No I’m not nuts really.
“OK then, what’s the deal with media servers, movie streamers, or what ever you call them, and why are they so expensive, and why cant I just use my DVD or Blue-Ray Player to watch my movies?”
Well yes you can do that if that’s what you want. You can also go back to using Cd’s to listen to all your favorite music too while you’re at it. Granted, I know many people who still go out and buy a CD from the music stores as opposed to downloading and hey, so do I from time to time. There is something nice about holding the actual disc in your hand and reviewing the lyrics and cover art, however most of us store all our music digitally and use MP3 players to listen to it at home and on the go. Similarly people are begining to store their movie libraries digitally. I like to purchase the DVD or Blueray and have in reserve should I ever have a problem with my digitally stored media. I know of one guy who sold all his Cd’s after ripping them to hard drive and then his hard drive crashed…. bummer dude.
Ripping all your movies makes life easier
If your budget is small go for a good quality Media Player and seperate NAS Drive. This will work good and will stream the movie from where it is stored to your TV set where you can enter the Media Player menu and select the movie you want to watch- very nice. However“Caveat Emptor” Buyer beware! All movie Players are not made equal, I like to go for Boxee or Apple TV when designing a simple “one-room” system. Installing a NAS Drive and Movie Player is simple when you know how but for most people its brain surgery and they don’t need the hassle. There is much to consider here so take my advice and hire someone you can trust to design and install it correctly or you will end up disappointed. For example streaming Blue-ray is not always successful because Blue-ray movies require a large bandwidth, a gigabit home network is the only way to go to ensure adequate bandwidth but may not always be the only requirement so get the advice of someone who knows their stuff.
So how do I rip my movie?
This process can be;
a). Very simple and effortless regardless of your technical knowledge, OR
b). Lots of grief for you (if you are not technically minded).
If you like the look of option (a) above then Imerge is for you, but you’d better dig deep in those pockets. Imerge could set you back as much as €8000 or €9000 including installation for an entry level system. Once installed you take your DVD or Blue-ray, slip it in the drive and Imerge will rip the disc while you watch it, pulling all the movie meta data down from the Internet in the process. Ripping a Blue-ray can take 2 hours or more but once loaded you don’t need to do any more as the file is stored on the Imerge integrated Hard Drive for direct access in the future.
If you like the look of option (b) above and have a small budget then you need to be willing to do a little bit of work. There is a bit involved in the equipment set up and you might enjoy this process (like me) if you are technical. If you are not technical then this will be hassle for you no doubt about it so hire a pro. Once the set up is done all you need do is buy and download DVDfab movie ripping software to your PC or Mac. As far as costs go, if you buy a good quality NAS, Media Player, leads and software etc you will probably spend €1000.00 on equipment by the time all is said and done, installation will vary. All that’s left is to load the disc, set up the file settings in DVDfab and wait for the software to finish ripping to your NAS Drive.
In short, both methods work well for the their price range. An adhoc system using DVDfab is great (providing you dont go bargain bucket quality on hardware) and meets the budget of most people. Imerge is the “Dogs spherical objects” if you have the budget. It is all singing and all dancing and a vastly superior solution. The user interface is superb also by the way.
Find out more about DVDfab
Find out more about Imerge