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

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I think your drive will be fine for storage until you bite the bullet on the array. Direct attached storage just means that you need a host PC until you get that Mac Mini but, other than that I can't think of any significance advantages or disadvantages.

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Thx Dave.

 

Anyone know if there's a way to create folders on the Plex page in order to store movies of a franchise or actor? For example, keep all Bond movies together so they won't be spread around because of the titles.

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Thx Dave.

 

Anyone know if there's a way to create folders on the Plex page in order to store movies of a franchise or actor? For example, keep all Bond movies together so they won't be spread around because of the titles.

 

What I've done is change the sort title to be "Bond 01" "Bond 02" etc.  If I wanted to see all the movies by actor, I do a filter on the movie page.

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Yes, just change the SORT title and they will arrange themselves (so for Star Wars for example I have the sort titles read: Star Wars 04, Star Wars 05, Star Wars 06, Star Wars 07. Same for Indiana Jones. Raiders is Indiana Jones 01, Temple is Indiana Jones 02...etc). I did this for a few franchises, although for Bond films I simply created a playlist for 'James Bond/007' and then arranged the films in order of release date. 

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Cool, thanks guys.

 

Going back to the forced subtitles, I don't know how many of the 38 blurays I ripped needed to have this option left in. Upon doing a search, I did find a spreadsheet online created for movies that have forced subtitles but haven't thoroughly looked into how up-to date it is. Only has 382 entries. I also read an issue someone had with Avatar and needing to use MKVtoolnix in order to play forced subtitles on his Oppo. First world problems.

 

I'm thinking of just leaving the box checked for English subtitles (forced) for all movies from now on. Thoughts?

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I'm thinking of just leaving the box checked for English subtitles (forced) for all movies from now on. Thoughts?

 

 

I recommended that above. If there is no data MakeMKV will not create a track. 

 

I wish there were a more straightforward way of ripping things without having to worry, but unless you want to spend Kaleidescape money then this is unfortunately as good as it gets.

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I held off a bit on posting this about transcoding because I was honestly taking the time to understand it better. The main thing that changed for me recently was how I evaluated a transcode. I used to only evaluate the transcodes visually, and while this is still the best way to do so, I added some math to the equation to help.

 

Most of the time when you encode with x264 and Handbrake, you choose a CRF (RF) or "Constant Quality". Normal values are between 18 and 28. The default is 23 in x264. The lower the number, the better the quality and higher the bitrate. CRF will use whatever bitrate is necessary to obtain the quality it's set to. Handbrake defaults to 22 for 1080p, their new presets default at 22, they have a HQ version at 20, and they recently added a "Super HQ" version at 18. Anything lower than this is generally considered to be placebo. The rages for 720p are 17-21 and 480p is 16-20.

 

The problem with CRF for most people is, you can't "set and forget" CRF because a CRF of 20 on Toy Story will yield a bitrate of around 5,000 kpbs or so, and a CRF on Sin City will probably yield something closer to 25,000 kpbs. Don's settings say "Use this CRF, but if if gets crazy, stay within these bitrate guidelines". I've found his setting to be the best of both worlds.

 

What I didn't know was, when using Don's settings, you can check the log to see what the QP Ratefactor was. Generally speaking, the rate factor for QP equals that of CRF. So a QP of 20 sort of means that's what the encode would have looked like had you simply used a CRF of 20 and not used any bitrate restrictions. You can check your log and see what your "score" was. 

 

If you use Don's scripts and you house all your logs in one folder, you can run this command: 

 

query-handbrake-log ratefactor "/path/to/Logs directory/"
 

..and get a list of all your average QPs.

 

I started looking at mine and I noticed many of my 2.35:1 encodes did fantastic, with many QPs under 20 (This was using Don's settings with 8,000 kpbs). The reason is 2.35:1 videos are cropped with lower resolution and need less bitrate to achieve that quality. I had my list of rate factors that I was going to post here, but I lost those files when I built my server. It was funny to me that two of the lowest rated encodes were Aliens and Jurassic Park, two movies that Dan and I respectively pointed out in this thread as being lower quality than their originals :)

 

What I decided to try was to bump the bitrate to see if I could lower those QPs for some of my 1.85:1 encodes, and I found that in many cases it worked. For some films though, usually ones with grain, no matter how much bitrate you throw at it, you're not going to get a comparable QP. What I've found though, is that the quality is still very, very good and I've settled on 10,000 for most videos.

