What is EXT3
EXT3 is a format typically used by Unix/Linux based systems. It has some advantages over NTFS, especially since the ScreenPlay Pro HD is a linux based device.
Advantages and Disadvantages of using EXT3
EXT3 can easily be maintained in the Linux environment. When you format your drive, maintenance is automatically scheduled and run by the ScreenPlay Pro HD when it boots. The EXT3 format supports long filenames, and also supports large file sizes. You can add "links" in the EXT3 drive, which will give you the capability of having the exact same file in multiple places without having a full copy of it in multiple places. For instance, you could add all of the movies in one directory called "All" and add links in separate directories called "Kids", "Mature", "Sci-Fi", "TV Shows", etc. to allow for another way to classify your videos. I have multiple 1 TB hard drives connected via a USB hub. I have added symbolic links to the movies on those drives in the directories on the main drive. This allows me to not worry about where the files are while I'm browsing. I just go into "ScreenPlay" instead of having to go into "USB", find the file I want and it automatically switches to the USB drive when it needs it.
However, EXT3 is not natively supported by Windows. So plugging in the drive via USB to your PC will not allow it to automatically recognize it. As a result, you'll need special drivers or programs to access the drive from a windows based PC, or you will need to access the files over the network instead of using USB. What works for me is to have the USB hard drives formatted in NTFS. Then I can easily transfer them from the computer to the ScreenPlay without actually having to copy them off of the external USB drive.
Formatting the drive for EXT3
This will cause all information on the main drive to be lost, so make sure you make a backup of all videos and other information you have on your drive. Telnet into your drive.
type stopall to end the DvdPlayer program.
unmount the 4th partition from /usr/local/etc/dvdplayer/hdd/volumes/HDD1 by typing umount /usr/local/etc/dvdplayer/hdd/volumes/HDD1
type t to change the type
type 4 for the partition
type 83 for the system
type type w to write the new partition information.
now format the disk by typing mkfs.ext3 -j /dev/hda4
It will go through a long process of formatting and setting up the inodes for the drive. When it is finished, turn off the screenplay and restart it. The EXT3 partition will be automatically available.
If you can not use the Ethernet connection, there's another way of doing the job.
- Boot your PC with an Ubuntu LiveCD (or any other GNU-Linux distro of your choice).
- Plug the SPP to one of your PC's USB ports and it will be recognized as an external disk.
- Backup to your PC all the data in the SPP's 500GB/1TB partition, it will be erased in the next step.
- Umount the volume.
- Execute System/Administration/Partition editor (gParted or equivalent) and change the 500 GB/1TB partition filesystem to EXT3, and TAKE CARE OF NOT CHANGING THE OTHER PARTITIONS IN THE DISK, as they contain the GNU-Linux OS that runs the SPP .
- Apply, wait some few minutes, and that's all, you've done it.
- Unplug the SPP and connect it in multimedia mode.
There are two types of links: Hard links and soft links. Hard links can only be setup on the same drive as the original file. Switch to the directory where you want the link and type ln path/filename linkname where the path and filename indicate where the file is, and linkname is the final name of the link. You can link files or directories. The hard link will preserve the contents of the file even if the original file is deleted. It will stay on the drive until all hard links are removed. The other type of link is a symbolic or soft link. The symbolic links can be setup the same way a hard link can, but with a -s option. ln -s path/filename linkname A symbolic link will only work if the original file is still present. However, a symbolic link can span different drives.
Theoretically, you could add a symbolic link to a mounted CIFS drive. Or, put another way, you could mount a friend's screenplay pro hd drive in their network on your drive and be able to watch their videos from your drive. But unless your friend has a very high upload rate, or the bitrate of the movie is very low, performance would not be sufficient to watch.