How do -you- stream?

vcp

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Amazon has several. Prices are up $10 or so today compared to a week ago though.

I noticed they were up.. The 4TB Seagate I got about 2 months ago was $75. Tariffs?

edit: looking back I don't see that order on Amazon - must have been a Slickdeals from somewhere.
Costco - that's where I got it.
 
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vcp

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The $75 4TB I got at Costco isn't listed anymore, there's a 5TB for $100.
Amazon lists a 4TB for $100.
The 2TB I got at Amazon ~6 weeks ago (I know for less than $50) is now $64.
 

vcp

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Update to my entertainment system. Over 400 disks ripped and now on PLEX - slowing down a bit since I'm going through a stack of Blu-Rays at the moment. I've returned the Cloner Box Evolve...
...drawbacks with the Evolve:
  1. It's a bit of a nuisance, since you record to an HD, then have to walk the HD over to the PC, copy the files into PLEX and name them to watch them. It would be fabulous if this thing had a WiFi connection, but it doesn't.
  2. It's even more of a nuisance, that you can't play back the recorded files through the Evolve itself - you can't even see what files are on the disk.
  3. The Dang remote for it is useless - it doesn't work beyond about six feet! For that reason alone, I'm sending the thing back.
I've received and installed the Cloner Box 'Pro' (really quick work by Amazon). It actually does have two HDMI input connectors, and a diagram in the instructions show both inputs used as HDMI, but it doesn't seem to work that way. One is HDMI and the other isn't but takes an HDMI connector with a cattail of connectors for VGA, NTSC Composite, and RGB. That's OK though, I've got the VCR on the Composite input, and I dragged out my HDMI input switchbox, so the Roku and disk player are on that, feeding the Cloner input.

My biggest gripe with the Evolve was the limited-distance remote, and the Pro remote is marginally better, 'twil do. The big difference is that the Pro can playback recordings directly from the attached HD. The menu is crude, and there's no way to name the recordings (they're assigned an obscure number), but that's still a huge improvement. Still no WiFi so I'll still have to walk the disk to the PC to put the recordings on the PLEX disk.

The Cloner boxes also include some downloadable rudimentary MP4 editing software. I've tried it and it seems to work fine for trimming the start/end and commercials out of recordings, and it can apparently splice MP4's as well. There's also software and a cable to connect the Cloner direct to a PC, but my laptop is normally too far away to try that yet. (Maybe I'll get an extension cable and see if the PC connection can avoid walking the HD.)

I did have a failure to record on the Tablo one evening. A reset got it back working. The Tablo forum suggests that the tuners can get 'stuck' on marginal reception channels. Most channels I get are Ok, but a few are marginal with just the rabbit ears I'm using. So I ordered an amplified antenna - will be here next week.

Saw the announcement that Netflix is raising subscription prices, so even more likely that I will go to an intermittent service plan on that and Hulu.

Now that I think I've got it all the way I want, I've got to drag everything out again and dress the cables up nicely. I've also got to make up some sort of system diagram so I'll have any hope of explaining it to my wife (and so I'll remember it myself a month from now). Wouldn't' it be neet if all of these functions were incorporated into one box?

BTW, any suggestions for MP4 editing software (the free-er the better)? I'm sure there must be something free/affordable that's better than what I got with the Cloner.
 
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vcp

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Need advice X2:

1. Next item will be to replace my old receiver. What I have now is an old Dennon, with a lost remote, and the HDMI through is busted. Speakers I have are adequate with powered sub. Suggestions? I haven't looked at receivers in years. Need something probably sub $400.

2. I'm now swamped with remotes. I've tried a low-end Logitech Harmony that we use in the bedroom, but not really happy with it. Suggestions? (One problem trying to integrate remotes is that the Roku is RF.)
 

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Check out NCH Videopad, here:

https://www.nchsoftware.com/videopa...MBbAtvw577PFolaYQJhLUdgqEn2HamRhoCWa4QAvD_BwE

Oh, what an awful query string got attached. Sorry.

Anyway, that's what I've used for editing things like rocketry videos and a few things for work. I bought the "next up from free" version a couple years ago. Mine shows "Professional Edition" but currently they are selling Home (which I think used to be free) and "Master Edition" so see if either make sense for you. I've found the version I have to be stable, have the options I need, and reasonably intuitive to use.

