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  1. Member
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    HI, I cannot seem to find an answer to this question but maybe you guys could help me. I am disabled which means I stay home a lot and watch a lot of video's. Mostly Blu-Ray and DVDS that I have purchased through the years. Most of them are ripped and on my computer and I would love to put them on some type of media box but I don't know what kind I need. Some forums recommend a NAS or Server, but is that truly what I need if I'm only using one TV to watch them on? I know the Nvidia Shield is very popular for streaming to many devices, but can it be used as a stand alone media player with a external hard drive for just one TV? Would android boxes like Egreat 10, KDLINKS A400 or ZIDOO X10 might be more suitable for my needs? In short, what I need is a good media box for one TV that that can store a few terabyte's of video's. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank You.
    Last edited by mightymark; 28th Jul 2018 at 19:41.
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  2. If your computer is close to your TV you can probably connect it directly to your TV (via DVI, HDMI) to watch videos.

    You can share a drive or folder on your current computer rather than using a NAS. The end result is the same thing. Of course that means your computer must be on when you want to watch the videos stored on it. I use an inexpensive NAS simply because it has much less power consumption than a typical computer. ~20 watts when both drives are spinning, <10 watts when idle. So I never turn it off.

    If you want to use a standalone media player to play network shares you just need to find one that supports the formats and resolutions of your videos, and has a UI you like. You don't need to spend big bucks for that. You might be happy with a US$35 player. Especially if you don't need 4K and HDR support. I use a Raspberry Pi these days. It also has very low power consumption (<5 watts when idle, about 10 watts when playing HD video) so I never turn it off. The RPi itself costs US$35 but you'll probably need a power supply, case and remote control. You can get that in media player kit form for about US$70. There's some user setup involved but it's not hard.
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    This has been discussed numerous times on this forum.

    Assuming you have your Blu-Rays backed up as .MKV (i.e separate files with no menus), any of the following will suit your needs. If they're saved as .ISO (i.e a complete copy of the disc with menus, the options are far fewer, possibly a Blu-Ray player or a HTPC or laptop. About a year ago, I swapped out one of my failing WDTVs with a small laptop for my secondary TV. It's not quite as user friendly, but works well with a wireless keyboard.*

    *My preference is a Logitech K400 which combines a mid-size keyboard with a touchpad. I've other mini-keyboards including one with a wireless mouse feature (you wave the keyboard to maneuver the mouse, but the K400 is the most convenient.

    $50 - $100 - Android Box or Raspberry Pi (as Jagabo suggested). Stick with the 4 star+ boxes on Amazon and the build quality is generally solid with higher cost giving you additional streaming features that you may not need.

    $100 - $150 - Blu-Ray player. Be sure the player will play DVD .ISOs (if you have them) and .MKVs. Newer players may not support all types of video files.

    $150+ - KDLinks, Nvidia Shield, laptop, HTPC. Note that the newer KDLinks models (e.g. A400) run Android and IMHO, doesn't warrant the premium over a $100 Android Box. While the Nvidia Shield is highly praised, most of the praise is for it's gaming capabilities, not the video capabilities.

    After using an old laptop (actually a 2-in-1 tablet) for my second TV, I'm seriously thinking about replacing or supplementing my beloved WDTV with another laptop or small PC. The main advantage being that I can play video files other than .ISOs or .MKVs.

    As for storage, get an external drive and connect it directly to the box. 8TB externals are best bargain now at less than $150 (less than $20/TB) with 6TB and 4TB externals available for ~$25/TB. As much as possible, connect and disconnect the drive on the side (the rectangle connector) that connects to the box. The USB interface on cheap external drives are prone to failure and I highly suspect it's the poor connection/construction of the USB connection that attaches to the drive. If the drive fails or starts acting odd (and out of warranty), remove it from the case and it's likely fine once you install it into a high quality external case.

    Edit: Unless you're planning to view the files on another device than your TV (which you've stated is the only place you'll be watching on), a NAS is unnecessary. I have two large multi-bay external drive cases connected to my WDTV for my main viewing and a second smaller enclosure (with a drive filled with the videos I usually watch there) connected to the laptop on my second TV. On the rare occasion that I want to watch something that's not in the second enclosure, I just walk it over from my large case to my smaller one.
    Last edited by lingyi; 28th Jul 2018 at 20:53.
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  4. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    Popcorn Cloud Media A-500 has been tested up to 6TB 2.5" hdd
    I use mine with the operating system on a 32GB memory card and it's linked to my NAS but others have also put in a hdd in the convenient tray on the right hand side for local storage.

