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The Media Player market is one that is clouded with confusion and mystery. Whoever so wishes to take on the task of digitizing their private movie collection should tread lightly, for fear of getting the lost in the world of resolutions, frame rates and codecs.

I am a big movie fanatic. I love cinema and I have a large DVD and Blu-ray collection that takes up too much needed storage in my cozy inner city apartment, or so my wife tells me.

For quite a while I’ve been toying with the idea of digitizing and archiving my movie collection, but it must be said that with my fanaticism comes purism – I refuse to settle for anything less than the original video and audio quality. In addition, I’m one of those rare folk that enjoy watching the movies’ ‘Special Features’  – I’ve just seen the film, now I want to see how those magicians put it together! – which adds an extra layer of complication to the process. The reality is that whichever solution was right for me needed to be able to replicate the experience of playing the original disc, minus the plastic box and the loading time of my ancient Blu-ray player.

So I had a choice. Option 1) I butter up my better half over an extended period of time and hope that she finally agrees to me parting with our hard earned savings to purchase a Kaleidescape system. Dream on. Option 2) I make up an excuse to upgrade our ageing back-up hard drive and invest instead in a DIY movie server.

Let me make one thing clear from the start. If you are so inclined to take on a similar task but wouldn’t consider yourself a tech-head and don’t have an infinite amount of time on your hands (ie. you have kids) then there is only one solution for you: Kaleidescape. Those wonderful people over in Sunnyvale, CA will do everything for you (including managing your database) and provide one of the best User Experiences of any product anywhere. And that’s because they are obsessive movie purists too. But this premium service comes at a cost, so there must be another option right?

Well fortunately there is, albeit convoluted. In this series of blogs, I will explore the various aspects of putting together your very own home movie solution which I will split in to three parts, in no particular order:

1) Store it

2) Catalogue it

3) Play it

There is a fourth entitled, ‘Don’t get thrown in prison’. But that’s a subject for another time, place and website. I once read the Australian copywrite laws relating to backing up your own content and concluded that they need updating: copying VHS tapes isn’t something I plan on doing anytime soon. For the most part, I’m comfortable in the fact that I have paid my hard earned cash for the content and I am simply using another more convenient device to play it. Plus I build in a bit of fire and theft insurance to boot. But if you find yourself in a position of care-taking a friend’s movie collection and curiosity forces you to sample it on your new 65″ OLED, on your head be it. Piracy is bad, mmmkay?