HTPC - no more?

MavericK

Zero Cool
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Shield TV Pro all day long with wired connection. That's basically my setup...ripped raw Blurays & UHD to my NAS and streamed with KODI on Shield TV. I'm not running Emby or anything hough.

I was hoping for something significantly less expensive than that, but it does look like a good option.
 

LukeTbk

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I have a Synology running Emby now, so I've considered moving away from an HTPC to some sort of streaming stick, but are most of them actually capable of streaming 4K Blu-ray quality stuff?
I did find that a lot of device were not able to play very high bit rate stuff (60 fps Ang lee movie going at over 90mbs) but a (coudl be very cheap during black friday) FireStick 4K max does it extremelly well even with bad wireless, at least from Plex:
https://developer.amazon.com/docs/fire-tv/device-specifications-fire-tv-streaming-media-player.html

Video:
  • Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision support for Profile 4-MEL, 5, 8, 9. (Up to Level 9 for profiles 5 and 8. Up to Level 5 for Profile 9.)
  • H.265 (HEVC). Hardware accelerated up to 3840x2160p (4K) @ 60fps, 35 Mbps, Main 10 Profile Level 5.1, Color space 8-bit and 10-bit input with HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG.
  • AV1. Hardware accelerated up to 3840x2160p (4K) @60fps, 100Mbps, Main Profile Level 5.1, Color space 8-bit and 10-bit input with HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG.
output format:

  • 8-bit Rec. 709 (HEVC Main profile L4) / 8-bit Rec. 709
  • 10-bit Rec. 709 (HEVC Main10 profile L4) / 10-bit Rec. 709
  • 10-bit Rec. 2020 (HEVC Main10 profile L4) / 10-bit Rec. 2020
  • Dolby-Vision support for profiles 5, 8 and 9 to max corresponding level. Level 9 for profiles 5 and 8. Level 5 for profile 9.
  • HDR10+
  • HLG

Limited to 100 mbs via an external dongle if it would ever be an issue but Support wifi 6, when it rebate it is an incredible amount of codec able and power player for the price, with the obvious caveat there is reasons they sell those at what look possibly a lost.

you can go in dev mode with a Bluetooth keyboard and install android app on it, if they do not have what you need direct from the store (Moonlight to steam game for example).
 

MavericK

Zero Cool
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I did find that a lot of device were not able to play very high bit rate stuff (60 fps Ang lee movie going at over 90mbs) but a (coudl be very cheap during black friday) FireStick 4K max does it extremelly well even with bad wireless, at least from Plex:
https://developer.amazon.com/docs/fire-tv/device-specifications-fire-tv-streaming-media-player.html

Video:
  • Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision support for Profile 4-MEL, 5, 8, 9. (Up to Level 9 for profiles 5 and 8. Up to Level 5 for Profile 9.)
  • H.265 (HEVC). Hardware accelerated up to 3840x2160p (4K) @ 60fps, 35 Mbps, Main 10 Profile Level 5.1, Color space 8-bit and 10-bit input with HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG.
  • AV1. Hardware accelerated up to 3840x2160p (4K) @60fps, 100Mbps, Main Profile Level 5.1, Color space 8-bit and 10-bit input with HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG.
output format:

  • 8-bit Rec. 709 (HEVC Main profile L4) / 8-bit Rec. 709
  • 10-bit Rec. 709 (HEVC Main10 profile L4) / 10-bit Rec. 709
  • 10-bit Rec. 2020 (HEVC Main10 profile L4) / 10-bit Rec. 2020
  • Dolby-Vision support for profiles 5, 8 and 9 to max corresponding level. Level 9 for profiles 5 and 8. Level 5 for profile 9.
  • HDR10+
  • HLG

Limited to 100 mbs via an external dongle if it would ever be an issue but Support wifi 6, when it rebate it is an incredible amount of codec able and power player for the price, with the obvious caveat there is reasons they sell those at what look possibly a lost.

you can go in dev mode with a Bluetooth keyboard and install android app on it, if they do not have what you need direct from the store (Moonlight to steam game for example).

