A Real Video Player

Teuton

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Oct 29, 2004
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With hard drive space so cheap I would think that someone would come up with a box that I could load all of my DVDs onto hard drives so i could just sit down and scroll through a menu and select what I want. Kind of like a MP3 player only with DVD quality video.

My wife and I have bought many TV programs to watch. The problem is that whenever we want to watch a different program on of us (that would be me) has to get up and search through our library to find the DVD and load it in the player and watch the FBI screen for the billionth time and then wait for the menu to come up to make a selection and wait for the program to start. Hell, I could almost watch half of a show on TV before we get to the actual video.

Why can we load music in boxes and just look at menus to select the song but not video? We can take our songs anywhere but not our videos. Do we have to listen to a 15 second delivery on the consequences of pirating music by the FBI before every song? No.

I need a DVD player that stores 100s of programs (in a proprietary format?) in a portable box (Gamecube size?) that I can take with me to the inlaws or wherever. It has to have a menu system that allows me to make playlists and get to my videos quickly.

I realize I could build one myself somehow but I don't have the time or patience. This would be a real innovative piece of hardware ....... a REAL video iPod.
 

xitshsif

Senior member
Dec 6, 2004
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When you're packing hard drives into small box (Gamecube size), you definitely need to worry about heat. Heat at noise both. Especially for something like playing DVDs, which will require near constant hard drive access.
 

n0cmonkey

Elite Member
Jun 10, 2001
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I've been playing with the idea of this for a while in my head. Shouldn't be difficult to make really, and programs like mythTV probably have half the functionality or more already.
 

Teuton

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Oct 29, 2004
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Originally posted by: xitshsif
When you're packing hard drives into small box (Gamecube size), you definitely need to worry about heat. Heat at noise both. Especially for something like playing DVDs, which will require near constant hard drive access.

I don't think heat would have to be an issue. Low performance hard drives that run cooler already exist and are put in Xboxes, iPods etc. A video iPod is totally sealed and is constantly accessing the HD.
 

xitshsif

Senior member
Dec 6, 2004
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Originally posted by: Teuton
I don't think heat would have to be an issue. Low performance hard drives that run cooler already exist and are put in Xboxes, iPods etc. A video iPod is totally sealed and is constantly accessing the HD.

The OP is looking to store hundreds of full DVD quality movies. You're going to need a lot more storage than something like a video iPod. Newer high capacity drives do run hot. Also, is the OP just looking for external storage, or a complete working system in the box? Gotta factor in cpu/video/motherboard heat too. Then of course you'd need adequate cooling while keeping quiet.
 

Teuton

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Oct 29, 2004
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A complete working system in the box. Even if it was double or quadruple the size of a gamecube it could be portable. There are existing small form factor pc cases that will handle a couple of large drives. I am not so hung up on size as I am a turn key solution. We can do it with music so why not video?
 

Teuton

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Oct 29, 2004
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Both of these suggestions are the cobbled solutions i have already researched. I am looking for something more turn key. Put the DVD in and it automatically rips the videos to the built in HD. These solutions would involve having to buy illegal software to rip the DVDs.

I am already aware of these other solutions. I have a full blown set-up with and ATI HDTV card and DVDclone to get the movies to my HD and a 24" LCD Monitor to play them on. It's just that it's not and easy turn key solution. I think Toshiba sells a DVD/HD system with an HDTV tuner for about $900 that can record TV programs over the air. I would think with a couple of modifications a DVD could be inserted and ripped to that same HD and accessed through the same menu.
 

pibb

Senior member
Jul 15, 2005
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I'd build a computer with massive amounts of harddrive space, rip all my DVDs to DivX/Xvid copies making them around 700-900MB for each movie.

Then I'd buy a used Xbox and perform a softmod on it and install Xbox Media Center. Run XXGUI (server interface) on the PC, and network the PC to Xbox using a crossover cable or directly into your router.

