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Angry the Clown

Anyone running mkv rips of their movie collections via Plex? (aka A Media Server Conundrum)

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Forced trailers and region coding on discs alone should justify a Plex library. Now stop being crazy Dan...

 

 

:)

 

Region coding has never been an issue for me. I've always owned region modded DVD and Blu-ray players, and the next Oppo I buy will be no different (for DVD and Blu anyway. UHD Blu itself is, thankfully, 100% region free). What I will miss about Plex is, yes, no piracy warnings and forced trailers, and also the playlist feature. I had a nice playlist for all the Bond movies and Christmas related stuff on there which is really great. I MAY still consider keeping TV content on a Plex server to avoid disc swapping. With the drives I have I can probably do all my TV content 1:1 without transcoding. I have several purchase plans ahead of me over the next twelve months though (a vinyl turntable and 2 channel amp > Oppo's UHD player > new TV), so anything I can save goes into the fund for slowly re-building my HT piece by piece first.   

 

The other thing I liked about Plex was making definitive editions of discs, like ripping my Terminator Blu-ray but synching it with the mono PCM track from the Laserdisc that someone had kindly turned into a DTS HD MA track. In those instances I may burn those editions to BD-R, which I have been wanting to do with the Harmy Star Wars despecialised editions for a while. 

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I've also given up on Plexing. As much as forced trailers seem to be getting even worse, I just can't find a playback setting I'm happy with; PS4 needs me to transcode everything as MP4, the PC in my living room is noisy and Windows 10 takes around 15-20 minutes to reliably settle down when booted from an old-style drive now; Microsoft have determined that it can just help itself to my resources with no regard for the user.

 

Really considering going back to 8.1.

 

Odd, I don't think I've noticed that, but if you take a look at the process list, is it the antimalware service running?  I've found that can thrash your system drive on startup if you've been off for a while.  You should be able to disable the service if you want, or just let it run a scan to completion, and then a reboot should be reasonable. 

 

After moving everything to a Kodi server, I don't really want to go back to using discs.  If nothing else, it makes the kids' stuff infinitely easier-no discs all over the place, and no breaking/scratching things.  I'm up to 20 TB on the server now (I added an 8TB drive to the 3x4s I had in there), and am now out of SATA ports, so if I want more, I need to go expansion controller.  The nice part about all of it is that I can stream to both TVs, the desktop PC, all the laptops/tablets, my phone, and over the internet with my home VPN.  I also have convenient digital copies that aren't tied to one service or another that I can copy to travel with.  I've actually got 2 Kodi configs on my travel laptop-one for home (stream from server) and one for travel (locally attached USB HD) that work great.  Just upgraded the travel drive from 500 GB to 4 TB, so I don't have to pick and choose road media as much. 

 

I've also had decent luck running Kodi on a small NUC class device streaming from the home server.  Fanless, noiseless, and works with the same USB remotes that I've used for all my projects (which have convenient Harmony codes). 

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Yes, it's Antimalware wanting all the drive every boot. Incredibly annoying. I only use the PC once a few months, and every time MS wants to do a full scan and apply a million updates before I can do anything.

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Yes, it's Antimalware wanting all the drive every boot. Incredibly annoying. I only use the PC once a few months, and every time MS wants to do a full scan and apply a million updates before I can do anything.

 

One other thing you could do (besides disable it completely) is partition the drive, since I think it'll only scan the system partition.  The more files you have, the longer it'll take, so that could make things faster.  I think that service tries to scan weekly, so that might explain why it's trying to do it on every boot. 

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I see the same on my desktop machine, where the system drive is an SSD - it's definitely nailing the second, regular drive to 100% for the opening 5-10 minutes after boot as well.

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Oh damn. Tried to follow recommendations to reset the Windows 10 after my under-TV box upgraded itself to Anniversary- hoping it would improve boot speed.

 

Now it's totally screwed, and just spins the dots rather than booting.

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This is rather huge Plex news....

 

Plex have announced a Cloud based service that will work alongside an Amazon drive account.
 

Plex is giving the world another reason to subscribe to Plex Pass subscriptions today with the launch of Plex Cloud. As the name suggests, Plex Cloud eliminates the need to run the Plex Media Server on a computer or Networked Attached Storage (NAS) in your house. It does, however, require a subscription to Amazon Drive ($59.99 per year for unlimited storage) and the aforementioned Plex Pass ($4.99 per month or $39.99 per year).

