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Media server, DVD's, and Linux oh my

 
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I'm working on seting up a media server with the eventual goal of being able to pipe any media in my collection (music, video, home movies, recorded TV, etc...) to anywhere in my house (at least anywhere I've set up on the network).

I have some questions if anybody would like to help me.

1) I have a bunch of DVD's (that I own) ripped to my hard drive using DVD decrypter. This is ok, I can play them back, but they take up alot of space. Does anybody know of a program that will convert them into MPEG-4/Divx/Xvid? I'd rather not deal with all the bitrate calculators and 6 or more programs for conversion (I've seen some tutorials that go that route), but if that is all that is available I guess I'll have to put some time into figuring that out.

2) I would like the Media server to run Linux. Most lickely slackware as I am a bit familiar with that and kind of like it. I'm a real Linux noob so I would appreciate it if anybody has any resources that go over setting up Linux so that it can share folders over the network with other Linux and WinOS machines. I'm guessing this may have something to do with samba, but not real sure.

3) The main reason for wanting to run Linux on the Media server is so that I can use MythTV. Just wondering if anybody has any experience running MythTV. Good, bad, tips/tricks, whatever.

If anybody has any questions of me I'll be happy to answer.

Thanks for your time.
 
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you mean you want to run a bunch of files through some one encoding program with the same encoding options for each? that's a simple matter of shell scripting (or Python scripting, or...); once you get the program and options decided on, helping you solve that won't be a problem.

or are you looking for hints and tips on encoding programs and options? i'd go googling, myself. i know mencoder is shipped with a lot of distributions, but i wouldn't take it for granted that it's necessarily the best one.

if you're a day-one beginner with linux, i'd go with whatever distribution people around you are using most, so you can leech tech support off your friends. if that's not an option, i'd go with Mandrake (Mandriva) or Red Hat Fedora over Slackware; Slack isn't well-known for beginner friendliness, the other two are.

networking with windows is a trivial problem. Samba is used to serve Linux directories to windows clients; the built-in smbfs (along with some utility programs from another part of samba) will let you do it the other way around. a good distribution will make this painless for you, just share and go. there are whole books written about samba, but don't let that scare you off; the man page and some googling will get you up to speed with it easily, it's a straightforward package.

sorry, never run MythTV. my only advice is, whatever TV tuner card you want to get, google it for Linux compatibility before buying it, so you'll know you'll be buying something you'll actually be able to use.
[ June 14, 2005: Message edited by: M Beck ]
 
Steven Bell
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Yes I would prefer to just run each movie through an encoding program with the same settings. Mencoder looks promising.

I was kinda hoping there was a program out there that I could just say 'that folder has all the vob files, make me an .avi' or whatever file format I decided on or was available. I've done some looking at the various bitrate settings and codecs, but I don't really care as long as the end result is good quality that takes up less than the 6-8 gigs each movie takes up now. It doesn't even matter if it's a Linux or Windows program as I will always have at least one windows box around (wife).

I'm not a complete day-one Linux beginner. I ran Slackware on my laptop for a while, but I only learned what I needed to use at the time. No networking, didn't even set up a printer. Although I was proud of myself for building and upgrading to the 2.6 kernel even though I never got the console video to work quite right. I think that was in part due to it being a crappy laptop with odd hardware.

I haven't used Linux in a while, but I'm at the point where I'd really like to learn it and be able to use it as a primary OS. I'm not opposed to other distros, and I might go that route. I only mentioned slackware because I've used it. I don't really have any friends that run Linux, so I'll be at the mercy of google and the friendly folks at various forums, but I've never found it hard to get Linux info when I needed it.

MythTV has a capture card compatibility list on their site, so I'll be ok there.
 
M Beck
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i don't know enough about video encoders to say if any of them will take a whole list of files at once. perhaps they do. but if they don't, it really is trivial to iterate over a directory:

and that's assuming the encoder isn't smart enough to construct an output file name with a different extension on its own. if it is, or if you don't care to change ".vob" to something else, then the snippet shrinks even further and gets even clearer. shell scripting is fun!
 
Steven Bell
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Not to get to much into the encoding, but when a DVD is ripped it has a number of .vob, .bup, and .ifo files that make up the single DVD. I just meant all the files associated with a single DVD.

Although I could see where the shell script would work great to do a single pass of all the videos I've ripped so far, once I figure out what has to be done.
 
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