That'd do exactly what you want while taking the need of having the PC in the living room out, it would also take out most all of the hardware strain on the PC besides the harddrive being accessed. This is how my setup works, and it suites me just fine. I've got over 100 DivX/Xvid encoded movies setting on my harddrive, plenty of choices and all I have to do is turn on my Xbox :)

http://www.xbox-scene.com/ http://www.how2xbox.com/site/ should get you started.

Good Luck.
 

Teuton

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Oct 29, 2004
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Originally posted by: pibb
I'd build a computer with massive amounts of harddrive space, rip all my DVDs to DivX/Xvid copies making them around 700-900MB for each movie.

Then I'd buy a used Xbox and perform a softmod on it and install Xbox Media Center. Run XXGUI (server interface) on the PC, and network the PC to Xbox using a crossover cable or directly into your router.

That'd do exactly what you want while taking the need of having the PC in the living room out, it would also take out most all of the hardware strain on the PC besides the harddrive being accessed. This is how my setup works, and it suites me just fine. I've got over 100 DivX/Xvid encoded movies setting on my harddrive, plenty of choices and all I have to do is turn on my Xbox :)

http://www.xbox-scene.com/ http://www.how2xbox.com/site/ should get you started.

Good Luck.

It looks like a great (and fun) idea but I am wondering why something simpler isn't offered by Sony, Samsung, JVC or Toshiba.
 

jackschmittusa

Diamond Member
Apr 16, 2003
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You could use free software to rip just the movie to a hd. Name the folder the same as the movie. You would then have a series of folders that would play the movies only, no warnings, no previews, no menus, etc..

It is easy to do, but I am sure it is techniquely illegal to modify the content by throwing the other crap out. that is why no one offers a turnkey slution for what you want to do.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
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He doesn't want to bother with ripping on a PC.
He wants a magical machine to do it all for him.
 

ForumMaster

Diamond Member
Feb 24, 2005
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as jack said, it's technically illegal which is why you won't find a ready made solution. but you could use something like DVD Shrink to get only the movie, then rip it to Xvid and then play those files from a NAS.
 

xitshsif

Senior member
Dec 6, 2004
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iTunes still requires you to rip audio. What's the problem with ripping video, then playing it on previously mentioned HTPC (or iPod).
 

Teuton

Member
Oct 29, 2004
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I just think the set-up I am thinking of should be easy to make. Finding software that is legal and can rip video may be a hurdle.
 

xitshsif

Senior member
Dec 6, 2004
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Originally posted by: Teuton
What software could I put on it that will detect a DVD and rip it to the HD just like Windows Media Player does with music CDs?

AFAIK. Legally, nothing.
 

Teuton

Member
Oct 29, 2004
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So what I need is some rich greedy bostich to design and manufacture a box that has Sony's and Universal's approval to rip DVDs in some proprietary format that would protect it from being pirated.
 

Auric

Diamond Member
Oct 11, 1999
9,596
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Originally posted by: Teuton
LOL.... ok. Lets start with this case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811204014 and add MB, memory, CPU a dvd player and Two 500Gb HDs.

What happened to small? That's a gigantic expensive case which has fallen on its side :p

What software could I put on it that will detect a DVD and rip it to the HD just like Windows Media Player does with music CDs?

Meow meow not gonna happen. It's not in any content owners interest, at least not sans DRM and proprietary formats that lock you down to that device.

As you know there are gobs of media devices and like PC options to do exactly what you want except for the automagical part. So accept it and move on (get started!). :p

To me, the only stumbling block would be that I wouldn't go with anything less than AVC while maintaining the original AC3 or DTS track for best quality and compression, however that puts the kaibosh on most ready-made EZ playback devices at the mo' and so points more to a fiddly PC setup.

So, one possible solution would be a peppy laptop with whatever TVO options are required plus external storage. That would be compact and portable; heck, the external storage could be designed into a box the same dimensions as the laptop and they could be fixed together with Velcro. Assuming big ol' cheap desktop drives a single power adapter could be cobbled together to run both them and the laptop.