 

I've blind tested myself on a few encodes evaluating it from my monitor, and many times it takes me really, really studying the picture to choose which is the original and which is the encode, and I've even gotten it wrong a few times. To me, if I can get my encodes to be subjectively 95% of the quality of the originals, and the bitrate is near 1/3 the size of the original, I'll take it! And these files are better quality than iTunes or Netflix. This also allows me to realistically stream a movie at "original" quality (my encode) over the internet and not have Plex step in to transcode. I'd not be able to do this with full size Blu-ray rips as Plex would have to transcode virtually everything unless I was at home watching directly off of my server, and the settings Plex uses to transcode do not yield the same quality as what I am using to compress the Blu-rays. Even if I was home on another device, in many cases it would need to transcode.

 

Here are some movies I encoded recently:

 

15.25 Marvel's Thor The Dark World - Blu-ray T04-1.m4v 6-13-2016 3-11-22 PM
15.33 Up (2009).m4v 6-19-2016 4-57-31 PM
15.49 Donnie Darko.mp4 6-19-2016 3-10-11 AM
15.66 Toy Story T16-1.m4v 6-24-2016 10-45-13 PM
16.66 Aladdin Diamond Edition 8k.m4v 6-25-2016 2-54-12 AM
16.89 Secret In Their Eyes T00-1.mkv 6-7-2016 9-57-57 AM
17.00 Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues T02-1.m4v 6-24-2016 8-51-22 PM
17.00 JFK.m4v 6-17-2016 4-07-38 AM
17.04 Birdman (2014)-1.m4v 6-9-2016 7-40-37 PM
17.30 Anchorman 2 Super-sized Version T00-1.m4v 6-26-2016 11-37-05 PM
17.33 Captain America - The Winter Soldier (2014)-1.m4v 6-18-2016 3-51-25 AM
17.44 ink.m4v 6-24-2016 7-24-58 AM
17.58 The Big Lebowski 8k.m4v 6-24-2016 6-02-58 PM
17.93 The Hangover Theatrical.m4v 6-26-2016 6-28-55 PM
17.98 Office Space (1999)-1.m4v 6-9-2016 3-13-56 PM
18.29 Gladiator Disc I T08-1_8000.m4v 6-12-2016 7-27-31 AM
18.34 Alien.mp4 6-6-2016 2-45-19 AM
18.60 Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)-1.m4v 6-10-2016 4-36-32 AM
18.72 Matrix Reloaded.m4v 6-11-2016 12-58-15 AM
18.76 The Innocents.mp4 6-17-2016 10-56-37 PM
18.83 The Great Escape T01-1.m4v 6-21-2016 11-21-05 AM
18.85 Alien 3 T18-1.m4v 6-9-2016 3-53-16 AM
18.90 Austin Powers In Goldmember T00-1.m4v 6-17-2016 12-03-26 AM
18.95 Dallas Buyers Club T00-1.m4v 6-21-2016 5-54-43 AM
19.02 The Sword In The Stone 50th Anniversary Edition T04-1.m4v 6-19-2016 6-46-20 AM
19.20 The Hangover Unrated.m4v 6-24-2016 9-14-58 AM
19.26 Alien Resurrection T09-1.m4v 6-13-2016 3-03-19 AM
19.37 Matrix Revolutions.m4v 6-10-2016 10-25-21 PM
19.55 Fight Club.m4v 6-10-2016 9-32-36 AM
19.58 Chronicle T01-1.m4v 6-21-2016 7-48-32 AM
19.60 Taladega nights.m4v 6-19-2016 9-03-12 AM
19.60 The Matrix.m4v 6-10-2016 7-59-39 PM
