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    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.


    DVD Library

    (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  Any other version is likely not authentic and may be dangerous.


    DVD Shrink


    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.

    example “\\YourServerName\Videos\Movies\YourMovieName”

    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.




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    I followed your steps and everything works great. I added the WHS Video folder in the WMC settings but it did not work at first. I had to read these directions again to figure out that I had to add the folder again when I was in the DVD area on the second computer. Thank you.
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    Daleo: If I read your post correctly, you got everything working now. You are right, that if you have multiple computers accessing the server, each media center will have to be directed to look at the shared movies folder you created on your server. Hope you're having fun watching your movies!
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    Every since WHS first hit the streets, I had to find an easy way to accomplish this as well. While I had several solutions, I kept my eyes on My Movies 2 (www.mymovies.dk). I still had to rip the DVD's and then transfer them to the WHS. When the My Movies add-in for WHS arrived, that changed everything. The one caveat to my movies is that you will need AnyDVD to decrypt and you will need to fork over a few bucks for the ripping engine. But with the amount of time saved, for me, this is really minor. I currently have a HP MediaSmart EX475. I have it loaded with 8.19TB of drives including internal, USB and E-sata. I also have a HD/BD rom attached with a external addonics case. The Add-in allows me to just drop the DVD, HD-DVD or Blu-Ray in the drive and just walk away. It handles all the rest. The average rip time for DVD is about 6 minutes. HD or BD takes about 20. I also have a HTPC running vista media center in the living room. Once ripped, I open VMC and there it is under My Movies. The DVD covers are displayed. Once you choose the movie you can see the information such as running time, actors and a synopsis. VMC will play DVD movies natively. HD or BD will need an external program such as Arcsoft TMT or cyberlink powerdvd.
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    Any help for those of us with XP media center? All I get is the " this format cannot be displayed through a remote desktop connection" message.
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    I followed the steps listed, ripping 10-20 movies but then two different Vista WMC boxes show "No Movies Found" when I go to "DVD Library". I did add the Video's folder to those to be watched. Any ideas?
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    R.mcadams - Have you solved your problem yet? It probably lies in your network settings. The other thing is just to wait. The first time I link to the server movies it usually takes a minute or so. Sorry I can't be of more help. Let me know if you are still struggling with this.
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    Well, you need to be sure your media center can see the folder on your server with your movies in it. Then, be sure that Media Center is monitoring that folder for movies. Other than that, I'm not sure what is going wrong. Sorry!
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    I have the same problem. I noticed some duplicate entries because of the connector software specifically for media center. What I did notice, is that the DVD's showed up if I moved the folders into the video's folder that was shared. Have to do some more testing. Did you load the media connector software on you your media center machine, or are you just connecting as a normal machine ?
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    Srainess - you may be right. I have always had my Movies folder within the Video folder. Perhaps WHS is only willing to share it's default folders nicely? It's a thought. Hope it works for those having trouble.
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