Thanks for this info! They are on sale for like $35 right now so that might be a good, cheap option.
 

Verge

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Thanks for this info! They are on sale for like $35 right now so that might be a good, cheap option.
My Shield pro literally sucks more and more every day. At this point i cannot recommend one, and i think others should stop as well. Better off spending 35 on a fire stick, probably runs faster as well.
 

bluestang

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My Shield pro literally sucks more and more every day. At this point i cannot recommend one, and i think others should stop as well. Better off spending 35 on a fire stick, probably runs faster as well.

Huh, In have 2 running just fine everyday. Everyone's experience is different though I guess.

EDIT: Although, I must say KODI 19 is pissing me with the audio stuttering on high bitrate (UHD) files with TrueHD. Trying to find the right settings for the past day. Tomorrow is my last day for trying before I downgrade back to KODI 18.9.
 
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Verge

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Huh, In have 2 running just fine everyday. Everyone's experience is different though I guess.

EDIT: Although, I must say KODI 19 is pissing me with the audio stuttering on high bitrate (UHD) files with TrueHD. Trying to find the right settings for the past day. Tomorrow is my last day for trying before I downgrade back to KODI 18.9.
I get random restarts, probably one per week now, mainly during plex but also sometimes through youtube. If i watch the youtube app for a few hours, it will literally take 5 minutes to close the app, memory leak or something. Similar with Kodi, sometimes it just hangs and takes forever just to close. Even navigation is slow, much better on appletv.
 

bluestang

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I get random restarts, probably one per week now, mainly during plex but also sometimes through youtube. If i watch the youtube app for a few hours, it will literally take 5 minutes to close the app, memory leak or something. Similar with Kodi, sometimes it just hangs and takes forever just to close. Even navigation is slow, much better on appletv.

Have you taken it apart yet? My older 2017 model was like that and ended up being because it was getting too hot. I regularly clean them from the outside, but that evidently wasn't enough to keep the dust from accumulating inside in and around that little fan and heatsink. Once I removed all that it was fine. Worth a look.

KODI for me is the TrueHD bug/bullcrap where the audio stutters/cuts out for a split second on high bitrate movies. Supposedly fixed in 19.4 but I still get it. Going back to KODI 18.9 supposedly solves it for some, but not sure I want to do that either. Any DTS-HD MA high bitrate movie is fine though so something with Dolby crap.
 

Morphes

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Have you taken it apart yet? My older 2017 model was like that and ended up being because it was getting too hot. I regularly clean them from the outside, but that evidently wasn't enough to keep the dust from accumulating inside in and around that little fan and heatsink. Once I removed all that it was fine. Worth a look.

KODI for me is the TrueHD bug/bullcrap where the audio stutters/cuts out for a split second on high bitrate movies. Supposedly fixed in 19.4 but I still get it. Going back to KODI 18.9 supposedly solves it for some, but not sure I want to do that either. Any DTS-HD MA high bitrate movie is fine though so something with Dolby crap.
I recently took apart my 2017, did you notice the weights in there that do absolutely nothing? I lol'd

I have such mixed feelings with the shield, I dont use it often because it has wifi connectivity issues. Every time I go to it, its not connected and it won't connect unless I restart the device. Once its restarted, it runs great, but thats def not GF friendly and guess who hears "I just want it to work!" arguments, so its the secondary device. Roku ultra is the primary, but not super happy with that either to be honest, but its better than anything else I've seen. Roku also allows airplay as well as casting, which is helpful.
 

Solhokuten

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Huh, In have 2 running just fine everyday. Everyone's experience is different though I guess.

