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Looking for advice on downloading movies

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,
First time poster here. Just finished building my HTPC and now I am looking to begin building my movie library. I had a couple movies downloaded from Amazon but they don't seem to play in XBMC because of DRM restrictions, they will only play in Unbox. Is there a way? I don't want to start spending money on movies I can't use.

So does anyone have a preferred method of downloading movies (legally) that will be compatible with my XBMC? I know there is Blockbuster, iTunes, Google Play, etc. I'm not opposed to having DRM, I just don't want to be forced to use their player.

also...

What is a good program/method for ripping DVD's I already own to my hard drive. Should I keep the VIDEO_TS folder structure or should I just rip it as one video file?


TIA
post #2 of 26
I use AnyDVD to rip the disk and Handbreak to convert it to one .MKV file for my HTPC. Works on 998 out of 1,000 disks. Handbreak only supports 5.1 and not 7.1 at this time.
post #3 of 26
I don't know of any legal movie downloading service that is DRM free. I think you're better off buying the blu-ray or DVD and then using makemkv or some other program to rip it to your hard drive.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Cool thanks guys. Any other newb tips you have will be greatly appreciated.

Another question:
If I install a tuner card I can simply plug my coax into my HTPC and I'll be able to watch my cable through my PC right? Or is is more complicated than that. Also can I record shows to a format I can use on other devices, unlike my DVR provided by my cable company.
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Mark View Post

I use AnyDVD to rip the disk and Handbreak to convert it to one .MKV file for my HTPC. Works on 998 out of 1,000 disks. Handbreak only supports 5.1 and not 7.1 at this time.

Why wouldn't you just use makemkv and do it all at once?
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadie2000 View Post

Cool thanks guys. Any other newb tips you have will be greatly appreciated.
Another question:
If I install a tuner card I can simply plug my coax into my HTPC and I'll be able to watch my cable through my PC right? Or is is more complicated than that. Also can I record shows to a format I can use on other devices, unlike my DVR provided by my cable company.

Agree with others, I just buy the discs. It's easiest, and in my experience they are cheaper than downloadable content. You can still view netflix streaming from your HTPC if it is Windows based, and I know others have also used Hulu. I'm not sure if you can view Amazon instant from within XBMC or WMC

Yes, a tuner card will get you TV on your HTPC, but . . . .

What subscription do you have? If you've just been plugging the coax into a tv, then you really only get locals from most cable companies. These are referred to as ClearQAM. Any subscription is encrypted with Cablelabs, these are still usually QAM but you need a cablecard tuner (there are only three: HD Homerun Prime, Ceton InfiniTV, or Hauppage WinTV DCR 2650) and you'll have to lease the cablecard from your provider. Without subscription, you'll usually just need a ATSC/QAM tuner and a good antenna to get over the air broadcast content
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Agree with others, I just buy the discs. It's easiest, and in my experience they are cheaper than downloadable content. You can still view netflix streaming from your HTPC if it is Windows based, and I know others have also used Hulu. I'm not sure if you can view Amazon instant from within XBMC or WMC
Yes, a tuner card will get you TV on your HTPC, but . . . .
What subscription do you have? If you've just been plugging the coax into a tv, then you really only get locals from most cable companies. These are referred to as ClearQAM. Any subscription is encrypted with Cablelabs, these are still usually QAM but you need a cablecard tuner (there are only three: HD Homerun Prime, Ceton InfiniTV, or Hauppage WinTV DCR 2650) and you'll have to lease the cablecard from your provider. Without subscription, you'll usually just need a ATSC/QAM tuner and a good antenna to get over the air broadcast content

I've got AT&T Uverse with HD and DVR. Looks like it's possible from reading through some of the Uverse forums, but I'd still need a STB. Just curious as to if people prefer their cable providers setup over or to use the guide in Windows Media Center or something similar. And if there are any benefits one way or the other.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadie2000 View Post

I've got AT&T Uverse with HD and DVR. Looks like it's possible from reading through some of the Uverse forums, but I'd still need a STB. Just curious as to if people prefer their cable providers setup over or to use the guide in Windows Media Center or something similar. And if there are any benefits one way or the other.

Through iTunes, you can download movies and episodes. I think that's the only LEGAL way to do it. Up to 720p, may only be stereo audio.

You can STREAM from all the major networks directly. For Free. There's also HULU+ if you want back TV episodes (on demand). They're often 480-720p in quality, Stereo audio.

Illegally, you can setup your HTPC like a fully automated PVR using Sickbeard + SAB + Newsgroups subscription. Up to 1080p in qualtiy, up to 7.1 audio.

