My Massive DVD Conversion Project

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by wrkactjob, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #1
    I've about 600 DVD's taking up too much room in the lounge.

    My hardware: iPhone, iPad, Dell laptop.

    I want to convert all to mp4 and store somewhere (time casule?) then back that database up with a copy for DR purposes. Thus I can drop into my ipad or iPhone films to watch as and when I am away.

    Would Time Capsule be the way to go? I also have an 80 gb iPod classic which is handy to carry movies around as it interfaces with a TV easily.

    What hardware or recommendations would you make?
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    I would build a cheapish but powerful PC for that purpose. You can get one for ~500$ and add several HDs to use it as "DVD server". You can have two or more DVD drives to rip more than one at the same time
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #3
    thanks but the software on my Dell converts fast and well, ideally I want something that could plug into a TV so I could browse my database of films but that would also allow for the easy transfer of files to my pad/phone/pod.
     
  4. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    But a quad core PC would be even faster ;) You could use it as HTPC i.e. use your TV as monitor and then watch them too. You can use it as server for all your files so your other devices can access them wirelessly.

    Just my suggestion as for little more than TC costs, you can get something that is a lot more useful.
     
  5. macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #5
    pay a student $250 to rip all of your cd's to ATV format. he should use his own computer. Add the cost of a 2TB HD for $200.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #6
    If you have access to a Mac, use Handbrake (I think they also have a Windows GUI) with the "High Profile" preset at RF=18, and two audio tracks - the default High Profile audio (stereo mixdown) and then an additional AC3 Passthrough (for 5.1/etc.) on the second track. The mixdown to stereo allows for audio in the iPad. Or, just rip all your DVDs in RF=18 and AC3 passthrough, and then re-rip the saved file and downmix the audio with Handbrake for when you want to transfer it to the iPad, which is how I do it since I don't need a stereo track for each ripped movie. The iPod/iPhone will require a separate rip at a reduced resolution, so you can convert that from a saved rip only when you want to view/transfer the file to the iPod/iPhone.

    My recommendation (and what I do), which is mainly HT setup:
    -Get a Mac Mini, low end is fine. HDMI and Toslink cables from Monoprice. Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

    -Use Handbrake with High Profile and RF=18 with AC3 passthrough: it will give you 1.4-2GB movie sizes that look amazing, as well as surround audio. If you keep the default stereo downmix (to be compatible on the iPad), add another 200-300MB.

    -Get a OWC FW400/FW800 SATA dual SATA drive enclosure from Other World Computing and two 1.5TB Samsung F2 HD154UI drives from NewEgg. You'll have a dedicated 1.5TB for media, and one drive for backup.

    -Download Plex (plexapp.com) for a HT software. Setup the movie/TV scrape server options to download data.

    -Launch Plex from the keyboard while on your couch. I also use OneKey, $5 shareware to assign a unused F-key to Plex (I use F5).

    -Enjoy your movies.

    Questions? Ask away. :)
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    #7
    You're going to need lots of disk, a 2TB Time Capsule may be a start, with another 2TB disk for the main store, but it may not be enough depeding on your settings for conversion.

    Longest and most arduous part will be loading, ripping and unloading the DVDs.
    You may count on wearing out one or two DVD drives doing this, so like others have said, if you do it on your laptop, it's going to hurt.

    Been there, done it, with 420 movies and countless TV shows (1040 episodes) from DVD. Set your self a target to rip a set number of DVDs per day, 2 or 3 will do. And in the end you'll get there. With a powerful PC / Mac you can be ripping 2 DVDs at once and still be doing your normal stuff and not notice the effort. Try ripping 1 DVD on a Dell laptop and it'll crawl / stop. It's not impossible on the laptop, just harder.
    Encoding takes (relatively) no time at all - 2008 Mac Pro 8 core, 25 minutes to rip a DVD, 12 minutes to encode (done while the next DVD was ripping).
     