EDIT: Although, I must say KODI 19 is pissing me with the audio stuttering on high bitrate (UHD) files with TrueHD. Trying to find the right settings for the past day. Tomorrow is my last day for trying before I downgrade back to KODI 18.9.
Did you find a solution to the audio stuttering? I'll be getting my uhd optical drive tomorrow and hope to run a similar setup :/
 

bluestang

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I recently took apart my 2017, did you notice the weights in there that do absolutely nothing? I lol'd

I have such mixed feelings with the shield, I dont use it often because it has wifi connectivity issues. Every time I go to it, its not connected and it won't connect unless I restart the device. Once its restarted, it runs great, but thats def not GF friendly and guess who hears "I just want it to work!" arguments, so its the secondary device. Roku ultra is the primary, but not super happy with that either to be honest, but its better than anything else I've seen. Roku also allows airplay as well as casting, which is helpful.
Didn't notice the weights...probably cause I was to miffed by the fact I boken the little connector from the front LED to the PCB lol.

You can restart the WiFi from the Network settings quickly instead of restarting.
 

bluestang

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Did you find a solution to the audio stuttering? I'll be getting my uhd optical drive tomorrow and hope to run a similar setup :/
I changed some some settings that were recommended in the thread on it I found but I have tested them yet.

Let me know if you get the stutter as well. Also, where did you buy your UHD friendly drive? O'm looking for a new one as my older BR drives won't recognize a Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along version I just bought on BF for my son.
 

staknhalo

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I changed some some settings that were recommended in the thread on it I found but I have tested them yet.

Let me know if you get the stutter as well. Also, where did you buy your UHD friendly drive? O'm looking for a new one as my older BR drives won't recognize a Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along version I just bought on BF for my son.

https://forum.makemkv.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=16

search for models to buy there and flash the firmware yourself or some users sell preflashed ones
 

mvmiller12

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I changed some some settings that were recommended in the thread on it I found but I have tested them yet.

Let me know if you get the stutter as well. Also, where did you buy your UHD friendly drive? O'm looking for a new one as my older BR drives won't recognize a Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along version I just bought on BF for my son.

You can also keep an eye out here on the [H] forums. I bought an HP BU50N here for $40 (and an external enclosure for it from Amazon because it is a laptop drive - don't remember the cost, but it was cheap). I had to flash the drive with the generic BU50N firmware (patched with Libredrive) from MakeMKV but it is a UHD Native drive and works a treat. It can even read 4-layer disks without issue and being a Native drive, there is no Sleep Bug.
 

Solhokuten

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I changed some some settings that were recommended in the thread on it I found but I have tested them yet.

Let me know if you get the stutter as well. Also, where did you buy your UHD friendly drive? O'm looking for a new one as my older BR drives won't recognize a Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along version I just bought on BF for my son.
I should get my optical drive in today and ill try to rip one of my UHD films and let you know. The drive is the Asus BW-16D1HT. I'll need to flash the firmware first, but hopefully i can get through it all tonight and report back tomorrow.

 

sharknice

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Why do you guys go through this 6 hour, 20 step process to be able to "conveniently" watch a blu-ray movie once or twice instead of just playing it straight up?
 

whateverer

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Why do you guys go through this 6 hour, 20 step process to be able to "conveniently" watch a blu-ray movie once or twice instead of just playing it straight up?


i Don't bother buying Blu-ray if i never want to see it again - start with Amazon rentals, then go buy the disc after you enjoy it

TWO positives for media library

1. because then your can re-watch it an unlimited amount of times., all at zero extra cost/ clumsiness of setting-up and remembering various services pins, and which service had the title at the lowest price - if you already have a generic media drive on your network, then the opportunity costs of adding movies is nothing

2.you can even hand-off the same movie you don't need anymore to family members forever, and bonus number two: your local files still work when the internet is down ( cant do that with Amazon purchases)

if all you like doing is spinning an individual disc at a time, then returning it to your media library, then there is no use for media on PC... but if you're the type who leaves messy pile of movies around the player ( lazy multitasker), then buying a bluray drive and ripping software will be a massive improvement!

if you're cheap and a control freak like me , you combo decrypting software ($40 lifetime) with Handbrake for encodes. But if you want to pay extra, software like DvdFab offers a single-click main movie full conversion process for under $200 lifetime
 
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Solhokuten

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Why do you guys go through this 6 hour, 20 step process to be able to "conveniently" watch a blu-ray movie once or twice instead of just playing it straight up?
For me its the ease and convenience of Netflix, but with my entire full quality Blu-ray collection. May seem petty or lazy to some, but its a big deal for a lot of us. This is just one of many reasons someone would pursue a setup like this.
 

