DVD to hard disk

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DVD to hard disk

Postby cpr » Mon Jun 06, 2005 5:41 pm

Copying DVDs to hard disk sounds great for speed, etc. But is it legal in the U.S.? I am planning a system and would like to find out before I spend a lot of money on storage when it shouldn't be done. Thanks.

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Postby gregoryx » Mon Jun 06, 2005 6:14 pm

It depends who you ask. The stance of the MPAA and their crew of legal folks is that it is definetely unlawful. That said, they seem to be waiting for the right case to prove that in court. Care to copy a bunch of DVDs to your hard drive and tell them about it and see what happens? :P

There is a lawsuit in place now against a large manufacturer who was selling a solution that did this (Kaleidescape). In spite of the efforts they took to try to ensure that there was no illegal copying of movies - and the fact that the $24K+ for their system made it rather unlikely that anyone who could afford it was doing so in the first place - they seem to be the first US case from what I've heard so far.

I believe one person on this board shared their experience where they were contacted by someone from the MPAA even though they made it clear that they were leaving the encryption and copy-protection in place and were only backing up their own movies.

All that said, it's currently MANY times more expensive to store movies on hard-drives than it is to store them in changers. If you're worried about the legalities, save your money on the drive storage and spend it on an off-board processor (since HTPCs are capable of WAY better graphics than a Sony ES player is). You'll lose the "watch as many movies as you want from as many places in the house as you want" aspect, but you'll be legal and you will have spent less as the count of movies goes up.

:D

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Postby bhiga » Mon Jun 06, 2005 8:17 pm

CX777ES seems to be around $600 average, with 400-disc capacity...

Hmm.. I gotta look at my JBOD and see how many discs I have loaded. It might make more sense for me to put my DVDs in a changer instead... :oops:

Then I could use the drives to migrate my fileserver's array... :idea:

It'll take a little bit of cable-juggling to run my playback through DScaler, but it still might be worth it. Hmm...

Yeah, crap, it'd be cheaper to do two changers. :cry:
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Postby gregoryx » Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:48 am

bhiga wrote:... crap, it'd be cheaper to do two changers. :cry:


I keep saying that! :lol:

Simple math: once you get to 400 discs, we're talking $1.50 per disc to store it. At an average of 5G per DVD, assuming RAID5, you can't get much lower than $4 per disc to store on a PC - and that's just assuming the case, PSU, RAID card, and drives... not the rest of the system!

So... figure a low- / middle- level scaler is about $1500... you're ahead before you get to 800 discs... and no hassles with Dscaler. :wink:

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Postby bhiga » Tue Jun 07, 2005 12:52 pm

gregoryx wrote:So... figure a low- / middle- level scaler is about $1500... you're ahead before you get to 800 discs... and no hassles with Dscaler. :wink:

I'll just add a changer when I get my next load of DVDs.

Ah well, at least I'll be able to upgrade my RAID - or do incremental backups.

The hardware scaler also sounds appealing... because I'd like to run 720p for everything and use 1-to-1 pixel mapping. Hmm... I feel the money draining from my wallet already.

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Postby cpr » Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:04 pm

Excellent advice. I'll go with a changer. The Sony sounds good. I've read a few posts on the forum (maybe from you guys) that say that they get a better picture using their HTPC or outboard processor to process the video instead of the Sony. Can the Sony output an untampered with raw digital video signal that's straight from the DVD?

Also, with the Sony changer, how long does it take from when you select to PLAY a movie in ML until the disc is found and the movie starts?

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Postby gregoryx » Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:43 pm

cpr wrote:Excellent advice. I'll go with a changer. The Sony sounds good. I've read a few posts on the forum (maybe from you guys) that say that they get a better picture using their HTPC or outboard processor to process the video instead of the Sony. Can the Sony output an untampered with raw digital video signal that's straight from the DVD?


