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  #1  
02-12-2011, 08:23 PM
Harry Harry is offline
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Hello,

Before my last overseas deployment I converted most of of my DVD collection to VIDEO_TS folders so that I could store them on large capacity (500 GB - 2 TB) USB 2.0 external hard drives (a few were ISO DVD folders, but most were VIDEO_TS folders inside individual title folders).

During down time I'd hook the USB to a notebook PC and let my guys watch a movie.
Now I'm back but my DVD originals are in storage in another state.

I'm looking for some simple & reliable mobile media player that would allow me to connect a USB 2.0 drive and watch these movies on a large screen HDTV rather than my little notebook PC.I know that I could just burn these back to DVDs so that I could play them in a DVD player, but if I didn't have to do that it would save a lot of time and space.

As I said, a few of my video folders are ISO but the majority are VIDEO_TS. There are also some AVI, MPEG and other videos of various format stored on these drives.

Does anybody know of a functionally simple but reliably effective media player that will recognize, open & play VIDEO_TS folders as well as ISO, AVI, MPEG, and other assorted video files and allow them to be viewed (and heard) on a large digital TV? Any knowlegable response will be appreciated.

Thank you
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  #2  
02-13-2011, 12:30 AM
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My personal favorite media player is the Western Digital WDTV, which plays AVI (Xvid, Divx), MKV (H.264), and a number of other common video formats. Some of the more recent "WDTV Live Plus" models also play ISO files.

However, I don't believe any of them will play a ripped VIDEO_TS folder. (The WDTV can play VOB files, but it does not treat the VIDEO_TS as if it were a DVD, including menus and navigation structure. For example, no chapter marks.) A player that is known to play VIDEO_TS folders, treating it like the original DVD-Video, is the Popcorn Hour A-200.

It's $179.99 + free shipping from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B0036U7WJI

The WDTV is a good bit cheaper, at around $98 with free shipping, but you'd have to use ImgBurn to create ISO files from each VIDEO_TS folder. Is that worth about $100 of your time? That's really the only decision you'd have to make.

WDTV Live Plus for $98: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B003MVZ60I

I can definitely understand the appeal to archive your DVDs -- as well as simply keep the originals in storage, and merely watch the backups. Having a hard drive full of ISO files (or VIDEO_TS folders, in your case) is quite convenient. A 2TB drive holds quite a few discs, takes up less physical space, and can't be scratched from regular use.

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  #3  
02-14-2011, 03:48 PM
Harry Harry is offline
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Thanks admin for the referrals.

The unit that I purchase must be compatible with any USB 2.0 external hard drive since I have a variety of brands from Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, and Hatachi, among others, in capacities from 500 GB - 2 TB.
Yes, you can store considerable data on these relatively small external hard drives.
A 500 GB HD can store the equivalent of about 100 "ripped" (4.35 GB) DVDs and a 2 TB can hold about 400 of same. That would be a lot of discs to move around, so yes, it would be very convenient to be able to enjoy them on a large screen TV directly from the HD without having to reburn them.
And, as you noted, it keeps the original discs free from unnessary handling and is a much more portable way to haul my growing collection from place to place.

ISO vs VIDEO_TS format
For me, as a neophyte, I knew that on a Windows notebook PC I could generally click on a VIDEO_TS.VOB file and get a movie to play. Granted, playing a movie this way didn't allow the DVD menu to appear, but it was a convenient and reliable way to access a movie while overseas.
However it appears that when it comes to Media Players and HDTV that the DVD ISO format is more compatible....
Just what are the advantages/disadvantages of "ripping" DVDs to either DVD ISO or DVD VIDEO_TS format?

It would be easier to convert the DVD folders with the VIDEO_TS files to ISO format than reburning discs, however it would be more convenient to have a media player that can recognize the DVD VIDEO_TS format (as well as DVD ISO) and allow me to play a movie without having to click on an individual VIDEO_TS.VOB file.

It would also be nice if it has a small foot print and is reliable, durable and can handle a variety of additional formats such as AVI, MPEG, etc. and also (hopefully) could play compressed CD music files as well?

I like the fact that you have personal experience with the Western Digital WDTV, it takes some of the "unkown" out of an on-line purchasing experience.
One of the reviewers on the Amazon site stated that as of June 14, 2010 that there was a BETA firmware update that adds DVD menu support to the non-plus version of the Western Digital WDTV.
Are you familiar with such a firmware update?
If so, does this this also include menu support for both DVD ISO and DVD VIDEO_TS format?

Somebody also suggested the following (2) Argosy brand media players (also available from Amazon)
The Argosy HV676 HD and HV335T 3.5-Inch HDD 1080P HDMI Mobile Video Media Players.
Are you familiar with either of them?

Does anybody know if either the Argosy 676 or 335 media players will recognize, open & play DVD VIDEO_TS folders as well?

How do they compare with the WDTV Live Plus and the Popcorn Hour A-200?