19.72 Austin Powers-1.m4v 6-13-2016 11-02-16 AM
19.90 Star Trek 10k.m4v 6-18-2016 1-30-59 AM
20.05 Shane (1953)-1.m4v 6-21-2016 3-35-28 AM
20.09 Spider-man (2002) T00-1.m4v 6-12-2016 4-14-47 PM
20.09 Spider-man 2 (2004) T17-1.m4v 6-12-2016 6-02-07 PM
20.11 The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition T00-1.m4v 6-25-2016 1-20-11 AM
20.38 Carol T02-1.mkv 6-7-2016 6-10-47 AM
20.50 Bonnie & Clyde (1967)-1.m4v 6-20-2016 10-53-09 AM
20.50 E T The Extra-terrestrial T00-1.m4v 6-11-2016 7-45-29 PM
20.53 Lives of others at 10k.mp4 6-8-2016 8-20-01 PM
20.61 Spider-man 3 Feature Disc T00-1.m4v 6-13-2016 8-18-01 AM
20.95 Shaun Of The Dead T00-1.m4v 6-15-2016 6-45-51 AM
20.96 Citizen Kane T09-1.mkv 6-7-2016 5-08-46 PM
21.18 Natural Born Killers Director's Cut T03-1.m4v 6-20-2016 8-37-32 AM
21.30 The Blues Brothers (1980)-1.m4v 6-16-2016 3-30-46 AM
21.58 Moulin Rouge (2001)-1.m4v 6-19-2016 12-27-20 PM
21.65 Killers Kiss.m4v 6-23-2016 6-02-42 PM
21.66 City Lights T00-1.m4v 6-25-2016 7-18-41 AM
21.81 High Noon T00-1.m4v 6-17-2016 5-56-16 AM
21.84 Anchorman The Legend Of Ron Burgundy T05-1.m4v 6-24-2016 3-43-30 PM
22.02 Any Given Sunday.m4v 6-20-2016 2-48-40 PM
22.15 Friday The 13th, Part 2 T00-1.mkv 6-6-2016 7-31-19 PM
22.18 The 39 Steps T00-1.m4v 6-15-2016 4-29-48 AM
22.22 Tootsie T02-1.m4v 6-23-2016 8-25-16 PM
22.31 This Is Spinal Tap T00-1.m4v 6-10-2016 6-45-43 AM
22.40 Dodgeball Unrated T00-1.m4v 6-12-2016 10-03-27 PM
22.62 Austin Powers-2.m4v 6-13-2016 1-14-53 PM
22.66 Sunrise.mp4 6-14-2016 10-06-41 PM
22.68 Three Amigos! (1986)-1.m4v 6-12-2016 2-41-29 AM
23.06 Friday the 13th.mkv 6-6-2016 3-58-22 PM
23.30 Desperado T01-1.m4v 6-22-2016 8-33-19 AM
23.37 Total Recall.m4v 6-16-2016 12-26-17 AM
23.67 Life of Brian.mp4 6-10-2016 5-21-46 PM
23.98 The Killing T00-1.m4v 6-23-2016 3-34-41 PM
24.06 Mr Smith Goes To Washington T01-1.mkv 6-8-2016 8-02-20 AM
24.39 All About Eve (1950)-1.m4v 6-22-2016 3-43-51 AM
24.64 The Lady Vanishes.mp4 6-23-2016 12-02-26 PM
24.68 The Last Picture Show.mp4 6-26-2016 4-21-48 PM
24.68 Yojimbo.mkv 6-8-2016 3-28-49 AM
24.96 Aliens T09-1.m4v 6-9-2016 12-09-42 PM
25.14 The General T00-1.m4v 6-25-2016 4-52-25 AM
25.32 The Seventh Seal T00-1.mkv 6-7-2016 1-08-09 PM
25.57 Paths Of Glory very slow.m4v 6-27-2016 2-08-54 PM
25.61 Modern Times T00-1.m4v 6-24-2016 3-07-39 AM
26.14 El Mariachi T02-1.m4v 6-16-2016 5-42-11 AM
28.64 12 Angry Men very slow.m4v 6-15-2016 11-21-59 AM
When comparing these, I discovered that on the more complicated movies with the higher QP numbers, the equating CRF would have been lower. For example, I encoded The Lady Vanishes with a CRF of 18 and the QP was around 20. A chapter of Jurassic Park at CRF 20 had a QP of around 22. So, something like Aliens at QP25 is probably closer to CRF of 23 or so.

