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Old 25-04-2014, 22:05   #1
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Bringing Movies Onboard?

I'm looking for an easy way to bring a movie library onboard, or take it along. What I want to do is copy some DVDs, so the originals can stay safely ashore, to a USB hard drive that will simply plug into a TV that can play movies directly form the hard drive.

That's a specific goal, no computer involved, just play the movies from the hard drive.

The TV will play AVI, MKV, MP4, ASF, and WMV files.

So the relevant question here (please, keep it on track) is how do these formats compare, in terms of keeping all the quality from a DVD or BluRay disc?

And second, for the better quality format(s), is it much faster to convert to any one or the other? I tried a few samples, it seems like some can convert 10x faster than others, which adds up.

And then the sixty-four dollar question: Is there some software, free or paid, that will make this easy for me? So I can just stick a disc in the computer and say "Rip this movie to one xxx file" and walk away? Or do I still have to manually find the main movie file and manually point software to it?

I would have thought by now that there was an easy way to just copy movies to one "media server" and serve them up from there, but apparently if you just copy discs, the TVs can't read them, and I want to keep this computer-free.

Would appreciate knowing if anyone else has solved this Gordian Knot.
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Old 25-04-2014, 23:17   #2
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

I can't answer your question directly, I too am interested to know. There are some 2 terra byte portable hard drives out there and it would seem to be a good way to put a bunch of movies on board without the discs. I have a DVD player that has a USB slot, I wonder if I could plug it into that. Like you, I would also be interested to know what the best format or proprietary program that you could copy the discs to.
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Old 25-04-2014, 23:38   #3
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

Many TV's and media players don't like hard drives over 2tb, so stuck to 2tb.
I use "it's playing pro" to watch any format on my iPad or stream it to Apple TV. Beamer also looks good to play a movie in the background of a mac to Apple TV and still use the mac for other uses.

Also download you tube videos for watching later. Some good docos on there.

For me I'm happy with standard resolution on a TV 32" or smaller. Movie size approx 1gb allows plenty on a 2tb hard drive.

Xbmc is also another good option.

Handbrake for copying stuff to hard drive.
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Old 26-04-2014, 00:35   #4
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

Tons of stuff out there. Just Google "decrypt DVD" and you'll have enough reading for hours.

For myself, I use Anydvd from Slysoft to decrypt and Handbrake to rip to MP4.
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Old 26-04-2014, 02:01   #5
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

I would go for MP4, using the H.264 video codec, and leaving the audio at AC3. Your TV should support it.
And MP4 file, or M4V, which is the same, is just a container, with a video stream and and audio stream. (Or even several audio streams...) Each is encoded independently. In order to reduce the work your computer must do it's often possible to just copy the audio stream from the DVD (which is just another container) and only recode the video. Hence my suggestion to use AC3 audio, as that should be on the DVD already.

I used to use Handbrake for that. But nowadays I just download via bittorrent. It's actually faster than ripping a DVD in most cases. Even faster than searching through my collection :-)
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Old 26-04-2014, 02:37   #6
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

The Bluray disks I own have all been ripped with DVDFab (it's at version 9.1.4.0) and will do all your decryption from Bluray or DVD to a folder. If you want it will just copy the main movie or the whole disk. I then use Handbrake to encode to .mkv or .mp4. With Handbrake you can pick your resolution but I usually leave it at the highest quality. I've used several programs and these are probably the easiest to learn and use.

I've ripped my entire collection of DVD and Bluray movies and now have over 4Tb of movies and television shows.
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Old 27-04-2014, 22:30   #7
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

There are various ways to store your DVD on USB hard drive. Depends on what you want to achieve.

Really easy, quick and keeping 100% of Picture and Sound quality is AppGeeker DVD Ripper. I have used it with great success.

With AppGeeker the main movie (and some specials, if you want them) is stored in a single MKV container, keeping all wanted Audio and subtitle tracks, removing all tracks you don't want to keep (e.g. some "exotic" subtitles). With it the size stays similar. The resulting MKV is slightly smaller than the DVD itself (due to the lost of some unwanted stuff). And this don't last longer as copying the dvd folder structure to NAS.

If you want to "shrink" the size and sacrifice picture quality then you also have lots of options. Best is to re-encode them by using h264 (AVC) codec with MP4 container (or some other containers:wmv, avi...). This gives best PQ by smallest size but last about an hour or more for every DVD (depends on how fast your PC is, ofc)....
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Old 28-04-2014, 11:20   #8
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

Thanks, guys. Goal is not to reduce size when that's going to reduce quality. I've tried a few file converters and am surprised that a 1.25gb mp4 file seems to be just as good as a 4gb dvd does. And pleasantly surprised because unless I missed something, some of the tools will just grab the main movie and knock out all the previews and menus, which I'm not looking to keep.

No decisions yet, there's so much out there. But it looks like MP4 is the no-brainer way to go on this.
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Old 28-04-2014, 12:04   #9
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

www.videohelp.com is the ultimate guide to all things encoding, converting, dvd hacks and ripping movies to hard disk.

It has been around since the early days of VCD encoding to blank cd's...

If it isn't mentioned on this site, it doesn't exist
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Old 28-04-2014, 12:56   #10
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

Thanks, Moonos. They must have seriously offended The Evil Empire, because they weren't on the first page of hits there.
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Old 28-04-2014, 13:28   #11
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

I will second DVDFab.. Been using it for years.. Might not be the fastest (not a big deal on a modern PC), but definitely easy.
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Old 28-04-2014, 15:23   #12
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post

I'm looking for an easy way to bring a movie library onboard, or take it along. What I want to do is copy some DVDs, so the originals can stay safely ashore, to a USB hard drive that will simply plug into a TV that can play movies directly form the hard drive.

Slightly counter to your purpose, and definitely low tech... but FWIW we've just used a soft CD/DVD case, with (in our case) 4 individual pockets on each side of each "page" -- to take the original DVDs on board. Bag the jewel boxes. About 100 DVDs fit in the carrying case which is approximately the size of a loose-leaf binder.

I figure if something catastrophic happens, the last thing we're going to care about is preserving the original DVDs...

-Chris
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Old 28-04-2014, 15:27   #13
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

Chris, the original patent on CDs, and by extension DVDs, was for them to be always placed in sleds before use. You may remember the sleds, kinda like a jewel case with a springloaded slot and a center bearing? That was a very important part of the original design concept, to protect the frail media from being scuffed and scratched.

Well, now everyone happily doesn't use the expensive sleds, they're just all too happy to sell you new discs when the originals get scratched up.

I don't want the originals onboard AT ALL in any case, any carrier. I don't keep CDs in the car, for the same reason. They're bulky, they're delicate, they're subject to theft and loss and damage.

So the CD soft case? Physical media has gone the way of the Betamax, and that's a good thing. Sorry, it isn't 1985 any more.(G)
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Old 28-04-2014, 15:37   #14
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
So the CD soft case? Physical media has gone the way of the Betamax, and that's a good thing. Sorry, it isn't 1985 any more.(G)

1985???? Wait, I thought it was still 1962!!!!

And in any case, we still have the trays

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Old 28-04-2014, 16:15   #15
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Re: Bringing Movies Onboard?

Sure, one binder.

I made the paradigm shift once I realized the postage stamp I had mislaid (ahem) was replacing the yards of shelving that a thousand LPs would have occupied.

Same postage stamp would very likely hold 100 DVD quality movies in MP4 format. Saving two pounds of payload and making the boat lighter and faster, which is the whole point, right? (G)
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