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  1. My family was arguing about this over Memorial Day weekend, and I don't know the answer - maybe someone here does.

    Is it possible to copy a few Video_TS folders (noncopyrighted) onto a USB, plug it into a TV (newish, it has internet connection), and play the folders just like a DVD?

    From what I can tell, the main problem is that you'd have to navigate to the correct file that plays the main menu. One would think that wouldn't be too hard if the TV lets you select files on a drive. (Theoretically.) And then naturally it depends upon the TV being able to read MPEG-2 files - and the DVD folder structure, which is probably another issue.

    The other alternative, I believe, is to convert the Video_TS folders into MKV files. But doing that loses the menus and brings up issues with what types of underlying codecs different TVs can read. But maybe that's the best solution?

    I have family members who both say 1) it can't be done, and 2) of course it can be done! (And neither, honestly, knows for sure.) Hoping someone can put us straight! Thanks.

    Jen
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  2. In theory it's possible. In practice I don't know of any TV that has the ability. It would require a DVD license which most manufactures wouldn't want to pay. Also, keep in mind that commercial DVDs are almost always encrypted, the decryption key is on the disc, and no rightsholder would allow you to create an unecrypted VIDEO_TS folder on a thumb drive. So this would not work with commercial DVDs -- what most people would want to use it with.
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    The answer is maybe.

    Few if any built-in TV media players can play .iso, .vob or .ifo files. Converting to .mkv (which re-wraps the mpeg-2 file from an .vob container to an .mkv container) won't help if the player doesn't support mpeg-2.

    Edit: Note I stated: "re-wraps the mpeg-2 file from an .vob container to an .mkv container", .mkv is a container and can contain dozens of different file types. Even if you convert a .vob to another format (e.g. h264) and put it into a .mkv container, built in TV media players have very limited restrictions as to how the h264 file is setup (i.e. video and audio). What plays in one set, may not play in another, even the same brand.
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  4. OK. That makes sense. Thanks.

    Jagabo, our discussion was about home movie DVDs. My cousins have a bunch of home videos on DVD that they had transferred at Wal-mart or wherever. They don't have copy protection. They don't have a DVD player hooked up to their TV and wanted to figure out a way to watch the DVDs without discs.

    I guess some testing is in order, but it sounds like MKV might be our best bet to try.
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    The ultimate answer to this and the dozens of variations of it is get a standalone media player for <$50. Not only will it play an .iso with menus, it's well worth the time and frustration when trying other files and finding they don't work on the built-in player.
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  6. Originally Posted by moxiecat View Post
    Jagabo, our discussion was about home movie DVDs. My cousins have a bunch of home videos on DVD that they had transferred at Wal-mart or wherever. They don't have copy protection. They don't have a DVD player hooked up to their TV and wanted to figure out a way to watch the DVDs without discs.
    I know you were talking about home made DVDs. My point was that would be of interest to only a small number of people and a manufacture isn't going to pay for a DVD license for every TV they sell for that small number of users. And they wouldnt want to deal with all the support calls from people trying to use it with commercial DVDs.

    Originally Posted by moxiecat View Post
    I guess some testing is in order, but it sounds like MKV might be our best bet to try.
    MKV will not get you the DVD menus. Remuxing the VOB contents to MPG files is probably a better bet. You still won't have the menus but you'll have wider compatibility.
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  7. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    The ultimate answer to this and the dozens of variations of it is get a standalone media player for <$50. Not only will it play an .iso with menus, it's well worth the time and frustration when trying other files and finding they don't work on the built-in player.
    Curious about this: I assume you are talking about Roku, Apple TV, etc. Doesn't a smart TV, such as what I mentioned (TV with Internet capability), do the same thing as a standalone media player? Is there a difference? We have streamed content through our Sony TV for the past year (YouTube, Netflix) and have wondered why a standalone box would be necessary unless you didn't have a smart TV. (I'm probably misunderstanding these concepts.)
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  8. First, is MPEG-2 on the list of formats your TV will play? If no, then VOB won't play either.

    If yes, it might play the VOB, but probably not, because most VOBs contain so much other stuff (subtitles, alternate audio, navigation pointers, etc.) that many players don't handle them natively. However, if your TV can play MPEG-2 files, than you can pretty easily and quickly extract the MPEG-2 and associated audio into a plain-vanilla MPEG-2 file. That file should play. There is no loss or quality degradation in doing this extraction.
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  9. Originally Posted by moxiecat View Post
    Doesn't a smart TV, such as what I mentioned (TV with Internet capability), do the same thing as a standalone media player? Is there a difference?
    The media player built into a TV is only a minor feature. A checkbox to be ticked on a long list of features. For standalone media players it's their entire reason for existing. They put a lot more effort into making sure they play a wide variety of containers and codecs. Plus a lot of them come from China and they don't pay licensing fees. So you can get a $50 standalone player that's far more advanced than the player built into your TV.
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    Most tv's from 2014 and on which support playing video's from usb will play mpeg-2 wrapped in a mkv container.Only device i know that won't play mpeg-2 or xvid/divx is a roku,it will only play h264 files.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by moxiecat View Post
    Doesn't a smart TV, such as what I mentioned (TV with Internet capability), do the same thing as a standalone media player? Is there a difference?
    The media player built into a TV is only a minor feature. A checkbox to be ticked on a long list of features. For standalone media players it's their entire reason for existing. They put a lot more effort into making sure they play a wide variety of containers and codecs. Plus a lot of them come from China and they don't pay licensing fees. So you can get a $50 standalone player that's far more advanced than the player built into your TV.
    +1 to this post

    To add to it, devices like Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast are primarily Streaming Media Players with support for external video files a secondary function. Some don't support playback of external files at all. The "media player" in almost all HDTVs are Streaming Media Players. As jagabo stated, a Standalone Media Player (e.g. Android Boxes) are designed primarily for playback of external video files with streaming playback a secondary function.
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    Originally Posted by johnmeyer View Post
    First, is MPEG-2 on the list of formats your TV will play? If no, then VOB won't play either.