The Sony will output 720p via component, which is the actual resolution of a DVD. It's not digital; it's analog. That is the input that the upsampler/scalers accept (along with many others - component, SVID, lower res/freq component, etc) and they can output up to WXGA+ res/freqs. Keep in mind that if your final monitor / television / projector is not capable of higher quality inputs, this may not be that valuable.

In my case, my projector is 1366x768 native. It has component inputs that accept 720p - as well as 1080p, though it would be scaling at that point. I run the Sonys directly to it as 720p currently (through my preamp/processor for switching). When I'm running on the HTPC, its scaled up to 1366x768 natively before it leaves the PC, letting the fancy processing software (ffdshow, dscaler, even a little just in the native decoders) do the scaling to the 1366x768 native format off the projector instead of letting its internal processor do it. The picture is better through the HTPC. Depending on how fancy I want to "tune" (per picture, for example), it can be really nice... but I'm not that picky.

All that said, if you are just outputting to a typical HDTV with no WXGA+ inputs, you may want to give the straight 720p a rip before worrying about it too much.


cpr wrote:Also, with the Sony changer, how long does it take from when you select to PLAY a movie in ML until the disc is found and the movie starts?


From power-on to movie, it's about 45 seconds for me. Once powered on, it can be as low as 15 seconds or so. My projector takes about 30 seconds to turn on, so it's not a big deal for me. When anyone launches a movie, my system tells them what it'll be doing (powering on things, whatever) and how long it will take (longer if things are powered off) then does it all as it should (mostly :P). I'm sure you'll get yours set up that way or better after a bit so the delays aren't that big of a deal.

:D

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Postby bhiga » Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:03 pm

NTSC DVDs are encoded either 480p in the case of Hollywood discs from film (3:2 pulldown flag set, the MPEG display rate still reports 29.97i), or 480i in the case of interlaced stuff like older television programming and normal stuff shot on camcorders.

The encoded frame is 720x480 for NTSC and 720x576 for PAL. 720p content is 1280x720 and the frame size is the same for both NTSC and PAL (finally!). 1080i content is a920x1080 with the same frame size for both NTSC and PAL, but the frame rate is different between NTSC (1080/60i) and PAL (1080/50i) - oh well, can't win em all.

Some DVD-ROM content now includes 1080p and 720p content in Windows Media HD or other formats, though.

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Postby jss » Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:18 pm

you're worried about the legalities, save your money on the drive storage and spend it on an off-board processor (since HTPCs are capable of WAY better graphics than a Sony ES player is).


Can you clarify what you mean by this? I am about to get a Sony ES, so I'm obviously interested in better options. Why would an HTPC have better graphics? By off-board processor do you simply mean an upscaler fed by the Sony, or something I'm not aware of?

Sorry if this exposes my ignorance, but I am curious what the "best" solution would be for dvd storage. I need something, since my kids destroy DVDs left out in the open. I don't care about the quality for the kids movies, but I would like the same solution to work for my movies, where I want the best quality possible.

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Postby cpr » Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:23 pm

Thanks, all! This forum rocks!

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Postby gregoryx » Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:42 am

bhiga wrote:NTSC DVDs are encoded either 480p...


You are 100% right, of course. Flat out dunno what I was thinking at the time... :oops:

...

Which kind of moves toward the question of
jss wrote:
you're worried about the legalities, save your money on the drive storage and spend it on an off-board processor (since HTPCs are capable of WAY better graphics than a Sony ES player is).


Can you clarify what you mean by this? I am about to get a Sony ES, so I'm obviously interested in better options. Why would an HTPC have better graphics? By off-board processor do you simply mean an upscaler fed by the Sony, or something I'm not aware of?

Sorry if this exposes my ignorance, but I am curious what the "best" solution would be for dvd storage. I need something, since my kids destroy DVDs left out in the open. I don't care about the quality for the kids movies, but I would like the same solution to work for my movies, where I want the best quality possible.

