So, I'm looking to put my DVD collection on my computer for later streaming to a device.
I have a few questions and have a few constraints if any of you can offer suggestions on how to accomplish this.
First, here is what I desire:
1. Put all my DVD videos onto a Hard Drive.
2. Share that library with my PS3/Xbox/iPhone with the appropriate programs.
3. No loss of video or audio quality of the DVD.
I am not looking to save space, I'm looking to become a lazy bastard. I don't want any of the extra stuff off the disc, but I do want the movie or set of shows off the disc and I would like the 6 channel audio.
Now, what I'm looking for is the most recommended format for portability, and the best way to accomplish the video converstion. I've spent forever working with google-fu and various other programs and cannot seem to find anything that ACTUALLY works.
My biggest problems:
Freeware that doesn't actually accomplish what it says. That or it doesn't like Vista64 (yes, I have Vista64).
If I can get some suggestions with format and the program to use to accomplish this, I'd appreciate it. I would also love a program that will pull all of the chapters out of a DVD for things like TV shows. I understand that they can be in some very odd layouts on the disc, so bonus points if it does that and can be understood on how to accomplish it by mere mortals.
I know that I may end up using a couple programs, but the more automated the process, the better. Hopefully there is something out there that can do this in 1 click and some time.
Thanks in advance PA'ers.
After that your real challenge will be finding a common set of formats/container. Obviously all three of those will play h.264 (or x264) video, and I'm guessing the PS3 and Xbox360 will read AC3 or DTS audio. I'm guessing the iPhone's 5.1 codec of choice is whatever AAC 5.1 audio is used on the Mac/Apple TV platform.
So audio will likely be your big issue. I'm nearly positive that otherwise you'd be fine with a .MP4 container, h.264 video (at a fairly high bitrate) and stereo (DPL-II mixed, which is a 5 channel but no LFE channel) AAC audio.
What you need to do is sit down with the tech specs on your three devices, and figure out where the overlap is. I'm thinking the iPhone will be the weak link, so then you'll need to decide if it's worth maintaining iPhone support, or if you're willing to go ahead and maintain a separate (smaller) set of files for it (since it's at a lower resolution anyway).
Again, the three things you need to decide on:
Video codec: (h.264, DivX/Xvid/MPEG4, MPEG2, WMV, whatever)
Audio codec: (MP3, AAC, OGG, AC3, DTS, WMA, whatever)
Container: (.mkv, .mp4, .m4v*, .avi, etc.)
Short list being either h.264 or DivX/MPEG4 video, and either AAC or AC3/DTS audio. Based on what you pick, and what they support, then choose a container (not all codecs are within spec for all containers...for instance, I think AAC audio is a no-go in a .avi container, and MP3 in an .mp4 container is no good). Note that most containers don't really support AC3/DTS, though many players will accept it.
Keep in mind that I may be mistaken on bits of this. Be prepared to do your homework. It seems like a lot to deal with, but once you've done it once or twice it's easy as all hell. The only reason I can't help you much more with your specific problem is because you're looking to use players I don't use, so I've never done the homework on them.
* - Interestingly, .m4v and .mp4 are basically the same container...you can simply change the file extension back and forth and it'll play pretty much the same. Oddly, at least back when I used Quicktime to play them, it would recognize chapter markers in .m4v but not .mp4...even if they were the same fucking file with the extension changed. Which was...silly.
I was initially going to try to go with WMV across the board for portability. However I ran into some serious desync issues with the audio on SOME dvds and this lead me to look for alternative encoding methods instead of the one-click solution I had found. However, it seemed that the only real solution here was to demux all the audio streams seperately, as well as the video, then remix it all back together in my format of choice.
This seems like a bit more :effort: to accomplish what I want than what I thought might be needed. I did try to go with the .264 container and retain the 720x480 picture and AC3 sound, however when I try to play the videos on my computer, I kept getting errors about an incompatible file. I was using AutoMKV to make that conversion.
I have looked at Handbrake, but I'm still trying to figure out what is the best option for where I want to go. It's definately the source DVD files (i.e. the VIDEO_TS folder). I think the H.264 video should be fine for the portability I want. I still am a bit iffy on retaining the sound quality I want. And I'm totally clueless on the container to use for it.
My main concern is sharing to the PS3/Xbox360. I can do later conversion for the iPhone if needed, although if that can be avoided, that'd be a happy day. The audio issues are also obviously not for the iPhone, but for the other two devices.