    If yes, it might play the VOB, but probably not, because most VOBs contain so much other stuff (subtitles, alternate audio, navigation pointers, etc.) that many players don't handle them natively. However, if your TV can play MPEG-2 files, than you can pretty easily and quickly extract the MPEG-2 and associated audio into a plain-vanilla MPEG-2 file. That file should play. There is no loss or quality degradation in doing this extraction.
    The catch with just converting a .VOB to .MPG is that each VOB is limited to 1GB and you'll have multiple .MPGs per DVD unless you merge them into a single file. Much better to remux to .MKV if the TV supports it.
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  13. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    The catch with just converting a .VOB to .MPG is that each VOB is limited to 1GB and you'll have multiple .MPGs per DVD unless you merge them into a single file. Much better to remux to .MKV if the TV supports it.
    VOB2MPG does much the same thing as MakeMKV, it appends and remuxes the contents of a VOB set,but it produces MPG, not MKV.
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  14. Now I get it! I didn't realize that such a thing as a standalone media player existed - I thought you were talking about the typical streaming boxes: Roku, etc. And they're cheap too!

    It seems to me, that if you wanted to play the DVD exactly, with menus intact, an ISO via a standalone media player is the way to go. Has anyone done this? I looked at the specs for a few of them but none specify ISO.

    Also, I'm going to test out a few of the ideas above: MPEG-2, MKV, etc. - and see what one of our TVs can do with them.

    Thanks so much for all the help! Much appreciated!
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  15. Personally, I would never want to keep DVD menus. I'd much rather have an list of files.
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    Originally Posted by moxiecat View Post
    Now I get it! I didn't realize that such a thing as a standalone media player existed - I thought you were talking about the typical streaming boxes: Roku, etc. And they're cheap too!

    It seems to me, that if you wanted to play the DVD exactly, with menus intact, an ISO via a standalone media player is the way to go. Has anyone done this? I looked at the specs for a few of them but none specify ISO.

    Also, I'm going to test out a few of the ideas above: MPEG-2, MKV, etc. - and see what one of our TVs can do with them.

    Thanks so much for all the help! Much appreciated!
    There are a few media players (made by Dune and Popcorn Hour) which can play a DVD ISO but are not an Android device. All of them are relatively expensive and they would need to be imported into the USA.

    If you want an inexpensive media player capable of playing a DVD ISO with full menu support then you should look at one of the so-called Android TV boxes, which are like a mini computer and run Kodi. Kodi can play DVD ISOs. This is one example: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0747NL7PH/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1 Many come with a custom version of Kodi installed but if not you can install the official Kodi for Android on it.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 28th May 2019 at 09:57.
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  17. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I don't know about that particular player but I have their older TX3 model. The minimal remote works fine with KODI but it doesn't really work with Netflix, Amazon, etc. The problem is that the box is running Android for a tablet or smartphone. Many apps expect input from a touch screen. For example, on a smartphone you scroll through Netflix titles by swiping on the screen. With the TX3 there's no screen to swipe on. So the Netflix app is useless. When I complained about this they sent me their air mouse remote for free. With that I could navigate better but the air mouse was very imprecise. Plus you have to keep switching back and forth between air mouse mode and regular remote mode.

    The TX3 had poor deinterlacing and mediocre upscaling. It had lots of little quirks too. It wouldn't wake from sleep mode with one remote, wouldn't power on from the other (the good news is that idle power consumption was only a few watts so there was no need to sleep or power down). It would occasionally lock up on some videos, requiring a power cycle.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I don't know about that particular player but I have their older TX3 model. The minimal remote works fine with KODI but it doesn't really work with Netflix, Amazon, etc. The problem is that the box is running Android for a tablet or smartphone. Many apps expect input from a touch screen. For example, on a smartphone you scroll through Netflix titles by swiping on the screen. With the TX3 there's no screen to swipe on. So the Netflix app is useless. When I complained about this they sent me their air mouse remote for free. With that I could navigate better but the air mouse was very imprecise. Plus you have to keep switching back and forth between air mouse mode and regular remote mode.

    The TX3 had poor deinterlacing and mediocre upscaling. It had lots of little quirks too. It wouldn't wake from sleep mode with one remote, wouldn't power on from the other (the good news is that idle power consumption was only a few watts so there was no need to sleep or power down). It would occasionally lock up on some videos, requiring a power cycle.
    If someone wants to run the true Android TV OS and use their media player for commercial streaming media services, there are only a few real, certified Android TV boxes that I know of: The Xaomi Mi Boxes (latest https://www.amazon.com/Xiaomi-Android-Google-Assistant-Streaming/dp/B07KLWGGYS/) and the NVIDIA Shield TV (https://www.amazon.com/NVIDIA-Shield-Streaming-Media-Player/dp/B075RXV2VR/). I think the Shield TV supports almost everything, even Amazon Prime Instant Video, but the Shield TV is not an inexpensive Android TV Box.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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  19. First thing I'd try, just for zero dollars fun, is simply changing the file extension on the .vob files to .mpg or .mpeg. I remember doing that a some years back in order to get Premiere to import home videos directly from DVDs, and it worked like a charm. No menus, obviously, and you'd be playing the files as separate videos, but it might be a quick and simple fix for basic viewing.
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