Argosy HV676 HD Media Player

http://www.amazon.com/Argosy-HV676-H...7536944&sr=1-3

http://www.argosyusa.com/hv676.shtml?DefaultTab=0


Argosy HV335T 3.5-Inch HDD 1080P HDMI Mobile Video Media Player

http://www.amazon.com/Argosy-HV335T-...7536944&sr=1-1

http://www.argosyusa.com/hv335t.shtml?DefaultTab=0

Thank you for the feedback.
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  #4  
02-17-2011, 09:23 PM
Harry Harry is offline
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Can anybody elaborate on the following:

ISO vs VIDEO_TS format
Just what are the advantages/disadvantages of "ripping" DVDs to either DVD ISO or DVD VIDEO_TS format?

Is anyone personally familiar with a firmware update that adds DVD menu support to the non-plus version of the Western Digital WDTV?
If so, does this this also include menu support for both DVD ISO and DVD VIDEO_TS format?


Is anyone personally familiar with either the Argosy HV676 HD or the Argosy HV335T 3.5-Inch HDD 1080P HDMI Mobile Video Media Players?

Does anybody know if either the Argosy 676 or 335 media players will recognize, open & play DVD VIDEO_TS folders and DVD ISO files?

Can anyonebexplain how the Argosy 676 or 335 media players compare with the WDTV Live Plus and the Popcorn Hour A-200?

ANY enlightening feedback is appreciated.
Thank you
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  #5  
02-17-2011, 09:28 PM
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The Why ISO? issue is addressed here: http://www.digitalFAQ.com/forum/show...-iso-1849.html
Give that a few minutes of reading.

I'll go check the firmware issue right now.
I have a unit that was upgraded with the last available update.

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  #6  
02-17-2011, 10:56 PM
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The non-Plus WDTV will not play VIDEO_TS or ISO files. VIDEO_TS is a total bust from tests, while it did manage to play some ISO files. In other words, ISO playback is unreliable at best, non-functional at worst.

I'd skip non-Plus WDTV units, if DVD sources (ISO or VIDEO_TS) is a major need.

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  #7  
02-19-2011, 01:33 AM
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Thanks admin for the heads-up on the non-Plus WDTV media player and the "Why ISO?" link, which I checked out.

I Currently use a notebook PC with Windows Vista OS and NTFS formatted Hard drives (both internal & external USB 2.0) and an external DVD reader/burner.

I have backed up numerous DVDs using the following tools & steps:

1) using either: DVDFab Decrypter, DVDFab 6.1.2.5, or DVD Decrypter v3.5.4.0to crack & transfer Full DVDs of varying sizes to hard-drive.
(Note: in exceptionally large DVDs where I am unable to obtain greater than at least 60 percent of the original using the DVD Shrink 3.2 compression settings, in non-documentaries, I generally just back up the main movie.)

2) using DVD Shrink 3.2 to create a back-up in a separate folder that will fit on a single layer 4.7 GB DVD
(Note: these back-up files will never exceed 4.36 GB)
DVD Shrink 3.2 is set to Region Free, I do not check the Perform Deep Analysis or QE Quality Settings, These back-up files are saved in titled DVD video folders with Video_TS & AUDIO_TS subfolders (the AUDIO_TS folder is always empty as the sound is in the Video_TS folder).

3) ImgBurn v2.5.0 is used to create a back-up DVD for either separate archiving or use in a DVD player using either branded Verbatim DVD-R or DVD+R or Taiyo Yuden DVD-R media.
I simply select the hard-drive folder and then write the files/folders to disc.

So far I've had no visably notable artifacts or difficulties playing these DVDs and the "Full disk" burns seem to have all of the same DVD menu options as the original master.

I've read what has been written in the thread on the advantages of Hard-drive archiving an ISO "virtual copy" vs DVD Folders with VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS sub folders.
I'm not sure what I may be actually missing doing hard-drive back-ups the way I have, but it doesn't appear to be noticeable on my HDTV screen. Perhaps I have been lucky thus far.

I noticed earlier that DVD Shrink 3.2 (which offers either the ISO or DVD (VIDEO_TS sub-folder) option when backing up an original DVD) could not always decrypt the DVD, whereas DVDFab Decrypter, DVDFab 6.1.2.5, or DVD Decrypter v3.5.4.0 were most often successful, but did not offer an ISO back-up option. On disks larger than 4.36 GB I still needed DVD Shrink 3.2 to compress the files for reburns, though after using the previous decrypter programs DVD Shrink 3.2 no longer offered the ISO option when compressing.
ImgBurn v2.5.0 does offer an option to "Create an (ISO) image file from (VIDEO_TS) files/folders, but since this would be from folders already on the hard drive and not from the original DVD I'm wondering if there is any real benefit to this other than creating an ISO image of an already, possibly corrupted VIDEO_TS folder?
(NOTE: The FULL DVD ISO back-up is a WinRAR archive that contains both VIDEO_TS & empty AUDIO_TS folders. There is also a separate mds file with the same title of the DVD selected DVD. However an ImgBurn v2.5.0 ISO conversion of an already shrunk DVD folder will not yield an additional mds file and DVD Shrink 3.2 will NOT recognize or compress an ISO file).