-JSS


The issue is the quality of the DVD content (480p as described by Brandon, above) versus the potential of the monitor/TV/projector/panel/whatever. Since some of the newer HDTV units are capable of up to 1080p - more than two times the number of lines of resolution of the DVD content - upsampling / scaling the image becomes an issue... just how well the processing system does it can have a big affect on the quality of the picture.

That said, if the DVD is being output to a typical TV - or something else that is NOT capable of 720p or 1080p or whatever high resolution - then the Sony will deliver the top quality possible for the set.

If the final viewing device has higher native resolution (720p/1080p/WXGA/?) then the process used to scale the native DVD 480i or 480p content UP to the native resolution will be the limiting factor. If the scaling / processing in the viewing device is not as good as the software available for HTPCs (ffdshow/dscaler), then DVDs played through the HTPC will be better quality on that viewing device than direct from the Sony. Alternatively, the signal from the Sony can be run though a scaler/processor to provide top-quality scaling from 480i/p to 720p or whatever the native resolution is of the viewing device, thus typically bypassing the processing in the viewing device.

HTH... :roll:

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Postby bhiga » Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:31 pm

No worries Gregory, I have lots of "spacey" days too - probably way more than you do! :lol:

In my ideal setup, all my inputs to my HS10 projector would be 720p and I'd run the HS10 in "Through" mode to get 1-to-1 pixel mapping from the source 1280x720 frame to a 1280x720 subset of the HS10's native 1366x768 pixel array. Then I'd use the optical zoom to make the picture size appropriate for my screen.

This would eliminate any scaling in the projector itself, and the scaling/deinterlacing quality would depend solely on the quality of whatever processor is conforming everything to 720p.

However, I live in a practical world and not an ideal world, so my current setup runs 720p to my HS10 which then upscales the 720p to the full panel resolution (approximately a 6 2/3% stretch).

Another reason I'm not currently in the "ideal" setup is that my game consoles output a mix of 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i. Thus using "Through" mode would give me a mix of screen sizes, not to mention the fact that zoomed 1-to-1 480i doesn't look very good.

So... I need to get something that'll take 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i component inputs (DVI input would be a plus) and scale to 720p.

Any suggestions? I'll eventually move toward the changer as well... :)

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Postby jss » Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:04 pm

Thanks for the response,

I'm assuming people would use an offboard processor because they believe it will provide better quality scaling than the internal scaling of the TV or projector.

I have one 37" 1366 x 768 resolution LCD tv and I'm purchasing another 62" 1280 x 720 rear projection set. Therefore, upscaling from the native 480p dvd is necessary. What is the best way to determine if the internal upscaling in the television is good? Has anyone seen reviews or studies which compare the interal processing vs. an external processor. Is this stuff just hype, or are there serious inadequacies with the internal format scalers?

Any recommendations for the best 60-62" rear-projection tv available? I was excited about the 1080 models coming out, but I have not found any available yet. I need to buy next week. Also, speakers must be below the screen for space constraints (I actually designed my cabinet opening for an LG 1080p model announced at CES in January, but it's delayed further)

Sorry if I went off topic a bit.

-JSS

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Postby gregoryx » Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:04 pm

Safe bet that most "and it up scales as necessary" is not the same as a device who's sole purpose is to do that well and must compete against similarly focused devices.

Be sure to have a monitor that accepts input at the native resolution or the off-board processor won't be as effective.


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Postby cborod » Thu Sep 07, 2006 4:40 pm

So......months later.......

I have read and re-read this thread over and over. I understand (I think)

Just wondering if anyone has had a change of mind/heart.

I have a dream of an HTPC and revisiting this discussion wonder if in today's world you would still buy the changer and external upscaler (roughly $2k)

or for roughly $2k an HTPC with 1tb mirrored raid and Nvidia with TT and stuff.....

or.....anyone with a better mousetrap?

Blessings from the IRS have me curious :roll:
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