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funwithmedia

Considering Emby...

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funwithmedia

Hi there,

I'm exploring switching to Emby from my old, custom built setup which consists of:

  • an MS Access database for holding all my data, scraping IMDB, etc.;
  • a SnapStream Firefly RF PC Remote;
  • VLC (running in one-instance mode, headless, using the dummy interface, and the http interface );
  • and a custom web interface (that I can control via hotkeys via my remote) which sends commands to VLC.

My multi-terabyte library of files consists primarily of fully ripped DVD VIDEO_TS folders, with full DVD menu support via VLC. And then I also have a some amount of mpeg files. VIDEO_TS rips consist of movies (single and multi-disc sets) and tv shows (mostly multi-disc, with some as many as 60 disc folders).

My video files are stored primarily on a NAS, but are also spread across several other network shares (on Windows computers).

I am considering switching to something like Emby because my current metadata system is a bit tedious (eg, I manually enter the title, copy/paste the IMDB ID, and at times manually enter other details), and I'd like to benefit from that and other things that Emby can (I believe) do better than my custom system (which I haven't updated in years, other than adding movies, etc. to it).

I am primarily interested in watching movie/tv DVD folders on Windows 10 computers, in a home LAN environment (everything is on the same subnet). Watching on Roku or portable devices is fairly secondary (especially portable devices). I might explore using Roku just for browsing my library (in instances where I'm already in Roku from viewing/considering other video sources), and then can switch to my PC for full DVD menu support (which I understand probably doesn't work in Roku).

So, with all that background/context, I have some questions:

  1. I'm unclear on what I need to install, and in which locations/computers, in order to have full DVD menu support when playing VIDEO_TS folders. My impression is that installing the Emby server on one machine would allow that Windows machine to play files locally (no transcoding) and thus support full DVD menus. But I'm unclear then on what I would install on another Windows computer for the same functionality.
     
  2. I am considering upgrading to a Synology NAS (which I believe it is possible to install Emby on), so any thoughts, recommendations, caveats, etc. regarding going that route (vs installing on one of the Windows computers) are appreciated. I particularly wonder if there would be any issues with Emby being on the NAS while some of the additional network shares would be on other computers (you can assume that I know how to create user permissions on Windows shares to grant access to whatever the Emby Server on Synology user would be). It does occur to me that my Roku is on a different subnet than the CAT cable LAN, but one of my computers is a laptop which can be connected to both subnets (one via cable, one via WiFi), so I wonder if I'd need to install the server on that if I want the Roku to be able to access my Emby server data?
     
  3. If I wanted to, could I configure Emby such that VLC could handle playing the VIDEO_TS folders on either computer (let's just assume two Windows computers for the moment)? My goal here would be no transcoding, but playing the folders locally over the network such that I'd have the benefit of full DVD menu support via VLC.
     
  4. Have you all ever considered bundling VLC with Emby Theater (in contexts that VLC will work) and using the http interface (like I mention above) to provide full DVD menu support for VIDEO_TS folders? Or alternatively, providing the option of an additional config file where a user could set their parameters related to their VLC config (ie, in this case, the user would have to take care of starting VLC [headless, if they wised] and configuring it however they wished)? I'd love to have the benefits of Emby Theater, but still be able to play everything (or at least designated types, such as VIDEO_TS folders) via VLC, similar to how I currently do via my custom browser interface.
     
  5. Since most of my library is using VIDEO_TS folder rips, and many of these contain extras, I'm wondering if there is any kind of online database that Emby can pull data from regarding Extras that are contained on a given DVD (or Blu-ray, though I'll be using the Media Stubs feature for Blu-ray discs, as I don't typically rip those because of size/space)? I have access (within my custom database) to the UPC for all of my DVD folders, if there is a way to do lookups based on that. I have seen in forum posts and the Wiki that most people rip extras to individual video files and stick them in an Extras folder, but that's not a workable route for me (ie, I'm not going to convert my whole library). I'm not concerned with being able to click "play" and go straight to a specific DVD title/section (though, technically that is possible, as I do that for some items in my custom setup and just pass the proper title/chapter string to VLC), but it would be super-handy to have a list of the extras which are contained on a given DVD be retrievable online and then stored in metadata and displayed when viewing that item in Emby. I suspect this is a long shot, but figured it doesn't hurt to inquire.  :)

I'll undoubtedly have more questions, but I think those are all for now. Many thanks to any who offer thoughts, suggestions, etc.!

