Any tips on how to maximize the iMac as a theater experience?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Kendo, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    I plan on getting the iMac refresh next week and I've decided on the 27" model for that awesome display. This is my first foray into OSX and want to fully utilize everything it has to offer.

    My first agenda is to rip my DVD collection so I can have it all on my iMac. Based on my limited time here, I keep seeing a program called Handbrake mentioned. Is this all I would need as far as movie purposes go?

    Can someone give a brief rundown on what Handbrake is used for and what is the best way to rip movies? For example, should I rip a movie into AVI format and also rip a smaller version for iPhone and iPad purposes? Do you rip the AVI first and then convert the MP4 version from the AVI file, or convert it directly from the DVD? How long does it take to rip and convert a 2 hour movie on an i5 processor?

    Can anyone give any other tips or apps that I should look into? I want my iMac to be my one stop source for all media. I am already familiar with iTunes since I use it on Windows and plan on using iPhoto for all of my pictures.
  2. guv.c macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2011
    handbrake + Plex

    plex is the way forward for viewing your movies. There are other alternatives to using plex if you dont like it... xbnc boxee.....

    Rip them using handbrake direct from dvd into whatever format you so wish. quickest way! Time to rip depends on quality! experiment until you are happy with what you see.

    do you really need all of your movies on your iphone? once you have converted all of your movies, pick a few and convert them to iphone quality (to save space), and when you get bored of them, do it again!
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    HandBrake does not support AVI as output format anymore, though that is a good thing. I would use MP4, it's good and also compatible with iDevices. If you are going to rip a lot, I suggest that you invest on an external DVD drive since they are much, much faster.
  4. b-rad g macrumors 6502a

    b-rad g

    Jun 29, 2010
    If you have a large 100+ dvd collection I would suggest using a Ripper + Handbrake combo as it will make the process much quicker. +1 for the suggestion of the external dvd drive for a large library.

    I used RipIt + Handbrake. Used RipIt as a 1:1 copy of the dvd and ripped about a dozen or so at a time, and then threw them in the queue in Handbrake and let them run overnight.

    I used the AppleTV2 preset for all my dvds. Great quality and got the size down to about 1.5gb each. Looks great on my 42" Vizio. Plus with the ATV2 preset you don't have to have multiple copies for TV or iPhone. Whatever movies I want on my iPhone I just sync them with iTunes to mt phone and they look great!

    Was using MetaX to tag the dvds but now using Identify from the App Store and like it much better.
  5. Kendo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Apr 4, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestions guys. Would you say MP4 quality is just as good as AVI? How is the compression as far as quality vs size? Is it similar to AVI?
  6. benhollberg macrumors 68020


    Mar 8, 2010
    I would use HandBrake with the Universal preset in the Apple presets. Never had a problem with it.
  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  8. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    I am new to DVD ripping... Anyway, a few weeks ago I tried Mac DVD Ripper Pro and loved it. Reviews claim that it is the best for breaking through security... Anyway, download it and you get 5 free rips. If you like it, then it is only $10 - plus you can copy a movie and leave out the coming attractions/previews to save space.

    I also have Handbrake, free, which I used to compress and load to my iPhone.

    I knew nothing about any of this a month ago but now, those two seem to fill all my needs, and it only cost my $10. good luck.
  9. Adz76 macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2011
    Dagobah System
    MP4 all the way

    Although AVI is still a favorite for many , its dying away. Look at Handbrake they stopped supporting it a while back for a good reason. MP4 is far superior to it, and many devices now support it as it too has been around for a while. I too used to be an AVI only guy, now though I've re-ripped all my DVDs using Mac the Ripper 1st and then Handbrake so I get a HQ rip that plays in itunes with chapter markers and forced subtitles included and I can also throw it on my iPhone or do a smaller version. I predict that within a few years I'll re do them again into MKV.You may want a decent set of speakers too if you plan on using it as an entertainment center.
  10. ender land macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2010
    for a theater experience, get a decent sound system :)
  11. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
  12. ThemacNub macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2010
    What is the fastest external optical drive available then, about to start my entire library and saving time would be awesome. Also will a faster optical drive still not bottleneck at the CPU or would I be able to run 2 at the same time and still get decent performance?
  13. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Theres no such thing as "fastest".

    22X is 22X no matter what burner its running.

    The one I linked to is as fast as any, and using the firewire port is the way to go.

    software will be your bottleneck on ripping -- it eats tons of processor -- I highly doubt if running both DVD burners at the same time would be effective...
  14. ThemacNub macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2010
    Thanks but your link but isnt working for me. It just says Bad Request
  15. phlydude macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2010
    Newark, DE
    Here is the correct Newegg link:

    Not sure what he was linking to @ monorprice but here is the page that comes up there when searching "Firewire 400"
    Firewire 400

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