LukeTbk

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Why do you guys go through this 6 hour, 20 step process to be able to "conveniently" watch a blu-ray movie once or twice instead of just playing it straight up?
For some that I know to do that it started worring about (or actually) having kids scratching the blurays.

Bluray player tend to be so bad in many ways (loading time, unskippable menu) that they made that attractive, most of the bluray of my large collection I also own a downloaded version of on my nas playable by any smarttv (family extended has well) and I pretty much never botter to go find the bluray to watch the movie instead, when you press play the movie start right away, you can easily go where you want etc.... you can go throught your collection by release year, director, etc.. easily I am sure there a way with HTPC with a Blu-ray player to do something similar but I imagine there some bump involved has well.

One aspect for me, I pretty much stopped to watch the director commented and other supplement versus when I watched dvd-bluray when I was commonly doing it, again I am certain there are ways, but the protocol of physically putting the medium in the device, the fact that it was so long for it to start, did change my brain in some ways.
 
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bluestang

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Why do you guys go through this 6 hour, 20 step process to be able to "conveniently" watch a blu-ray movie once or twice instead of just playing it straight up?

Where are you getting 6 hours? I MakeMKV just the full movie and either TrueHD/Atmos ot DTS-HD and that is it...no re-encoding. I want to enjoy the movie's visual/sound and I have the space so I don't need to waste time re-enoding to a smaller size.

I had a Blu-Ray player hooked up to my TV originally and it is too dams slow to load. I don't care about the menu or extra features...I just want to watch and enjoy the damn movie.

With my NAS to my Shield TV, which is always on since I use for Live TV through a HDHomeRun, it takes no time at all to turn on my Denon AVR and click on KODI to see my movies.

It is incredibly convenient than damn discs. And with 2 kids who also watch their favorite movies more than once...you can't beat the setup compared to a standalone player and discs.
 

staknhalo

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Plus everything digital on a NAS is a lot smaller and convenient than bookshelves of discs, well assuming you're not racking it up
 

sharknice

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Makes sense I guess.
I typically only watch movies once and don't let my kids watch very much TV so I've never seen the point to do it myself.

It seems much easier to simply download a movie instead of going through the whole ripping process though. If I can't stream it or download it I just don't watch it.
 

LukeTbk

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It seems much easier to simply download a movie instead of going through the whole ripping process though
For some movie having raw bluray could be not too easy to find and/or not really faster, if you are to compress often it will be simpler and cheaper yes.
 

bluestang

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Makes sense I guess.
I typically only watch movies once and don't let my kids watch very much TV so I've never seen the point to do it myself.

It seems much easier to simply download a movie instead of going through the whole ripping process though. If I can't stream it or download it I just don't watch it.

Some of us actually have full blown 6 channel and above systems that don't particularly enjoy listening (and sometimes watching) what Streaming services provide.

If I paid for it...I'm going to enjoy my setup the way it is meant to be.
 

sharknice

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Some of us actually have full blown 6 channel and above systems that don't particularly enjoy listening (and sometimes watching) what Streaming services provide.

If I paid for it...I'm going to enjoy my setup the way it is meant to be.

Most of the streaming can be done in Atmos and 4k hdr now, and it's not hard to find full quality 4k hdr atmos blu-ray downloads in my experience. That's usually what I do. Buying the actual physical disc, ripping, encoding, etc is too much of a pita for me.
 

mvmiller12

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I could provide you with a lot of reasons why I do it. But, really, when we get down to the brass tacks of the matter - I enjoy the process. My computer has migrated from Phenom II x6 to a FX 8320 to a Ryzen 1700 to a Ryzen 2700X to a Ryzen 3900X to a Ryzen 3950X to a Ryzen 5950X in service of faster encodes. It's a hobby (ripping/encoding) that helps justify one of my other hobbies (my PC).

