March 4, 2015 at 2:06 pm #9353
I need to get off my butt and put together a little how-to. My setup has worked really well so far bothe the wireless setup and the way we stream TV/Movies to any device on our wireless (Roku connected to he TV, Tablets, Phones, and laptop)March 4, 2015 at 6:12 pm #9362AnonymousInactive
I’m not streaming, just copy what I want to watch to the laptop, or run directly off the hard drive. It’s nice to be able to take it all with in a very portable package.July 31, 2015 at 11:55 am #13762
So to add a bit more on my setup. You can do this with just about any computer as long as it has enough Hard Drive space, RAM and CPU Power. CPU power comes into play if the video has to be transcoded (converted) to an appropriate format for whatever you are watching it on. Example and iPad vs a TV etc. The cool thing is that you can actually create multiple copies of the same video for each and store them in the same folder. The Plex software will select the best one based on what you use.
To get started you should go to https://plex.tv and check out the Plex software. Lots of info there on how to setup a system and the forum can help solve issues when they arise. The Plex server will go out and pull down Details about the Movie, TV, and Musi Like. Check out the web site for details.
So I will start with how/why I began using Plex. Like most people I had a lot of DVD’s/BlueRay’s/Music CD’s in cabinets, folders, boxes etc that I would go dig through when we wanted to watch a movie or listen to music. After a while I bought a DVD changer with 400 slots to make watching movies easier and less taxing on the disks. But with TV shows and movies now numbering over 1000 I didn’t have enough slots to deal with my connection.
Solution: I being a computer geek started looking for a better way and came across many solutions. I ended up selecting Plex after reading up on what it offered (go the https://plex.tv to read up) and decided to build a system for it. I had an old desktop computer that had a dual core processor and 4g of RAM that i wasn’t using (AKA collecting dust in the garage). I bought a few 1 TB hard drives along with the existing 500g hard drive that was already in the system. I installed Windows 7 on the 500G drive, did the endless updates and placed the computer next to the TV in my living room connected with a network cable to the switch that connected my Roku to the internet router upstairs. At this time I was already using a Roku to watch Netflix on my TV and there was a Plex client for the Roku in the channel store (another reason I chose plex). Plex has server packages for Linux, Mac, Windows, FreeBSD and NAS. I installed the Windows version and followed the instructions on screen. After installing I went to the management interface to begin configuring. Which was just creating Libraries for my collection. I created Movie, TV, Kids, Kids TV, and Music sections and split them up between the 2x1TB hard drives. next step was converting my DVD’s over. Checkout the following for a good guide on how to copy DVD’s over to your system. it is geared towards the Roku but can be tailored to your situation fairly easy. HOW TO STREAM DVD MOVIES OVER PLEX TO ROKU 3
On the https://plex.tv site they have a guide on how to name the Movies, TV, Music etc. I found an application that did the renaming for me called FileBot. This app will go out and use internet sources to name the files properly to match what Plex wants (Plex used the some of the same sources). After converting, I would use the Filebot application to rename then I would copy them over the network into the proper Library folder (Movie, TV, Kids, Kids TV, or Music). The Plex Server software would then scan the files and start downloading information. After the scan was completed I would see the new content on my Roku Plex client. It takes time to convert DVD’s over and you will need to play with the size and quality settings as well as Subtitle’s to get what you want. Depending on the size of your libraries and settings you use for converting you will probably run out of space quickly. That’s when i decided to make a change.
Current setup: I ended up looking for a better storage solution. I ended up buying a Thecus N7510 NAS since their was a Plex server package that would run on the NAS (check the NAS Download section to see which devices they have server packages for). I added at first 7x2tb drives and thought that was more than enough, wee I now have 7x4tb drives in my NAS. The Thecus N7510 sits in my closet upstairs out of site and mind and just runs. It is on a battery backup system along with my TV, network and Roku. last year when we had a power outage we still watched a movie until the power came back on.
I have all my Movies, TV, Anime, and Music on my NAS now. When I buy a new content the first thing I do is convert it to my NAS then put the disks in the storage box in the garage.
Now how do I take this with me? Plex has clients for many different devices like smart phones, computers, etc. One of the options is to sync content to these mobile devices so you can take them with you. I chose Android and setup at first an HP 7 inch Slate Extreme tabled to sync to when i started down this road. I installed the Android application from the play store and installed a 32g SDCard for additional storage. Configured the Plex application to use the new SDCard for storage. I then used the management web interface for the Plex server to sync some movies to the HP tablet. I could then watch these moves anywhere I go (Plex has the capability to stream from your home to any of your devices as well but as we have talked about the RV parks we go to rarely can handle streaming).