  8. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #8
    um, yes HandBrake is cross platform, Mac, Windows and Linux gui's et al.No need for a mac just to run hb. :)
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    MowingDevil

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC & Sydney, NSW
    #9
    What does "high profile's" setting do compared to "normal"? So far I've been using normal and clicking on "large file size" on most of them. Just feeling my way around HandBrake for the first time so I don't really know what all the settings mean.

    To the OP: I've been doing a similar project and a 2tb TimeCapsule will be enough for you....or any other drive w/ 2tb. I've got about 90 movies on my 2tb Lacie drive so far and I still have 1.84tb left. All my rips have been 1-4gb in size. If you 600 rips @ 3gb ea that should still leave you with roughly 200gb of free space.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    #10
    Some thoughts...

    First you'll want to choose a codec. You want something that will play on all devices. h.264 is usually the best choice.

    Then you want to do some tests with bitrates. Do some rips and see how they look. Do you plan to watch on HDTV? That can expose bad SD encoded content to be unwatchable.

    Then, you'll have an idea of how much space you need.

    Personally, I'd transcode as near original as possible. In fact, ISO image is ideal if your player can support it. If not, maybe look into different players. Once you do this huge task, it would really suck to have to redo it. It easy to transcode from a ripped image, but quality suffers transcoding from a transcoded file, and digging up that original and redoing it is a PITA.

    I'm guessing you can add additional storage via the TC USB port, so you can do that. It would just suck having multiple volumes to deal with vs building a JBOD RAID.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #11
    I researched it at one time on the Handbrake forums, and this is from their wiki:

    I know that my encodes look absolutely great and I can't the difference between DVD and the high profile rip at RF=18. I could see a very slight difference when going to RF=18 (but you had to be very picky), so that's why I drifted from the standard RF in the High Profile preset. Read more about RF here. No need to check large file size, as it is only needed if files are going to be larger than 4GB. I have yet to have a 2.5 hr movie w/AC3 passthrough that's over 2.5GB in size.
     
  12. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #12
    Your lowest common denominator is what you want to encode for. In this case its the iPhone ( assuming that the Dell laptop is not ten years old).

    Now as far as HandBrake is concerned it will depend on which iPhone you are encoding for, if its a 3GS you can use the AppleTV preset and it will work on all three and look best on the larger screens, if its before the 3GS you will have to nerf the settings down a bit.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #13
    Thanks for the info all you Handbrake fans lol!...the conversion software I have in place and am generally happy getting the average dvd down to a 850mb mp4 format file.

    Its really just the storage hardware that interested me. Is TC any better or more reliable than any other data storage hardware?...I am toying with buying a macbook pro....so it would be a happy Apple family then.

    Can TC interface with a TV to play films?....do you load itunes onto the TC?..is it just a blank disc that you need to format?
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    #14
    Well, a 2TB drive would format to about 1.82TB, so touch-and-go. on the upside, 3GB is quite large for an H264 mp4 file for a movie, when optimised for iPhone / iPad.

    The most important thing I learnt doing all my DVDs (well, there's about another 30-40 to do, purchased since the last batch were converted), is to be conservative with your bitrates. Sure, for your favourite 100 movies don't spare the quality. But for the movies you only may watch on a whim (or more likely if you pick it by mistake), cut the rate to something suitable, ie. 1200kbps for Titanic or The Hulk, while keeping Life of Brian or 12 Angry Men or Seven Samurai at 3500kbps (or less, B&W movies can get away with a much lower video coding bitrate).
    Or don't convert the films outside your top 100 at all.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #15
    The Time Capsule is a router and hard drive all built in one. It's a good backup solution if you have a Mac, but I would not recommend it as a media drive. My favorite brands are Seagate, Samsung, and WD. Right now I'm going with Samsung due to their excellent speed and bang for the buck. All drives will fail at some time, so it's good to have a backup of the media drive (hence my recommendation of the dual-drive case). For a computer you don't "need" two backup drives... your primary is your Macbook's drive, the backup (or second drive) is the Time Capsule. Make sense?