 

Bitrate:

6188.11 kbps Aladdin Diamond Edition 8k.m4v 6-25-2016 2-54-12 AM
6530.60 kbps Up (2009).m4v 6-19-2016 4-57-31 PM
6673.05 kbps Toy Story T16-1.m4v 6-24-2016 10-45-13 PM
6859.43 kbps Anchorman 2 Super-sized Version T00-1.m4v 6-26-2016 11-37-05 PM
6923.53 kbps The Big Lebowski 8k.m4v 6-24-2016 6-02-58 PM
6972.07 kbps Marvel's Thor The Dark World - Blu-ray T04-1.m4v 6-13-2016 3-11-22 PM
6979.57 kbps Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues T02-1.m4v 6-24-2016 8-51-22 PM
7070.74 kbps The Innocents.mp4 6-17-2016 10-56-37 PM
7104.51 kbps Dallas Buyers Club T00-1.m4v 6-21-2016 5-54-43 AM
7109.56 kbps Alien.mp4 6-6-2016 2-45-19 AM
7152.20 kbps Gladiator Disc I T08-1_8000.m4v 6-12-2016 7-27-31 AM
7152.36 kbps Fight Club.m4v 6-10-2016 9-32-36 AM
7172.44 kbps Secret In Their Eyes T00-1.mkv 6-7-2016 9-57-57 AM
7209.32 kbps Captain America - The Winter Soldier (2014)-1.m4v 6-18-2016 3-51-25 AM
7211.94 kbps The Hangover Unrated.m4v 6-24-2016 9-14-58 AM
7299.42 kbps Donnie Darko.mp4 6-19-2016 3-10-11 AM
7354.48 kbps Alien 3 T18-1.m4v 6-9-2016 3-53-16 AM
7407.07 kbps ink.m4v 6-24-2016 7-24-58 AM
7411.41 kbps JFK.m4v 6-17-2016 4-07-38 AM
7438.01 kbps Matrix Reloaded.m4v 6-11-2016 12-58-15 AM
7448.28 kbps Matrix Revolutions.m4v 6-10-2016 10-25-21 PM
7463.37 kbps The Matrix.m4v 6-10-2016 7-59-39 PM
8038.81 kbps The Sword In The Stone 50th Anniversary Edition T04-1.m4v 6-19-2016 6-46-20 AM
8417.85 kbps The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition T00-1.m4v 6-25-2016 1-20-11 AM
8666.30 kbps Office Space (1999)-1.m4v 6-9-2016 3-13-56 PM
8688.62 kbps Life of Brian.mp4 6-10-2016 5-21-46 PM
8700.60 kbps Chronicle T01-1.m4v 6-21-2016 7-48-32 AM
8713.84 kbps Three Amigos! (1986)-1.m4v 6-12-2016 2-41-29 AM
8727.52 kbps Carol T02-1.mkv 6-7-2016 6-10-47 AM
8750.23 kbps Aliens T09-1.m4v 6-9-2016 12-09-42 PM
8780.10 kbps Birdman (2014)-1.m4v 6-9-2016 7-40-37 PM
8809.76 kbps Friday The 13th, Part 2 T00-1.mkv 6-6-2016 7-31-19 PM
8817.35 kbps Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)-1.m4v 6-10-2016 4-36-32 AM
8847.54 kbps Citizen Kane T09-1.mkv 6-7-2016 5-08-46 PM
8885.95 kbps Shane (1953)-1.m4v 6-21-2016 3-35-28 AM
8919.53 kbps High Noon T00-1.m4v 6-17-2016 5-56-16 AM
8934.23 kbps Mr Smith Goes To Washington T01-1.mkv 6-8-2016 8-02-20 AM
8943.88 kbps E T The Extra-terrestrial T00-1.m4v 6-11-2016 7-45-29 PM
9067.17 kbps Lives of others at 10k.mp4 6-8-2016 8-20-01 PM
9073.22 kbps Anchorman The Legend Of Ron Burgundy T05-1.m4v 6-24-2016 3-43-30 PM
9086.99 kbps Austin Powers-1.m4v 6-13-2016 11-02-16 AM
9090.00 kbps Tootsie T02-1.m4v 6-23-2016 8-25-16 PM
