Shouldn't this all be very simple? All I want is..

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by innhitman, May 10, 2007.

  1. innhitman macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2002
    All I want is the ability to take my DVDs ( backup copies - all owned by me) and store them on a hard drive and then have them play in full DVD quality including 5.1 sound through my home theater system.

    It would seem that Apple TV should be able to be hacked to do this in a simple one or two step process.

    In my quest, I have tried quite a few programs (handbrake, crunch, visual hub and more).

    I either end up with a crashed program.... or a file that deletes the 5.1 and only plays in stereo or even lower quality video.

    Forget about the fact that it takes the better part of a day to decode.

    Does someone have a simple way/hack to mke iTV work the way we want it to.

    I want to store all my dvds on a 1TB external drive and be able to summon them to play in my home theater system with true DVD quality sound.

    As soon as this is made simple, then Apple TV will really start to sell... before then it will remain to be a dud.
  2. Passante macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2004
    on the sofa
    Buy a mac mini and use front row. Not the hack you were looking for but it will work.
  3. drumpat01 macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2004
    Denton, TX
    unfortunitly, ripping a DVD no matter what program you're using takes quite a while still. Mainly because of DVD drive speeds. On my iBook G4 it takes like 4.5 hours to do one dvd. On my moms Core 2 Duo iMac, it takes about 2 hours. So, maybe eventually it will be as fast as a regular CD.
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    That's strange. On my iMac Core 2 Duo it takes about half an hour to rip a 7 gig DVD.
  5. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    Me too!.

    My understand to get 5.1 audio you must go through the Toslink/Spidif optical link to your receiver. You also need DVDs that have DTS (or maybe Dolby Digital) sound tracks.

    Check the forums for DTS. I haven't bought a AppleTV yet. I bought a mini (G4) about 2 years ago for connecting to my (old) TV. My mini and TV don't play nice together. My G5 PowerMac and TV do play nice.
  6. bkvideography macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2007
    to answer your question - no it shouldn't be that easy.....the appletv is not designed to do that....

    and you mentioned the word "hack"....which doesn't always belong next to the word "simple"
  7. neven macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Thank you, bkvideography, for a dose of sanity.

    If Apple had designed Apple TV (or an application such as iTunes) to rip DVDs, it would be as easy as (though still much slower than) ripping an audio CD. However, since the movie studios' attitude is that you shouldn't be able to do this, Apple is staying on the legally safe side of the issue.

    You enjoy your DVDs on your DVD player. You enjoy your iTunes content on your AppleTV. Who exactly are you complaining about? Apple, who never said this was a DVD-ripping device? The makers of HandBrake? You want complicated functionality for $0 - why should we be sympathetic?
  8. yayaba macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2007
    San Francisco Bay Area
    You cant' just handbrake them in H.264 files and import them into iTunes? I don't have an Apple TV but that's what I do with my movie collection.
  9. blackbones macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2003
    You can, but appleTV doesnt support 5.1 surround.... yet.
  10. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    why, oh why, Mr. OP, for you want, AppleTV clearly isn't for you, go send it back and get a mac mini.:)
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    As far as I know, there are no receivers that can decode AAC 5.1 sound. Only Dolby and DTS decoders are available and those are proprietary formats. Fortunately, if Apple gets around to licensing such technologies for movies (hopefully including HD content) then the Apple TV is ready since it has digital optical out.

    What needs to be done is for Apple to provide movies in 720 HD video (H.264, 2500 bit rate) along with true 5.1 surround (Dolby Digital or DTS) from ITMS. But you can pretty much expect the files to be 3 gigs in size for a medium-complexity movie. AC3 takes up a lot more room than most people realize.

    That's because Handbrake does not transcode AC3 5.1 to a format currently available on receivers. The best you could hope for is a file that uses passthrough of the AC3 audio to a suitable receiver. It will, however, give you Dolby Pro Logic II (5-channel).

    Sounds like you need a better machine with a Core Duo processor.

    No one has yet, but the Apple TV has only been on the market for a couple of months. You can't engineer software before the hardware becomes available.

