Originally Posted by cuzed2
Hey thanks for the kind words, and the encouragement to start ripping and storing my collection.
A question for you; Could you tell me which software applications you would recommend, and in what sequence you would use these. (I know there are many options, and in searching some of the threads, I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed)
I rip my collection losslessly, which takes up more room but is bit-for-bit perfect with what was on the disc. If that's what you're going for, MakeMKV should be your one-stop-shop. I can't sing the praises of that program enough. It will rip and decrypt the movie and wrap things up in a Matroska (.mkv) container, and even include things like multiple audio streams and all of the chapter stops. Figure about 30GB per movie on average for standard blu-ray. 4K isn't rippable yet, really.
If you want to recompress them to take up less room, you'll have to ask around since I'm not too familiar with them.
You have a few options for playing back your movies (I'm assuming you have a Windows PC here). You could get by with something like Windows Media Player if you install a codec pack like K-lite or CCCP (a name which gave my father in law some pause, lol). Or you could use one with a fancy home theater-friendly front end, like Plex or Kodi. I personally use Kodi, but if you go that route make sure you only get it from the official Kodi website. Way too many people are trying to publish versions that have a bunch of piracy plugins installed, it's a real problem for the team.
You have a few different options as far as accessing the movie. Really though it comes down to two: a HDD attached directly to a PC in your home theater, or on a different computer elsewhere (which could be just a NAS - essentially a HDD in a box) on your house network that is accessible to all of your computers. If you have no need for the second scenario, or just want to start out simple, go for the first approach. I started with an external HDD plugged into my HTPC, and was happy that way for years.
That's a very quick crash course. One thing to take away is that it's a scalable problem: you can make it less complicated at the start by just attaching a HDD to your computer and ripping losslessly, and then grow into more complexity if you need to. Grab a copy of MakeMKV, which has a free 30-day fully-featured trial. Rip your first movie and get it playing back before moving on to others. Maybe install Kodi, or Plex. See how you like it.
I'll be happy to answer any questions, and I'm sure other people around here have different insight or are more knowledgeable than me.