9107.99 kbps Spider-man 3 Feature Disc T00-1.m4v 6-13-2016 8-18-01 AM
9117.37 kbps All About Eve (1950)-1.m4v 6-22-2016 3-43-51 AM
9117.94 kbps Taladega nights.m4v 6-19-2016 9-03-12 AM
9120.95 kbps The Great Escape T01-1.m4v 6-21-2016 11-21-05 AM
9135.79 kbps Paths Of Glory very slow.m4v 6-27-2016 2-08-54 PM
9172.32 kbps Star Trek 10k.m4v 6-18-2016 1-30-59 AM
9194.83 kbps Yojimbo.mkv 6-8-2016 3-28-49 AM
9197.60 kbps Spider-man (2002) T00-1.m4v 6-12-2016 4-14-47 PM
9201.54 kbps Desperado T01-1.m4v 6-22-2016 8-33-19 AM
9216.44 kbps Austin Powers In Goldmember T00-1.m4v 6-17-2016 12-03-26 AM
9232.44 kbps Shaun Of The Dead T00-1.m4v 6-15-2016 6-45-51 AM
9233.18 kbps Moulin Rouge (2001)-1.m4v 6-19-2016 12-27-20 PM
9245.61 kbps Spider-man 2 (2004) T17-1.m4v 6-12-2016 6-02-07 PM
9250.12 kbps The Blues Brothers (1980)-1.m4v 6-16-2016 3-30-46 AM
9260.55 kbps The Hangover Theatrical.m4v 6-26-2016 6-28-55 PM
9278.11 kbps Total Recall.m4v 6-16-2016 12-26-17 AM
9302.46 kbps The Killing T00-1.m4v 6-23-2016 3-34-41 PM
9317.91 kbps The General T00-1.m4v 6-25-2016 4-52-25 AM
9354.76 kbps Modern Times T00-1.m4v 6-24-2016 3-07-39 AM
9365.24 kbps Austin Powers-2.m4v 6-13-2016 1-14-53 PM
9379.11 kbps Bonnie & Clyde (1967)-1.m4v 6-20-2016 10-53-09 AM
9417.50 kbps Friday the 13th.mkv 6-6-2016 3-58-22 PM
9451.04 kbps Natural Born Killers Director's Cut T03-1.m4v 6-20-2016 8-37-32 AM
9468.73 kbps This Is Spinal Tap T00-1.m4v 6-10-2016 6-45-43 AM
9479.28 kbps City Lights T00-1.m4v 6-25-2016 7-18-41 AM
9499.98 kbps Alien Resurrection T09-1.m4v 6-13-2016 3-03-19 AM
9527.97 kbps Killers Kiss.m4v 6-23-2016 6-02-42 PM
9569.67 kbps Dodgeball Unrated T00-1.m4v 6-12-2016 10-03-27 PM
9607.50 kbps The 39 Steps T00-1.m4v 6-15-2016 4-29-48 AM
9650.58 kbps Any Given Sunday.m4v 6-20-2016 2-48-40 PM
9657.54 kbps The Lady Vanishes.mp4 6-23-2016 12-02-26 PM
9676.51 kbps The Seventh Seal T00-1.mkv 6-7-2016 1-08-09 PM
9761.03 kbps The Last Picture Show.mp4 6-26-2016 4-21-48 PM
9769.94 kbps Sunrise.mp4 6-14-2016 10-06-41 PM
10126.56 kbps El Mariachi T02-1.m4v 6-16-2016 5-42-11 AM
10244.94 kbps 12 Angry Men very slow.m4v 6-15-2016 11-21-59 AM
I'd flirted with simply encoding using a RF of maybe 18 or 20, and just let x264 choose the bitrate. I tried a few, but bitrate was astronomical on many, and I honestly though the quality was so similar, it wasn't worth it. If you were looking to transcode, but were concerned over any quality tradeoff, I'd actually try that (encoding with a RF of 18-20). In many cases, it will save you space compared to the original, and it will use as much bitrate as it needs in other cases. An CRF of 18 should give extremely excellent results in quality.

