One thing I wanted to accomplish while I had free time this summer was to burn my fireplace Blu-Ray disk and have it play from my server to the TV. I did not realize how troublesome this would be.
It all started when our Blu-Ray player died. I was playing the fireplace Blu-Ray but when I inserted the Nintendo Switch the TV automatically switched from the Blu-Ray to the Switch and the Blu-Ray player didn’t like that since it started saying there was no disk in the slot when there was.
I really like my fireplace on the TV as it adds some very nice ambiance to the living room. So although we’ll get another Blu-Ray player I thought it would be best to figure out how to burn the Blu-Ray to a computer file, upload it to the server and have it play on the TV. That would add a lot less wear to the new Blu-Ray player since it is the fireplace Blu-Ray that I use most of the time.
The first thing I did was go to the various computers around the house only to learn that none of them can read a Blu-Ray. So I went on Amazon and erroneously bought a computer drive just for DVD. I caught the error and was able to cancel even though it was already in shipment. I looked at the options on Amazon and external drives for Blu-Ray are sparse but there was one from Firstcom for $50 that I bought.
I was excited when it arrived and quickly got to work. The problem however is that the Firstcom drive isn’t very good and Windows couldn’t recognize it half the time. Turning the computer off and on again as well as using the additional power source for the external drive I got it to read.
I then read the forums and learned that in order to burn it to a computer file you should download MakeMKV which is free because it is in beta. I got numerous errors in trying to burn the disk but actually got it to work once. I then tried numerous programs to convert the MKV files which are extremely large to different video formats.
The next problem was learning how to have my TV recognize the server. That only took about an hour but was a little frustrating. I did get it to recognize but even though I had the fireplace files uploaded to the correct folder it kept telling me there was no playable format! This took a lot of problem solving.
I checked the permissions of the server folders, pressed buttons, clicked boxes but could never get it to read. Also, my server is extremely slow and can take upwards of 15 minutes when opening the package manager. The CPU shoots to 99% and so I cannot do anything else until it calms down.
After two hours I realized that I needed to have the Media server application installed, not just the Video Station. Then the TV could recognize the server but it still didn’t see any videos. I tried every single format and this took a few hours since converting video takes time but it didn’t recognize any of them!
My TV is a Sony Bravia from 2010 so I went to the Sony support page and realized it only likes MPG files. Well, I converted to MPG but it still didn’t see it! Luckily I came across a test file from Sony and the Bravia could see that so progress was made! However, it still didn’t see my fireplace MPG files. I probably went through 5 different programs all with different viruses and trying to “phone home” to shady servers in order to download malware. I have Nortons and Malware bytes which caught all the malicious stuff so I felt safe in using these programs.
I then tried Any Video converter but their site as well as mirrors all had been hit with malware and or had viruses which Norton’s promptly deleted. I found one that simply tried to connect to different servers which Malware Bytes blocked but I could still use the software. I converted to MPG and the TV finally could see the files!
So now I’ve gotten my fireplace back running on files from my own server. But each fireplace has different soundtracks and only the default plays in those files. So wanting more pain I tried to burn the Blu-Ray again in order to get the MKV files and found a program that could rip audio from them. But now, MakeMKV keeps giving me an error when I try to burn the MKV files. I’ve tried about 10 times with no luck and to my dismay I already deleted my primary MKV files because they take up too much room – almost 15 gigabytes – on the computer. I really want my Christmas place fireplace with the snowfall and popcorn soundtracks but until I can get it to work again I’m out of luck.
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. I would tend to agree unless it is with a fussy external Blu-Ray drive and some buggy software! I got it to work once and am determined to do it again.
I wrote this post for my own reference just so I can remind myself in the future what a pain in the butt it is to rip a Blu-Ray and actually get it to play on a TV!