:)

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chattojimnow

Hi

May i suggest what I have done. I have installed xpenology on my i5 computer which is called a baremetal synology setup http://xpenology.com/forum/ I have contacted a great guy on the forum called solabc16.

I have 4 things running off the synology install have hdtv card aswell as 7 gig on a variety of external and internal hdds.

 

http://xpenology.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20216 great thread.

 

Perhaps create a Virtual setup first to see how it would work for you. IE using windows and or xpenology. compare and see if that works for you. synology i like as you can remote connect drives for example i have my download folder attached from my home pc to my xpenology.

Happy to help if you have other questions.

I personally use side load roku, emby theatre, ember, android theatre version, apple theatre version and web interface playto function.

I hope that helps

Edited by chattojimnow

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funwithmedia

Thanks much for your suggestions!

 

I'm interested in other's comments/help on my questions though, particular (1), (3), (4), and (5).

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PenkethBoy

With TV shows (Seasons) the extra/specials info is stored for some at the TheTVBD.com which emby uses to scrap metadata as for movies i have not found any sources yet - do not know if this works with unripped dvd's - doubt it as it goes by episode number

 

You can setup emby to read dvd/blu-rays - several threads on that - but IMO you are limiting your options by not ripping the images to individual files - you also will save a boatload of space by doing so and then dont need vlc etc etc - you can setup emby to give you the option of external players on the server (web app) and individual clients as well - so vlc can be used still if you prefer - generally the in built players work fine with out the need for vlc etc

 

as for 1) install the server > setup a library or two and let it search for metadata - it will take a few hours the first time depending on the amount of data you point it at > use the web app or download the app for your chosen device loads supported. Access emby via the web app http://<server ip>:8096 - you may still get transcoding though

 

The downside of a Nas for the location of your server is the cpu which will be low power and slow for any transcoding that needs to take place - transcoding is dictated by the client device capabilities - general file serving/streaming from a reasonably new nas will be fine. I have my emby server on a Intel NUC and it has its data store on a NAS (QNAP) works fine no issues. Another thing to consider is that going forward your needs will change and a Windows/Linux based PC has more options for using GPU transcoding which is still in Beta at the moment but will mature over time and a NAS does not have the expansion options unless you buy a top of the line option - which are way overpriced and still limited.

 

as for 3) Yes - but you do not need emby to do that

 

Once you give emby a try i think most of you current thinking will change as you are coming from an a typical setup and you will re assess how you use and store your media :)

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funwithmedia

Thanks for your thoughts!

 

I am leaning towards installing the server on Windows, though if I go the NAS route it would probably be a Synology DS916+ (8GB), which in theory should be decently powerful.

 

I understand your point of view regarding switching to individual files (instead of full VIDEO_TS DVD folder rips), but this is not something I see myself changing my mind on. I actually like having the full DVD experience, including the DVD menus, which I know is perhaps weird, but that's still my strong preference. :)

 

I kinda figured (5) was a long shot. I wonder if I could build something that would accomplish that... hmmm... (making mental note for later)...

 

I am confused by a few things you wrote regarding playback -- I could have sworn I have read repeatedly that there are certain limitations to some of the contexts you describe. Those may be particular to playback of VIDEO_TS folders and full DVD menu support.

 

I realize that many Emby users don't bother with VIDEO_TS folder rips and full DVD menu support, but I think what would really help me is to hear from the Emby users who do utilize some (or a lot) full DVD VIDEO_TS folder rips with full DVD menu support, as they're going to be much better able to speak to the constraints I need to be aware of in how I set things up (and also to give more useful recommendations on how to achieve my goals). :)

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Luke

In full htpc apps such as Emby for WMC, Emby for Kodi, etc, dvd menus are fully supported. In streaming apps such as Emby for Roku, Emby for the web app, etc, all support for dvd folder structures is experimental. There are no menus, but in most cases it should just play the main feature successfully. The tools we depend on for streaming don't have any support for folder rips so we are doing the best we can with them.

