This Old Nerd
November 18, 2010

10: Front-ends for your media server: Windows

Today we’re covering how to access your media server using Windows front-end software. We check out MediaPortal, XBMC (formerly known as “Xbox Media Center”), and Microsoft’s own Windows Media Center. If you’d like to see what we thought about Boxee, check out our Mac front-end episode here.

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  • http://twitter.com/mattburley0 Matt Burley

    Great show. We use XBMC to play our ripped DVDs. In the settings theres an option to play video_ts folders as one, including menus, and even one to skip any copyright notes/ads before the titles. I can’t remember where it is but I’ll post a reply to this comment later when I know in case anyone else is interested.

    I’m going to try out Windows Media Center because I really like the interface. Just to clarify, does it work with video_ts folders? We’ve ripped all of our DVDs as video_ts and it would be a real pain to convert them all.

    Keep up the great work on This Old Nerd!

    • http://thisoldnerd.com This Old Nerd

      Thanks for the info Matt. Windows Media Center does play Video_TS folders fine – just access them via the Movies section (not the Video library section).

      Thanks for watching and participating!

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  • http://twitter.com/davekilpatrick Dave Kilpatrick

    Great episode. Looking forward to next week hearing about what you can do with Tivo. We have two TivoHDs and I would love to leverage the power of those.

  • i901

    Iyaz,
    I love your a stay at home Dad (and a good one at that) and your making Podcasts that are flying to the top of The Zune Marketplace! Congratulation. love the show! Jason

    KEEP PUTTING OUT THIS GREAT CONTENT! I LOVE YOUR SHOW

  • Shaulliv

    Ayaz, you actually can play DVD’s on xbmc, theres more than one way, although the preferred one is to scrape the the movies (works flawlessly).
    see video I made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BdxfOHMdrw (good intentions:100% production value:1% ;-))
    And I think you should have also covered Linux as a solution since you can log into media front ends (it is especially easy with XBMC) directly into the software without the need to load the OS GUI.

    • http://thisoldnerd.com This Old Nerd

      Cool. Thanks for sharing that video and solution! Linux is definitely on my radar for a future ep – maybe a Myth box or something along those lines.

  • Shaulliv

    Ayaz, you actually can play DVD’s on xbmc, theres more than one way, although the preferred one is to scrape the the movies (works flawlessly).
    see video I made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BdxfOHMdrw (good intentions:100% production value:1% ;-))
    And I think you should have also covered Linux as a solution since you can log into media front ends (it is especially easy with XBMC) directly into the software without the need to load the OS GUI.

  • Goodbar

    Definitely great stuff… I’d say we have a lot in common

    For my media center 7 and xbox 360 extender set-up, I picked up a piece of software called PlayOn Premium ($39 initial, $19/year after) which is a media server software that has all kinds of plug-ins for Hulu, Netflix, CBS, ABC, CNN, YouTube, Nick Jr., TBS, etc. And then picked up a piece of software called TubeCore ($7) to enable it on my media center extender. Works great, but currently does not show any content in HD ( I guess they’re working on that ).

    One thing I’d like to see more on is more detail on a good way to rip your DVD’s/Blu-Ray’s and watch them on a media center extender.

    • http://thisoldnerd.com This Old Nerd

      I’m very familiar with PlayOn – the reason I’m not covering it in this series is that the service is about accessing online streaming services and not necessarily accessing your home media server (I know that it had some beta feature to access your local files). There will most likely be an episode on PlayOn in the future.

      We covered how to rip DVDs in this episode here: http://thisoldnerd.finitecomedy.com/02-put-together-a-home-media-server/

      We haven’t covered how to handle Blu-ray discs, but I’ve heard that AnyDVD HD is pretty good at that. http://www.slysoft.com/en/anydvdhd.html

      Thanks for watching!

      • Goodbar

        Very good, question on ripping DVD’s though, I’m in need of a high PAR for watching ripped DVD’s on an xbox 360 (media center extender). I’m trying out several formats, trying to get a decent quality, ff/rew, and most importantly get it to play on a media center extender (which seems to be the hang-up). Any input on that would be greatly appreciated.

        • http://thisoldnerd.com This Old Nerd

          I suggest MP4s. If you’re on Mac, use Mac the Ripper then use Handbrake. On Windows, DVD Decrypter to Handbrake. Output to a MP4 – it’ll work on pretty much everything.

  • Paul

    Just love the videos, but my question is Cat 5, 5e, 6, 6a, and now 7. I have 5 and 5e in my house now with 10/100. What should I think about going up to for a better transfer rate to my Apple TV from my PC? Does the Category Cable even matter? Netflix movies play very well on it, but say I play from my PC to the Apple, I get choppy video, plays find on the PC? So, goto 10/100/1000 with Cat 6a, and if 6a is going to be the next level why Cat7 already, I don’t want to replace cable every year or two. Thanks hope you do a show about this.

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