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So I attempted to add a tv series by ripping the first disc of season one of The Shield.  Created a folder for tv shows on the hard drive but the 4 episodes appeared in the movies library on Plex.  What did I do wrong?

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So I attempted to add a tv series by ripping the first disc of season one of The Shield.  Created a folder for tv shows on the hard drive but the 4 episodes appeared in the movies library on Plex.  What did I do wrong?

You just need to name and organize them properly.

 

https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200220687-Naming-Series-Season-Based-TV-Shows

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What I decided to try was to bump the bitrate to see if I could lower those QPs for some of my 1.85:1 encodes, and I found that in many cases it worked. For some films though, usually ones with grain, no matter how much bitrate you throw at it, you're not going to get a comparable QP. What I've found though, is that the quality is still very, very good and I've settled on 10,000 for most videos.

 

I'd flirted with simply encoding using a RF of maybe 18 or 20, and just let x264 choose the bitrate. I tried a few, but bitrate was astronomical on many, and I honestly though the quality was so similar, it wasn't worth it. If you were looking to transcode, but were concerned over any quality tradeoff, I'd actually try that (encoding with a RF of 18-20). In many cases, it will save you space compared to the original, and it will use as much bitrate as it needs in other cases. An CRF of 18 should give extremely excellent results in quality.

 

Good stuff. If I do adopt the NAS/Losseless route I will still look to transcode special features. It's been interesting having a transcoded library. 10,000 has always been a sweet spot to my eye since I started for the majority of content.

 

I'm eyeing a Qnap TS-451+ as a possible NAS candidate. Looks like it would do the job as it has a decent CPU and the ram can be upgraded to 8GB if required. I don't really need a nas to do transcoding on the fly as I'd be sending direct feed content to the TV/Raspberry Pi, but I'd be happy with transcodes down to 720p being sent to an iPad...etc.

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I remember when I first ran that report on my old transcodes and seeing Aliens and Jurassic Park at the bottom. We were on to something.  :Cruise:

 

One thing I forgot to mention was, if you do transcode by simply using a CRF and removing any of Don's secret sauce, this is where the x264 presets really come into play as they cam help lower bitrate. The new Super HQ Handbrake preset actually uses 'Very Slow' which is the top preset outside of 'Placebo'.
 

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Where did Rebecca rank on your initial report as I remember you finding that one tricky. You really should get that Criterion Cassavetes set if you really want to see grain.  :D

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Where did Rebecca rank on your initial report as I remember you finding that one tricky. You really should get that Criterion Cassavetes set if you really want to see grain.  :D

 

It was down there! I actually think 12 Angry Men was higher.

 

 

Also, we've come a long way:

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Intersting find. 

 

I'd be curious to know how much pre-filtering noise reduction is done on files before the likes of Netflix, iTunes, Amazon et all put them through their own additional compression algorithms. I feel like that's one factor we kind of forget about when thinking about just what a company like Apple does with the files they provide because with our discs we're working with different sources than they are.

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Ok - after talking about my Plex setup with Angel, I thought I would post an overview. Pics are here (trying iCloud sharing):

 

https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0X55Z2WMGs5tX0

 

Late 2012 Mac Mini - i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD

Probox HDD Array - 4x4TB drives, 16TB total

 

So the Mac Mini itself and the drive array are in a media cabinet, connected via USB3. The Mini has no display other than the TV and is on wired Ethernet. The Mini and the drive array run 24hrs a day; the Mini hasn't been turned off in almost 4 years (only for rare occasions like when we moved house). On the Mini, I run Plex Media Server and use the Plex player application for playback. This allows local playback of content and no bitrate filtering or transcoding. My Yamaha receiver decodes audio streams and other than the occasional, unsupported audio codec this rig works pretty damn well. It's stable, reliable and quiet.