Now how to stream to my TV in the RV? In my RV I also installed a Roku for my TV. Original plan was to stream from my home over the RV park wifi but that doesn’t work well. In the HP tablet android application there is an option to act as a server meaning I can stream from my HP Tablet. After configuring the Android app to act as a server I went to the Roku Plex app and told it to search for a server. it found the HP tablet and i could see the movies. I had to make adjustments to the sync quality to ensure that the HP Tablet didn’t have to transcode since it wasn’t that powerful. I have now built a new mini computer using an Intel NUC mini pc with Android for x86 which is far more powerful.
At that time we had a selection of about 20 movies to watch. My routine before going on an RV trip would be go to the sync section of the Plex server management web page, remove old movies then select new movies to sync. This gave me new movies on every trip.
So do you have to do what I did? No, you could easily just use a laptop and the Plex server software to stream to a Roku or even a TV. I chose this route to have my own Netflix type setup at home and easily choose Movies, TV, Anime, or Music to take with me in my RV. We just did a 3 week cross country trip and had over 200 movies to chose from. I did have a technical issue that was a bug in the software which took me a few days to figure out but for the most part this just works. I don’t worry about RV campsite wifi anymore and my kids have movies to watch at night before bed or while I drive.
Another cool feature with Plex is the streaming over the internet. I even share my library with a few friends and they have shared theirs with me. This does depend on your ISp network speeds etc. Bottom line is that if I have a decent internet connection I can watch my content from anywhere in the world.
Let me know if you have any questions.August 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm #13853Average Campers AdventuresParticipant
Great information. Thanks for sharing!September 12, 2015 at 6:09 pm #15824BillParticipant
Question: Are you using Handbrake in addition to Borosoft or just Borosoft. I understand that Handbrake doesn’t remove the copy protection, but wasn’t clear if you were still using both. Thanks!September 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm #15862
I do use Handbrake to ripe the DVD’s to my hard drive. I also use other tools when Handbrake doesn’t work. Sometime you have to play with a few to get the DVD/BlueRay to copy over. I then use Handbrake to convert the Video to .m4v and add subtitles if need be. Subtitles are usually the biggest pain since I only want to foreign audio to be embedded and not have the full movie subtitled (unless the whole movie is in a foreign language). In handbrake I setup a few profiles for how I want the file to be converted (different settings for BlueRay, DVD,720P,1080P,Anime) . In the end you need to experiment to ensure you are happy with the end result (quality, file size, subtitles , etc). It isn’t too difficult and there are a number of how-to’s on how to use handbrake for Roku and other devices. In the end once you have all your Movies and TV converted and stored digitally the options for watching on the go are numerous. My wife and kids think we have our own version of Netflix at home and in the RV. Plex + Roku+ 2 wireless routers has come in handy. You can have a simple setup or a more complex one like mine at home and on the go. In the end it’s well worth the effort.
DVDFab (bought the full copy)September 22, 2015 at 8:41 pm #16303Jesse BalkParticipant
As they say there are more than one way to skin a cat. I don’t say that but I’ve heard others say that. :good: At any rate I have an entirely different way to handle my digital entertainment collection.
I have hundreds of discs in my collection mostly Blu-Ray but I also have about a hundred DVDs. Beside the discs I also have about 3000 videos that I have acquired from a variety of sources.
I use AnyDVD HD to rip my discs to the ISO format. For those who aren’t very techie, an ISO format is like having all the files from a DVD in one large file, an ISO file. Another way to understand an ISO is like a snapshot of your entire disc, in this case a Blu-Ray disc. An ISO file gets “mounted” to a drive letter in your file system with a virtual clone drive software. SlySoft, the makers of AnyDVD also provide a free virtual drive software called Virtual CloneDrive.
A mounted ISO for Princess Diaries, for example, would have all the very same options as the disc itself has. The “setup” menu for choosing your audio language and your closed caption language if you wish something other than English, my wife is Brazilian and we put the English subtitles to help her to learn English. A mounted ISO will also has scenes or special features, every option that the disc itself has.
Although we have a Roku 3 and a media server, Playon, we don’t use it because we only watch on our TV.
The thousands of videos now are a different story. I love to learn and I love to learn with documentaries. Playon, our media server, also has another product called PlayLater. Since we have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. I have access, with my subscriptions to thousands of videos on these three sites.
PlayLater lets me pull down MP4 copies of a huge collection of video content. They also, of course, have TV shows and movies put I’ve been concentrating on just documentaries for the time being. I have two powerful computers and on one I’m downloading videos for when we go full-time. I understand that Internet access is going to be sporadic and costly so I’m building up a library that will probably take me years to watch everything and I won’t need the Internet for any of it.
