03-08-2010 11:58 AM
Hey guys, new the forums. I'm looking into the Seagate Freeagent Theater+.
First, I apologize because I'm not very technologically saavy.
But basically, all I want is a device that I can have all of my DVD's and Blu-Rays on so that I don't have to actually load a DVD/Blu Ray to watch a movie. So I'd like to burn/rip my dvd collection and save them to an external hard drive and use this (or something else) to access them on my tv. At least at this time, I'm not envisioning doing anything network-oriented, though I can't say that I'd never be interested in it.
The other thing I'd really like to do is have the discs copied exactly. In other words, I want to be able to click on a movie (preferably by cover art thumbnail) and access all of the features that would be on the disc itself...special features, language/subtitle options, etc. Is this something that this product can do? Or is this more a function of the software I use to copy the DVDs? If it is, which software would let me do this?
Thanks in advance!
03-08-2010 01:47 PM
The short answer is YES, the Seagate FAT+ will do exactly what you're asking for DVDs. It is not quite there yet for Blu-Ray rips, but if you use a copyright cracker and rip the disc to a hard drive, the FAT+ will play it back exactly as you see it on your stand-alone dvd player... full menu support and all. I think there are some issues with BluRay menus, but I haven't tried, so I'll let someone else comment.
I'll be honest though, this thing has some bugs, some users (myself included) have had flaky behaviour with it corrupting hard drives and files... I lost one movie completely, and have had to "repair" my hard drive (via Windows) many times. If I could do it over again, I would go for the Asus O!Play instead... it also plays DVD menus (That is the feature you need, which differentiates these guys from the rest, like Western Digital).
After I plugged the unit directly into the wall instead of my power-strip behind the TV, it started working better... eluding to a hardware design flaw that is very marginal to input supply power.
When the unit powers on, it indexes all the content on the attached drives and generates a small database on each drive that the FAT+ can read quickly the next time in order to display your content quicker. Well, this operation writes to the disk, and it seems that the current drawn from the hard drive causes a voltage drop on the power supply and then all h3ll breaks loose... file system gets corrupted, files get deleted, thumbnails don't show up... that's what I call "marginal" hardware design and because of this flaky behaviour I have a hard time recommending it.
Again, this marginal behavior goes away when you plug the unit DIRECTLY into the wall... so I assume my power strip was limiting the power to the device during these spikes....(Not sure if the unit can't get enough current through my power strip, or the current draw by the hard drive causes the supply voltage to droop and then device operation is comprimised) but since none of my other toys have a problem using that power strip, I'm going to say the FAT+ does not have enough low voltage margin, and therefor acts up at times. Or it could be the hard drive itself does not get enough power through the device USB port, it IS a 1TB portable drive, but either way, it's not 100% solid, which you should expect for this price from a company as established as Seagate.
03-08-2010 02:25 PM
The FAT+ does not play menu option on the BLU-Ray ISO.
I tend to disagree with the idea that the hard drive corruption due to power "glitch". A 3.5 inch HDD takes most 20W. The FAT+ is about 27W? I have not measured the FAT+, but I think it does not take much power. Besides, I read some where and someone said the FAT+ takes about 27W. Any common Surge protector or power strip can handle them without any problem.
I do have disk corruption with the FAT+ but I think the problem is the SW, not power. But I could be wrong!
03-08-2010 10:43 PM - edited 03-09-2010 02:12 AM
The power issue is not because the "spec" power usage. What cfcrash has demonstrated in his experiment was a probable hardware design flaw with the inside USB port. When the power drops close to the marginal level, the FAT does not handle it properly. To prove this beyond a doubt, you would have to connect a meter to the line and see if power drops close to the margin. Perhaps cfcrash has too many other devices plugged into the strip. It's actually a common problem, but the behavior is not apparent so people tend to blame software, but it is really hardware problem, at least in this case, IMHO.