In other news, I saw the $2/month price increase for Netflix, but I'm not planning on changing my subscription over it. They HAVE added lots of good content recently including originals, although they are losing content from other sources (such as Disney) at quite a rate. Still, the $24/year difference wouldn't make me change my habits or worry about doing an intermittent plan and time shifting. That's just me; YMMV.

Receiver-wise, I like my Dennon AVR-S720W, which is now about two years old I think. You might find new old stock cheap, or their more recent model may still be within your budget. Works well for my Roku, HTPC, and Smart TV (now no longer using smart functions, my 2013 vintage plasma apps are deprecated but the picture still rocks).

I enjoy this thread. Glad another home theater enthusiast is out there.

You might check out MakeMKV. It's "still in beta" and can be used for free I think; I paid $50 for it years ago. Great for ripping to MKV from bluray and DVD sources. I have AnyDVDHD running concurrently, but MakeMKV usually works all on its own too.
 

vcp

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My current ripping path is, for DVD, Handbrake in HQ or SHQ (depending on the movie) in 480p30 - the TV does a fine job of upconverting to 1080. Files are 2-3GB. For Blu-Ray, MakeMKV backup to a folder, usually 30-40GB, and then Handbrake transcode to HQ or SHQ 1080p30, resulting in files 4-8GB. I'm just using an old slow laptop that's convenient, so a DVD rip takes about two hours, a MakeMKV backup about one hour, and a Handbrake BR transcode takes from 4-12 hours. The neet thing about Handbrake is that I can queue up the BR transcode operations and just let it run, like forever. I think it's been going continuously for almost two weeks now. When it runs low I just MakeMKV some more and queue them up.

This has worked for >95% of my disks. Those few others are just odd, or perhaps really damaged. I'll work on them again later. I also have the option, as I've done a couple of times, to just play the disk and record it on the HDMI Cloner, works.

Handbrake queue.JPG

I've got to get in the habit of adding release dates to the filenames - it would help PLEX match them in the movie database.
 

vcp

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Update again; >450 movies ripped.

I mentioned earlier that I was getting a powered antenna. I know that a 'patch' antenna hasn't got the gain of any conventional antenna, but I thought the RF amp part of it would make it better than the rabbit ears I was using. Uh, no. The amplified patch antenna was much worse than the simple rabbit ears. And yeah, I tried different orientations. Back to the rabbit ears, and I might try some better positioning on them.

I also mentioned that the Tablo OtA programs were filling up the 2TB disk I had for it. The problem with switching to a larger disk is that the Tablo uses its own format, so I can't just copy what's already recorded onto another disk, plus the files are in a proprietary format. You can also only attach one disk, so I was looking at the possibility of losing what was already recorded. Ah-ha! Freeware TabloRipper! Installed on my PC, it syncs with the Tablo via WiFi, and downloads selected programs off of it, converting to MP4, and deletes the files off the Tablo. Then I can edit the files to remove commercials, and view them via PLEX. The Ripper has a bunch of features for downloading automatically at set times, filenames, etc. Slick and works perfectly. Saving off my recorded 'Steve Canyon' and 'Men In Space' now. The d/l and transcode is at about 2-3x RT on my slow laptop - I only hope I can do the d/l faster than my wife is recording stuff OtA.

Tablo has just announced that an update coming in March will enable automatic commercial skip. Their announcement says that it works better than a similar feature on Tivo. Hoping that it's available as a firmware update.

Picked up a not bad PC at the thrift store that's going to become my video processing/PLEX server.
 
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Marc_G

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Hi @vcp,
Sorry to hear about your powered antenna woes; I'm only 8 miles from the antenna farm so don't need powered antennas, but I did at one point buy one thinking it would improve some glitches I was getting, and instead it overpowered the signal, amplified reflections to the point where they were more problematic, and yadda yadda yadda the thing is in my attic connected to no devices any more.

Great work finding a good solution to the Tablo. Nice!

