how to get all those old DVDs into PLex? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-26-2012, 03:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

Just wondering what the easiest, quickest way would be to get 800-900 DVD's ripped and put into some format so I can share them into plex?

I am running a MAC and PC, Which file extension am I aiming for? Avi? MKV?

Is there a way to just drag off the VIDEO_TS folder and use that?


Thanks for any suggestions.


Rob.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-26-2012, 05:51 AM
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You have 900 dvds and haven't ripped a single one of them yet? What have you been doing for the past 8-9 years?
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Is there a way to just drag off the VIDEO_TS folder and use that?

No, you need to defeat the copy protection and other tricky things first.

After you have ripped the disc to a hard drive, Plex can play the resulting VIDEO_TS just fine, but, if you eventually plan to stream that video, you're probably better off ripping, then queuing up a bunch of those rips in Handbrake, then doing transcodes as a batch, letting it run overnight. It'll take you forever, though, since you have been asleep all this time, digitally speaking. Essentially transparent Handbrake presets for sd dvds were worked out years ago. If you might add all this video to iTunes at some point or might have iOS devices or Apple TVs down the road, best to transcode to the .m4v extension.

Going way back in time, most of us here used the exact same workflow to rip and transcode our dvds--you ripped with MacTheRipper and then transcoded with Handbrake. Then RipIt appeared on the scene, then blu-rays and MakeMKV. Now you have a plethora of good ripping and transcoding options, things like iVI in the Mac app store, for instance. I still use all of them, depending on the disc, its special features, subtitles, whether I know I want to watch it on an iPad, etc. Basically, there's no single easy and quick method that will suit everyone. MakeMKV works with standard dvds, so that might be a good place for you to start: MakeMKV will "rip," i.e. defeat the encryption on a commercial dvd (or blu-ray) and then extract the video and audio without any loss, resulting in an .mkv that can easily be watched with or served up by Plex. Keep that file as it is, or then decide to transcode it with Handbrake into a more iOS and iTunes compatible file.
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-26-2012, 10:55 PM
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Will Plex read DVD ripped by RipIt?
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-27-2012, 04:10 AM
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Will Plex read DVD ripped by RipIt?

Sure, XBMC and Plex can handle VIDEO_TS; with RipIt uncheck the 'use .dvdmedia extension' setting.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-27-2012, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I have around 2,000 dvds... I dragged off around 800 (VIDEO_TS) folders onto my systems HDD. I was just wondering if it's better to turn those Video_TS folders into something like an .mkv, or is it fine to just leave it like this and use with Plex. I started buying tons of Blurays and just put all these DVDs on the back shelf.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-27-2012, 06:31 AM
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what do you mean, you dragged off...what did you rip them with? Can Apple's dvdplayer.app or VLC play them back?
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I was just wondering if it's better to turn those Video_TS folders into something like an .mkv, or is it fine to just leave it like this and use with Plex

If your goal is to have a copy of all your individual physical media stored on hard drives, so you can access whatever you want, whenever you want, from wherever you want, then you may find VIDEO_TS folders somewhat limiting: for instance, you can't stream a VIDEO_TS folder to your Apple TV or iPad, you can't "live convert" it with something like Air Video on an iPad, so if iOS devices will be a part of your viewing repertoire then it is best not to keep your only digital copy of something as a VIDEO_TS.

Anytime anyone asks what is better or is it fine, it's difficult to answer those kind of subjective questions because you have to decide that for yourself based on your priorities and the other devices you have.

Personally, I find navigating ripped dvd playback as VIDEO_TS a little awkward within front ends like XBMC and Plex, as a result I usually don't mind giving up the disc menu structure and using Handbrake or MakeMKV to give me the main feature as an .m4v or .mkv, but I don't do this with all discs, some that aren't that important to me, that I'll probably just watch once, I just keep as a perfect VIDEO_TS backup copy.

Something to keep in mind--a blu-ray, ripped with MakeMKV, then transcoded with Handbrake at a decent quality preset, will almost always look significantly better than that same title as it was released on a standard dvd--because you're starting with a much higher quality source.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-28-2012, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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These dvd's were backed up back when DVD Shrink was super popular before ANYdvd came on the scene. Most are ripped using shrink and anyDVD. i usually just play the folders using VLC if i want to queue up something...

I was just wondering what the best format is to handbrake these into. Mkv seems real popular. It will just take me forever to convert all these.

I was planning on just setting up a MacMini to my display and using VLC. But i'd like to really use Plex throughout the house.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-29-2012, 05:37 AM
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i usually just play the folders using VLC if i want to queue up something...I was planning on just setting up a MacMini to my display and using VLC. But i'd like to really use Plex throughout the house.

I've always found VLC a little awkward, poorly maintained for the Mac and inconvenient to use as a first choice, frankly it's my player of last resort, and little else. I suspect the more you live with a real front end like XBMC or Plex, especially when it comes to remote controlling and changing settings on the fly from the couch with the little Apple remote or an iOS device, the happier you'll be.
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I was just wondering what the best format is to handbrake these into. Mkv seems real popular. It will just take me forever to convert all these.