    Do what I have done. Buy a Mac Mini and use Front Row with DVD Assist installed. I've ripped my DVDs using MTR, then squished them with DVD2OneX and installed them on an external drive connected to my AEBSn. The key is DVD Assist, which uses DVD Player for VOB files, thus preserving the audio passthrough out the Mini's digital optical port. This allows my Onkyo 5.1 system to decode the AC3 audio files for full 5.1 surround sound. This is my home theater set up (projector-based and in the basement).

    It's not a dud. It's a device that's an infant, but has room to grow as the software matures. I severed my DirecTV connection ($600/year) to buy the Apple TV and it suits me well. It's connected to my 480i SDTV and Sony Dolby Pro Logic I receiver. I have most of my movies that aren't 5.1-intensive encoded with Dolby Pro Logic II audio using Handbrake, which thus provides DPLI (and II if I ever upgrade my Sony receiver) 5-channel surround sound.
  12. Aegelward macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2005
    someone mentioned to me that certain DVD drives, at the firmware level, force video DVDs to run at only 1x speed..

    and with a un-restricted drive can usually rip a DVD in half an hour. not sure how truthful it was however :)
  13. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2003
    Not sure what the need is to put all the DVD's on a hard drive if you're just going to be using the system at home. If you don't want to fool with putting DVD's in and out of your DVD player, get a DVD jukebox (there are several, Sony makes one) which can hold all your DVD's. I used to have one for CD's, but it has since been replaced by the iPod - storing music to hard drives makes much more sense, because there is much more likelihood you'd want to jump around between tracks or shuffle. The only advantage to DVD's on a hard drive is the ability to visually select the movie on-screen; if you want to do that, you get the movie from iTunes and stream it to your apple TV. If you want the 5.1 sound, just get a dvd jukebox. DVD ripping is much more onerous than CD ripping for several fairly straightforward reasons. A CD has 650mb; a movie DVD generally has 9GB (about 14x as large). Information on a movie DVD is compressed; on a music CD, it is not.

    The bigger issue with the appleTV, and the reason I haven't gotten one yet, is that you can't load all of your iLife files - iMovies, iDVD's, etc. And the photo application won't let you look at thumbnails or otherwise organize. Both of these are reasons I'm waiting for version 2.0...

  14. ajhill macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2007
    That was my question to Steve Jobs yesterday

  15. chaos86 macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2003
    The way the US laws are presently written, it is illegal to rip commercial DVDs regardless of the intended use, therefore, Apple will not add DVD ripping functionality to any of it's programs.

    At present, DVDs are the only common way of getting media with 5.1 sound, so there's really very little point in Apple adding 5.1 functionality to AppleTV until they start selling media on the iTunes Store with 5.1 sound.
  16. Hasa macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Perhaps the "illegality" of ripping movies might change soon. Kaleidescape just won a court case for their software. This might open the door to other programs such as iTunes to offer this. Of course if you want to go with the Kaleidescape (which by the way is awsome) start saving as their stuff is highend which starts at $10k. Here is a link to the ruling in their favor:
  17. VideoFreek macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2007
    I don't think so. The Kaleidiscape case had nothing to do with the DMCA's prohibition against circumventing access prevention systems, since Kaleidiscape's system does not circumvent CSS. Their proprietary, closed system uses legally-purchased CSS keys to access data on commercial DVDs and transfer them to an internal hard drive. What is crucial here is that the data are handled in full compliance with the CSS license, including for example stringent measures to prevent access of unencrypted data or keys by the user and protecting analog video outputs with Macrovision. What was at issue in the DVD CCA's lawsuit was whether the CSS license agreement allows offloading the DVD data to a hard drive---the court sided with Kaleidescape in deciding that it does. However, the CSS license does explicitly prohibit exposing certain types of DVD data on a "user accessible buses" such as the PCI bus in a PC, so it seems unlikely such an approach could legally be implemented on a PC-based system.
  18. Hasa macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    If you are correct, then how is it that Telly (a linux-based pc) can do this:

    I am not talking about circumventing, I am talking about companies obtaining a license that would allow them to do what Kaleidiscape and Telly can do. Which is allow a user to put the discs that he/she owns and transfer them into their system and in the case of apple also allow people to purchase/download content. I am not interested in removing keys nor making those files available to others outside my home. The Kaleidescape system is the most polished one I've seen, the Telly is nice too but still not that elegant and still needs some linux knowledge-comand line- to setup the system AND troubleshoot things. It is a far less expensive solution but you get what you pay for. I don't want to have to troubleshoot my home system everytime a family member/guest can't figure something out. I would like to see apple do what it does best... take this idea (put all my DVDs and later hd dvd or blueray in a server type system with full 5.1 sound and at-the-very-least dvd quality) make it elegant and simple to use. I now have to contend with the opensource projects that are out there for the time being (and by the way I am very thankful to them). I think it could be the next evolutionary step for the apple TV or perhaps a complementary product, another computer that like the apple TV does not actually look like a computer but it is one deep inside.
  19. VideoFreek macrumors 6502


    May 12, 2007
    Probably not the same way Kaleidescape do it--draw your own conclusion. To be completely honest, I can't tell from their website exactly how they enable DVD ripping with their particular box, since they don't address the issue openly and up-front as Kaleidescape do, but I've seen no indication that they are using a valid CSS license. As I've already said, my understanding is that they really can't be, since the license explicitly prohibits implementation on a user-accessible system! What is clear, however, is that Kaleidescape took great pains to do things "by the book," in full compliance with the DMCA and the CSS license. As their CEO Michael Malcolm explained "I never wanted to take the approach, like other video server manufacturers, that makes outlaws out of customers."

    A few words about the DMCA: first and foremost, it is a bad law, written by ill-informed lawmakers too beholden to the movie industry. The problem with the law is that it criminalizes the act of circumventing access protection systems like CSS, without any regard to whether the purpose of doing so is legitimate or not. It would be as if the act of breaking into a car was criminalized. We all know that there are sometimes legitimate reasons for "circumventing the access prevention systems" of automobiles, e.g., because you've locked your keys in the car, because the car needs to be moved in an emergency, because you walk by a car in a parking lot and notice a baby inside suffocating in the heat, etc. Imagine rescuing an infant from a hot car, only to have handcuffs slapped on your wrists and be told you'll be going to jail for 5 years for violation of something like the "Automotive Security Act of 2008!!" :eek:

    Now, many people talk about the topic of the DMCA and DVD ripping as a legal "grey" area, but in reality the law is pretty black-and-white--accessing DVD content by means other than a valid CSS license is currently a crime, period. A more accurate statement would be that this is a bitterly disputed area of law right now; many feel the DMCA is illegitimate because it does not distinguish "criminal intent" as explained above, and because it conflicts with established "fair use" rights for consumers. There are more forces aligned against this law than you might think--not only consumer rights advocates, but also consumer electronics companies who would love to be able to sell you all sorts of cool gadgets for managing your digital media. A great (albeit chilling) perspective on the DMCA ("Death by DMCA") by the Electronic Frontier Foundation is found here. The statement at the end of the piece by an MPAA hack ("DMCA Brings Good Things to Life") is as amusing as it is idiotic and infuriating.

    Back to the Apple TV--because it is an open system, essentially a special-purpose OS X Mac, I don't see any possibility for them to go the Kaleidescape route. And a company of Apple's stature will not flout the law by circumventing CSS. So, I'm afraid we won't be seeing any DVD ripping capabilities in iTunes or the aTV until either the DMCA is overturned or amended (which is likely), or until the DVD CCA relax the terms of their license (don't hold your breath).
  20. michaelsaxon macrumors 6502

    Nov 15, 2006
    I've found that MTR can rip a DVD in about 25 minutes on my Quad Core Mac Pro. I follow up with conversion in Visual Hub, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour at "high" quality settings and .h264.

    I'd suggest that you look at a hardware upgrade if you want to do what you're doing more efficiently.
  21. Hasa macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    OK, now this is a bit closer to what I am talking about. However, is sounds like you'll have to dedicate a fully functional computer to this and not the appleTV, . The macmini as suggested would probably work OK for a small collection but at 7-9 Gigs per DVD the mini's HD will fill up quickly. One key thing would be to have the option to rip only the movie (ala MTR) in order to save space. I only watch the "makings of.." and other special features usually once but I do watch the actual movies I buy more than once. One would still have to add an external HD to the mini, not the look that I am going for in my home theater. How legal is this Drivein? I don't know but if found legal it might be what I am looking if they can address somehow compatibility with the appleTV (not sure how they could do that)

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