You can view and record OTA (over the air) broadcasts on your HTPC, with the use of a tuner. You'll need the hardware, and software that can take control of the tuning card: Windows Media Center, JRiver, etc. Up to 1080p in quality, typically Stereo audio, or 5.1 surround for the prime time shows.

^I'd guess 99% of all HTPC users do at least one of the above.
post #9 of 26
Nvrmnd
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

Through iTunes, you can download movies and episodes. I think that's the only LEGAL way to do it. Up to 720p, may only be stereo audio.

Most of iTunes TV Show Episodes are now 1080p and 5.1 Lossy. Not BD quality but not too bad.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by acejh1987 View Post

Most of iTunes TV Show Episodes are now 1080p and 5.1 Lossy. Not BD quality but not too bad.

Interesting to know . . .

It's odd to me that every major platform is headed so quickly in this direction. The only problem with downloadable content replacing all physical discs is the US intraweb congestion.

Apple has to be the most notorious company out there in regards to congestion. The number and size of itunes (for windows) updates that they push is astounding. It's a complete d/l re-install everytime, and it provides little to no new feature. (Usually just serves to plug up some exploit that jailbreakers found) They really need to learn better application framework/update management skills.

Windows updates come in second place in my mind.

It seems like Netflix, Amazon instant, Hulu and others offer decent prices for a lot of content, but the defacto requirement to get it to a majority of users via streaming has been to offer lower quality audio/video.

Audio file sizes seem to be close to fixed, but video takes up a majority of the filesize for a blu ray. This won't get any smaller with 4K, so the chances of D/L content providers pushing that through the web to consumers seems very unlikely

It's interesting that the Google music store debuted and provided people a place to easily buy music on their device and came with the option to download the DRM-free mp3 to their PC, but their TV shows and Movies don't offer this option.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Interesting to know . . .
It's odd to me that every major platform is headed so quickly in this direction. The only problem with downloadable content replacing all physical discs is the US intraweb congestion.
Apple has to be the most notorious company out there in regards to congestion. The number and size of itunes (for windows) updates that they push is astounding. It's a complete d/l re-install everytime, and it provides little to no new feature. (Usually just serves to plug up some exploit that jailbreakers found) They really need to learn better application framework/update management skills.
Windows updates come in second place in my mind.
It seems like Netflix, Amazon instant, Hulu and others offer decent prices for a lot of content, but the defacto requirement to get it to a majority of users via streaming has been to offer lower quality audio/video.
Audio file sizes seem to be close to fixed, but video takes up a majority of the filesize for a blu ray. This won't get any smaller with 4K, so the chances of D/L content providers pushing that through the web to consumers seems very unlikely
It's interesting that the Google music store debuted and provided people a place to easily buy music on their device and came with the option to download the DRM-free mp3 to their PC, but their TV shows and Movies don't offer this option.

The streaming option is clearly the preferred solution. IP owners like the control, consumers like the instant access.

There's much of this large country that still has dial-up. Or poor DSL connections. When the market audience with 50mbs internet connections grows large enough, we'll see better quality.

Until then, you'll see lower video quality that can easily be streamed to slow connections.
post #13 of 26
I also agree with buying the discs. I like having a hard copy. These companies complain about piracy but at the same time want you to pay for something you can't hold in your hand. If I buy a bluray/DVD/ultraviolet pack, I feel like I should be able to manipulate it how I want.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Afroteddy View Post

I also agree with buying the discs. I like having a hard copy. These companies complain about piracy but at the same time want you to pay for something you can't hold in your hand. If I buy a bluray/DVD/ultraviolet pack, I feel like I should be able to manipulate it how I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

I don't know of any legal movie downloading service that is DRM free. I think you're better off buying the blu-ray or DVD and then using makemkv or some other program to rip it to your hard drive.

Not trying to start an argument, but would like to point out that: Breaking the copyright protection (to rip) is no different than downloading from piratebay in the eyes of the law. So, why not skip the hassle, and just download. If caught the punishment is the same.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Not trying to start an argument, but would like to point out that: Breaking the copyright protection (to rip) is no different than downloading from piratebay in the eyes of the law. So, why not skip the hassle, and just download. If caught the punishment is the same.

That's not true - at least it hasn't been established in the courts. Ripping for personal use is fair use.
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Not trying to start an argument, but would like to point out that: Breaking the copyright protection (to rip) is no different than downloading from piratebay in the eyes of the law. So, why not skip the hassle, and just download. If caught the punishment is the same.

Morally it is not the same, if you download without buying the movie then you are stealing, if you buy a copy of a movie and then rip it for your own personal use then you are not stealing. IMO.

David
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Not trying to start an argument, but would like to point out that: Breaking the copyright protection (to rip) is no different than downloading from piratebay in the eyes of the law. So, why not skip the hassle, and just download. If caught the punishment is the same.

