Firstly I must apologise for my lack of knowledge about the technical aspects of DVD copying. I'm a retired CGI professional (30 years+), I've authored DVDs for lectures using Premiere, and consider myself technically savvy - I can even write image processing code - but I've never delved into the mysteries of video codecs etc. So I'm approaching this at ground level, as it were.
What I want to do is to back up some (probably between 100 and 200 disks) of my DVD collection onto a hard drive, which I would then leave plugged into my TV so that I would have all the content available. These are mostly TV shows with multiple seasons and multiple disks in each season. The main reason I want to do this - apart from convenience - is that some of the older disks are deteriorating, and will now only play on my PC and not on my DVD player. I really don't want to have to buy them again - even if I did, some are no longer available.
I realise that I can make ISO images of the disks and burn new DVDs (which I will do anyway with the worst ones) but my perfect solution would be to transfer the lot onto a hard drive.
My ideal requirements would be:
1) No loss in video or audio quality
2) Retain subtitles
and I would like, if possible, to:
3) Remove spurious ads and trailers
4) Remove time-wasting animations before menus appear
5) Substitute my own menu system for accessing episodes quickly.
I don't expect to do this on the cheap; I'm happy to buy (and learn to use) any appropriate DVD ripping and authoring software. I'll buy a new TV if that helps. I also know that this will take a lot of time - that doesn't worry me either, as I'm retired.
My problem is that even after reading up on this at some length on multiple websites, I still am no nearer to understanding how to go about it - i.e, which is the most appropriate format? Which is the best software?
I'd appreciate any guidance at all!
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A few questions to make giving appropriate answers easier.
Are these your own recordings or commercial disc?
Are the subtitles switchable on/off (i.e. soft subtitles) or are they embedded into the video (hard subbed)
Do you need a custom menu (which means authoring a custom .iso (i.e. image of the contents original disc with custom menus) or would having them organized in folders and accessible through a playlist be acceptable.
Do you have an external media player hooked up to your TV or are you planning to playback the videos directly through the TV's built in media player (since you mentioned connecting the hard drive to the TV). If the latter, it's highly suggested you go with an external media player as built in players are very limited as to what type of files they'll play.
The good news is that other than the external hard drive (2TB will be enough, 4TB would be better for future expansion), most, if not everything you want to do can be done with free or low-cost software.
BTW, Yes, the full quality of your original DVDs will be retained when you RIP them. While some may suggest encoding the videos to save space, DVDs are small enough, <8GB max per disc, that, IMO there's no reason to compress them.
dvdshrink would do most of what you want for you. you could create a folder on a hard drive that would contain the video_ts and audio_ts folders so you could play it just like a dvd with a software video player like vlc.
if you wanted to play with it more, then converting the vobs back to mpeg-2 can be done losslessly with programs like vob2mpg.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
The recordings are all commercial disks with soft subtitles. Folders and a playlist would be fine, I think - I would be happy to create custom menus, but if it makes the process over-complex, then I can do without. I was intending to play it through the TV's own player, for simplicity - but there's no reason I couldn't have a dedicated piece of hardware by the TV and play it through that. A laptop or something? I just want to use the TV's big screen and surround sound.
Since they're commercial discs, DVDShrink (an easy to use and great program) probably won't work on those with newer copy protection. The free version of DVDFab will likely work for all but the newest (i.e. released within the past few months) discs as it's updated at a slower pace than the paid version. You can choose to RIP the main movie / episodes only, skipping the extras (warnings, trailers, etc.) as .ISO, minus whatever you choose to skip.
I'll let someone else walk you through making new menus (which I understand is not that difficult) with perhaps DVDStyler.
If folders and individual files are okay, use MakeMKV which will combine the video and subtitles into an .MKV container. Again, you can choose the main movie/episodes only and the files are an exact copy of the contents you've chosen. The catch is that some DVDs with multiple episodes are contained in a single file, relying on the menu to skip to that particular episode. You could either separate the episodes with an editing program or add chapters with another program. Again, I'll let others give you suggestions for this as I rarely bother.
