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BarbieBear
Oct 6, 2009, 04:53 AM
Hi there,

I want to copy/convert my movies dvds onto an external hard drive. I've been reading around and there seems to be two options; Create VIDEO_TS (mac the ripper) or mpg4 (handbrake). There is a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of different software rippers, but I couldn't find anything that gave me more general info about why one approach would be better or worse for me.

All I want to do is to be able to watch the movies on my 24" cinema display at the same (or not noticeably different) quality as we get when we watch the original dvd.

I'm grateful for any advice.

thanks

BB



myusernamesucks
Oct 6, 2009, 07:41 AM
Hi there,

I want to copy/convert my movies dvds onto an external hard drive. I've been reading around and there seems to be two options; Create VIDEO_TS (mac the ripper) or mpg4 (hard drive). There is a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of different software rippers, but I couldn't find anything that gave me more general info about why one approach would be better or worse for me.

All I want to do is to be able to watch the movies on my 24" cinema display at the same (or not noticeably different) quality as we get when we watch the original dvd.

I'm grateful for any advice.

thanks

BB

Simply put, if you want to go through iTunes, they have to be in MP4. Otherwise, Video_TS will be just fine and so will the quality.

I use either VisualHub or Toast when I am encoding to MP4 for my AppleTV and both programs are user friendly and have nice results.



Hopefully that helps you a little.

spice weasel
Oct 6, 2009, 08:37 AM
It comes down to two main points: 1) space, and 2) original DVD structure.

VIDEO_TS folders are large, usually 4-7 gigs depending on the movie length and extras. If you have that space and want to keep the original DVD structure (extras, commentaries, etc.) without having to do anything else, then just rip to VIDEO_TS and leave it as is. This method will be a lot faster. As the other poster said though, you won't be able to use iTunes. Front Row or Plex will work fine, or you can use the built-in DVD Player app or VLC.

If you want to save a ton of drive space, take those ripped DVDs and transcode them to h.264 using HandBrake. You can then import the movie files into iTunes. You can also tag the files with all the metadata you want, including poster art. This method takes a lot longer, but I think the results are well worth it. The resulting files will be essentially the same quality as the original DVDs, but a LOT smaller.

BarbieBear
Oct 6, 2009, 01:10 PM
thanks myusernamesucks and spice weasel.

Your replies were really useful. Space and iTunes isn't an issue and I would prefer quicker transfer so will go with VIDEO_TS.

But if I did go with MPG4 would I be able to use Frontrow or the Mac dvdplayer?

thanks

Gill

mahen
Oct 6, 2009, 01:20 PM
It comes down to two main points: 1) space, and 2) original DVD structure.

VIDEO_TS folders are large, usually 4-7 gigs depending on the movie length and extras. If you have that space and want to keep the original DVD structure (extras, commentaries, etc.) without having to do anything else, then just rip to VIDEO_TS and leave it as is. This method will be a lot faster. As the other poster said though, you won't be able to use iTunes. Front Row or Plex will work fine, or you can use the built-in DVD Player app or VLC.

If you want to save a ton of drive space, take those ripped DVDs and transcode them to h.264 using HandBrake. You can then import the movie files into iTunes. You can also tag the files with all the metadata you want, including poster art. This method takes a lot longer, but I think the results are well worth it. The resulting files will be essentially the same quality as the original DVDs, but a LOT smaller.

If I play VIDEO_TS files using Apple TV (via Plex) through home theater receiver will I get the 5.1 surround?

spice weasel
Oct 6, 2009, 01:45 PM
thanks myusernamesucks and spice weasel.

Your replies were really useful. Space and iTunes isn't an issue and I would prefer quicker transfer so will go with VIDEO_TS.

But if I did go with MPG4 would I be able to use Frontrow or the Mac dvdplayer?

thanks

Gill

I think you are a bit confused as to what VIDEO_TS and mpeg-4 are. VIDEO_TS simply refers to the file structure of a playable DVD, where the video (and audio) are contained in 1 gig chunks (or less) and split into video object files (vobs). The video is mpeg-2. When you rip a DVD, all you are doing is copying this VIDEO_TS folder from the DVD to your drive, stripping any copy protection if necessary. The resulting folder will behave just like a regular DVD. Audio options, all bonus features, etc. will be exactly the same. You are just copying the contents.

The reason to transcode this mpeg-2 source into h.264 or even just plain mpeg-4 is to save space. H.264 is a very efficient codec that achieves the same picture quality at lower bit rates, and thus smaller file sizes.

So, you either rip your DVDs into their VIDEO_TS folders and leave them that way, or you go one step further and take those folders and compress the main movie files into an mp4 using software such as HandBrake. The resulting files will play in QuickTime, or iTunes (which uses QuickTime). You can't play VIDEO_TS folders in iTunes or QuickTime. For those you need an application that plays DVDs, and you point it at the VIDEO_TS folder instead.

I hope this clears everything up.

BarbieBear
Oct 6, 2009, 01:57 PM
thanks for the clarification spice weasel.

I had decided going for the plain ripping route without the compression, but I have 10.4 and it appears that FrontRow in 10.4 can't play from ripped VIDEO_TS directories!

So it's either upgrade MacOS, compress or use dvd player!

So, you either rip your DVDs into their VIDEO_TS folders and leave them that way, or you go one step further and take those folders and compress the main movie files into an mp4 using software such as HandBrake.
Do you have to rip the dvd to its VIDEO_TS directory first before using handbrake. I thought I could just use handbrake directly to convert from the dvd to mpg4?

thanks

BB

spice weasel
Oct 6, 2009, 02:19 PM
thanks for the clarification spice weasel.