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Abobader

Good day,

 

As for #5, I will add something based on Luke reply.

 

In the past most of my collections (movies/tv) was as dvd/bluray 1:1 folder rips, and I disagreed with Luke to simply rips that to pure main video and I ask what about these chapters and extra I like in the dvd or bluray menu? Well I was wrong indeed.

 

I start using utilities to convert these without encoding, like mkvtoolnix, makemkv .. etc, main video, then extra will be in the sub-folder as "extras" and Emby server will do the rest for chapters "scenes".

 

As this example of the title "Titanic":

 

586562533f869_20161229_222048.jpg

 

 

 

586562719757a_20161229_221957.jpg

 

 

 

I am not saying you should go a head and do that, just consider with some titles and see if you like it or not, it took me over 2 years and still not finish yet with my collections :)

 

My best

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Luke

Thanks Abo !

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Deathsquirrel

I'm with @@Abobader.  I had my discs in folder rips for some time because I though the alternative would take forever and be less true to the source material.  It turned out to be really easy and everyone loves having a consistent UI for extras and the like.

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funwithmedia

Thanks @@Abobader for those details and screenshots! :) And @@Deathsquirrel for adding your thoughts as well. Blu-ray is actually something where I might consider going this route, as I don't have very many yet, and I don't usually rip my Blu-ray's because they're so huge, and because VLC doesn't support their menus (and I've not customized my system to automatically work with PowerDVD for Blu-ray rips). So while I'm currently still in the VIDEO_TS camp for DVD's (I would honestly miss some DVD's native menus!), Blu-ray is something I might start experimenting with a bit.

 

Thanks @@Luke for chiming in! So it sounds like I'll need something like Emby for Kodi (or similar) if I want full DVD menu support (for VIDEO_TS folders), and that it doesn't matter then (for this question) where I install the Emby server software? Part of what I wasn't clear on was if the server software also doubled as a full client (ie, with full DVD menu support) for the machine it was installed on, but it sounds like maybe that is not the case?

 

For (3), is there any way to use VLC with any of the Emby apps (ie, Emby Theater, not Emby for Kodi or similar) in order to achieve full DVD menu support when playing VIDEO_TS folders? Or is there a stand-alone Emby client (ie, not Emby for Kodi or WMC) that supports full DVD menus?

 

@@Luke, any thoughts on (4)? I interpret that Emby Theater is where some of the future of Emby is headed, so I'm interested in exploring that route further. If you're open to it, I might be able to lend some programming efforts to this implementation (since I've already done this sort of thing with my own custom setup). The ideal of course would be to bundle VLC, but I'd be open even to an option that requires the user to take responsibility to installing and running VLC (we could provide functionality to create a shortcut with the appropriate command line options to make things easier, or even just the string for the command line), and then enabling an option in Emby Theater to be sending commands to VLC (which VLC would pick up if it is running).

 

The thing I like about using VLC as my client is I don't have to bother with a bunch more configurations. The Emby for Kodi (which seems like might be my next best option) route seems like it'll require more effort to setup/maintain potentially. So if there's a way I can use VLC to handle playing my VIDEO_TS content that'd be awesome.

 

Thanks you all for chiming in with all your thoughts and suggestions thus far -- I really appreciate it! :)

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Marc_G

Have you tried playing in Emby Theater (full desktop version, not the Store app), using VLC as an external player? You can pass arguments to it. I've configured mine to invoke MPC-HC in some cases. I'm not exactly sure how this would work with a folder full of _TS files though (sorry!).

 

I've been working with Emby for Kodi as well, and once I got the hang of it, it seems to be working pretty well, though again I'm uncertain of the support for _TS and menus.

 

Best of luck to you!