Curious to know what sort of PC you got at the thrift store and what it costs. I've had reason to pick up a couple computers last year, and found what I considered to be good deals on i5-6500 (not 6500T!) systems on eBay with 8 GB RAM and a SSD plus Win10PRO for under $300; these tend to be Dell Optiplex or HP EliteDesk systems, often with warranty remaining. They are decommissioned business systems.

I'm now looking at replacing my desktop system (i5-4670 based) with something faster and am waiting for a good deal on an i7-6700 or better, that can fit my bluray ripper drive. In the next month or two prices should be dropping as new stuff hits the market.
 

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I picked up a decent antenna from my local Frys but here is the same from Amazon. I think it was closer to $45 at the Frys but they had a sale going on.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007RH5GZI/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

It picks up stations in HD(records at 1080p on my Plex server) from over 30 miles away without issue. It tunes in 58 channels. I have it indoors, center of my house, 9 feet up in a hall closet. If I mounted it in the attic or outdoors and aimed correctly, it might be able to pick up stations further.
 

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Looks like a good one for people at a good distance from their antenna farm.

One thing that is very important in antenna selection, more so now in the HD world than the analog world, was that too much signal is just as bad or worse than too little. Overly strong antennas can pick up too much interference and garble the signal quality.

For most people that live within 15 miles of the local stations, I recommend something very basic, unamplified, mildly directional. Here's the one I'm using:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GIT002/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 

vcp

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All of my (adult) kids are wizards at thrift shopping. My son picked up this (you nailed it) Dell Optiplex 780 (thinks it came from the local college) for $12. He added a $25 250G SSD (dunno where that came from), and paid $30 for a Win10 license (place called Kinguin - presumably legit). I had a 20" LCD I'd gotten a couple of years ago at a garage sale for $20 (not fancy, but functional), And I've got keyboards and mices laying about. Added a $15 USB WiFi dongle. So about $100 for a perfectly usable system. Don't know what the processor is, but looks like it'll do. I may spend another $15 for a USB 3 PCIe card, since the WiFi dongle and the external disk I have for it are 3.0. It's quiet enough that it could reside near the LR TV, but I think it'll probably go in the bedroom.

I got an 8TB external at Costco a couple of weeks ago, and my other son says it will be on sale there next week for $120. Just got it all hooked up this morning and I'll be moving the PLEX server to it, and my external Blu-Ray drive. It'll be good to get all that off of this laptop, since I'm probably burning down its processor.

I see that it's a Core2 Duo processor which apparently doesn't compare well to an i5. Just tried a Handbrake DVD rip with it and it did about the same frame rate as my laptop (which is an old i7), but I notice it's taking 90% of the processor, compared to about 30% on the laptop. Won't be a factor if it can serve multiple streams on PLEX.
 

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I love a good deal on tech. A functional desktop box for $12 rocks, even if it's a core2Duo. Cost of the other stuff doesn't count because it will all get reused eventually. I've been meaning to build a Linux desktop system to play with based on junked parts, but then figured I'd use my current i5-4670 for that once I get a new desktop.

The only thing holding me back is I need to figure out if my standard height blue ray drive will fit into the various Optiplex/EliteDesk form factors. I'm kind of itching to move on; my current desktop has this annoying thing where the mouse/keyboard go slow/eventually catch up. It's been that way since day 1 in summer 2014, and replacing the peripherals didn't fix it. Presumably a mother board thing; I updated drivers but no satisfaction. I'm still on Windows 7, which I actually kind of prefer over Windows 10, but the clock is ticking (kind of).

I will say that $30 for a Win 10 license is kind of high compared to what you can get on eBay. I've bought several there for $5-10, all work fine as Windows 10 Pro. Seems dodgy to me but some of the stores I've bought from have been around for years, and would have been shut down if they were stealing them. Continued existence seems to imply legitimacy. These places purport the keys come from faulty hardware and supposedly offer a way to get the faulty hardware (at shipping cost) in the event you want it; nobody ever does I'm sure.
 

vcp

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About my antenna situation; but first a story: In the late '80's, at work we had a busted Compaq PC that needed a new motherboard. At the time, Compaq famously had an 'on-site' repair service, so I gave their 800 number a call. Told them the problem and the operator said that they could handle it for us, where were we located? So I told her: "Boise, Idaho." She asked; "What's that near?" I paused and said: "Well, it's the capital of Idaho." She said: "Yes, but what's it near?" I paused again and said: "Well,... it's not really near anything - it's the largest city for over 300 miles in any direction." She replied: "We'll mail it to you."

