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Central media storage and DVD ripping

I've just added a 2Tb RAIDed NAS (Dlink DNS320) to my home media setup which I'm going to use for backing up my photos, music and Mac timemachine stuff and as a media server for said music and hopefully films. :like:

I currently have (all networked);
Humax HDR Fox T2 which is DLNA compatible and because it is running a custom firmware can also stream recorded TV programmes (inc HD) to other devices (Macbook, iPhone - not managed to get it working with XBox 360).
Desktop PC - used as a media PC which runs Boxee etc.
XBox360 (connected to a different TV in a separate room to the above).
Macbook Pro

Music is easy - the DLink has uPNP server built in for media streaming and the music is already ripped from CD or purchased as downloads. I just need to move it across to the NAS and set up the iTunes server so I can use that as the music repository rather than the Macbook.
The DVDs are still all on disks - there's around 150 or so I think and I want to rip them all (well, most!) to the NAS in a format which means I can play them on the Humax, Macbook or XBox 360 - any recommendations for formats or software to let me do this? I can use the Macbook or PC to rip.

Any other ideas? Am I going about it the right way?
The Dlink will have 2x 2Tb drives in RAID 1 in case of failure. This is mainly for the photos, the music and DVDs I can rip again if the worst happens. Should I be looking at storing the films & music on the PC maybe? I still want to be able to use the MacBook as the default iTunes for my phone.

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I've recently downloaded MakeMKV, which is freeware.

It's actually a free beta, but it seems to work pretty well. It will rip any DVD to MKV format using the existing MPEG2 encoding. It doesn't do any further compression, so the ripped files will be the same size as the original DVD files.

However, the great thing is that you can select titles, language and subtitles (so you can skip the Scandinavian subtitles and audio channels, if they are not your thing!). It's also very quick, as it doesn't try to compress anything.

The only slight annoyance is that you have to keep visiting their website to renew the free registration code.

It has coped with all the DVDs that I have so far thrown at it.

As long as your media players can cope with MKV packaging, this might be worth considering.

If they can't cope with MKV, you can try using AVStoDVD. Another free application that can convert most formats (including MKV) to DVD compliant formats (either VOB or MPEG2).
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I fancied ripping all my DVDs but then figured that would be a complete waste of time when I can just put the DVD in the player and play it...
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I've used Handbrake (v0.98?) to transfer stuff recorded on my PS3 to a PSP compatible format and that was very good. Only used it once or twice as too lazy to transfer all my films. It did have a number of options if I recall though. May be useful if MKV isn't an option for viewing (if it supports it... I'd have to check).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostyDog View Post
I fancied ripping all my DVDs but then figured that would be a complete waste of time when I can just put the DVD in the player and play it...
+1 - I see the point in doing it for music but that's because I might listen multiple times to the same track whereas i don't frequently re-watch films even when i have them on DVD. That said, i have access to those recorded on PlayTV via the web (or at least will be when i change my router) without the need to convert anything. in theory I can attach a DVD drive to the NAS box if i really wanted to but I'd need to test it out. Alternatively i sling a few DVDs in the laptop case.

Having said all that, if you have mostly tablet/netbook (i.e. No optical drive) techology and want to watch a lot on the move it makes sense although you can also download iPlayer stuff for upto 30 days at a time for watching on the move (though that limits you a bit)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmicusPro View Post
+1 - I see the point in doing it for music but that's because I might listen multiple times to the same track whereas i don't frequently re-watch films even when i have them on DVD. That said, i have access to those recorded on PlayTV via the web (or at least will be when i change my router) without the need to convert anything. in theory I can attach a DVD drive to the NAS box if i really wanted to but I'd need to test it out. Alternatively i sling a few DVDs in the laptop case.

Having said all that, if you have mostly tablet/netbook (i.e. No optical drive) techology and want to watch a lot on the move it makes sense although you can also download iPlayer stuff for upto 30 days at a time for watching on the move (though that limits you a bit)
Lately I've bought the triple play blu rays so I get a digital copy for my iPad/iPhone.

Some of my less reputable colleagues steal films off the internet

My underling is good though for a young lad he has a netflix subscription



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Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostyDog View Post
Lately I've bought the triple play blu rays so I get a digital copy for my iPad/iPhone.

Some of my less reputable colleagues steal films off the internet

My underling is good though for a young lad he has a netflix subscription



Sean
Ah, the future of ultimate laziness I'll be doing that so long as it's the same cost or a quid or two more. There was some scheme started in the States that I think may be here or on it's way whereby you purchased a product and then got given a code so you could watch it instantly on-line e.g. if you called in at your friend's house on the way home and they had a netbook/internet but no Blu-ray player you could stream it then with, I presume, only 1 format being available at any one time assuming 'net connectivity is checking that (obviously you can remove net connection so I may be making that one up!)

I too don't do the illegal thing (though I'm far from perfect lol) with downloading movies etc. On the flip side I wish they'd bring the cost down a bit and maybe pay the A-listers less ($20m + for 1 film... like footballers, it's obscene lol)
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I'm a big fan of Handbrake - it's FOC and seems to be the go to piece of software for ripping and converting with Macs.

I convert all my DVDS using the Apple Universal preset which then creates an H264 video file in an M4V container which can contain both Dolby Digital and stereo audio tracks. You end up with a high quality file approx 1.5 - 2GB in size which will play on all Mac, PC, iPod, iPad, most other mobile devices, XBox 360 and PS3 providing DD5.1 when hooked up to a device connected to a suitable AV amp.