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funwithmedia

Thanks @@Marc_G -- that's very helpful! I don't have Emby setup yet (I'm trying to make sure I understand several things first so I don't end up having to redo certain things), but the "external player" route might work. A lot will depend on how Emby stores the data for a VIDEO_TS folder (and it's contained files). If the correct path is passed to the external player then VLC should play it just fine (with full DVD menu support). I had the impression from perusing various forum posts that this (VLC, VIDEO_TS folders and DVD menu support) didn't work properly though, but I'm starting to think maybe those things have been fixed (and/or I misunderstood).

 

Also, just a clarification for you: a VIDEO_TS folder contains the original .vob and .ifo files that a DVD disc contains, and which when interpreted correctly by a video player result in the same experience as if one loaded the DVD into your disc drive (ie, full DVD menu support, etc.). So that's what I'm aiming for in how I'd be trying to setup and use Emby.

 

Thanks again for posting! :)

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CBers

Interesting discussion.

 

If I were you @@funwithmedia, I'd install Emby server and set up a small library of what you have and test it.

 

It's all well and good planning stuff, but until you do it, you'll never know :)

 

Kodi pretty well plays everything you can throw at it, so the Emby for Kodi addon might be a way to go, but it might be too much to take on initially, especially if you take the plunge into Emby and get that set up.

 

You could try converting a couple of your DVD rips to MKV format and try them in the various Emby clients and Kodi.

 

Whatever you decide on, stick to the STABLE releases for the time being, as they should give you better stability whilst setting it up.

 

As always, any questions or concerns, just use the SEARCH function on the forums, but if you can't find the answer, make a new post and supply as much information as possible.

 

This link will show you how to post logs etc:

 

https://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/790-how-to-report-a-problem/

 

Latest versions of the Emby software here:

 

https://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/21348-emby-latest-versions/

 

Good luck.

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funwithmedia

Thanks @@CBers for those suggestions -- I am leaning that way as well (ie, that it is time to start doing some setup and testing). One thing though: It looks like Emby Theater only allows browsing in the free version, and the thing I want to test the most is the External Player functionality (with VLC) for VIDEO_TS DVD menu support. Will the older, free version of Emby Theater still give me a decent test experience in that regard (I don't know how much the current version differs from the free version)? EDIT: Nevermind on that question -- I had overlooked the Monthly option for Emby Premier, which is a very reasonable rate. So I'll just pay that while I'm trying things out, and even if I end up going a different route than Emby I'm glad to support Emby in that small way. :)

 

Also, is there anyplace that outlines any functionality differences between playing something within Emby Theater (assume the newest version for this question) vs playing something via the External Player functionality of Emby Theater? For example, any differences in things like Watched/Unwatched or Resume functionality (I assume Resume wouldn't work with an external player)? I'm just wondering what my tradeoffs are between watching something via one method versus the other. For VIDEO_TS rips external player is the only way I have a chance (hopefully more than a chance) of getting full DVD menu support, but for other formats I could go either way (regarding method of viewing).

 

@@Abobader, do you have any favorite guides/walkthroughs you used for your Blu-ray ripping process? I'd probably be most interested in lossless rips (though size may be a concern), and keeping the process as automated as possible would be nice (just for convenience sake--I can understand complexity fine, but I've only got so much time). Also, does any of the software you mention automatically put extras into an "extras" folder, or do you have to manually select those and then name them accordingly (which I'm guessing is the case)?

Edited by funwithmedia

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Abobader

 

@@Abobader, do you have any favorite guides/walkthroughs you used for your Blu-ray ripping process? I'd probably be most interested in lossless rips (though size may be a concern), and keeping the process as automated as possible would be nice (just for convenience sake--I can understand complexity fine, but I've only got so much time). Also, does any of the software you mention automatically put extras into an "extras" folder, or do you have to manually select those and then name them accordingly (which I'm guessing is the case)?

 

 

Good day,

 

It really best my friend to start new thread about that, so many members here at the community sure will suggestions better and many options so you can chose what best.

 

I am assuming all the rips on the hard disk already, so for dvd movies/tv easiest without any encoding will be makemkv, for bluray as well mkvtoolnix with bdinfo (to know what the movies are if they are in splits parts files or term).