So it's about the same for TV stations. Most are LOS on the mountain overlooking the Boise valley. The one or two that I'm not receiving well are in small towns within about 30 miles. Beyond that, I'd have to go over 50 miles to receive the great metropolis' of Ontario, Oregon, or Mountain Home, Id. Not really worth much (or any) effort. After deleting all of the shopping/religion/Spanish language stations, I've got about 25 stations left to deal with.

If anyone wants to try that patch antenna (that cost about $25) you can have it free for the postage to mail it. PM me.
 

vcp

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Somewhere around 600 movies ripped (in ~4 months).

After setting up that Optiplex system as my PLEX server, I started using it in addition to my laptop for ripping so I usually have two going at once. The PLEX server seems to take no significant processor time. I also took a stack upstairs to my CAD PC and do some there, so often there are three rips running. I tried using my wife's laptop as well but it didn't have enough grunt to make it worth the trouble (3x longer to rip a DVD). I've only got a few hundred DVD's left so I've got to start ripping more BluRays, and that will take a lot longer, both in processing time and because I only have one BluRay drive. A lot of those are DVD/BR/(some 4k) sets, so I might start ripping the DVD versions and do the BR's later. But it's all worth it, as we are really, REALLY enjoying having our library accessible now - every night is movie night.

I have a 2TB drive on the Tablo, and it was nearly full from OtA capture. I was thinking of swapping in the 4TB drive I have, but the problem there is that the Tablo uses a proprietary format. AFAIK there is no way to just transfer the files to a new disk (the Tablo can only use one disk)(but I haven't really searched for a transfer method - there may be one). No need anyway, because I found a freeware program called Tablo Ripper. This runs on a PC (the laptop for now) and downloads selected files from the Tablo over the network, converting them to mp4/mkv files in the process. Then I just put them on PLEX to view - works really slick. I need to just put Tablo Ripper on the Optiplex, so I can rip directly into PLEX folders. It doesn't seem to use much processor, so it can Tablo rip while ripping a DVD. I'm looking at some mp4/mkv post-processing software that can remove commercials, but I haven't gotten it to run yet (haven't tried very hard).

Figured out what was going on with my antenna. About the time I was messing with antennas, there was some wet weather/light snow. The antennas were on an upper floor near the vaulted ceiling, so the signals were passing through the wet roof. When it dried out all was well again. Confirmed when we had a light snow tonight and it all went to crap again. Our snowfalls usually melt off in a day or two, but it looks like this one might stick for a week or more. It might actually work better on the ground floor where the signal would just pass through a wall.
 
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captbk

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Im looking to cut the cable cord and go with an antenna set up. Im in a rural area with crappy cell service. Im about 100 miles from a major city and 50 miles from a not so major city. I have read a little bit of this thread but I get totally lost when all the technical talk starts flying. I dont care for recording options and that kind of stuff. Right now we have DirectTV with the mid level channel package. Ive seen those gadgets that you plug your cable into the wall to make your house wiring into an antenna. What about these other subsciption services like Kodi? How do you connect/sign-up with them? When responding please provide links to the products your talking about. Otherwise it's all gibberish to me. In case you cant tell, Im really not very tech savy.
 

Marc_G

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Hi @captbk

You may be best off with DirectTV, I'm sorry to say. Regarding live TV, if you are that far away from a decent city, using an antenna of any variety may not give great results. Definitely not the "use your house wiring as an antenna." That stuff is crap. The best thing to do is get a strong directional antenna and point it at the city where the TV towers are. But if you are 50 or 100 miles away... yuk. Check out this resource for that:

https://antennaweb.org/Address

Regarding Kodi: it's a media platform you run on a computer at your house. It can record TV (using a network based tuner). It's not a subscription service like Netflix or anything. Here is a Kodi primer;
https://www.tomsguide.com/us/what-is-kodi,review-4160.html

I used the Kodi front end as a player on a home theater (and using Emby as the server software www.emby.media ) very briefly, then went back to the Emby Home Theater player on my home theater PC. The Emby server records my live TV; I can play it from any device anywhere, more or less. I also use Emby to store content that I rip from my bluray/DVD discs so that I can play it whenever I want, from wherever I want, without touching the discs after the initial ripping (which was done via a PC).