    https://www.cloudmedia.com/?product=a-500
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 64bit ~ Yamaha RX-A1070 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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  5. Member hech54's Avatar
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    I just use my Blu Ray player and a portable HDD attached to the player's USB port.
    Done.
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    Wow! Thanks for all the good advice. So many options now. Jagabo I did consider connecting my computer to my TV but I hate the idea of leaving the computer on all the time. This computer was custom made for my son last year for gaming but he recently left for college. The power supply is a Coolermaster V1000 so that alone concerns me on power consumption. Lingyi, I started looking on Amazon for a Android Box but trying to find one that supports most file formats, has a good UI and has a 3.0 USB port gets confusing in the multitude of boxes. I do not need 4K or HDR but I would prefer the best-quality video and audio possible from my Blu-rays and DVD'S. I rip my Blu-Rays using MakeMKV and my DVD'S using DVD-Decrypter but to be honest I get a little confused when it comes to file formats and video codec's. For instance, is a DVD a Mpeg-2 or a Video_ts file or a VOB? All my ripped DVD'S are still in folders as Video_TS files, and I don't think many android boxes will work with Video_TS. I used a program called Wondershare converter to reduce the 4.7 GB file to a 1.5 GB Mp4 but I noticed a drop in picture quality. I purchased a Seagate 8TB external HD today and I was wondering about the best way of getting the media on the drive. Is it as simple as connecting the drive to the computer and copying the videos to it, and then connect the drive back to the android box? I'm sorry for all the questions but I have nobody to turn to for such good advice. I really appreciate it. Thank You.
    Last edited by mightymark; 30th Jul 2018 at 03:36.
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  7. Originally Posted by mightymark View Post
    is a DVD a Mpeg-2 or a Video_ts file or a VOB?
    DVD is MPEG 2 video (and usually AC3 audio) in a VOB container with IFO files that tell the player how to display the video.

    Originally Posted by mightymark View Post
    All my ripped DVD'S are still in folders as Video_TS files, and I don't think many android boxes will work with Video_TS.
    I don't know which android boxes can play VIDEO_TS folders, but since you already have MakeMKV, you can use that to remux the VOB files into an MKV container.

    Originally Posted by mightymark View Post
    I purchased a Seagate 8TB external HD today and I was wondering about the best way of getting the media on the drive. Is it as simple as connecting the drive to the computer and copying the videos to it, and then connect the drive back to the android box?
    Yes. Copy a few files first and verify the file system is supported (FAT32, NTFS, etc.).
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    Originally Posted by mightymark View Post
    I rip my Blu-Rays using MakeMKV and my DVD'S using DVD-Decrypter but to be honest I get a little confused when it comes to file formats and video codec's. For instance, is a DVD a Mpeg-2 or a Video_ts file or a VOB? All my ripped DVD'S are still in folders as Video_TS files, and I don't think many android boxes will work with Video_TS.
    If Google has not required DVD playback to be removed from Kodi for the official Android version, maybe KODI for Android can play VIDEO_TS folders.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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    Don't fret about file compatibility. Install MX Player and VLC (through the Google Play store) in your box and you'll be able to play the majority of video files.

    As jagabo stated, it's best to remux your VIDEO_TS folders with MakeMKV or use IMGBurn to create an .iso if you want to keep the menus and disc structure. While it's possible to play the files from the VIDEO_TS folder (which contains multiple files) directly, it's much easier to play an .mkv or .iso.

    As discussed in another thread, the first thing I always do with a new hard drive (external or internal), is do a Quick Format (I prefer NTFS) to remove any additional software that may be installed and check that the drive is functioning correctly.
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    I just double-checked and VLC will play both .iso and .vob. It won't open .ifo which allows multiple .vobs to be played as a single file.
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  11. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    VLC... won't open .ifo which allows multiple .vobs to be played as a single file.
    It will open the root IFO just like a DVD player.
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  12. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mightymark View Post
    Wow! Thanks for all the good advice. So many options now. ....snip....... I rip my Blu-Rays using MakeMKV and my DVD'S using DVD-Decrypter but to be honest I get a little confused when it comes to file formats and video codec's. ......snip Thank You.
    As you already use MakeMKV for your Blu-ray discs why not be consistent and use it for your DVD's as well. Then you only have MKV files to deal with.
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 64bit ~ Yamaha RX-A1070 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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    I use ISOs for DVDs because it allows me to keep the menus and extras in one file. I would backup my Blu-Rays as ISOs, but media players that support Blu-Ray ISOs are very rare and expensive. I could play them though my PC or laptop, but then I'm limited in choice of software players.
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    @netmask56

    FYI, the Popcorn A-500 is apparently discontinued. The site you linked shows it as Out of Stock (both U.S and EU) and I haven't seen a new one for sale in years.
    Last edited by lingyi; 30th Jul 2018 at 21:24.
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  15. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    Still available from one of the Australian distributors https://streamaster.com.au/hd-media-players-120/popcorn-hour-nmt-media-player.html - it's a great unit but the chip manufacturer has got out of the Media player business so I guess Cloud Media will release a new model with a new chipset. DUNE would be a good replacement. http://dune-hd.com/eng/products/full_hd_media_players
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 64bit ~ Yamaha RX-A1070 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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  16. way to Rigel 7 cornemuse's Avatar
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    I have Argosy, WDTV live, Dune 30 3D media players, I much prefer the Argosy.

