Media

Media Center, iTunes, streaming media, music and movie reviews, and technology used to track the media you have.

May Need to Switch to Wiki for Media Center Posts

Looking at the list of media center posts I’ve got and the updates/changes over time just to the main article, I’m thinking I may need to switch to storing this in a wiki. The world of media center stuff changes too frequently to keep the articles all updated. It’s just getting confusing.

posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 9:30 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Media ]

Switched DVD Archiving to MP4

Back in 2008 when I originally was looking at the various solutions for archiving my movies, I weighed the pros and cons of things and decided to rip my movies to VIDEO_TS format. I did that for a few reasons: I wanted to keep the fidelity of the original movie. I didn’t want a whole bunch of additional compression artifacts that would detract from the watching experience. I wanted to keep the sound. I didn’t want everything downmixed to stereo sound, I wanted the full surround experience you’d normally get with the movie....

posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 9:22 AM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Media ]

My Netflix/Comcast Conundrum

Over the last six months, give or take, I’ve noticed that my Netflix streaming performance over my Comcast internet has taken a dive. If I stream a show during the day, I can get a full 1080P HD signal. Watching through my PS3, I get Super HD. It’s awesome. However, watching that same show once it hits “prime time” – between, say, 7:30p and 10:30p – I get a maximum of 480SD. I saw this article that went around about a fellow who caught Verizon supposedly doing some traffic shaping around Amazon Web Services and it got...

WHS v1 End of Life – What’s Next?

Windows Home Server v1 is end of mainstream support tomorrow and some folks have asked me what I'm going to do. Options for switching include upgrading to WHS 2011, switching to Windows Server 2012 Essentials, or moving off the Windows platform entirely to something else. If you've been following my Media Center solution, you'll know I have both an HP MediaSmart Windows Home Server v1 and a Synology DS1010+. I use the WHS for: PC image-based backups General file sharing Image sharing Music sharing (both via file system and via UPnP using Asset). Windows 8 File History I use the Synology DS1010+ for: Storing DVD movie images Serving the MySQL instance...

Rotating HD Video with FFmpeg

I've seen a ton of forum posts and blog posts trying to explain how to use mencoder or FFmpeg to rotate video that you took on your phone. Thing is... they didn't work for me. No matter what I tried, something went awry. The video rotated but no sound came through. The video rotated and sound came through but the quality was horrible. The audio came through but the video wasn't visible. ...and so on. Ugh. I'm a technical guy. Trying to...

The Cataloging Process

As part of my media center solution, I have a fairly rigorous media and metadata management process that goes on any time I acquire new media. I figured I might give folks a glimpse behind the curtain so you know what goes on. Broken down by media type, here's how it goes from acquisition to "in the system." Audio (Music, Audiobooks) CD Add...

Switching from Windows Media Center to XBMC for my Media Front End

I’ve had my media center running for a while using standard Windows Media Center. I like it because it is simple, has few moving pieces, and basically “just works.” Unfortunately, what I’ve been finding is that, when you have some 900+ DVDs in the DVD Library then it’s a bit slow to open. When you select the “Movie Library” option in WMC, it’ll take upwards of 45 seconds to come up. Not only that, but when you scroll through the movies it’s a bit slow, too. There’s also some room for improvement when it comes to the UI...

The Problem with UltraViolet Digital Copy

I have, so far, mostly enjoyed the whole "digital copy" thing movies provide. It saves me time ripping DVDs and running them through Handbrake, plus it's "legal." Which isn't to say l have any moral qualms ripping discs I own and transforming them into formats I require for personal use. I don't condone piracy and own a lot of discs. I recently picked up Harry Potter and the  Deathly Hallows Part 2 and it came with this new "UltraViolet Digital Copy" which promises to be the latest and greatest thing to happen to digital copy. It is...

Xbox Live Blocked by Wireless Bridge

I spent far more time than I'd like to admit in troubleshooting this issue so I figured I'd at least blog it. Symptoms: When you run the "network connection test" on the Xbox it consistently succeeds. When you try to connect to Xbox Live, either to sign in with your profile or do a "Recover Gamertag," it fails and tells you to go run the network connection test. Let me tell you how frustrating this behavior is. The connection test says fine, but when you try to connect it says it can't - go run the test?! ...

DiscSox Blu-Ray Storage

I have a lot of DVDs and they get stored in binders, but I don't have so many Blu-ray discs and I like to keep them separate from the DVDs. I don't rip the Blu-rays to my movie server, so it's good to have them a little more accessible. I had previously been storing them on a shelf like books in a library, but the shelf is out of space and things are looking bad. Time to find something else. Trucking around The Container Store I found these DiscSox HiDef Pro Sleeves that are the perfect solution. ...

posted @ Tuesday, August 30, 2011 1:51 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Media ]

Backing Up Windows Home Server to CrashPlan

For a while I've been using MozyHome in a sort of weird, confusing fashion to back up the share content from my Windows Home Server. There were two problems with this setup: Lots of moving pieces. The way I had it, there was a scheduled copy task from the WHS to a remote machine, then that remote machine would do the MozyHome backup. That, of course, relied on the remote machine to always be on and running, the process to properly run, etc. A lot of indirection and moving pieces to get around the MozyHome shortcoming...

Updated Home Network Diagram

We recently switched from Frontier back to Comcast because we were having issues with Frontier's customer service and pricing. Plus, Frontier is really trying to get out of the TV game and we like our TV features, so Comcast got us back. (I was also pretty tired of Frontier remotely reprogramming my router and then denying it.) Anyway, Comcast gives you a cable modem but no router, so I ended up getting a Netgear WNDR3700v2 for a replacement. That freed up my D-Link DAP-1522 to move upstairs and become a wireless bridge. After moving everything around, my network...

Add Downloaded iTunes Art Directly to Track

In iTunes, if you have a track that is missing artwork you have the ability to right-click the track and opt to automatically download artwork for it. This works well if you play the track in iTunes or an iTunes-connected device (e.g., iPod)... but if you also use the same library in a UPnP server to stream your music on your network (like Asset UPnP) then you'll notice the artwork doesn't show up. That's because iTunes stores the downloaded artwork in a separate database outside the actual physical music track file, but other servers/devices expect artwork to be embedded in...

Media Storage

After doing that Hanselminutes on network attached storage, Synology, and Windows Home Server, I figured I'd also talk about how we store our original media, in case folks were wondering. As of this writing, we have somewhere close to 1000 individual DVD discs in various forms - single or multi-disc movies, multi-disc TV sets, etc. - and about as many CDs. Not all of the DVDs are on my Synology DS1010+ - I didn't rip the "special features" discs, and in some cases where I have multiple editions of the same movie, I only ripped the one we like the most....

posted @ Friday, May 20, 2011 8:24 AM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Media ]

Hanselminutes 265 - Synology Network Attached Storage and Windows Home Server

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Scott Hanselman about our experiences with Synology DiskStation products and Windows Home Server. Looks like the podcast is up now so go check that out if you haven't already. If you're coming in here after having listened to the podcast, here are some links to related blog entries you may be interested in: Moving to a Synology DS1010+: This is where I talk about the various reasons I picked the DS1010+ and my experience getting data onto it. Overview of My Media Center Solution:...