And yes... the Ryzen 7950X upgrade is just waiting for the motherboard to arrive tomorrow.
 

bluestang

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Most of the streaming can be done in Atmos and 4k hdr now, and it's not hard to find full quality 4k hdr atmos blu-ray downloads in my experience. That's usually what I do. Buying the actual physical disc, ripping, encoding, etc is too much of a pita for me.
I was just referring to the Streaming aspect and I'm not a fan of Atmos in streaming, not the option after that you mentioned ;)
 

Solhokuten

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I changed some some settings that were recommended in the thread on it I found but I have tested them yet.

Let me know if you get the stutter as well. Also, where did you buy your UHD friendly drive? O'm looking for a new one as my older BR drives won't recognize a Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along version I just bought on BF for my son.
Ripped Dune 2021 UHD, main feature Dolby TrueHD and the DD 5.1. Came out to 74GB and took an hour to rip. Playing with original quality and Atmos pass-through without issue. At least not yet, I'm only 10 minutes into watching, but I'll update you after.
 

Algrim

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My mother-in-law is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s but insists on having cable TV so she can watch movies over and over again because she doesn’t remember them. My wife and I want to get a bunch of her type of movies ripped so we can VLC playlist them all day and drop the expensive cable plan—who knew that having over 500 channels of ‘programming’ meant that there’s still nothing to watch most of the day?

Ripping the discs means not wearing them out…
 

Ripskin

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I do it to back up what I paid for. It also gives me control over my media and I can enjoy it without needing the internet just in case that is offline for whatever reason.
If I am on a business trip I can easily stream my content to me and keep going, including my mobile and transcode. If I am at family I can log in through the smart TV app and again enjoy what I own.

Physical media can be lost damaged or degrade no matter how careful we are so I prefer this. And it takes up a LOT less actual space :)
 

Solhokuten

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Ripped Dune 2021 UHD, main feature Dolby TrueHD and the DD 5.1. Came out to 74GB and took an hour to rip. Playing with original quality and Atmos pass-through without issue. At least not yet, I'm only 10 minutes into watching, but I'll update you after.
Finished watching Dune last night, no issues to report. Just 180 more to go lol.
 

Verge

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Have you taken it apart yet?
Just did, was spotless. Odd there's just straight up weights in the front corner lol.


It just needs an update, 8 year old SOC can't compete with new ATV's and more advanced os updates.
 

bluestang

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Yeah, hoping something in 2023.

I think the weights are for when you use the stand maybe.
 

Wade88

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Two of my '19 Pros have succumbed to the out of storage bug even with large external SSDs attached as adopted storage directly after factory resetting and ticking the box in developer options to allow all apps to go on adopted storage regardless of manifest values. Others are unaffected. If the new fire cube had gigabit ethernet I'd buy 6 of them today.
 

staknhalo

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I sold my 2x 2015 16GB SHIELDs (had since 2015) last year to someone on the forum here I think, they were still working 100% fine. Biggest gripe was the ethernet port tolerance was too slim, was like pulling Excalibur from the stone trying to get the ethernet ports out no matter the cable. Now got a 2019 Pro since release and a Tube since last year.

I miss the touch power button on the Pro from the 2015 models TBH - was rare - but every once in a while came in handy if wake from sleep issues
 

Verge

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I think the weights are for when you use the stand maybe.
My HDMI cable is so stupidly thick it would probably hold the thing up without them. Whatever they are there for, they help me out.
 

xXaNaXx

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Most of the streaming can be done in Atmos and 4k hdr now, and it's not hard to find full quality 4k hdr atmos blu-ray downloads in my experience. That's usually what I do. Buying the actual physical disc, ripping, encoding, etc is too much of a pita for me.

streaming is convenient, but IMO, that's about the only thing it really has going for it, except for the obvious storage issue of the physical media.

