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Need to play 5 videos on 5 different video cards using 1 computer.

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April 29, 2009 6:29:15 PM

Okay... so I need to set up one computer to play 5 videos at the same time and each of these videos must be output onto a different audio/video card. So far I believe I have the hardware part figured out but feel free to double check. What I really need help with is finding software that can manage this.

Hardware Solution:

I'm going to custom-build this computer using a motherboard that has 5 PCI Slots.
I am going to install 5 audio/video cards. Will this even work!?

Software Solution:

I need software that can play 5 different movies. 1 movie playing on each card.

Is this possible and is it going to work the way I am doing it? Any suggestions on software that can manage this or maybe a way I can just do it using Windows? Please help!

Thanks so much in advance for any help.
April 29, 2009 6:44:39 PM

I am not sure if you'll be able to split the hardware decoding on each card separately but you sure can play five different movies at once.
You can use a app called BSPLAYER in which you can select to start a new instance for each video file, then you can just extend your desktop on to the five monitors and drag each video to the different monitor.

Cheers
April 29, 2009 7:07:55 PM

Why do you need to do this ?
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April 29, 2009 7:35:36 PM

I'll give you some info from a hardware perspective, including both audio and video. First and foremost, I don't know if it'll even work, but there are some easy limitations that can be addressed.

I've yet to see a single motherboard that has a minimum of 10 expansion slots, allowing 5 video and 5 audio cards to be installed. So, I believe HDMI is the only way to go. You'll be forced to use HDMI monitors w/ built-in speakers along with ATI video cards capable of HDMI output because only ATI cards have audio processors built-in. Further, these cards only transmit that audio signal over the single HDMI output, whether it be through a native HDMI port or while using the DVI-HDMI adapter.

With the limitation of only having a single HDMI output on a video card in mind, I think you would have to start with a motherboard that supports Quad-Crossfire over PCIe with four PCIe x16 slots. Each slot would have it's own ATI Radeon card operating independently while using the HDMI output of each driving 4 separate monitors. That means the motherboard would have to be based on the 790FX chipset with four PCIe x16 slots. As far as getting a 5th output, I suppose you'd have to use one of these HIS 2400Pro 512MB cards along with four PCIe cards of your choice.

While you can much more easily have video on 5 monitors by simply stretching the desktop, as Euphoria pointed out, having fully independent audio and video on each monitor changes the entire picture.

Again, I don't know if this will work, but at least I'm thinking about both audio and video carrying over to each individual monitor. Maybe AMD/ATI support has the answer.
April 29, 2009 7:46:23 PM

Annisman said:
Why do you need to do this ?

I have a client who runs a small resort. Right now they have six DVD players that feed into two quad digital modulators. From there, the signal runs into their TV cable system. So basically they have 6 custom movie channels.

They want to ditch the DVD players and move to a computer system that way they don't have to worry about changing out the DVDs, scratched DVDs, constantly replacing dead DVD players, etc.

So the full picture is that I need to be able to get 6 channels from two computers (I first said 5 just to simplify things) into these modulators so they can feed into the TV system. These people I am working for are pretty cheap and aren't gonna want to spend a bunch of money. They want to do as much as they can with their current hardware which would be the modulators which only have composite jacks. But honestly, I will talk them into whatever is the best solution for this.

Hope that helps.

And thanks for the advice, RazberyBandit, I think I am gonna do some research on an HDMI solution for this.

Please keep anymore advice/tips/experience coming. I appreciate the help everyone.
April 29, 2009 8:25:40 PM

In my Den I have an older HDTV (2005) that does not have VGA, DVI or HDMI inputs.
I bought a DVD Player ($50.00) that has a USB input and Divx codec, hooked it up to the HDTV by the RCA connectors. Now when the Grandkids, yes I said Grandkids, come over I can download a movie from one of the PC's to a USB flash drive and plug it into the DVD Player. This works like a charm.
The reason why I mention this is that the PC could be hooked directly to the DVD player via USB (or multi DVD Players) and point any movie off the HDD to any USB device. This would be an easy out if it worked for you.

April 30, 2009 3:42:44 AM

Wow, that sounds both cool, and ambitious, I would try to help you, but this area is not at all in my knowledge. Good luck, and tell us if you ever get it working!

Also, have you thought about running 6 REALLY cheap rigs as an alternative ? Or just 2 rigs, both doing 3 feeds each ?
April 30, 2009 5:23:09 AM

I have an entirely different perspective....

I'de run a server with all the media files. Then get as many external media enclosure as needed....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is just an example, cheaper ones are available...

Each external box connects through the network to the media library, and each box has it's own A/V outputs. Usually the only downside is the supported file types, so make sure your digital content is supported. Pricing with these usually gives you more supported formats and 1080 HD on the high-end. Weighed against buying a ton of videocards and monitors, I don't think it's too high.

The server should have a fast storage system and at least gigabit network from the server to a gigabit switch, even if the external cases are only 10/100 or transfering large media files will drive you nuts.

I'm not quite sure on the implementation though. The "now playing" choice would have to be made at each of the external cases for each channel. I would imagine that daily programing line-ups would simply loop, in which case simply copying the needed file thru the network and storing on the external enclosure until replaced would work best. This method would not require a fast server either, just large capacity to store unused media for a later date. The added benefit here is that even if the server goes down, each external enclosure can be holding a TB of media....No complete system shutdown as long as there is electricity. All 5 or 6 units would have to die simultaneously.

Hope that helps..... :sol: 

Edit: Almost all of these case have composite outputs as well, meaning the clients existing system can still be used along with the potential to use the HD outputs if the rest of the system is upgraded
April 30, 2009 5:51:18 AM

Thanks a lot Shadowflash, I think we are getting much closer to the solution here! I've never used a drive like this. I assume it comes with some software to manage the media files so I can just load up the videos, set them to shuffle + loop, and plug in the composite connections and it should be good to go, right?
April 30, 2009 9:59:12 PM

I'm confused as to why I need a server. Is it absolutely necessary to have? Once I load the different videos onto the drives, they should be fine, right? Just plug them into the channel modulator and let them go.

Or... do they actually need a server to control them?
May 1, 2009 7:14:18 AM

Been thinking a little on this and you could just get a bunch of media player units and tie them into a server.

My brother happens to have 3 TiVo's in his house all networked together and connected to a PC that stores most of the videos he records, rips, downloads, etc. They're all modded aftermarket units, of course, not stock units. With a TiVo-type unit, the guest can start, stop, pause, etc.

I suppose you could use any media player device in a server setup, though, including an MP3 player or IPod. Though you'd probably want to go with something that has a remote for convenience. Maybe something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882511024
Just store all the ripped videos on the server, being sure to encode them in the highest quality format the player supports, get them all networked, and you're done. And you wouldn't need an incredibly powerful PC to handle the server duties considering the limited number of access points. You would need a strong, stable and reliable network, though - preferably giga-bit.

The single-PC multi-streaming audio/video idea was nice, but impractical. On the other hand, streaming data from a single PC to separate media player devices is incredibly simple and logical. It's more like Pay-Per-View selection than it is stream. Guests could pick and choose whatever they wanted on the list of movies. It'd be wise to categorize the files somehow, though.
May 1, 2009 7:47:57 AM

Thanks for all of the input. I am just gonna have them buy 6 of these multimedia drives http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and load up the videos and go. Now I am just having trouble figuring out the fastest way to rip these DVDs in highest quality. But I'll take that to another thread. Thanks everybody.
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