    I have two of these:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B003GDU8WI/ref=dp_olp_used_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=used

    This is the first one I've seen for sale in a looong time.

    My remote has 'volume control/mute' buttons.

    -c-
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    Does anyone know what adoptable storage means? I was at Best Buy yesterday and I seen the Nvidia Shield. I mentioned to the salesman that If I were to purchase the box I mainly wanted to use it as a media player using a external hard drive. He then replied as "adoptable storage." He tried to explain but he was called away.
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    I was ready to chalk up adoptable storage to a salesperson's spiel, but found out it's a real thing! https://www.androidcentral.com/adoptable-storage It's allows you to make a SD card or external drive a permanent part of your Android's internal storage. There are apps that allow you to move and run other apps to and from internal storage, so I don't see why you would want to use adoptable storage, especially with an external drive.
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  19. Adoptable Storage is OK if that hard drive is permanently connected to your android box...You wont be able to use it elseware (WIndows as a FAT32 or NTFS drive).. sine it will be reformatted and repartioned ..
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    Thanks for that sites guys. It explained a lot about Adoptable storage. I got confused when the salesperson asked me if I wanted "Adoptable Storage." Anyway I'M still ripping my collection with MAKEMKV but there are some Blu-Rays it won't rip. 4 out of 16 would not rip. This last video called Truth or Dare took over an hour and then at the end says "2 files failed, 0 files saved." I then downloaded the trial version of https://www.dvdfab.cn/blu-ray-ripper.htm?trackID=headmenu2 and it ripped it in less then 30 minutes with no problems. But DVDFAB is like seventy dollars with a 2 year license and another eighty dollars extra if you want Cinavia removal. I'll be honest with you guys, this is more work and money then I thought. I just want my Blu-Ray/DVD collection on one box for one TV.
    Any Ideas?
    Last edited by mightymark; 4th Aug 2018 at 19:41.
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    Originally Posted by mightymark View Post
    Thanks for that sites guys. It explained a lot about Adoptable storage. I got confused when the salesperson asked me if I wanted "Adoptable Storage." Anyway I'M still ripping my collection with MAKEMKV but there are some Blu-Rays it won't rip. 4 out of 16 would not rip. This last video called Truth or Dare took over an hour and then at the end says "2 files failed, 0 files saved." I then downloaded the trial version of https://www.dvdfab.cn/blu-ray-ripper.htm?trackID=headmenu2 and it ripped it in less then 30 minutes with no problems. But DVDFAB is like seventy dollars with a 2 year license and another eighty dollars extra if you want Cinavia removal. I'll be honest with you guys, this is more work and money then I thought. I just want my Blu-Ray/DVD collection on one box for one TV.
    Any Ideas?
    There are less expensive rippers sold by various Chinese companies but they have been rightfully accused in the past of stealing components from more expensive paid products. I don't recommend buying them.

    The only free Blu-ray rippers which receive regular updates are MakeMKV (while in beta) and DVDFab Passkey Lite (updates are less frequent than the paid version).
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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    If the Blu-Ray is a new release (i.e. within the past 1-2 months), there may be new copy protection on it that MakeMKV and other programs have to be updated to handle. This is the primary reason DVDFab and other programs require a subscription. Since MakeMKV is free (though it's nice to register to encourage development), it takes longer for it to be updated to handle the new protection schemes.

    Also, don't worry about Cinavia removal since most media players (currently) ignore it.
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    BTW, be sure to backup your external drive. You don't want to have to re-rip your discs again if your drive fails.
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    Thanks everyone, your answers are most important to me. Sorry it took me so long to reply back, I haven't been feeling so good lately. Anyway, my sister has a XBOX1 she said I could have, and I was wondering if it can be used as a media player? strictly movies only. Since I'm not using a NAS, do I just copy all my movies from my computer to the external hard drive and then plug it into the USB 3.0 port on the XBOX1? Will the Xbox1 accept the drive or will it want to be formatted? Also, when I want to add new movies to the drive can I just connect it back to my computer and then back to the Xbox1? And by doing that, will it delete all my previously movies already saved on the drive? Thanks everyone.
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