When you talk about Kodi subscriptions, to me that sounds like it might be a connection into Kodi for streaming pirated content. That happens a lot; or people buy "kodi boxes" that come preloaded with pirated content. Not something you want to get hooked up. Lots of people don't even realize the content is ill-gotten. There are probably legal Kodi subscriptions too; I just don't know much about them.

What is your internet connectivity like? If you have decent broadband, your best bet is Netflix, Hulu, and the various live TV streaming services. Lots of people use Youtube TV:
https://tv.youtube.com/welcome/start/

Also consider Sling TV, another live TV streaming service:
https://www.sling.com/

Since I have nearby off the air TV, I record a few shows, but that's a small percentage of what I watch. Mostly I use Netflix, Hulu, and AMazon Prime streaming, combined with rips from discs I get from Netflix and another specialized bluray rental place.
 

vcp

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Im looking to cut the cable cord and go with an antenna set up. Im in a rural area with crappy cell service. Im about 100 miles from a major city and 50 miles from a not so major city. I have read a little bit of this thread but I get totally lost when all the technical talk starts flying. I dont care for recording options and that kind of stuff. Right now we have DirectTV with the mid level channel package. Ive seen those gadgets that you plug your cable into the wall to make your house wiring into an antenna. What about these other subsciption services like Kodi? How do you connect/sign-up with them? When responding please provide links to the products your talking about. Otherwise it's all gibberish to me. In case you cant tell, Im really not very tech savy.

I am so glad I dropped DirecTV - what I've saved losing that for the past ~8 months has easily paid for all the assorted boxes and disk drives I've bought since then.

You mention Kodi so I assume you are looking at streaming as well. You didn't mention if you have good internet service? For good streaming, you'd probably need at least a real 10MB/s, and if your service has a data cap you'd need something like 500 MB/month or more depending upon how much you'd watch online. Most popular streaming services are Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, that provide more than enough content for most people. The main issue is how to get that service from your PC to your TV. If your PC has an HDMI output, you could connect them directly, but to me, that's not a particularly convenient arrangement. Another option is casting from your PC to the TV. Any PC with wifi can cast, some TV's have a cast receiver built in. Otherwise, you'd need a cast receiver like a Chromecast. But that still ties you to your PC. I've had a Chromecast, but now it's a waste compared to a dedicated media player like Roku or Fire. (Both Roku and Fire have several different models.) Both Roku or Fire connect to your wifi. I have both of them and I think that the Roku is easier to use; both can receive (the subscription-required) Netflix/Hulu/Prime and a ton of other streaming services. You can add premium services (HBO, Showtime, etc.) to Hulu or Fire, or directly to Roku (makes no difference as far as I can tell). Note also that Roku is now built-in to some new TV's, and 'smart' TV's can get streaming services directly. Sling is another a media player, but I don't think it compares well to Roku or Fire; there are other players too. Note that these streaming services don't provide much of network TV. Hulu has some current TV series, and both Hulu and Netflix have a lot of old TV series. There are also lots of other free streaming services that can be added to Roku/Fire (usually with commercials). Sheesh, I read that back and it's an overlapping mess of devices and services. Good luck.

I'll try and summarize the above. If you have satisfactory internet, home wifi, and a normal TV (non-smart, non-Roku) I'd suggest a Roku media player, and then subscribe to your choice of Hulu, Netflix, and/or Prime. You can add premium channels (HBO, Showtime..) to that. And you're streaming.

Also, Sling is also a subscription service (besides a media player); I tried the free trial and it wasn't very good. Also Also, I had Kodi installed for a while and found its menu system far too obtuse; my wife would have never figured it out.