Also, if in the future you want to add Blu-Ray RIPs into your collection, you'll have to have to save them as .MKV as only a small handful of (usually expensive) external players will play Blu-Ray .ISOs.
A external media player such as an Android Box (<$50) is required if you save your discs as .ISO since your built-in player almost certainly won't play .ISOs and and may not recognize the .MKVs. Also, an external media player will allow for greater flexibility as your collection grows and you add files in different formats/containers.
My favorite media player for Android is MX Player, but there's also a version of VLC which works the same as the PC version.
Edit: You mentioned using a laptop. That would work as an external player. There are mini keyboard/mouse/remote combos, though my preferred method of navigation is through a wireless Logitech K400, keyboard/trackpad.
Last edited by lingyi; 11th Aug 2018 at 22:49.
Yes, the answer is simple and free, MakeMKV. Name your videos appropriately and organize them in folders. Your TV's (or media player's) file browser acts as your menuing system. If you want cover art and descriptions use Kodi on a media player (HTPC, Android, Raspberry Pi, etc.).
I use a combination of .ISOs and .MKVs.
.ISO for episodic discs or if there's special features easily accessible though the menu. .MKV for movie only or Blu-Ray rips.
On my main TV, playback is through my WDTV connected to a couple of multi-bay HDD enclosures. On my secondary TV, playback is through an old tablet/mini-laptop connected to a smaller multi-bay enclosure.
I'm starting to collect some X265 UHD files (Asian TV series) and will eventually have to add to to or replace my WDTV with a laptop or PC. I have an Android Box, but find navigating through the multiple folders/drives of my collection quicker and easier with Windows.
Last edited by lingyi; 11th Aug 2018 at 22:09.
Many thanks for all the advice!
Thanks to your help, my project has definitely got the green light now. I think the next phase is to rip a few DVDs to .ISOs and try out some combinations..
Following your suggestion, I've abandoned the idea of playing my library through the TV alone - I'll use additional hardware. As it seems that WDTV is now discontinued (and not really a UK-oriented device in any case) I've had a quick look at building my own HTPC but I've decided it's outside my comfort zone! But I have an old laptop and a couple of Raspberry Pi's so I'll try out Kodi on them.
I really appreciate the time you've taken to help me - so thanks again!
I have been doing this for years. I can get 150-175 dvd movies (movie only for 99%) on a 1T hdd. I use slysoft & dvdshrink. I stop at 1T hdds. 4T hdd you can lose 600 movies in one fell swoop!!
I use 'Argosy' & Dune players, removed 3.5" hdd from Argosy & view flics via usb 2.5" hdds, the internal drive really got the player HOT! plus 1T of films loaded via usb2 is time consuming to say the least. (I remove hdd from usb case & connect via esata for data transfer)
The Dune has internal bay for 2.5 hdds but I connect via usb to keep that pesky heat outside.
Mine is a real 'ghetto' mod setup, both at computer & at player. almost embarresed to show pics!
-c-Cranky Old Man
After accumulating quite a few storage cases full of discs, I started moving much more towards HDD storage, making fewer and fewer discs in recent years. For me, the sweet spot are those 2 Tb. size WD Passport portable models, with the 3 year warranty. They have more typically run around $79. on sale at Fry's, but the last one I bought was $59. with their "promo" code. So far, none of the WD portables has failed me -- even much older models with lesser warranties -- though I realize that is unlikely to continue indefinitely. (I only buy the Made in Thailand ones, having some reasons to believe that the QC in other Far East countries' production lines is inferior to these.) Because of what you mentioned, I think redundancy is key, and not just for movies storage: I try to retain anything I care about on two HDDs -- and some things may also be on flash drives. If I was really being proactive, I would also be looking to some offsite storage, but have not reached that level of diligence yet.When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.