Handbrake will not rip Blu-Rays so for these I run them through Make MKV first (as mentioned above) and then convert the MKV to the Apple Universal format as above.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSK View Post
Bobda

I'm a big fan of Handbrake - it's FOC and seems to be the go to piece of software for ripping and converting with Macs.

I convert all my DVDS using the Apple Universal preset which then creates an H264 video file in an M4V container which can contain both Dolby Digital and stereo audio tracks. You end up with a high quality file approx 1.5 - 2GB in size which will play on all Mac, PC, iPod, iPad, most other mobile devices, XBox 360 and PS3 providing DD5.1 when hooked up to a device connected to a suitable AV amp.

Handbrake will not rip Blu-Rays so for these I run them through Make MKV first (as mentioned above) and then convert the MKV to the Apple Universal format as above.
How long does it take to get from a blu ray movie to a viable digital file?
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Some interesting thoughts - cheers.

I have considered not bothering with the DVDs (don't have a Blu Ray) as like Ghosty says, they can just be used in the player - except I don't have a DVD player any more, instead using the media PC to watch DVDs (it has HDMI and optical audio output and is connected to my surround amp). I don't really watch films on any other device or take them away with me. I just like the idea of having an easily browsable movie jukebox.

1.5-2Gb with 5.1 (essential), is that a compressed file or ripped native? I might have a try with some films at varying quality and see what they come out at & how long it takes. It would be better to dedicate the 2Tb of backed up space to photos and music rather than video as I've currently got around 50Gb of music and maybe 200Gb of photos (I shoot RAW+JPEG so data use is quite high) which doesn't include all my old photos which are on a couple of USB hard drives.
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Like most other people here I would also recommend Handbrake. I keep most settings on default (H264 encoding) but set the bit rate at 1500kpbs. You can rename M4V files to MP4 if you don't set it to MP4 in the main Handbrake screen - last time I looked, my xbox 360 didn't recognise files with M4V extensions, only MP4 (although I could be wrong). At that bit rate films come out at 1 - 1.4gb usually and look great when played back on a biggish TV through the xbox.
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Yep agree with the above.

On the Xbox 360 point i think it depends on whether the file is being served or held locally. Don't think (but not 100% sure) that it recognises m4V on a USB drive but it certainly does via DLNA. On a broader point chaining the extension to MP4 does give greater compatibility but again the quality of the DLNA server involved can make a difference. I use one called Serviio installed on a Windows Home Server box with 10TB of storage, this serves M4V files with DD5.1 quite happily to Xbox, PS3, DLNA equipped phones, tablets, MacBooks, 3 x BR decks, and 3 x DLNA equipped Sony Bravia TVs.

Bobda - re your question on file size have done a couple of rips today. Using the Universal setting in Handbrake i got an M4V file of Captain America with both stereo and DD5.1 into a 1.4GB file. This was from a main movie rip from DVD of approx 6GB.

For Blu-Ray a 28gb MKV of The Ides Of March compresses down to a 6.5GB MKV in 1080P with both two channel and DD5.1 audio.

A couple of things to note re using Handbrake.

1 - It can only rip single movies i.e. you cannot replicate the whole disc with menu functionality, extras etc etc. To do this you need to make a full copy of the disc structure in either ISO or Folder format and then have a player capable of reading such files. Full disc copies are also 1:1 in terms of size so you need a lot of storage at up to 9GB per DVD and 50GB per BR.

2 - Whilst Handbrake can produce great quality digital copies in up to 1080P resolution it does not support HD Audio from Blu-ray such as DD-Plus or DTS-HD. Instead it take these soundtracks and down mixes them into DD5.1. Similarly it does not support standard DTS and remixes this into DD5.1 for its output files. You will always get digital surround with a Handbrake file but not in the HD formats.
 
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Bobda and Ghosty apologies I missed the question re time.

My three year old iMac with a 3.06ghz Core 2 Duo and 8Gb churns out a DVD to M4v file in approx 90 mins.

Taking a straight BR rip to MKV and converting that to a standard def M4v file for portable use takes about the same amount of time.

A BR rip MKV to 1080P M4V takes approx. 3 hours.

Clearly a newer machine will do this in less time.

One of the great things about HB is that you can queue up files and batch convert so I leave mine running overnight or when I'm out at work during the day.
 
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RSK, it's a nice idea in principle but to be honest I can't see any pay back in the time it takes to perform all the ripping by having a pretty interface to view the films in a jukebox scenario, working in IT I'm all for technology making things easier, but I just can't see how this is easier than taking a disc out of a box and putting it in the player.

If you have packaging/storage issues because of the amount of films you have then maybe I could see that as being a problem or if you watch films primarily on mobile devices and need to package them for this medium then that's another reason why I'd see a benefit. but they are the only ones tbh.

Personally based on your timings it would take me not months but years to rip my entire DVD and Blu Ray collection and I buy a few films every week so I doubt I'd ever catch up.

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GD - I think your points are very valid and I probably tick most of the boxes.

I have approx 600 or so films and keep all the originals in the garage.

I travel and work away from home a lot and so like to take digital copies with me.

My workflow actually encompasses making two copies from my discs as I make both compressed copies as per this thread and I also make an exact disc copy as an ISO file. ISO files take approx 15-30 mins to create and then give a perfect 1:1 disc structure copy. Obviously this requires lots of server space and also a media player at the front end capable of playing the file.

But yes in short you're right it can be a right PITA but it's quite satisfying for the geek in me and is great for a household with young kids whereby I or they can play their films from a central server in the kitchen, their bedrooms, lounge or playroom without ruining the discs with sticky little fingers !
 
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