For Over-the-Air (OtA) you're going to need a premium antenna. Those 'house wiring antennas' are garbage. Halfway down the page here is a place where you can enter your zip code and see what stations are in your reception area. That page also has some articles on TV antennas. I was pleasantly surprised at all the content (old movies and TV series) that was available on the subchannels (e.g., 7.1, 7.2, 7.3...) besides the network TV. Now you can just connect your antenna to your TV, but then you have to put up with commercials and watch TV on their schedule. I hate commercials and I'm not gonna get up at 2 AM to catch an old movie. So to avoid that you need a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) capability. You can get an add-in tuner card for your PC (pretty cheaply, I think) but I don't know much about them. The simple DVR that I love is the Tablo. The Tablo is a multi-channel, stand-alone OtA TV receiver and DVR that connects directly to your antenna. It then connects to your media player device (Roku or Fire) over your wifi. You can then watch the recorded content on your schedule and FF thru commercials. The $200 model has 4 channels and requires an external USB hard drive. The $140 model is 2 channels, and has 64G of internal storage, but can also use an external USB drive. A 1-to-8 Terabyte USB drive will cost something like $40 to $140. Depends upon how much TV you'll watch. The TV guide service for Tablo is a $5/month subscription (necessary IMO).

To summarize the above mess, if you have satisfactory internet, home wifi, normal TV, and a Roku, you'll need a premium antenna for basic OtA. For recording and commercial skipping, add either model of Tablo, and a 2 or 4 TB external USB disk drive.

The third leg of the entertainment triad is to put all of your DVD's on a server so that they are easily accessible. Good thing about this is that it's mostly free, except for the disk storage which will need 2-8 GB per movie. This requires some free ripping software, Handbrake and MakeMKV, and free media server software: PLEX or Emby all of which run on your PC. There is a learning curve to ripping, and I'm not all the way up it yet. BluRay's are harder to rip than DVD's, and some disks just don't rip. The media server software installs pretty easily and is even easier to use.
 

captbk

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As far as OTA antenna's, I went to the suggested site and no joy.It says No channels found. I had heard about Kodi from my brother who lives in a large city. I dont have a DVD library so thats not a concern. I will look at the instructions that came with the TV which I purchased new in 2016 and see if it has any of the features you spoke of like yuo tube , netflix, and hulu. Thanks guys.
 

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captbk

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Thanks for all the info, unfortunately Im stuck in my directTV contract for another 4 months and I will have to wait till I "cut the cord".
I have a feeling what I watch is going to drastically change.
 

Steve Shannon

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Thanks for all the info, unfortunately Im stuck in my directTV contract for another 4 months and I will have to wait till I "cut the cord".
I have a feeling what I watch is going to drastically change.

I cut the cable several years ago and I’ve never missed it. If I were you I would take the next four months (which will go by way too fast) to experiment with different antennas to see what works for you.
 

vcp

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Now over 700 ripped, and looking back, I see that the rip rate is accelerating. Couple of reasons for this: 1) I'm not bothering with Blu-Rays at the moment - I'll work on them later. and 2) since I've got an external BR attached to the laptop plus its internal DVD, I've been queueing one player while the other is ripping, so it's effectively ripping continuously about 18 hours a day, plus the Optiplex desktop and sometimes my CAD system upstairs. I have lots of sets that include DVD+BR discs, so I'm only doing the DVD and put the set aside to rip the BR later.

20190228_205326.jpg

That pic is about 500 disks in storage boxes. Each disc with box art is in a vinyl sleeve. I figure that something like 50-70 linear feet of DVD shelving (an entire bedroom wall) will go into perhaps six of these boxes. And all of the movies will be more accessible on the PLEX server. I'm spending a lot of time watching old movies that I'd forgotten that I had.

I finally noticed and joined two PLEX groups on Facebook. Both have helped me understand a few things, but both are mostly still way over my head. Terms radarr/sonarr/lidarr for a few. A lot of the members have huge servers and serve some number of users (apparently beyond a simple household). Rather than ripping, a lot of users apparently torrent copies of discs that they 'own' (for various degrees of 'own'). One group is strict about ownership, the other is not.

As for the antenna situation, I finally figured out that when there's light rain here, there's probably heavy snow on the mountain where the transmitter antennas are. The weather is really only an issue a few days a year, but I'll probably spring for a heavy metal antenna soon. Figuring out that I can fit an antenna into the attic and route a cable. Other than that, the Tablo is working great, and via TabloRipper I've moved a lot of old TV series to PLEX. Still need to see about moving my music onto PLEX. Also will need to think about another HD in a month or two.