Plex Cloud functions just like a regular Plex Media Server giving you access to your media — no matter how you acquire it — from an incredibly broad range of devices. Most, but not all Plex features are available in today's beta. Some of the missing capabilities include Camera Upload and Offline Sync, though those will come in the future. Other features missing in Plex Cloud include DLNA support, Cloud Sync, Media Optimizer, and the newly launched Plex DVR. Note that Plex Cloud is not a copy of your local Plex server and Plex, as of today, doesn’t mention any type of media migration tool. And for all you Dropbox users, Plex says that it will be "evaluating support for other cloud storage providers over time."

 

http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/26/13056216/plex-cloud-means-saying-goodbye-to-the-always-on-pc

 

https://www.plex.tv/blog/book-plex-volume-3-plex-cloud/

 

So that'd cost roughly $100 a year (though it may be better to buy a lifetime Plex Pass leaving only the Amazon Drive annual fee to think about). 

 

This doesn't change my plans as the upload of my library would take forever, and streaming uncompressed mkvs unlikely to be smooth, but for smaller libraries and especially those with transcoded content it might be worth thinking about. It is a tempting thought for my TV content, however.

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Awesome news... I am due to update the Mac Mini next year but, may keep my current Mini and use this instead. I'm not in a rush so can wait out offline sync and the other features I really use and make sure it would be a viable alternative for full bitrate rips. But, at $60 per year for the AWS storage and $40 for Plexpass (which I'm already paying) that's a great price for unlimited storage and no longer needing a dedicated server. Great option to have it nothing else

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Yeah it'll be interesting to see how well stuff streams. I am not against keeping my TV rips transcoded, which does make it a tempting proposition. I can use the storage we get with Prime for my photos, but with Drive I could store my entire FLAC library of music as well, so there might be value there.

 

I'll be curious to see how long it stays in Beta.

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Umm. 

 

Amazon Drive? As in, the company that makes a fairly significant proportion of its income from selling DVDs and streaming media?

 

I don't entirely know how well they would take people quite so explicitly using it to store their DMCA-circumvented rips, let alone the ones that have fallen off the back of a torrent seed.

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Thinking about it some more, at the very least, this will be a great option for another backup outside of the parity drive I already have, and it's on different media!

 

I had been thinking about getting a second parity drive for my future 4 disc array, but I think I'd rather keep it to the one I have now and use Amazon Cloud as the second backup.

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Dan, are you still messing around with encodes at all, or at least have Handbrake and a source or two at the ready? I have some settings I wanted to get your review on :)

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Sorry, Cam. Only just seen this. I still have handbrake but stopped doing encodes a good while ago now. I still don't know what to do with the HDDs I bought, actually. I should really apply them to a work and/or music server I suppose. 

 

What's your latest discovery?

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I can't remember the exact settings I was going to have you try out, but here's what I've come to.

 

For my Blu-rays, I've focused more on quality and seeing if I can run everything off of Plex and essentially never use the discs again. To do so, I've moved away from Don's settings a bit as they say "Here's a bitrate, let's get the best quality we can from that", while a more standard approach of using a CRF setting says, "Here's a quality setting, use whatever bitrate you need to keep this". Since I have the new server I built and more space, larger file sizes are ok.

 

Recommended CRF values for x264 are usually 18-22 for 1080p sources and 16-20 for 480p. The default for x264 is actually 23 and 22 for Handbrake. I chose to use the lower end of the range at 18 for 1080p.

 

I did several tests by encoding at CRF18 using the Film tune and swapped back and forth in VLC on my HDTV and was really satisfied with the results. I even blind tested myself a few times. 

 

But my biggest revelation, and this is probably what I was going to have you check, was how the presets (medium, slow, etc) make a difference. I'd normally been using Slow before, and I decided to see what difference using Slower would make. It's a little hard to explain, but when using Slow, the encode looks really really good, but in motion, I can almost tell it's an encode somehow when compared to the Blu-ray. It's something about the grain retention I think. This was really only noticeable after really pixel peeping and comparing a lot. Using Slower added a sense of sharpness to the encode and grain retention that I liked and made it really feel more like "This is the Blu-ray!"

 

I'd be curious to see what you think if you decide to test a chapter or so at some point. The settings are essentially, CRF 18, Film Tune, Slower preset. Make sure to turn off ALL filters (detelecine, decomb, etc) Handbrake defaults to decomb being on, which is supposed to be ok, but I discovered it would produce false positives. 