    1) No. Read up on Apple's information on a Time Capsule here. As I mentioned above, it's a router and backup hard drive for Time Machine (but you can use it for "just" a hard drive, albeit an expensive one).
    2) No. See above.
    3) I believe it comes pre-formatted in Apple HFS/HFS+, but yes, it's a "blank" disk.
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #16
    Very good suggestions and comments above.

    I would like just to add the suggestion for you: to wait a little to see if the next rumored AppleTV will reveal something that could modify or improve your decision, so probably you could also stream the content, or speed up the sync with your iPad/iPhone.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #17

    Many thanks for this and all other replies. I think I may leave the TC idea and look at alternative data storage facilities. I have got on well with my Samsung Tv and BR player...so will see what they have to offer!
     
  18. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    #18
    Not trying to be a buzzkill or anything, but we've been talking about an upgrade to :apple:tv or something like it forever :(
     
  19. macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #19
    I have [had] a TC, and while I loved it [a bit less now] as a router and wifi and backup device, it did very poorly as a media streamer. I never had much luck playing movies off it - maybe I set it up wrongly - and I always had to copy movies over to my laptop before playing them.

    The other problem is my TC just died (probably dead power supply) Apple have agreed to replace it for free. However they will not let me open it up to copy off my movie files and other work files :(

    I have another TC at work, and I've already brought a secondary USB archival drive for it so this situation won't happen again :(

    So, storing files on your TC is not always a good idea.
     
  20. macrumors 601

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #20
    I'd stick "painfully" before "forever." But I think the suggestion (this time) is driven by the recent, juicier rumor of an iphone platform :apple:TV, probably driving some to hope that we might get this rolled out next week at the developer's conference.

    Even though I've seen the "wait for the new one" thing too many times over the last 3+ years, if I was this OP, I'd probably wait until the conference just in case. The one issue with that though is that the new one's big feature is possibly 1080p hardware, so if the OP is converting DVDs rather than BDs, I don't see much relevancy in waiting unless the next-gen platform could play ripped video_ts folders (meaning the whole DVD, not just the movie itself), and then only if the OP was interested in having access to the whole DVD (and the much greater storage requirements associated with that).

    Otherwise, I'm not sure what new :apple:TV hardware would deliver to benefit this particular purpose (DVD movie conversion). The existing platform is sufficiently loaded to play DVD quality movies back quite well- even at very high quality settings. If the OP has any BD movies, I would save those to see if there is a new :apple:TV announcement next week. Otherwise, it seems he could get the process started on regular DVDs right away.
     
  21. Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #21
    I highly recommend the HP Mediasmart EX servers as a TC alternative that supports media streaming, and even some "on the fly" conversions. I still have to find a good front end that will play all it all well (I at least want VOB/DVD support, and preferably ripped Blu Ray support for future compatibility).

    Funny, with mine they offered me a $99 "data transfer service" as part of the free replacement. I don't like that because they could not tell me what would happen to the original drive and data. I also ran another scenario past them on the phone and they seemed to be OK with it. Have a third party Apple authorized service center pull and wipe the drive, then do the exchange. I need to follow back up on this.

    B
     
  22. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    Hi, I downloaded Ripit and used it to rip a couple of DVDs. All very easy, and play nicely on the MBP but they take up loads of space (6gig each!) Is this standard for ISOs?

    Cheers.
     
  23. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #23
    I find them overpriced. For the same money, you can get a PC with more features and for example, Blu-Ray support. 4 bays is a joke, for 80€ you can get a case with 8 bays!
     
  24. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    #24
    Alright, but what you are describing is a completely different product in a completely different form factor.
     
  25. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #25
    How? You can install Windows Home Server to make it just like the HP one. There are thousands of cases available, I just provided one example and it's ATX form factor. There are even Mini-ITX cases with 6 bays which are smaller than those HP boxes. Please provide some justification for your post
     

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