I had decided going for the plain ripping route without the compression, but I have 10.4 and it appears that FrontRow in 10.4 can't play from ripped VIDEO_TS directories!

So it's either upgrade MacOS, compress or use dvd player!


Do you have to rip the dvd to its VIDEO_TS directory first before using handbrake. I thought I could just use handbrake directly to convert from the dvd to mpg4?

thanks

BB

I'm not sure about FrontRow in Tiger, since I haven't used it in a while. If you are correct that VIDEO_TS directories won't work, then you can always just use the DVD Player app.

As for HandBrake, you don't have to rip first, provided you have the latest version of the VLC libraries installed. HandBrake uses VLC to get around copy protection. However, because of the strain it puts on your optical drive, plus the time efficiency that comes from queuing up a bunch of ripped DVDs and letting it run overnight while you sleep or during the day while you are at work, it is generally better to rip first.

rspeaker
Oct 7, 2009, 12:32 PM
A year ago I decided I was going to go through the process of getting my DVDs on my computer. I ripped them all to video_TS folders, as I wanted to preserve quality. I quickly filled two 1TB hdds, and bought a 2TB hdd when they were released in March-ish of last year. Over $600 in hdd space... ouch.

Fearing that I would need to buy even more hard drives, I did a few tests with Handbrake to see what the quality was like. I was skeptical, but making some minor tweaks to the Universal preset makes everything look great. Things look good on a 24" iMac, on my SDTV, and on my iPod and iPhone. The biggest benefit for me, having converted everything, is how easy it is to find in iTunes, and being able to stream it to my XBox 360 and put on my iPod/iPhone.

Going back, I wish I had looked at Handbrake sooner. It would have saved me some serious money on HDDs.

BarbieBear
Oct 8, 2009, 07:41 AM
However, because of the strain it puts on your optical drive, plus the time efficiency that comes from queuing up a bunch of ripped DVDs and letting it run overnight while you sleep or during the day while you are at work, it is generally better to rip first.
makes sense.

I have managed to rip a couple of my DVDs successfully using Mac The Ripper (->VIDEO_TS) and handbrake (->mpg4). An alias in my Movies directory to the external hard drive containing the mpg4 files allows me to view them thru Front Row Videos/Movies.

Thanks for all the info and advice.

rspeaker, what tweeks did you make to the handbrake settings to improve the mpg4 quality?

thanks

BB

spice weasel
Oct 8, 2009, 08:33 AM
You can also put them in your iTunes library and they will play through Front Row if that's your preferred viewing method. If they are on an external drive, drag them into iTunes while holding down the Option key. This will let iTunes know where the files are located but will not actually copy them to the library. Or you can go into iTunes prefs --> Advanced and deselect the box that says "Copy to iTunes library."

The tweak that most people do to HandBrake is to bump up the quality slider to 61%-62%. There seems to be general consensus that this provides the best results for the file size for most movies. Any thing more than that tends to be a waste.

hcm2009
Oct 8, 2009, 08:21 PM
It comes down to two main points: 1) space, and 2) original DVD structure.

VIDEO_TS folders are large, usually 4-7 gigs depending on the movie length and extras. If you have that space and want to keep the original DVD structure (extras, commentaries, etc.) without having to do anything else, then just rip to VIDEO_TS and leave it as is. This method will be a lot faster. As the other poster said though, you won't be able to use iTunes. Front Row or Plex will work fine, or you can use the built-in DVD Player app or VLC.

If you want to save a ton of drive space, take those ripped DVDs and transcode them to h.264 using HandBrake. You can then import the movie files into iTunes. You can also tag the files with all the metadata you want, including poster art. This method takes a lot longer, but I think the results are well worth it. The resulting files will be essentially the same quality as the original DVDs, but a LOT smaller.

Thanks for the post

Noremac4
Oct 8, 2009, 11:53 PM
I recently went skydiving and had it recorded. They gave me the dvd and I've tried several times, using Handbrake, to rip it to my computer. The video is about 5 1/2 minutes long but after I rip it it's only about 6 secs. I've tried several times and still the same thing.
Format: MP4 file Codecs: AVC/H.264 Video/AAC Audio

I've given up assuming I'm unable to put it on my computer.

Help would be appreciated. If I'm in the wrong forum I apologize in advance!

rspeaker
Oct 9, 2009, 06:19 AM
makes sense.

I have managed to rip a couple of my DVDs successfully using Mac The Ripper (->VIDEO_TS) and handbrake (->mpg4). An alias in my Movies directory to the external hard drive containing the mpg4 files allows me to view them thru Front Row Videos/Movies.

Thanks for all the info and advice.

rspeaker, what tweeks did you make to the handbrake settings to improve the mpg4 quality?

thanks

BB

Universal preset bumped to 62%, detelecine on and decomb set to default. For movies, I set the audio for both AAC and AC3 passthru (the passthru will come in handy when I get a home theater.) For TV shows, I just use AAC, as surround sound is not important to me and I can save a little space.

I'm sure there are other tweaks to make, but these work well. On my 17" iMac (1440x900, the highest resolution display in my house as I have an SDTV) the videos look great. And as I said, being able to stream them to my XBox (using a program called Playback) and transfer them to an iPod/iPhone is awesome.

EDIT: Also, it is great not having to go through previews or wait through all the screens before the DVD starts playing. Huge bonus to ripping versus TS folders.