One annoying issue though - I have been getting some Tablo disconnect/reconnects. I wish the Tablo had an external wifi antenna. I've got a long ethernet cable - I think I'm going to try that.
 
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vcp

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Something way over 900 movies ripped, and maybe a hundred TV episodes too.

Moved the Tablo downstairs to connect it wired to the router - seems to work better. I also reconnected the patch TV antenna to it and it also seems to work better downstairs. Weather is better now though, so it might not be a valid comparison. My PLEX server isn't far from the router either, so I may try it wired as well.

Our bedroom TV, a 5-yo Samsung, decided to crap out, so I was unexpectedly in the market for a new TV. I didn't really shop around. 4K and built-in Roku were the only criteria. Costco had a cheap unknown brand (TCL) that I took home. Seems to work ok.

I continue to find that I'm still a total newb with PLEX. I just found this blog that has a wealth of well-documented PLEX info;
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/plex-a-manual-your-media-with-style/
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/unofficial-plex-channels-install-now/
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/best-plex-plugins-power-users/
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/plex-tricks-tips-need-know/
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/forget-plex-kodi-try-emby/
 

Tobor

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I used to run Kodi, when it was still known as XBMC, on a dedicated HTPC + BOINC cruncher PC. Now I just have the PC running the Win7 desktop GUI. Current PC setup is a old 1st Gen 860 on a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD7 MB. GPU is an EVGA GTX-960 sending 4K output to my Vizio M60-C3. Most of my BD rips are hosted on my Nextcloud box for local access.

Apps I use include:
MakeMKV for BD rips
DVD Decrypter for most DVDs
Exact Audio Copy for CD rips to FLAC
 

vcp

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Somewhere north of 1000 movies ripped, but that doesn't include a couple of hundred TV series episodes (all of GoT, BSG, etc.), my son's anime collection, and several dozen disks of children's programs. I've also been doing a lot more Blu-Rays. The movie collection is getting to the point where we watch a series of movies off of PLEX rather than turning to streaming. We'll watch say, a movie with Diane Keaton, and then Plex will list all the other movies we have with DK and we'll watch one of those, and so on... Another ~six months and I can cut my internet cost in half by dropping speed and cap.

I did finally buy a better antenna for the Tablo, and it's working much better, though the better weather might have much to do with that too. The 2TB disk on the Tablo was getting over 90% full, and that might have been affecting its performance too. I've been downloading from the Tablo with TabloRipper, onto my Plex drive, and we watch the OtA programs from Plex. This is keeping the Tablo hard drive under 50% now. Tablo has officially announced an update coming out this month for automatic commercial skip. Thing is, I don't know if the skip applies just for watching a recorded program, or if the recording is made without commercials. It would be a pain if I moved the recording to Plex and the commercials were still there.

But for the OtA programs I've put on PLEX, I'm trying some free commercial skip software called MCEBuddy. It's not terribly fast - on my steam-powered computers it looks like it takes about 30 minutes to process a 30-minute program. That's not terrible since it doesn't seem to peg the processor, so I can just let it strip commercials in the background, while the same PC is ripping DVDs. I've just now dropped a whole TV series season into it for stripping. It's not perfect - for instance, it won't catch a commercial in progress when the recording starts, but nits to me. I like it. Reduces file sizes too.

On the HD side, I'd bought an 8TB USB drive a few months ago, and when it was getting about half full, I realized how much ripping work had gone into it, so it was time for a back-up. 8TB seems to be the current 'dip' in the $/TB curve for the best value. So I got another one. Some freeware called GoodSync that's dead simple to use, and I've got a make-do RAID-0. And just today I've bought a third, to use for TV and some of my son's stuff. I can see that I'll eventually need a few more.

I'd been getting an increasing number of disconnects and buffering, but only on the living room Roku, the oldest one I have. So I got a new Roku Ultra. Pretty neat with a headphone jack on the remote, and a remote finder. It also has a wired ethernet jack that I might use to eliminate the WiFi variable. Ugh, it's a pain to set-up though. It's now installing 97 channels, most of which I'll have to delete later, and then move the ones I want around on the guide so I can find them. Working well now though.

