Converting my movie library

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by RedLDR, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. RedLDR macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2013
    Hi guys,

    I hope this isn't a repeat question that has been posted a thousand times, but I am planning to convert all my DVDs/Blu Rays into a digital format and setting up some sort of server so I can watch them on my TVs and computers and such.

    I currently have over 1200 movies and tv shows and it would be good to back them all up at the very least. Right now I have pcs at home and was going to use the xilisoft program's to do all the hard work, but I am planning to get a rMBP when haswell is released.

    So here is the question (sorry for the long winded intro) - what would be the best way to set it up? I was going to convert to avi. Would that be the best for mac? I want to convert to a "lossless" quality and I appreciate this will take one heck of a lot of storage but I already have over $30,000 tied up in movies and the cost of setting up a stack of hard drives over time is not going to kill me.

    I guess the storage and conversion part is not what I am confused about (other than the best digital format). What I am wondering is how do I go about setting it all up as a media centre?

    I appreciate any input you guys are willing to give :)
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Yes, the topic has been covered many times but as each of us has found out, it is not always easy to search around so I'll just give you some things to think about and hopefully you can find what works for you.

    There are many software packages out there that will work to archive DVD and Blu Ray. Some simply back up the entire disc with structure and some will let you just back up the main feature (the movie itself). There are software out there that will let you take the VOBs of a DVD and merge them into one big VOB file (the movie itself). Playback of Blu Ray file structure on Mac is an iffy proposition as many have issues and often some resort to a "menu light" which is not the original menu but a listing of what might be found on the original menu. I'll name some software further down.

    What you need to consider is your playback options. If you plan to play only on a laptop you can get away with a compressed file with non-HD audio. If you plan to perhaps hook into a sound system and TV, you might want to consider as you mentioned a fully lossless proposition.

    MakeMKV - is a popular software that is intended to make an MKV of your Movie and separate MKV of the additional files on your discs. It is really meant for Blu Ray but can handle DVD to an extent. The nice thing about this product is you can choose which streams within the movie you want to put into your MKV. As example, because I play 99 percent of the time my movies via network to a player to TV, I only include the best audio file. This is for Blu Ray - the HD audio stream (DTS Master etc.) as opposed to a stereo audio or perhaps audio in a foreign language. So what I have is the video plus the single stream of audio. MakeMKV can also (most of the time) be set up to include any forced subtitles as opposed to the total subtitle. If you are unfamiliar with forced subs, one example that fails with MakeMKV (for most people) is Avatar. Rather than having to play the English subtitle for the entire movie, the "forced" sub is a subset usually that only will come up on the screen when the aliens speak in Navi. You may want to read up on this. This software is available in Mac and possibly Windows as well.

    DVDFAB - Another popular software that has a few options that include full back up as well as variations of just the main movie. I believe it is available in both Windows and Mac.

    AnyDVD HD - This is somewhat a competitor of DVDFAB. It is limited to doing back ups of entire discs (either the file structure or an ISO backup of the disc as a disc). The software when backing up can be set to skip those annoying commercials at the beginning of the disc before the Main Menu pops up. This is a Windows only software.

    Other windows software worth checking out -
    ClownBD (I believe that is what it is called) that is a combination of freeware that lets you fine tune some fully backed up discs.
    TSmuxer - can mux and demux streams of video. This is a tool that is very limited in what it can do but does it very well.
    EAC3to - mostly used to correct some audio issues but is included in other software combinations (such as ClownBD) as it adjusts some audio problems via behind the scenes command line.
    DVDshrink - this is a very outdated software that is no longer truly supported. What is nice about this software is one can back up their DVD to a drive and then set up DVDShrink to combine all the VOB files into one big one as well as stripping out unwanted audio streams.

    My set up -

    All music and movies stored on NAS
    All music and movies are available to be played on my computers and also network streamed to my media center where my TV can play directly some files, my blu ray player plays pretty much everything, Dune 3 Base media player that also plays pretty much everything I throw at it.