 

The movie and TV content is all BD based with only a few remaining titles from HD-DVD's or standard DVD's. These are all ripped at full bitrate with no compression (screencap of Ghostbusters as an example). I put everything into a folder format where subtitle files, movie poster art, special features, etc are all placed. I use MakeMKV for the rips and subler for any subtitle modifications. If the source was a DVD or something else for some reason, then I still use MakeMKV to rip with no compression if it's a movie only title or I just make an ISO of the DVD to keep all the special features.

 

The Mini is small and quiet, supports IR natively, draws very little power, has Wifi, Ethernet, thunderbolt and 4 USB3 ports making it a pretty ideal HTPC. It can also of course run Win and OSX. For mine, I leave it on OSX (El Cap) and bought a BD drive and installed it into an external drive caddy that I plug into the Mini when needed so I can rip discs straight to the Mini + drive array. All 4 HDD's in the array are OS Journaled format now but, I used to use NTFS and Tux to make sure they were accessible under Win or OSX. To be blunt, I just haven't needed to boot into Win in a long time for Plex so I changed the file system over for ease of use and reliability.

 

I also have an Apple TV 4 with the Plex app on it but, this is more for convenience. Through the ATV is easier for my wife and playback still looks very good. Because it is all hardwired the app is set to "original" for bitrate so there isn't a noticeable drop in quality - The ATV playback also allows the use of the Siri Remote which we both really like. I am a PlexPass subscriber as I like the library sharing capability, the auto transcode and sync capabilities for putting content on my wife's or my iPad for travel and stuff but, for HTPC playback, none of the "pass" functionality would be required.

 

So, the only really issue with this setup is the cost since it uses a full PC, limited backup capabilities (just keep the BD's in storage) and the storage requirements themselves (expensive drives, already running out of room). i think that's it - hope that helps :)

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I imagine you writing this with the thought, "what other questions could that pest Angel have". ;)

 

Awesome Dave. Thanks for the update ????????

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Ha! No problem man... I've been running plex for so long now I forget some of the detail so it was good to go back through an overview of my setup :)

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Ok - after talking about my Plex setup with Angel, I thought I would post an overview. Pics are here (trying iCloud sharing):

 

 

 

Cool! For the longest time I assumed I would use a Mac Mini for my Plex server. Warming up to Windows and knowing I could build a much more powerful machine for about the same $ is what ultimately changed my mind I think. They need to update the Minis.

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An interesting post about how Netflix handles encoding: 

 

http://techblog.netflix.com/2015/12/per-title-encode-optimization.html

 

Somewhat inspired by the Netflix article, I changed up my transcoding strategy again. I don't use a one-sized fits all approach anymore. I went back to the encodes that had a comparatively inferior quality rating and re-encoded a portion of it using RF20 just to see what bitrate it would need to achieve that level. I then re-encoded the file using that bitrate and the Don settings. All of my encodes are along the same quality level now, even though some are as high as 20,000 kbps (only a few).

 

I can almost guess what a movie needs as far as bitrate now. But I usually encode about 30 mins of the movie to get an idea of the bitrate needed. It's somewhat easy with the new server.

 

Another observation I'd point out is how *easy* it for newer films to transcode. The bitrate required for some newer live action films can be ~5000-6000kpbs and still retain an insane quality score. 

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Another observation I'd point out is how *easy* it for newer films to transcode. The bitrate required for some newer live action films can be ~5000-6000kpbs and still retain an insane quality score. 

 

 

There's a couple of factors at play there I'll wager. 1) A sizeable chunk of modern films being photographed digitally, and 2) of those still shot on film today, the majority are typically photographed using fine grain stocks, and then go straight into an all digital post production workflow (save for a few directors who still prefer to at least colour grade photochemically like Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson) so you're effectively looking at a first generation image. 

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