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Archiving DVDs for non-TV media center

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by MowingDevil, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68000


    Most of the threads here seem to focus on TV which is cool but my HDTV has a built in media center/player where all I have to do is add content via USB. I'd like to make the copies as good as possible but don't need the bonus features or anything. I probably have 100 DVDs or so.

    I'm getting the sense that Mac The Ripper is the way to go to rip the discs and then use Handbrake to compress the files to something manageable. What are the best settings to use for this situation? My external drive is 2tb so I should be good there...I just want the digital copies to not be noticeably lower quality than the discs would have been.
  2. Moderator emeritus


    What are the specs of the content your TV can play? If it can only play Windows Media files then handbrake won't do that much good.
  3. macrumors 68000


    Its a Samsung Series 7 LN40B750 and supports :
    No idea whats the best format to go with. I heard Handbrake is not a "ripper" yet I just converted a movie straight from the DVD using it. I turned it into a mkv file and it looks ok on the computer, roughly 1.19gb in size. Is that a solid way to go for archiving my collection? Perhaps this disc wasn't copy protected and I'll need to use another program to rip the full lot.

    I'd like to go to an TV when (if) they ever add 1080p so what format does it use? Can it or iTunes read all these format types?
    Be a pain in the butt to have to burn everything twice....I reckon TV uses a propriety format and I doubt my TV would recognize it.
  4. macrumors member

    I think the only proprietary thing about AppleTV is putting AC3 in what is basically a .mp4 format. Otherwise its just a fairly limited h.264 player.

    As long as its just DVDs that you're ripping the only downside to encoding in an AppleTV friendly format is that you could get slightly better compression for the same quality (or better speed for the same compression and quality) compared to some of the laternatives.

    If you think you might want to go into the Apple ecosystem in the future I'd have a go at using Handbrake with the AppleTV preset. Then change the extenion to .mp4 (from .m4v) and see what your TV makes of it.

    You may need to drop the AC3 audio track (which would be a shame), up the quality and / or properly sort the encoding so it comes out as a .mp4 rather than a .m4v; but I'd give it a go at first to see if it is compatible out of the box.
  5. macrumors 68000

    That is not proprietary; it's part of the standard.

    Based on the container list provided by the OP, I'd suggest converting DVDs to .ts if you want to identical quality, or either MKV or MP4 if you want to convert and save some space. HD would probably work best in MKV, but without knowing the details of what it can handle, it is really hard to say.

    If you want to try and future-proof for an updated AppleTV, you're going to want to stick with the MP4 container. Without knowing the exact specs, it's hard to say what settings should be used, but the AppleTV preset would probably be a safe place to start.
  6. macrumors 68000


    One difference I noticed between the Apple TV preset and "normal" is the TV setting has a 2nd audio track and also "large file" checked.

    What is the difference? Just wondering if both will work on TV and direct to my HDTV or if there will be a problem. Both settings result in an M4V file.

    Right now I'm playing a film on my HDTV off a hard drive and its an MP4 file. Works great and is about 1.26gb and was produced using the Ripit demo. Will this file play on TV also?

    ps Will there be glitches converting files from the DVD into a compressed format using Handbrake directly? Some people have said that program is not for ripping and you should use something like Ripit or MactheRipper first then Handbrake to convert the files (as those programs serve totally different functions). No idea why Handbrake is ripping files as it converts them then....seems to work fine and save one step (like Ripit does). Just wondering if there will be problems....or maybe the latest version of Handbrake does ripping now? cheers
  7. macrumors 68000


    Another question, do any of these formats maintain the chapters from a DVD? Obviously the standard Ripit MP4s do not....the TV preset in Handbrake appear to but unfortunately my TV won't play them.

    Guess there isn't a format that retains that info but a generic media player will be able to read it.
  8. macrumors member

    The second audio track is AC3 passthrough to give multi channel sound.

    The "large file" allows the file size to go over 4GB (or something like that).

    m4v is a naming convention I think only. Did you try changing the .m4v to .mp4 before playing it on the TV?

    If you did I'd first try unticking the large file and see if that works and then removing the second audio track.

    Pass, depends what options Ripit uses when it encodes.

    Handbrake has pretty much always ripped but plenty of people prefer to rip first and then line up encodes. More efficient as you can be ripping further discs and setting up a queue to run overnight whilst the first encode is still running.

    The AppleTV setting definitely maintains chapter markers. If you fiddle with the presets you can even add directors commentary tracks, subtitles etc. and iPhones will work with them fine (and I presum AppleTV will as well).

    I suppose not out of the question that your TV won't though.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Handbrake's Universal preset plays nice with all of Apple's device and will play on most other devices that support mp4 playback. I suggest this since it looks pretty darn good, especially if your player has a nice upscaler, and will allow you flexibility if you own an iPhone, iPod or iPad or will get an Apple TV.

    Plus, they support tags, meaning you can store all the movie info in the file itself, and they support subtitles, chapter marks and names, and will save you space. I can get most movies down between 1.25 and 2.25 gigs, and only longer movies high in detail go up to 2.25 gigs. Most movies are between 1.25 and 1.75 gigs.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Excellent advice, I usually rip multiple discs with DVD Shrink and queue them up in Handbrake to encode while I'm out and about or asleep.

    And with chapter marks, mp4 supports them, but many non-Apple devices do not. However, its usually not too hard for them to fast-forward to the desired point.

    What I usually do is encode the 5.1 AC-3 track to AAC with Dolby PL II, then passthrough the AC-3 Audio for the second audio track. Any directors commentaries are mixed to AAC for tracks 3, 4, 5 and 6 (some movies only have one commentary track, one movie I had has 4 commentary tracks). If a movie only has stereo AC-3, I usually will not pass it through, but will only use a single AAC track with Dolby PL II mixdown.

    With HD heavily in the mix now, I can't justify keeping DVD rips around. There is some slight quality loss when going from DVD > h.264, but the space it saves and the convenience of having a movie in a single file that can be moved, copied, etc. far outweighs the slight quality loss. And I do mean slight, my PS3 and Apple TV makes them look pretty good when played on my HDTV, certainly as good as an upscaling DVD player.
  11. macrumors 68000


    I was looking for that Macrumors bundle that has Ripit in it but couldn't find it. Anyone have a link?

    I did find this program, Mac DVDRipper Pro....any good?
    Wondering how it compares to Ripit.
  12. macrumors regular

    I think the MacRumors bundles are only for a limited time. After they expire you need to buy using some other method.

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