I have 5 kids and lots of scratched DVD's. What is the simplest way to put them (DVD's not kids) on a hard drive and have a easy way to play them back. I need simple and cheap.
What do I need to do this?
DVDShrink can do this and it's free. Plus, you can rip out the menus so you can directly go to the movie upon selection.
I hear some folks use DVDdecryptor(sp?), I don't know anything about that.
For front-ends, your cheapest option would be xLobby which is free. I'm not sure how techie you are; i'm not techie at all, and had a hard time understanding it, but I know some other folks picked it right up.
I personally opted for CQC from an ease of use perspective, but that's way overkill for your needs.
If you can afford it, try to find a refurbished 2005 Windows Media Center machine (if you don't have one already) if you are interested in playback on TV, they are perfect for massive DVD libraries since there is a plugin for this now (free), and it supports some of the commercial DVD changers as well now (just a select few, but expensive). MCE is easy to navigate, even for kids.
If you just want to play them back on the computer screen, then it should be pretty cheap to do.
I use DVD Shrink as well, since DVD Decryptor has been shut down. Works great! I strip just the movie with the right sound track (AC Dolby 5.1), which keeps the size down. Make sure you disable compression if you care for quality (kids probably don't tho).
Reason not to use Divx instead of mpeg2 (maybe the only reason?):
Divx usually requires a lot more processor power to play back than mpeg2 does. If you are trying to do this with a low-end machine, you may run into problems. Mpeg2 files are a lot larger, but usually plays back well on lower-spec'd machines.
There are also hardware devices that support mpeg2 natively (like a MediaMVP) which don't support Divx the same way.
I usually keep files in mpeg2 format for playback (with the MediaMVP). But, I convert to Divx for playback on my PDA.
It allows for the newer DVDs that dvd decrypter won't.
Make a backup then let your kids use the backup copy. Total cost around 50 cents for each DVD. Much cheaper then running video from the pc. Espically if you have several tv's in the house.
This is what I do although I'm now buying a Sony 400 disk changer.
Just for kicks my 4 year old has to have the best tech room for a kid.
New emachines computer with dvd rw 17 inch monitor (next will be a webcam so she can she family while talking)
27 inch tv with dvd & vcr
Rope lighting/Fan/Room light controlled by Zwave modules. She gets a kick out of turning the bathroom light off while someone is taking a shower with her remote.
I know what you mean. When I said I wanted it simple to use, it was for the adults not the kids. My 3 year old can navigate the PBSKIDS site faster that I can!
I looked at the Sony 400 and saw some reviews that kind of turned me off. However, for what I need, it would be about the same cost as getting my PC upto snuff to do it that way. Let me know how you like the Sony.
The low-end machine idea needs some thought. Ponder this;
"I pay 3x as much in hard drive storage so as not to have to put a faster processor in my computer."
I run 4.2TBs, storing the movies in MPEG2 would cost me thousands of dollars more.
200g hard drive will hold 200 Divx movies on average. At $.30 per gig which would simply be $.30 a movie in this case.
200g hard drive holding 4g DVD rips would only hold 50 movies which would be $1.20 per movie....
How many movies do you have? That space adds up fast... Take the $.90 per movie savings and buy a better CPU, which will come in handy when you try to use the machine as a tuner, HTPC, etc...
Naturally your CPU will eventually get replaced with something a little faster and CPU load will be irrelevant. I would not want to re-encode everything once the CPU load is not important any more.
I can load an entire Divx movie into the 1 gig of ram I have, but a 4 gig dvd would have to swap out 4 times. Moving a 1 gig files takes less resources than moving a 4gig file. I would think if you are concerned about resources, Divx/Xvid make even more sense...
$.50 per dvd to burn cost more than the HD space to store it in Divx (Or you could burn a Divx DVD with 7 movies on it).
The more TVs the better a HDD solution is. I have 4 50" screens and I use XBoxes on them to access the PC movie collection via ethernet. I have near-instand access to every movie in every room with a couple buttons on the XBox (modded).
Now how much money can you reclaim when you don't want that DVD you burned anymore? The $.30 you payed to store it on a hard drive will store something else when you delete the movie, but your DVD would go in a landfill.
Not to mention everytime the kids ruin a $.50 dvd, it takes time and another $.50 to replace it. They can not hurt (hopefully) the movies stored on a networked machine...)
Are we sold yet? I have more... Have not even got into portable hard drives and non-dvd related content like PVR/DVR overlaps, etc.
Anyways, I had fun avoiding work and typing all this, hope it is a little useful.
I was sold at "ponder this". But all of the rest was great info.
This is my gerneral plan and start easy and just make it a stand alone, internet/movie pc. We do not watch much TV so the A/V area is very new to me.
I will go to a 200G HD
I want to us a wireless PC/TV converter. Like this one at smart home http://www.smarthome.com/77832.html
I am not firm on this one, if anyone has something better.
Use RF keyboard and mouse.
Now I can get one of our computers out of site.
I am almost ashamed to list this, compared to everyone else this is an abacus.
You guys are great to jump in and help. This has got to be one of the best forums!!
I only have one argument against Dixv. Encoding time!
Wanna know how I do it? Download them! Pre-encoded by the pros who have no problem making a 700mb movie look just like the original.
Isn't that illegal? Hell no, it is perfectly legal if you own the original. Don't share your movies or you'll be on some news site about how MPAA is cracking down on piracy.
If you accidently *cough* download a few movies you don't own, screen them and determine if they were worth buying, buy the original, or delete it... If you have 500 Divx movies and 430 DVDs backing them up, I consider that pretty upstanding and I think you might still go to heaven.
i was ripping my movies to divx as well, but when i got an HDTV, they looked like CRAP on it! and these were in the 1.5-2gb range not compressed down to 1 gb. they look fine on the pc and OK on standard def tv.