Ripping DVDs for Media Center Devices

DHS OdiumDHS Odium Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Moe's Stupid Technology Tavern
Title pretty much says it all, though I have some specific issues/questions/requests.

I have a lot of DVDs (probably 300+). I also have a lot of devices that I would like to view this library on throughout the house, streaming them wirelessly.

I have Vista Ultimate which has Media Center in it, which is fantastic. I have a 360 able to be a media extender. I also have an original Xbox with XBMC on it. And a PS3, which supports media sharing provided I have the feature turned on through Windows Media Player (I do). I also have a PSP that I sometimes use remote play with, and might want to stream a movie through that (It allows for this, right?).

Now, the 360 and PS3 are hooked up to the same HDTV, so I only need one of those to be fully compatible, the 360 will probably be it. Though I want the PS3 functional for the Remote Play support.

My issue comes with what format and program I should use to rip the DVDs. In the past I've played with DVD Decrypter, and then AutoGK, which makes an Xvid file I believe. PS3 and 360 now support these files, correct? Is there any reason they would not play, any settings to keep in mind?

Is there a more efficient method, should I choose a different encoding format? I want these files as future proof as possible, I'm not going to want to re-rip and convert everything again. I'm not even sure I want to now, as my test with the programs above meant a total conversion time of more than the running length of the movie. I obviously do not want to spend 2 hours on each movie, when I have over 300. Is there a quick way to do all this while maintaining quality? I realize it's probably ridiculous, but is there any way to just insert a disc, press a button, come back 15-20 minutes later and have a completed file?

Speaking of quality, I want them to look nice, these will all be played on HDTVs (I'd like to keep near DVD quality), I can deal with a little loss in quality, which I see usually ends up in dark/black portions of films. Can I keep quality up while keeping file size down? Right now, I'm considering trying to keep each film at around 1GB, with variations for longer films (LoTR).

So can anyone recommend a course of action here. Who has taken on a similar project, has it worked out for you? Thanks in advance for any help.

Wii U: DHS-Odium // Live: DHS Odium // PSN: DHSOdium // Steam: dhsykes // 3DS: 0318-6615-5294
DHS Odium on


  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    The PS3 is Divx certified, while the 360 is not. So as long as the Xvid is properly encoded it will work. You should look at the Mpeg4 section 14 ISO standard I believe, aka AVC. This is used in Blu-ray and is becoming a the big HD standard. The VC-1 video codec aka WMV is supported by the PS3 & 360. It's also part of the Blu-ray spec as well as Silverlight, so you can get away with using that if you want to.

    If you want an all in one program try looking at DVDFab Decrypter, they have a limited free version that will help you a bit. You can also look into Hand Brake for the conversion from DVD files to video if you want to go the free route but there will be more work on your part.

    Dark Shroud on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Not a fan of AutoGK, I generally prefer Handbrake.

    Yes, before anybody says anything, I know that Handbrake on Windows is a hateful piece of software, especially when compared to the Mac version. However, using ffmpeg's MPEG4 encryption (not h.264) and AC3 passthrough (or AAC compression) it's relatively painless and fast, plus you get plenty of options (subtitles being the one weakness...only hard-coded subtitles, no soft subs).

    Anyway, for quality I recommend two things. One, since you're not doing HD resolutions I don't think that bumping up to AVC is necessarily required, especially if space isn't a huge issue...if you're willing to keep your movies at more like 1.6GB to 2GB, you can basically keep them at about the original DVD quality while still using DivX/XviD (and thus maintaining max compatibility).

    Two, keep the full 720x480 (or less on the vertical, for letterboxed films, just keep it divisible by 16) resolution. Keep it anamorphic as well, since you'll be upscaling. This is part of why they'll generally end up larger...most of the 700MB or 1GB movies you'll download (illegally) online are downscaled to like 640x352 (from the full 720x480).

    Aside from that, sound is an issue. Personally I always keep the AC3 stream and just pass it through...I use the SPDIF output on my (modded) original Xbox, so I basically keep the exact same sound frmo the DVD that way. I generally also add a second audio track, which will be 160Kbps MP3 audio downsampled to stereo (not Pro Logic surround, mind you, just stereo). That's for listening to on stereo-only devices, like headphones, where I may or may not trust the player's downsampling or ability to decode AC3. Lastly I'll sometimes add a third audio track, also just stereo, but at more like 96Kbps that includes the director's commentary...I'm a sucker for such things. Really, though, as long as your players support AC3 that's the only one you need. If you've got a player that doesn't, it's easy enough to just downmix it to DPL-II surround using a 192Kbps or so AAC or MP3 stereo stream.

    As for bitrate (on the video), my rule of thumb is to take pixels per second and multiply by about .22 or .23. So 720x480x24 (24fps), times .23, and divided by 1024 (for kbps), gives about 1850kbps for a full-frame movie. Use 2-pass encoding for best results. You'll be able to get away with less, obviously, for movies that are 2.35:1 instead of 1.78:1.

    EDIT: Note that the above is for MPEG4/XviD/DivX. You can get away with a bit less, I believe, using h.264/AVC.

    On my computer Handbrake can do all of the above, using MPEG4 encoding, at greater than real-time speed, even when doing 2-pass (usually 100+ fps, so 50+ fps accounting for 2-pass). It also allows queuing, so you can set up five or ten movies to go at once and just go to bed or whatever.

    EDIT: Since I forgot, using the above method will generally produce movies that take up approximately 1GB per hour, assuming they're full 720x480 (so either a full 1.78:1 or 1.33:1).

    EDIT: It's also wise to make sure that whatever encoder you're using can recognize forced subtitles (which Handbrake, along with some others, can). Some movies have short foreign language sections where, instead of hard-coding the subs onto the picture, they place them as forced soft subtitles. Many encoders will miss these, then you're left wondering what the fuck the people are saying. Kill Bill is one example I ran into, Syriana is another. It's pretty random, and you really can't tell until it's too late if a movie uses this method (many new movies still just hard-code). Handbrake does a pretty good job finding these and hard-coding them onto the movie for you.

    mcdermott on
  • DHS OdiumDHS Odium Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Any idea on the time requirements for these? I've used Handbrake on the Mac before more than a year ago. I was at the time only ripping episodes from TV Boxsets for my iPod. Either way, it took about the running length of whatever I was ripping to give me a complete file. That was a little too long for my taste, if I want the whole of LotR I'd have to wait 12 hours.

    I haven't made up my mind on the format yet, whichever has the best visual quality while also being compatible with everything, and keeping filesize down is ideal. I'm not sure whether that is MP4 H.264, WMV9, or Xvid as of yet.

    As for sound quality, I'm by no means an audiophile, I can do with just one stereo audio track. For subtitles, I don't mind them being hard coded in, I have a few foreign films and anime - and definitely quite a few movies that have brief subtitled areas.

    I'm also looking for the least amount of steps as possible, at least after first setting something up. My fiance was interested in this as well, so I want it simple so we can do 2 movies at the same time on our own computers. Really, the time it takes for ripping and encoding is what I'm most worried about, and if I can't get each DVD down to under an hour total time from DVD->Completed Video File, I probably won't even do this. If I had less of a DVD library, I wouldn't have a problem with it. I just don't want to have a completed set of all my DVDs 6 months from now. It would be nice to make significant headway in a month.

    Is this even a worthwhile project for me?

    DHS Odium on
    Wii U: DHS-Odium // Live: DHS Odium // PSN: DHSOdium // Steam: dhsykes // 3DS: 0318-6615-5294
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