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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)
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.
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)
I know it’s a lot of work but the benefit of having a collection available anywhere you go is well worth the work.
I would use MP4 format, works on more platforms than the wmv which is a Microsoft format. I use the m4v format to stream to my Roku.
The main reason I did the conversion to digital was that I wanted to be able to watch any of the videos in my collection without having to dig through a bunch of DVD cases or folders. I found that I had some duplicates, must have bought the second copy after forgetting I had the first.
If i get nostalgic I can watch an old movie (like watching Princess Bride for the hundredth time) or do a marathon of a TV series. We are watching the Pirates of the Caribbean movies this week. Last week we did a Marathon of The Transporter Movies. With TV series we ca re-watch some of our favorites from the beginning (think we have watched the 3 Stargate tv shows at least 3 times not to mention the various Star Trek series).
Bottom line is that we always have access to all our content no matter when and with ease.
Roger: takes time and patience but it’s worth it in the end
Here is a good guide to ripping a DVD so you can stream or play on another device. Key thing to remember is that these files will be big so you will need a lot of space depending on how many you convert. I have a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device with lots of space (7x4TB drives). My current collection takes up about 10 Terabytes of space out of the 22 Terabytes available. I invested in a NAS (Thecus N7510) to have a dedicated device for all my storage and to run the Plex server software for my home network. You can use just about any system to run Plex either as a server or client. There are even TV’s with Plex installed.
You might have top play with the settings to get the quality or size you want. In my experience the main issue I had was making sure movies that had subtitles get the subtitles added to the ripped file. I would have to go back and redo the rip and encoding to get the subtitles. It’s a pain to watch a video and then come across a part that is in a foreign language without subs.
Ray: no interference that I can tell since the RVwifi is local in the RV so it will always have the strongest signal. You can always adjust the channel to avoid conflicts. I plan on putting an external antenna so I can grab signals that are farther away with better signal strength. The key is that I carry my own Netflix style streaming with me. Granted I have to have the movies copied over from my DVD’s but since I spent a lot of time doing that for my home setup it’s a no issue now. With Plex I have my library with me instead of in a dvd folder or cabinet somewhere collecting dust.
James/Marsha & Dewey: I will see about putting a how-to together. With today’s routers it isn’t that difficult, just takes little planning. You will still need a computer to hook up to you Campsite router in order top configure it to connect to the campsite network but once you have it setup it’s pretty easy.
additional 12v ports
110v plugs with USB ports
12v USB charging station with volt meter
The bike rack we have isn’t attached to the bumper it is connected to the hitch assembly that is rated for towing 5k lbs. I believe the tong weight is 1k lbs. I added a hitch extension that allows me to have the bike rack and pull a trailer or car.
I would consider something like this for putting a bike rack on the bumper. with 4 attach points you would be able to spread the weight across more of the bumper close to the where the frame and bumper connect. There are 2 bike and 4 bike versions available.
MaxxAir and MaxxAir II vents
Hitch extension and bike rack – extension gets the bikes a little higher from the ground
30 amp surge/low voltage protector
Insulation between plastic skylight covers – helps reduce head gain/loss and light
Solar heated water bag – not really a mod but useful. Used it to wash off the sand from the kids legs and feet before they entered the coach. Helped keep down the sad infiltration and wife was happy not to have to sweep all the time. we where parked north/south so the bad had the sun all day long. by early afternoon the water was very warm
Nancy- it has come in handy for holding my cell phone, 7 inch HP slate tablet and my mp3 music player. As luck would have it my radio has a USB port so i can plug them in and keep them charged.
Here are a few pictures of the Old light bulbs and new LEDs for comparison. The new LED has white color and brighter.
Old shower bulb
New LED shower bulb
Foam Vent covers to keep the heat out in summer and cold out in winter
Installed a 30amp RV plug in our garage. Even though we can’t store the coach at home we can plug in and stay comfortable while loading it up for our trips.
Cup holder mount for my tablet/phone
Norma- for the most part the movies are 720P, Anime and TV 420P
Really depends on the source (Blueray or DVD). I have some movies that are in 1080P like Avatar and the recent Star Trek movies. So it’s very subjective as to the quality I want since I have a lot of space to work with. Another cool feature of Plex is that I can sync movies to my phone, laptop or tablets for viewing even though I am not connected to my home system. That way when I travel I always have something to watch.
Here is a site for Handbrake settings.
Here is an article on How to put your DVD library in the cloud