I personally much prefer purchasing my content on physical media & doing all my own ripping/encoding...and once you've done it for a little while and have your process down, it's really not a huge issue...the bulk of it is done while i'm sleeping or working.

there are a lot of reasons for me to do all my own...here's just a handful i can think of off the top of my head:

1) no internet required to watch the content
2) no subscription fees
3) instant access to content without the unskippable menus/FBI warnings of physical media (once completed, obviously)
4) highest quality video/audio available
5) no moral/legal issues associated with downloading
6) i actually own the content, so barring some catastrophic hardware failure or say, my house burning down or theft (in which case i have MUCH more pressing concerns)...there's no way my content can just disappear on me without any sort of notice whatsoever (and yes, this happens to people who have purchased digital content as well)
7) since i own my content on physical media, i have the option of recovering some (or sometimes all) of the purchase price by selling it to someone else if it is no longer wanted, or even gifting it to someone
8) no DRM issues to deal with for playback; i can play my content on any device i own that will support the format
9) i can 100% control the quality/settings of the encoded content, as well as the security of the files (no hidden spyware/viruses/etc. that are a possibility with downloading)
10) in many cases, it's actually less expensive to purchase content on physical media (Prime Day & other sales, eBay, bargain bins, resale shops, yard/garage sales, etc.)

i'm sure there's more if i really think about it, but 10 reasons is more than enough to justify it for me.

i have 6x UHD-friendly drives in my main desktop PC with a Ryzen 9 5950X (used for both gaming & encoding), and i'm probably going to pull out the 3.5" x3 hard drive cage and fit 2 or 3 more in there before long, now that my new desktop build has 2x 2TB NVMe gen4 SSD's vs. spinning platter drives. this makes it extremely quick/easy to plow through even TV shows with multiple seasons (such as Stargate SG-1 w/10 seasons or Supernatural with 15 seasons). i'll first rip all the discs to ISO format onto my hard drive, then just store the discs away for safekeeping and never touch them unless i need to re-rip for whatever reason, or if i want to look at the included books/artwork or whatever else was included (something else you don't get w/streaming). once that's done, i run them through MakeMKV to pull out the main titles, which is extremely quick (usually no more than about 20 - 45 seconds, depending on title). once I have those MKV files ripped out, i process them through HandBrake in a large batch encode and just let it run overnight and/or while i'm working.

just last night i encoded 3x 4K HDR movies, 5x 1080p movies, and 29 episodes in 1080p of a TV series that i just received from Amazon yesterday afternoon. i work from home full-time, so once they came in i took a few 5 - 10 min breaks and ripped all the discs to ISO...then after the work day was over, i got the main titles ripped out & put into the queue for encoding. the encoding process started at 6pm last night, and the last file finished this morning at around 10am. all told, actual hands-on interaction with it all was maybe 45 - 60 mins, and that's while i was doing other stuff as well, so it's not like it was time completely dedicated to working on only this. and now i have many hours worth of content to watch, which can be done while i'm working on getting more content processed. plus, a lot of the stuff i buy also has a redeem code for a digital streaming copy as well so i can watch while on the go if i want to, without having to run a Plex server. i store all my encoded content on my ZFS NAS system that i just doubled my capacity on, for a total of 56TB (2x RAID-Z1 VDEV's, each comprised of 5x 8TB shucked HD's that i purchased slowly over time while they were on sale).

i won't pretend that this is for everyone...and that's fine, to each their own...but it's also not really as much of a hassle as a lot of people make it out to be, either. you just have to put in a little up-front work to get your process dialed in, which is no different than anything else that you've never done before.
 

Zepher

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plus, a lot of the stuff i buy also has a redeem code for a digital streaming copy as well so i can watch while on the go if i want to, without having to run a Plex server. i store all my encoded content on my ZFS NAS system that i just doubled my capacity on, for a total of 56TB (2x RAID-Z1 VDEV's, each comprised of 5x 8TB shucked HD's that i purchased slowly over time while they were on sale).

i won't pretend that this is for everyone...and that's fine, to each their own...but it's also not really as much of a hassle as a lot of people make it out to be, either. you just have to put in a little up-front work to get your process dialed in, which is no different than anything else that you've never done before.
But if you did run a Plex server, you would have access to everything on your server while on the go, not just the ones you have a digital copy of.
 
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