On the one computer I’m downloading videos and on the other I run Handbrake to convert the MP4 videos to the much smaller MKV format.
I am spreading these across numerous 2TB 2.5 inch portable USB 3.0 drives. I also have a number of larger external drives but they require a 100 volt power brick to operate and wanting to avoid that drain on house batteries the 2TB portable drives run of USB power in the laptop.
I’ve created a database software that I could make available to others that catalogs all my discs and videos so I know which portable drive to attach to my laptop when it comes to watch on our TV via an HDMI laptop to TV connection.
I hope this interests someone. I think that it ought to at least interest Ray of Ray and Maria.November 23, 2015 at 4:36 pm #19116
Your RV router is it N or AC? Roku 3 for the usb port? Will MKV files play on your Roku? If not I will convert them to MP4 with Handbrake. What are you ripping the DVDs with? My hard drive died and I need new software.
ThanksNovember 23, 2015 at 6:31 pm #19130Jesse BalkParticipant
I have N type router at home connected to cable. I have a Roku 3, the square box type affair but I don’t use it to watch videos I have recorded.
I use Playon to download videos, over my cable connection at home, from Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. It is with Playon I have been able to amass more than 3000 videos legally recording them from Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime for which I have paid subscriptions. I can create a queue of videos to download that could take, for example, 2 days to download 7o videos.
The are recorded in MP4 format. Because MKV is about 40% smaller with the same quality of video, I use Handbrake to convert from MP4 to MKV. Again, this is a long process. The two days it took to download 70 videos, could take another 3 days to convert to MKV.
As I think that I said in my original post, I have two powerful computers running 24/7 when at home so they work all day even while I am sleeping so it’s not like I’m sitting in front of the screen waiting for it to finish
Instead of using Roku to watch these MKV videos I simply connect a laptop directly to my HDTV with an HDMI cable. There is no need for the added complication of using the Roku box which I have. I only use the Roku box to stream video when connected to cable although there is a Playon channel for Roku that would allow you to stream Playon acquired videos in MP4 format to your TV but, again, I don’t do it that way.January 20, 2016 at 8:32 pm #22875
I’m going to plug in a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter into my RV’s TV. With it you can share what’s on your tablet, laptop, or smartphone on an HDTV. You can stream movies, view personal photos, or display a presentation on a big screen – all wirelessly. It uses Miracast technology, so you’re not limited to certain apps or content streaming; you can display everything from your device. Just plug the USB and HDMI from the Wireless Display Adapter into your HDTV or monitor, connect, then mirror or extend your screen and enjoy. System Requirements Computer/Operating System: All Miracast enabled Windows 8.1 tablets/laptops/phones and Android devices with 4.2.1 and later. Internet access not required for use. According to some its the best way to broadcast from your device to your HDTV. If your computer plays it should stream to your TV. It will works with windows 10. As soon as I can get in my camper and not walk through snow I will be testing it.January 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm #23651Rob SullivanMember
I have a similar system. I have plex running on my laptop that streams to our tablets/phones and chromecast. I also have a long enough HDMI cable to go from the laptop to TV incase the wifi quits.
I have 2 routers I’ve converted to repeaters (long story but basically converted second one because first one quit but then after being unplugged for a month it started working again). I did this because we winter in a hotel and with hotel wifi you need to log in daily. The login page makes it impossible for a smart tv to stream netflix or youtube (for example) but with repeater mode I sign in through one of the routers and it caches the login info allowing for streaming. Plus it gives us a private network like your own.
I also have a 1 TB external Hard drive that plugs into the TV and can watch tv and movies from there. I move the movies back and forth from computer to hard drive when we watch them.
We just bought a 220 watt soundbar with wireless sub that I will be installing this year, and am watching for a decent priced 3D projector so we can have movie nights outside when its nice out. We have lots of 3D movies so thought we might as well splurge for 3D projector so we can watch them 🙂March 17, 2016 at 8:12 pm #26087
The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter ($24.00 open box on amazon) worked great. Plug it into HDMI and the USB port and your ready. Right click new notifications on task bar and click on connect and choose Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. VLC worked but Windows media worked flawless for hours. I haven’t put my Plex on my new laptop, Yet. MP4s were flawless and the MKV files worked 90% of the time. The MKVs were questionable acquired and I got what I paid for. No Lag and the HD was sharp and I could control it with my wireless mouse. Anything on my laptop or multiple pocket drives and USB drives worked. There is nothing to be picked up by a neighbor. I can also do the same with my phone. Soon I will hook my telescope to my laptop and control it on screen with the mouse and observe in comfort and with a cool beverage. I can move the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter to a projector and broadcast the sky to a 100+ in. screen for campground presentations and free camping. Movies can also be shown. Not bad for $24.00.
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