It's shaping up into a decent entertainment system, and still a lot less than what I was paying for DirecTV.
 

Mushtang

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I'm with you. I have approx 1,100 movies and about 20 tv complete series on my NAS. It's connected to my home network, and my PLEX server runs on a laptop dedicated to it, both are directly connected to the router with CAT5 and not wireless.

My home theater in the basement is a 75" QLED TV and a wireless cable box. I'd contacted the cable company to come bury cable in my back yard that I would run through the back wall behind my TV, but they told me about their "new" wireless cable which was still HD. The picture looks great so I'm happy with it.

I haven't cut the cord yet, but I do have Netflix, Hulu, Plex, etc. on a Roku too. Very happy with the set up.

Have you downloaded any torrents yet, or is that not something you'd want to do?
 

Raindog

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Hello. New here but wanted to reply to this thread as it has great interest to me. I cut the cord about a year ago. For live/network tv, I use Youtube TV (I also have Youtube Red) and, since I'm a huge baseball junkie, a yearly subscription to MLB.TV. It interfaces with my tv through an Apple TV box. I also run a dedicated computer that controls my Plex server, connected to a Drobo 5N2 network NAS. Inside the Drobo, I have five 10TB WD Red drives. I have the Drobo set to dual-disk redundancy so that I could actually lose two drives at once and not lose data. Severe overkill but, once I ripped my entertainment collection, DVDs, Blu-Rays, etc were packed up into storage. I plan never to have to rip the media again.

As a side note, to get those those 10TB drives cheaply, I waited until Best Buy has the WD Easystore 10TB on sale (often), usually about $159. I then buy the external drives and shuck the internal drives from them. Very easy and they contain white label versions of the WD Red 5400 rpm. That bare drive typically sells for about $300. On top of that, the Best Buy version also includes a 32GB thumb drive.



About the antennas, I live in rural Alabama (near Talladega Speedway) and I am in a dead zone between Birmingham and Atlanta stations. I wished that I could find an antenna that would pull in their stations, without using a big pole. I enjoy watching Me.TV which is only available using an antenna. :(

I love watching old vintage tv shows but hate to see them cut up so that extra commercials can be added. I'd much rather binge watch a series than to get it piecemeal. That is somewhat reflected by my TV section:

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 8.44.34 AM.png

When I decided to move all my media, photos (I'm a retired photographer) and documents to one location, on one server, it really tidied up my life. And finding Plex was a great moment for me. I was so fed up with iTunes that I was about to scream! Plex isn't perfect but it fits my needs to a "T."
 
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vcp

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My home theater in the basement is a 75" QLED TV ...

Have you downloaded any torrents yet, or is that not something you'd want to do?

I've never mentioned my main TV, 'cause it is... (for shame) a 72" DLP. But it's the last, best model of DLP produced before they stopped making them, bought at a close-out price, and is working perfectly. I just can't justify replacing it until it dies or the cost of other stuff drops a lot more.

Torrenting? Er, well. No. Ok, maybe. But only when a disc is dead. My son's 'Treasure Planet' wouldn't play/rip so I dl'd a copy. But when the Feds come knocking I can show them the disc; I own it, really. I couldn't disappoint my son, he's only [mumble] six. Ok, he's forty-six, but hey, I like to watch it too. That's the only time, ...mostly.




As a side note, to get those those 10TB drives cheaply, I waited until Best Buy has the WD Easystore 10TB on sale (often), usually about $159.

Neet, that's the same $/TB as the 8T's I've bought. I'll keep an eye out for that.

I enjoy watching Me.TV which is only available using an antenna. :(

I love watching old vintage tv shows but hate to see them cut up so that extra commercials can be added. I'd much rather binge watch a series than to get it piecemeal. That is somewhat reflected by my TV section:

Like Me.TV too, and Comet. Like your TV section.

When I decided to move all my media, photos (I'm a retired photographer) and documents to one location, on one server, it really tidied up my life. And finding Plex was a great moment for me. I was so fed up with iTunes that I was about to scream! Plex isn't perfect but it fits my needs to a "T."

Tidy is the right word. I'm not there yet. It's still dismaying when I look at the shelves/folders/boxes of discs yet to be ripped. I just found my binder of all the Star Trek TV series.
 
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