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Windows 7: How to achieve most complete playback features for ripped video conent

26 Nov 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64
How to achieve most complete playback features for ripped video conent

My family and I have accumulated a rather large library of DVD/BD movies that we like to watch repeatedly from time to time. In order to avoid searching for and handling the original disks each time, I have been ripping the content, preserving menus, chapters, and the audio and subtitle streams for our preferred language, along with the main video title.

I chose to transcode the video using h.264 format, and AC3 audio, storing those and the subtitle stream in an MKV wrapper, because that format is reasonably well supported by the WDTV Live Plus player I have been using. However, I have found many shortcomings of that player to be frustrating to me. My frustration is caused mostly by these factors:

- Browsing screen by screen, with only textual titles when deciding what movie to watch next is not pleasing.
- If I want to jump into a particular movie chapter, again there is only text (minutes/seconds) to help me find the chapter I want, as opposed to artwork such as one would have when viewing the original disk using a DVD/BD player.
- Inability to pause, and advance frame by frame, as I would be able to if playing the original media.
- The WDTV Live Plus sometimes alters the appearance of the subtitles compared with the original media, and sometimes to the extent that they are unreadable.

Thinking that I might be able to improve on shortcomings like these, I embarked on a project to build my first HTPC, which I have now done. I am happy with the system from a hardware perspective. I installed Windows 7 Professional x64, and am poised to begin using Media Center for the first time. It is my hope that I can use the MKV files I have spent many hours creating, but if some other format proves more appropriate, I will start over, but using my new system, it will not take nearly so many hours the next time.

I hope to use the new HTPC in our main viewing room (the family room), and use an Xbox 360 as an extender in the bedroom. I would like the viewing experience in both rooms to be as much like watching the original DVD/BD disk as possible, and I would like to employ a browser to collect metadata to (hopefully) make it possible to choose a movie and chapter by seeing artwork instead of plain text. I would like to be able to pause playback, and advance frame by frame like I described above.

Is it possible to do all of this both in the family room where the HTPC is, and also in the bedroom using the extender?

I would appreciate advice about which video/audio/subtitle formats I should use to best achieve the results I'm hoping for.

I would eventually like to retire my two Tivo boxes, so I expect I will install a tuner card such as the Ceton InfiniTV4 that accommodates a multi-stream cable card, but one Tivo function we use occasionally (and would like to retain) is the ability to download Amazon video on demand for later viewing. Is this possible with Media Center, and could I stop viewing from the family room in the middle of a movie, and continue watching on the bedroom extender?

Thanks very much for advice about how much of this is possible, and how to accomplish it,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Nov 2011   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

WIndows Media Center can play MKV files, but it needs to be set up first. I am not sure how this will work with the extender, though. I do not have an X-Box 360. Anyway, here is how to setup MKV to play in WMC: Watch MKV Video Files in Windows Media Center | PCWorld &

I know WMC will run Amazon video, but you will first need to use the Unbox player to initialize the Digital rights to the movie (I think all you have to do is start the download to do this now; you used to have to play it in Unbox player to initialize it).

WMC is nice in that it does what you are looking for in terms of showing an image instead of just the time of play. I do not know about subtitles/languages/etc. as I have never used it for these features, so you may have to do a little research to get everything integrated to your liking.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Install the Win7codecs + x64Components addon + Mediabrowser
These 3 software will provide EVERYTHING you ask for.

When you get around to hooking up the xbox, there is a checkbox on the 64bit MKV TAB
for the DivX MF splitter, this will allow MKV's to be played on the xbox also.

Also, you should know, installing ANYTHING from will cause you problems.
Be sure to uninstall that software BEFORE installing the software linked above.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

27 Nov 2011   #4

Windows 7 Pro x64

My thanks to you both for your helpful advice. I have more confidence now, that I am at least on the right path with Media Center as opposed to other platforms I have seen discussed elsewhere, such as Plex for Mac OS, and various Linux solutions.

With your reassurance that I will be able to use my MKV files both on the HTPC and the xbox, I would just like to ask if that format will yield as much full playback functionality as the other options, and if another is somehow better, which one would be best?

Thanks again,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2011   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64
How to identify installed components?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Shark007 View Post
Also, you should know, installing ANYTHING from will cause you problems.
Be sure to uninstall that software BEFORE installing the software linked above.
Thank you for this tip. Could you please advise me how to identify any installed software components that may have originated from, so that I can be sure I have done as you recommended? Would such software only be present if I had explicitly installed it, or might it arrive in stealth as I install something else?

Thanks for any clarification.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

From Programs and Features of Control Panel - Look for anything containing the word 'codec' and specifically, Divx.
BTW, today's release of version 3.3.3 of the Shark007 codecs is one of the most successful releases to date.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Dec 2011   #7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

I have been trying so many different formats and have basically given up. I am just ripping everything to a vob file.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to achieve most complete playback features for ripped video conent

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