But it is different, actually the wording of the law is rather interesting, for those who haven't read it, the DMCA whitepaper from copyright.gov is rather interesting:
http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMCA 
Section 1201 divides technological measures into two categories: measures that prevent unauthorized access to a copyrighted work and measures that prevent unauthorized copying of a copyrighted work. Making or selling devices or services that are used to circumvent either category of technological measure is prohibited in certain circumstances, described below. As to the act of circumvention in itself, the provision prohibits circumventing the first category of technological measures, but not the second.

This distinction was employed to assure that the public will have the continued ability to make fair use of copyrighted works. Since copying of a work may be a fair use under appropriate circumstances, section 1201 does not prohibit the act of circumventing a technological measure that prevents copying. By contrast, since the fair use doctrine is not a defense to the act of gaining unauthorized access to a work, the act of circumventing a technological measure in order to gain access is prohibited.

“Copying” is used in this context as a short-hand for the exercise of any of the exclusive rights of an author under section 106 of the Copyright Act. Consequently, a technological measure that prevents unauthorized distribution or public performance of a work would fall in this second category.
Section 106: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106

I would contend that BD+/AACS/CSS are "technological measures" which "prevent unauthorized copying", one way to read that is that it's specifically not illegal (per the DMCA) to circumvent copy protection for personal use.

Note that this is different from Nagravision, or Digicypher or the like which prevent unauthorized access to satellite/cable signals, circumventing those is clearly illegal (this would fall into the first category).
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

That's not true - at least it hasn't been established in the courts. Ripping for personal use is fair use.

http://kaleidescape.com/news/pr/PR-20120312-Ruling-Against-Consumers.php
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
So basically there's no legal way to get (most) movies into your XBMC?

If you pay and download the movie the DRM protection prevents you from playing the movie on anything but the software from the site you downloaded it from (like Amazon Unbox, etc.)

If you buy and rip a movie onto your hard drive you're still breaking some copyright laws.

I might as well just save myself some money and start downloading them illegally if I am breaking the law anyway.
post #20 of 26
I still think it's a good idea to meet the intent. I'm all about saving money on electricity, components, and disc purchases

If push came to shove, I think it would be very difficult to demnostrate that I've hurt any of the content owner's revenue by purchasing discs and choosing to play them back in a more organized front-end
post #21 of 26
Since when do do many avs members have law degrees?
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

I still think it's a good idea to meet the intent. I'm all about saving money on electricity, components, and disc purchases
If push came to shove, I think it would be very difficult to demnostrate that I've hurt any of the content owner's revenue by purchasing discs and choosing to play them back in a more organized front-end

This is generally how I feel as modern hardware often lacks a disc drive like a tablet or smart phone.

Advances in consumer products have made disc players outdated.
post #23 of 26

Kaliedescape is in legal trouble for violating the DVD CCA license agreement which they signed to get them a legal license to decrypt DVDs, not for ripping and not for circumventing the copy protection (because they aren't circumventing it, they have a license to decode DVDs). IIRC it's specifically the the disc is no longer in the player when you play it that they are supposedly violating (IIRC again, that wasn't in, or wasn't specific in the original DVD CCA license). This is why the K-scape Blu-ray system has a disc vault for holding the BDs, this way they the disc is always in the "player", it's a matter of implementation that the disc happens to be prebuffered to a hard disc array and a lan is part of the data path from disc to display. You'll note they aren't in any legal trouble from the BDA/AACS-LA (that I'm aware of).
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Kaliedescape is in legal trouble for violating the DVD CCA license agreement which they signed to get them a legal license to decrypt DVDs, not for ripping and not for circumventing the copy protection (because they aren't circumventing it, they have a license to decode DVDs). IIRC it's specifically the the disc is no longer in the player when you play it that they are supposedly violating (IIRC again, that wasn't in, or wasn't specific in the original DVD CCA license). This is why the K-scape Blu-ray system has a disc vault for holding the BDs, this way they the disc is always in the "player", it's a matter of implementation that the disc happens to be prebuffered to a hard disc array and a lan is part of the data path from disc to display. You'll note they aren't in any legal trouble from the BDA/AACS-LA (that I'm aware of).

Also its a bit murkier when you are discussing a business that is potentially profiting from activity that falls under fair use vs a consumer backing up content for their own use.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Agree with others, I just buy the discs. It's easiest, and in my experience they are cheaper than downloadable content. You can still view netflix streaming from your HTPC if it is Windows based, and I know others have also used Hulu. I'm not sure if you can view Amazon instant from within XBMC or WMC

Amazon instant works in WMC. You just make the download folder a "watched" movie storage location in WMC and they play.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Since when do do many avs members have law degrees?

Well... I do
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