 

The downside of using Slower is I get about 10fps on my i7-6700, so the name is appropriate. There's only one preset (other than Placebo) above Slower, which is VerySlow, and I ruled that out completely due to only getting about 5fps from it. But like space, speed isn't really an issue since I have this dedicated server, and I just set it and forget it. I still plan to use Don's settings for TV Shows and all Special Features.

 

So what's the benefit of doing all of this? So far, I've encoded about 100 movies using this method, and I actually kept a spreadsheet this time :) Right now, Im showing about a 45% reduction in bitrate overall when compared to the sources and an average of 15,000kpbs bitrate across all files. 

 

One last thing I should mention is that I am using x264 Level 4.0 in my settings which basically caps bitrate at 25,000. This was just a choice I made to 1) make the video natively compatible with most every player on the market, and 2) it seemed like a good "enough is enough" point for me. I've only had a few encodes bump up against that so far. 

 

Also writing all this out makes me realize I focus on this shit too much!

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Dealing with lots of personal stuff at the moment, but I will certainly give it a look in future. I don't think it's a waste of time. I would still ideally like to have all my content on one server. Discs won't last forever, we've already seen early Criterion pressings suffer from rot, so to have a library backed up and be free of forced adds...etc is of great appeal, it's just an expense when you have a huge library, and with it still not possible to rip UHD discs I had to back away from the experiment. 

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Oh yeah, the benefit of having no forced ads and trailers cannot be overstated. 

 

Also, there were about 5 out of 100 that I kept the original encode for. The bitrates were too close to even bother with the transcode. One anomaly was the Criterion version of M in which the transcode was larger than the source. 

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I'll be interested to see what happens with UHD ripping. Drives are shipping in Japan and powerDVD now supports the discs but whether MakeMKV gets anywhere with in in the future is anyone's guess.

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Dusting this thread off.

 

Been considering an AppleTV again given some of the content available on iTunes but not on Blu-ray or UHD, and am thinking of maybe having a media drive just with TV content I own on disc (mostly TV stuff). From past experience I’d be happy enough transcoding my TV content as I know iTunes wouldn’t support mkv or anything.

 

I’ve been toying with doing it all via iTunes this time rather than Plex or Infuse, but what are the options there? If I rippied a disc and attached it to iTunes would it retrieve metadata as it would for a CD? If so, would it also do it for TV episodes?

 

What about iTunes Extras? Is there a way to custom create those? 

 

Main reason for wanting to use iTunes is really to keep everything in one place. I know AppleTV has that master search on the home page which was clever, but it doesn’t launch you directly into the content if in a third party app if I recall correctly.

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I manually loaded some TV seasons into iTunes before but, it was years ago now and it was quite picky about the formatting and file structure. As far as the meta-data and extras for TV shows or movies I never got those working outside of Plex or one of the media center variants. I haven’t looked at this kind of stuff recently though so maybe it is better or easier to do these days...

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I suppose I can do a quick rip of a DVD of Simpsons or whatever and test for myself. No reason why I’d need the Apple TV to check what my options are.

 

I don’t really want my catalogue split between disc, itunes AND another app like Plex and have to remember what content is where. Discs and iTunes I can just about accept.

 

From research I see that Apple still won’t even acknowledge a Plex library in its global search. 

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6 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

I’ve been toying with doing it all via iTunes this time rather than Plex or Infuse, but what are the options there? If I rippied a disc and attached it to iTunes would it retrieve metadata as it would for a CD? If so, would it also do it for TV episodes?

 

What about iTunes Extras? Is there a way to custom create those? 

 

This was the way I did it pre-Plex years ago. I was using everything in the Apple ecosystem and it made sense at the time. 

 

There were apps I used to use to fill in all the metadata for me, but it has been long enough I cannot remember the names. I'll check though to see if I have any still. There's likely better methods out there now.

 

iTunes Extras came after I stopped using it, but since those are all web based, I don't know if they can be manually added.

 

Speaking of The Simpsons, I ripped and encoded 11 seasons myself. I also deinterlaced them and each one has the commentary track. I love using the shuffle function with this and letting it load up a random episode.

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There were definitely some non-App store apps I used to use, but these are the ones that came up on my list from the official store:

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/metadoctor/id988250390?mt=12 (There's also a Pro version)

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iflicks-2/id731062389?mt=12 This one is paid, but it's been around for awhile and well known. I wouldn't use the encode functions because I have no idea what settings they use, but it does also offer a muxer that would probably come in handy.

 

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