Basic DVD to AppleTV help

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ymc226, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. ymc226 macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2008
    Let me preface my plea for help with the fact that I am a computer/Mac newbie. My wife wants to get all of the components (DVD, Xbox, VHS) out of the great room and just have the plasma TV mounted on the wall.

    My current wireless network consists of a TimeCapsule as a basestation on the first floor set up as a WDS network with an AirPort Express (relay)->AirPort Express (remote) upstairs to improve distance and an AirPort Express (relay)-> AirPort Extreme (remote) reaching into the basement.

    I want to add an appleTV so I can stream my DVD's which I want to load into a hard drive hooked up with my iMac. I have done some basic search on which program to convert my movies to iTune format (MPEG-4 correct?) and think Handbrake would suit my purposes. Would Handbrake be able to convert movie DVD's that I buy in Target or would they be copy protected in some way?

    What settings on Handbrake would you recommend to maintain HD quality, about how big a file size would a typical 2 hour movie require and how long to convert each movie? If this is not easy and fast, since I have alot of movies, it would be a non-starter. Would having 5 wireless devices slow down the wireless transfer rate to make movie watching untenable?

    How would I first create an "alias" for iTune so that the files would be stored on an external hard drive hooked up via (firewire or USB2?) connection and not take up space on my computer's hard drive?

    Does the movie file have to transfer completely from the hard drive to appleTV before it can start to play or does it buffer a certain amount before it starts and streams the rest?

    Would I be able through my plasma screen, using the appleTV remote, access iTunes on my iMac with my list of movies?

    Thanks for your patience. Answer whatever part of my long winded inquiry that you can. I have asked Apple some of these questions but they can't comment on third party software and had difficulty with some of the technical questions so I wanted some real experience feedback.
  2. wrkngclasshero macrumors regular


    Jul 3, 2008
    Columbia, MD
    They would be copy protected, you have two options to undo that.

    1. Mac the ripper (currently a free program)
    2. A combination of Freemount (currently a free program) and DVD 2oneX (currently costs a couple of bucks, but is worth every penny).

    I would recommend option 2, it will decrypt a lot of movies that MTR cannot.

    HD quality is not possible from a standard DVD. If HD quality you mean a good quality DVD copy, Handbrake has an Apple TV preset that takes all of guess work out of things and has quite good quality.

    A two hour movie is around 2.5 GB with the Apple TV preset.

    The process is not fast (depending on your definition of fast), but it is easy. Approx 30-40 minutes to decrypt a movie (I'd say a good 35 minutes of this time is just you waiting while your computer works. Then anywhere from 6 to 12 hours to encode using handbrake.

    Encoding takes a while, but it only takes like 5 minutes of effort on your part, and the computer does the rest. Also you can set up a bunch of movies to run in a row it with the queue system HB has in place.

    As far as wireless devices slowing things down, i guess it depends on the network you currently have in place (G or N). Perhaps some other helpful soul on the boards can help on this one

    Again, two options here,
    1. In Itunes just turn off the option to automatically copy files to itunes library, then when you add files on the external hard drive to your itunes library, they won't be copied.

    2. Set your itunes media storage location to your external hard drive.

    You can stream the entire movie, and it will buffer a bit (usually a chapter at a time from what I can tell). Takes only a couple of seconds for a streaming movie to start on my G network.

    Yes, the Apple TV has an on screen guide, much like that of an ipod, which you use to scroll through all of your music, movies and tv shows (it will show both synced and streaming content as well)

    Hope this was helpful, I can say while the process of converting all of my movies was a bit time consuming, it was simple, and I am so glad I have finished it! It's totally worth it I would highly recommend getting an Apple TV.
  3. GeekLawyer macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2007
    The post is coming from inside the house!
    You really are a hero! I'm sure the OP will enjoy that thoughtful post. And that's my work-flow for getting my own DVDs to my aTV. MacTheRipper -> Handbrake -> iTunes -> aTV.
  4. MacLovin78 macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2008
    Why would you need to use MTR if you are just copying a DVD to mp4? I have ripped countless movies using Handbrake alone straight from the DVD.
  5. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    To take the load off your optical drive, to queue up several movies, or because Handbrake cannot handle a particular movie's encryption.

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