:19   #3  |  Link
jcalcote
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Originally Posted by beandog View Post
How many hundreds are we talking about?
Only about 300. Most of them are DVD - and you're right about transcoding DVD's for space savings. I hadn't actually thought that far ahead, but I probably won't transcode those.

I'm really interested in transcoding with blu-rays though. They're just too big - at nearly 10 times the size, they really waste the disk space. I don't have very many of them yet, but I expect to have more in the future and I don't want to keep adding more drives to the media server.
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