    I only store the main feature/movie. I don't care about the extras after I have watched them once on the disc itself. The formats I use are m2ts (Blu Ray's normal media format), VOB which is DVD's media file, and MKV. None of my files are compressed at any level but often I strip out streams I don't need.

    If you use items like ATV or lesser playback units, then you may want to consider formats that will play on these units but there is a cost of quality. Most wont play HD audio and certainly making files smaller does EQUAL non-lossless back up and lesser quality. Many can argue all day how one cannot tell it is a more compressed file but some of us immediately can. I play back my movies on a 65" plasma and its readily apparent when an AVI or MP4 compressed is playing. It is possible to have very good quality AVI and MP4 files but why bother? Stick with MKV, m2ts (TS also) and VOB and skip the worries. - The latter is assuming you have a player that can play back these formats.

    For your computer - PLEX and XBMC are very good front ends for movie playback. Also, those that dedicate a computer media center to a home entertainment center find PLEX and XBMC to be the best free front end available. My personal taste is for XBMC while most Mac folks prefer PLEX.

    If you have any question feel free to PM me. I'll answer best I can on software, playback, NAS options, and more.

    Good luck and do investigate some of the listed software. Everyone has a different set of needs and preference for software.
  3. RedLDR thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2013
    Thanks for that guys. I will look into it when I get home from work :)
  4. wwohl macrumors regular

    May 2, 2013
    A few questions to add here

    Rather than making a new thread, I'll add on to the original authors posts.

    First, I'm a rookie at this stuff. Previously, I attempted to rip some DVDs on my 3.5 year old Dell XPS m1530 PC and wound up with poor results. I was using handbrake and went through several preset quality output options -- all resulting in very very low resolution video with multiple DVDs -- like 240 kinda low.

    I've got a new Mac mini with an external drive and want to get these DVDs to a digital format. My goal is to have the entire media library on the PC and play them through the TV + surround sound via airplay. Additionally, I'd like them to play on the iPad and iPhone for when Im traveling if possible.
    I actually wouldnt mind having 100% of the features of the DVD (such as menu etc, not sure if thats possible). I do want to end up with a single icon (with artwork) for the movie in iTunes. Not folders im fishing through to find the movie file every time I want to play one.

    So, here's what I need:
    - Highest (original) quality rip, file size doesn't matter
    - TV and iphone/Ipad compatible
    - iTunes compatible

    I'm lost in abbreviations. I need a program recommendation that will get me what I need and an output format to use. Im still researching, but im 15 videos and walk throughs in and all I know is what I started with.

    Thanks macrumors community

  5. DesertEagle macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2012
    /home @
  6. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago

    For ripping, Handbrake is a great ( free) option. If you have Blu -Ray DVDs you will also need MKV....there is a trial version available, but a full copy won't break the bank.

    Handbrake has pre sets for ATV, IPad, IPhone and popular Android devices, in addition to that, it has a full rage of quality options you can customise yourself for best results.

    Iflicks will retrieve artwork for's not super expensive and is available from the Mac App Store.
  7. wwohl macrumors regular

    May 2, 2013
    The Apple TV format will work on the tv (is it high def original dvd quality?) but not on the iPhone or iPad?
  8. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    It will work, just takes up more space.....the Handbrake setting for iPad and iPhone optimises file size and screen format..there is no problem using the ATV pre set for your other devices....just might find that the screen format or file size don't suit.
  9. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    I use the HD decrypter from Dvdfab. While Dvdfab is not a free program, the HD Decrypter is free. It basically rips the DVD to the hard drive and preserves the file structure of the DVD by creating a folder with the name of the movie and a VIDEO_TS sub folder containing the VOB files. If you rename the movie folder with an extension .dvdmedia the folder becomes a virtual Dvd. If you double click the yourmovie.dvdmedia folder, the DVD player of Mac automatically opens the DVD media and you have full access to the chapter selections, special features etc as if you are playing the original DVD. If you use Handbreak or any other program that creates Mkv, avi or mov files, you lose all the DVD menu features.
  10. wwohl macrumors regular

    May 2, 2013
    Awesome thanks!

    Your movie quality is good? What's The file size come out to? How much needs to happen to get that file working on an iPad

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