Fiction L
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Initial DVD rip complete 2008-04-22
9 months and nearly 3TB later, I've finished ripping my DVD movie collection. For storage, I used 2 Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ (it would probably have fit on 1 4TB unit, which is about 3TB after RAID, but it wasn't out yet when I started). For ripping, I used Slysoft's AnyDVD. My desktop box happened to come with both a DVD and HD-DVD drive, so I could rip two discs at once. I just used the built-in "Copy DVD to Drive" function for one drive, and Vista's file explorer to copy the other. Some discs needed to be ripped by "Copy" to work, and it has the nice property of stripping the "no forward" and other DVD annoyances, but it was slower than the simple copy. I initially tried a couple others, but AnyDVD was the best and worth the money. There were still about 4 movies that wouldn't copy, a fairly random selection (not the biggest blockbusters, or even the newest discs).

I had initially figured I would convert the discs to H.264. I spent a lot of time playing around with settings for HandBrake, trying to get a "good" conversion. Basically, video conversion sucks. The setting options are amazingly complicated, and greatly effect how long the encoding takes... but the output almost always looks like crap. Another consideration is that a lot depends on the quality of the player. I found that VLC usually did a good job, even on "ipod quality" videos up-rezed to HD. On the other hand, the Quicktime players in both the AppleTV and MacOS were pretty crappy. I eventually settled on a "hi-res ipod" level that at least would be portable... but neglected to test it. I let my linux box churn for about 3 weeks converting around 100 DVDs, and would up with files playable by my AppleTV, but not by the ipod. I think newer HandBrake versions have an easy setting that should work, but I haven't decided to burn the processing time yet. I just decided to keep the DVDs online instead.

I haven't decided whether I'm going to rip all of my wife's TV show DVDs or not. A lot of space, and I'm not sure we'd ever watch them a second time...

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