Nov 26, 2011
My family and I have accumulated a rather large library of DVD/BD movies that we like to watch repeatedly from time to time. In order to avoid searching for and handling the original disks each time, I have been ripping the content, preserving menus,chapters, and the audio and subtitle streams for our preferred language, along with the main video title.i chose to transcode the video using h.264 format, and AC3 audio, storing those and the subtitle stream in an MKV wrapper, because that format is reasonably well supported by the WDTV Live Plus player I have been using. However, I have found many shortcomings of that player to be frustrating to me. My frustration is caused mostly by these factors:
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- Browsing screen by screen, with only textual titles when deciding what movie to watch next is not pleasing.
- If I want to jump into a particular movie chapter, again there is only text (minutes/seconds) to help me find the chapter I want, as opposed to artwork such as one would have when viewing the original disk using a DVD/BD player.
- Inability to pause, and advance frame by frame, as I would be able to if playing the original media.
- The WDTV Live Plus sometimes alters the appearance of the subtitles compared with the original media, and sometimes to the extent that they are unreadable.
Thinking that I might be able to improve on shortcomings like these, I embarked on a project to build my first HTPC, which I have now done. I am happy with the system from a hardware perspective. I installed Windows 7 Professional x64, and am poised to begin using Media Center for the first time. It is my hope that I can use the MKV files I have spent many hours creating, but if some other format proves more appropriate, I will start over, but using my new system, it will not take nearly so many hours the next time.I would eventually like to retire my two Tivo boxes, so I expect I will install a tuner card such as the Ceton InfiniTV4 that accommodates a multi-stream cable card, but one Tivo function we use occasionally (and would like to retain) is the ability to download Amazon video on demand for later viewing. Is this possible with Media Center, and could I stop viewing from the family room in the middle of a movie, and continue watching on the bedroom extender?