.mkv is popular with the pirate/download scene, no doubt, but it is also (surprisingly) popular here with the Mac home theater crowd for a couple of reasons--first, it's a great way to access your blu-rays without any loss of quality, but second, it's a viable alternative to Handbrake for your standard def dads as well. You're right about Handbrake taking forever to transcode a dvd rip to the iTunes format of choice, an .m4v, but MakeMKV significantly shortens that process--if you're already starting with a ripped dvd, a la VIDEO_TS, it'll only take about 9-10 minutes to run it through MakeMKV and end up with a .mkv that a front end like XBMC or Plex can handle easily--and that an app like Air Video on an iPad can live convert and/or AirPlay to an aTV. I use both, keeping some as .mkv and others as .m4v, and sometimes I retain the original VIDEO_TS as well as a perfect backup of the disc. The notion that .mkv is somehow incompatible with a predominantly Mac OSX and iOS household is, well, folly.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-29-2012, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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If it took 10 minutes it wouldn't be so bad... This i5 iMac is taking anywhere from 15-24minutes per disc.(MakeMKV) Eventually I will build a PC that should be able to perform this task alot quicker.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-12-2013, 03:47 PM
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I don't know if Plex is similiar to Netgear NeoPrime, but I have loaded many standard dvd's as well and for the most part using a utility to convert my movies to.mkv format. I recently heard of MakeMKV but when I save to desk top then drag to media server will not play? Any suggestions.
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-12-2013, 03:47 PM
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I don't know if Plex is similiar to Netgear NeoPrime, but I have loaded many standard dvd's as well and for the most part using a utility to convert my movies to.mkv format. I recently heard of MakeMKV but when I save to desk top then drag to media server will not play? Any suggestions.
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-17-2013, 06:44 PM
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Hi chefklc,

I've come to respect your high level of expertise in this area. I've been searching avs for a CURRENT review or overview of available software and techniques for converting one's DVD/Blu ray collection into a convenient, all screen media library.

I'm trying to wrap my head around all of the available file formats, converters, etc., but there's certainly a whole lot of options and not a whole lot of straight talk like you displayed in this thread so long ago.

1) Could you point me to a good resource that shows, perhaps in a feature grid or the like, the pros, cons, best tools for creation, etc. of each file format?

My current situation is, I have the following

100's of DVDs and Blu rays I'd like to rip
AnyDVD HD (for over 5 years, but I got burned out on ripping several years ago, but now want to just finish up my collection)
OneClick (I know it's an old one)

I'm just now starting to evaluate
plex
vlc
makemvk
etc.

2) reference to any other resources would be appreciated for me to make an informed decision about the best method(s) to use to create a media library with the currently available tools.

Thanks for any help you can provide
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post #13 of 13 Old 08-17-2013, 08:03 PM
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I'm not aware of any one source that compares and guides one this stuff. Maybe Assassin did something. With that said, if you literally have hundreds of disc to rip, it's going to take time. How much time is going to be dependent on your machine, especially the CPU since ripping and transcoding is CPU intense.

Assuming you want to convert your discs to mkv, which I suggest because it's becoming more and more popular everyday, I would start with MakeMKV. This program literally just takes the discs and converts to a mkv container. So, your blu ray disc will be about 20GB versus the 25GB, and DVD will be about 4GB versus 8GB. If you have a lot of space and want highest quality, stop here. I'm not aware of MakeMKV haven't a que for jobs, so it's just one disc at a time. In addition, doing this first, will save your optical drive if your proceed to the next step, which will be using it, potentially, for hours.

If you don't have a lot of space or you don't want to use that much space or willing to sacrifice some quality, this is where Handbrake comes in. Take your MakeMKV file for the source, set the Handbrake to mkv, pick your favorite settings, and transcode away. For most, normal will be sufficient. For those a little more decerning, High Profile will be adequate. Just make sure to include subtitles in both MakeMKV and here. For handbrake, check the default so it will automatically trigger when a foreign language is spoken. I like to include chapters too so it makes it easier to skip around. For audio, I just use autopass through. This gets take my 20GB mkv rip and shrinks it to about 4-7GB. The rips are not absolutely perfect, but just as good, if not better from Netflix's 1080p HD feeds. Since I have eye issues, the biggest difference the original disc is just crispness. The bonus to Handbrake, it has a que. So you can create a job listing to convert the MakeMKV files. Again, how long this takes is very CPU intense. I'm on a just dual core machine, so it takes about eight hours per blu ray. In MakeMKV, and blu ray takes about forty minutes. I've read if you have 8GB ram and a eight core machine, it's about an hour, maybe less.

I also use AnyDVD HD too. For MakeMKV, they say to shut it off because it could cause issues. I haven't run into any issues as of yet. Sometimes MakeMKV is unable to break the encryption, but AnyDVD does. Either way, the rip from MakeMKV will be encrypted free, so Handbrake will not need AnyDVD. There two programs are the most popular.

Your other question is really about how best to playback these rips. This is really going to depend on the experience you want. I would recommend Plex or XBMC. Another factor will be the devices your plan to playback your media with. I personally use Plex. Plex is an excellent choice if you want to access to your content outside of the home. XBMC is working on this too and has a working version, but Plex is significantly farther along and polished. I haven't used XBMC in over a year, but the player on the PC was better than Plex's. Plex has improved the player a lot. I just don't know how it current compares. Both are going to give similar front end experience with metadata, menus, and so forth.

The one thing I like about Plex over XBMC is the server and front end setup. Once the PMS setup, all your doing is adding front end clients to you devices. There's not needing to point where your content is on each device. I use plex an my android phone and tablet, PC, and roku boxes. And I can even use it on through a web browser.

If you just want to playback, anything like VLC would work.

Unfortunately, I don't know all the options available in OSX. I'm on Windows 7, but use the Mac Mini (late 2009 model). In Windows, there are significantly more options for makemkv playback. And there are other suites other than Plex and XBMC such as Media Browser and Media Center. I'm not sure of it's supported in OSX, but I know Plex and XBMC both support HD audio in Windows.
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