PS. To answer the orginal poster, see this thread for tools to copy DVDs:
03-09-2010 05:40 AM
Yes the FAT+, will let you play all your DVD's and will do so as a standalone player (with an external hard drive of course). As for ripping the DVD's, you'll need a ripping program like DVD FAB or ANY DVD, although I prefer DVD FAB because even though you have to pay for the software, you can use it to rip FULL DVD's or the MAIN MOVIE for free. You may also want to look at getting HANDBRAKE, which is a free software that will compress your video's (after you rip them to your drive) to a MP4 or MKV but keeps the video structure and still keeps most of the quality. If you don't compress the video's, you'll end up eating a lot of hard drive space since most DVD's are around 7 or 8 gIg's, and HANDBRAKE will let you compress a full DVD to somewhere around 2 gigs.
If you need more help on how to rip, you should look HERE, it has a lot of resources on how to rip DVD's & Blue-Rays.
03-09-2010 05:50 AM
Also, to get your cover art for the thumbnails, I would recomend MY MOVIES COLLECTION MANAGMENT, which is also freeware which will get your cover art and metadata automatically.
03-09-2010 06:34 AM
Thanks guys....all very useful tips/suggestions.
And just to clarify, I can add all my movies to an external hard drive and use that for the device, right??
The movie cover art was my next question...does anybody have a screen capture of what the menu will look like with cover art?
I've also been looking at the Popcorn Hour c200 and the WD TV Live. Neither of them appears to support the ISO file you guys are talking about, which would let me keep the special features. But the Popcorn Hour has some pretty awesome looking Movie Jukebox software available. Is something similar available for the Seagate?
Also, on another forum, somebody basically advised me to wait for the D-Link Boxee. Anybody have any thoughts on that device? Patience has never been my strong suit, but if the device is truly superior to anything currently available, then I suppose I could wait a few months. Will probably take me that long to download all my DVDs anyway.
Thanks again for your help guys!
03-09-2010 08:10 AM
Also, I was just browsing the Popcorn Hour forums and it looks like the C200 might be able to play DVDs with menus:
C-200 (BD Rom) and drive bay specific Questions
Will the unit play BD backups/BD ISO with menus etc?
Yes the C-200 will. Rips must be made with software such as anyDVD HD or DVDfab.
Anybody tried this??
03-09-2010 06:39 PM
I definitely can't say for sure that my power-strip is not contributing to the problem... I have a wireless router, a 42" plasma TV, an xbox 360 and a BluRay player plugged in, but the BluRay and xbox are normally off. It could just be a crud power-strip, but I know one thing for certain.. I COULD NOT get the unit to work cleanly when docking my hard drive in the dock at all, ever... it would corrupt my file system and delete files, trash thumbnail images, not display everything, it was a total hunk of garbage... and when I plugged it into my wall directly, it has worked FLAWLESSLY, 100%, every time, for over a month now. No glitches. Flawless. The software has not changed.
This can't be software related, because the only thing that changed was where I plugged in the AC adapter. This can only mean that the FAT+ was flaking out due to insufficient power. Any given chip inside the unit is designed to operate at a certain voltage and will draw current when in use, if your power source is not adequate and can not supply enough current during the spikes (like when the portable hard drive spins up), or the voltage dips below the intended operating range, the behavior of the electronics will be erratic and unpredictable. All bets are off as far as reliable operation are concerned when you drop the supply voltage below the spec of any chip.
If you were Seagate, you would tell me that my power-strip was limiting the power to the device, and it was not the FAT+'s fault... but I would ask why so many people on this forum have the same problem, why none of my other devices have any issue, and why they use those crappy removable prongs attached to the AC/DC transformer, which in and of themselves could be the cause of the problem, where crummy contact there is preventing adequate power transfer. Just a thought
You guys are right, I would love to hook this up to a meter and scope to watch the supply spikes and observe the power consumption during boot-up, indexing, with and without docked drive, but I'm not about to drag all my stuff into the office and dork around with it at work. Seagate doesn't pay me enough to debug their hardware ;-)
03-10-2010 10:05 AM
Hi Gentle man and CFcrash79 specially,
I just said "I tend to disagree"; That means I am not 100% sure :-); However that is my opinion. I could be wrong :-), but is that why we are here discussing?