So I didn’t exactly do everything I wanted to. I came close though. Close is good, right?
I satisfied all of the requirements I set for this project with the exception of 1A which was NOT to need a Media Center PC to be running. Since I have totally hijacked my own blog for this, I figured it was better not to sink any more hours into this and get back to our originally scheduled program.
So here it is broken down for you in living color, my Media (not quite) Utopia.
At the end of this journey you will have:
- Ripped DVD content encoded to MP4 files encoded with H.264 at very high resolution
- A slick graphical Collection Management system
- Direct streaming from WHS to any Media Center PC
- Streaming from the WHS via a Media Center PC to the Xbox 360
- A (fairly) straightforward method for ripping your DVDs directly to the Home Server
I am assuming that you already have:
- Xbox 360 with latest updates, connected to your Media Center PC
- A functioning Windows Home Server
- At least one Media Center PC, joined to the Home Server
- Network connectivity between all of these devices (the faster the better)
1. Download and install My Movies 3 for WHS on your Windows Home Server. I just opened an RDP session to the server (Start > Run > mstsc, then enter the IP or name of your server) and installed it that way.
2. While you’re RDP’ed into the server, make sure that the “Windows Media Center” Group has modify permissions to the folder D:\My Movies\File Storage or your 360 will throw a File Storage error. (My Computer > D: > My Movies > Right Click FileStorage and then click the Security tab. If you don’t see Windows Media Center in the Group or user names: box, then click the Add button and then type Windows Media Center and then OK. Then in the Permissions for Windows Media Center box, click the Modify check box under Allow.)
3. Open the WHS console and go to Settings > My Movies. Enter in your Web Service account (you can create one at the My Movies forum) and make all of the service lights are green.
4. Download and install the My Movies Client installer on your Media Center PC.
5. Launch the Collection Management app on your Media Center PC, and then enter your WHS name or IP when prompted. You’ll also have to enter your My Movies Web Service account again.
6. Make sure that your “Videos” share on the home server (or whatever share you are going to use to store the movies) has the Guest account set to “Read”.
7. Now you’re ready to get some movies going. Under the videos share, create a folder (it doesn’t matter what you call it, but I use the movie name) and copy an MP4 or a VIDEO_TS folder into it. After just a minute you should see some additional files appear in that directory (if My Movies can identify it, that is). My success rate has been pretty high so far.
8. Once the files show up, you can look at the info in the Collection Management app on the client. If it can’t figure out what movie it is from the filename, then you can click the Change Title and Source button and either scan the barcode off of the DVD case (very cool) or manually search for the right title.
9. At this point you should be able to launch Media Center on both the PC and Xbox and see the My Movies Menu option.
In the final (!) installment of this train wreck, I will show you how to use Handbrake to rip and encode your DVD’s right to your Windows Home Server.