We discuss Media Center in the forums
In a recent discussion on the Home Server Show, I mentioned that I use my server to store and play my purchased DVDs around my house. While this feature is not built into Home Server or Media Center, a few fairly easy steps make it possible. This information can be found all over the web, but I wanted to aggregate it here for you.
Note: this is not the only way to do this, just how I do it. Feel free to post alternatives that better fit your needs.
What you need: A Windows Home Server, a Media Center PC, some software.
What you’ll get: Movies that can be streamed to every media center in your house, even over wireless (802.11G Works!), a great way to organize and backup your movie collection along with all your other media.
Check back in the future for more posts on this topic. Click More to get started!
Turn On DVD Library in Media Center
By default, Vista Media Center has the DVD Library disabled (a fact I am happy to report is fixed in Windows 7!). Turning it on is a matter of a simple registry edit or running a little fix from the Microsoft Knowledgebase.
When you’re done, movies you record or add to your library will show up within Media Center like this.
(Pretty nice, huh?)
From there, you can play the movies just like they were inserted in your DVD drive with full surround sound, chapter navigation, special features and whatever else in on the disc. Now, right click in the DVD Library, click “Add Movies”, “Add folder to watch”, “Add shared folders from another computer” and point to your server.
Store DVD Data on Your Server
To put your movies on your server, you need a way to read the data from your copy protected discs. The main program I use is called DVD Shrink. It is not available from the main software website, but a quick google search will get you what you’re looking for. DVD Shrink is FREE and lets you view the files on your DVD and decide what parts of the disc you want to transfer to your server.
Note: You want version 22.214.171.124. Any other version is likely not authentic and may be dangerous.
Once you find the program, it is really easy to use.
1) Go to “Edit – Preferences” and change the Target Size to DVD-8 (8.5GB)
2) Put a disk in the drive and click “Open Disk”
3) If you want to save space, uncheck the files you don’t want/need (Alternative Languages, Special Features, etc)
4) Click the “Backup” button, select “Hard Disk Folder” from the target list and select a folder on your server as the target.
5) Hit OK, and wait!
Note: Sometimes, DVD Shrink does not work. The main error is a generic “Cyclic Redundancy Error”. Try cleaning the DVD, but if that doesn’t help, there are several commercial programs that do similar things. I occasionally use a program called Magic DVD Ripper which I did pay for and rarely lets me down.
For another step-by-step – try www.doom9.org
Adding Movie Art to Your Collection
Media Center will automatically add cover art and meta data to your collection if it can, but it doesn’t always work. To add your own cover art (that loads quicker), just find the image you want (Google “Movie Name and DVD”) and save it in the target folder you made. IMPORTANT – Name the file Folder.jpg for windows to use it.