I store both the ISO & the mds files (when present) in a titled folder but when I use ImgBurn v2.5.0 to burn a back-up DVD disk I can only select the mds file when it's present on DvDs that did not require any compression, or select just the ISO file when the mds file is not available.
In either event I end up with the VIDEO_TS and (empty) AUDIO_TS sub folders burned back to a DVD, with or without the benefit of that mds file, and so far they seem to play just as well as those that were not converted to ISO on the hard-drive. So any discrepencies are (for me) thus far imperceiveable.

I keep my original DVDs stored and have my DVD back-ups for viewing. But I also have these same DVDs stored on several large capacity USB 2.0 external hard drives from which I can also view them directly on my notebook PC screen.
But I have been yearning for some Media Player device that would allow me to play movies on an HDTV (sans a DVD player) directly from the external USB hard drives...
For awhile I was afraid that I such a device did not yet exist.
I found no one responding to my thread query who could offer first hand functional experience, and I hesitated to make a blind but hopeful purchase.
But alas, that is what I finally have done.

I vascillated between the following brands of media players that might allow me to view my DVD VIDEO_TS & ISO DVD movie folders with equal aplomb (including menus, etc), from a USB HD on an HDTV in both 720 & 1080p resolution, bypassing the need for DVD hard copies and a DVD player.

WDTV Live Plus

Popcorn Hour A-200

Argosy HV676 HD Media Player
& the
Argosy HV335T 3.5-Inch HDD 1080P HDMI Mobile Video Media Player

Not wanting to throw away a lot of money buying a top end model that may not do the job, I opted to purchase and try-out the least expensive of the four.

I received my Argosy HV676 HD Media Player from Amazon today, along with an inexpensive HDMI cable, which was necessary but did not come with the unit.
I followed the quick start instructions, attached the HDMI cable to the HDTV and the Argosy HV676 HD Media Player. I plugged in the media player and connected a Terabyte USB 2.0 external HD that had a variety movies & documentaries in both ISO DVD and DVD VIDEO_TS folders.
I have spent the entire evening running through this and other hard drives opening up movies and testing the abilities of this miniscule little media player, which is about the size of a 2.5 inch HD, and it's tiny but quite user friendly remote which is about the size of a pocket calculator.

So far I have had no problem opening any folder and bringing up a functional DVD menu and play, fast forward, pause, slow speed, reverse, and continue to play any of my Hard Drive archived movies, regardless of whether they are ISO or VIDEO_TS.

This media player is also supposed to allow one to view photos, play music, and watch video from additional formats, also from a USB HD, but I have yet to try those features out.

I'm not sure how durable this product will be, but thus far I am totally and happily amazed at it's abilities to do what I want it to do!

The Argosy media player is wonderful little unit and priced at well under a $100

Argosy HV676 HD Media Player

http://www.amazon.com/Argosy-HV676-H...7536944&sr=1-3

http://www.argosyusa.com/hv676.shtml?DefaultTab=0

I plan to get a second one, just for a back-up, and maybe even order it's "big brother" the Argosy HV335T 3.5-Inch HDD 1080P HDMI Mobile Video Media Player, that is supposed to have even more versatility.
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  #8  
02-21-2011, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
I noticed earlier that DVD Shrink 3.2 (which offers either the ISO or DVD (VIDEO_TS sub-folder) option when backing up an original DVD) could not always decrypt the DVD
You should always rip/read a disc in something else, before giving it to DVD Shrink. While it works well as a complex non-encoding transcoder, it's a terrible disc reader/writer tool. Both of those features were an included afterthought, and no the primary function of the app.

I know you had some other things, but will see if I can get back with more in a few days.
Just wanted to mention that one tidbit for the moment.

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02-21-2011, 02:16 PM
Harry Harry is offline
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Thanks, lordsmurf, for that informative tidbit.

When I first started "ripping" my DVDs I tried using DVD Shrink for everything.
That's when I found out that there were some DVD's that it wasn't able to easily decrypt. Your information explains why (I learned to reserve DVD Shrink simply for compression to 4.7 GB size back-Up disks).
I then began using DVDFab Decrypter, and later DVDFab 6.1.2.5, and for really difficult tasks DVD Decrypter v3.5.4.0.
I found that in 99% of the situations that these 3 tools can decrypt most DVDs. The only exception is my Disney videos. They are the ones which I usually cannot back up, and I've lost several of my expensive originals due to wear & warp simply because I could not back them up...
If you are aware of a tool that can do this I woud really appreciate a link?

I erred in my previous post when I stated:

"...DVD Shrink 3.2 will NOT recognize or compress an ISO file..."

DVD Shrink CAN recognize & compress an ISO file.

I wanted to edit that post, but could not find a tool on this forum that would let me do it.
Hopefully I'm not going blind, but if if an "edit post" function does exist, could you (or someone) please direct me to it?

Thanks
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