 

My best

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Abobader

Good point @@Abobader -- thanks!

 

Good day,

 

I forgot to add one thing, that when you start remuxing your dvd/bluray 1:1 titles rips, consider only keeping the audio track languages you want, these not need it taking a lots of space, by removing them, actually by time, you will get back your space (storage hd's matters)

 

My best

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funwithmedia

Good suggestion! :)

 

Well I've gotta say that Emby's pretty slick! :) I'm having fun trying it out (and I'm very grateful for the 1 minute play time in the free version--very helpful for my testing!).

 

I've still got a number of things to sort out, but I'm very encouraged that VLC works great as an External Player. I thought I'd share my config for any others who may be wanting to do something similar:

 

Player path: C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe

 

Arguments:

--play-and-exit
--qt-start-minimized
--no-qt-system-tray
--qt-notification=0
--no-qt-fs-controller
--one-instance
--mouse-hide-timeout=0
--qt-continue=0
--video-on-top
--no-video-title-show
--fullscreen
--high-priority
--snapshot-path=\\PATH\ON\MY\NAS\
--snapshot-prefix=$t
--snapshot-preview
--key-toggle-fullscreen=f
--key-play-pause=Space
--key-faster=+
--key-slower=-
--key-next=n
--key-prev=p
--key-stop=s
--key-quit=Ctrl-q
--key-position=t
--key-jump-extrashort=Shift-Left
--key-jump+extrashort=Shift-Right
--key-jump-short=Alt-Left
--key-jump+short=Alt-Right
--key-jump-medium=Ctrl-Left
--key-jump+medium=Ctrl-Right
--key-jump-long=Alt-Ctrl-Left
--key-jump+long=Alt-Ctrl-Right
--key-nav-activate=Enter
--key-nav-up=Up
--key-nav-down=Down
--key-nav-left=Left
--key-nav-right=Right
--key-chapter-prev=Shift-p
--key-chapter-next=Shift-n
--key-disc-menu=Shift-m
--key-vol-up=Ctrl-Up
--key-vol-down=Ctrl-Down
--key-vol-mute=m
--key-audio-track=b
--key-subtitle-track=v
--key-snapshot=Shift-s
--extrashort-jump-size=25
--short-jump-size=60
--medium-jump-size=240
--long-jump-size=600
file:///{path}

I'm indebted to the following post for helping me out:

https://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/31284-external-player-support/page-6&do=findComment&comment=323052

 

Strangely, I couldn't get it to work with "--intf dummy --dummy-quiet", which is what I've been using in my custom setup (the dummy interface is basically no interface, so you only get a video window). But the above variation is good enough. :)

 

For anyone wanting details on what some of the above arguments do, check out below:

https://wiki.videolan.org/VLC_command-line_help/

 

Having VLC work for my VIDEO_TS folders (thus enabling full DVD menu support) is huge for me, so I'm pretty encouraged. Lot's more to customize and figure out, but just wanted to say Thanks to everyone for helping me get started!!  :)

Edited by funwithmedia
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Luke

thanks for reporting back !

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funwithmedia

Random question: Is an Emby Connect account the same as a Forum account, or are they somehow linked? I'd probably prefer to keep them separate personally, but just wondering as I'll probably setting up that stuff at some point.

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Luke

Yes, the same.

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funwithmedia

Good to know -- thanks!

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funwithmedia

Just wanted to say that I've joined up as a Supporter for the Lifetime license. :)

 

Lots of work ahead of me getting my library sorted out for transfer (only because I want to take advantage of importing various custom data from my database via programatically creating NFO files for Emby to parse), but I'm pretty excited to be on board with Emby -- I think this is going to be so much more of my original vision from ~10 years ago when I cobbled together my custom solution (which isn't nearly as slick as Emby currently is).

 

Thanks again everyone for fielding all my questions up to this point (I'm sure there'll be more!).  :)

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funwithmedia

You're very welcome @@Luke -- thank you to you and all other developers and contributors for this great piece of software! :)

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