I have quite the extensive DVD collection, and though I've put this off with Disksox
(which I'd recommend to anyone... they're great!), I have outgrown my space for DVDs, and have had to look at some alternatives.
So, a bit ago, I bought a NAS - the Synology Diskstation DS211J
. I bought a 2TB drive with it (thankfully before the drives died), and also bought an Asus O!Play
really cheap, and it connects to it better than I thought, in addition to two . I also converted one of my machines to a Windows Home Server, and it has plenty of room also, and I'm using it to burn the DVDs. As a last bit, I use POE to wire all of my devices as wireless hasn't been good for me in the house.
So I have my whole infrastructure in place. Now to the task of Ripping the DVDs. My primary concern is to rip the DVDs so I can get them off of the shelves in the living room and into storage, but still be accessible to be seen. To that end, I want something that's watchable on my 46" large screen, but it doesn't have to be perfect.
I'd heard so much how easy this was and how I would be able to do it for free. Not so much. I downloaded Handbrake and MakeMKV (I already had VLC). For my test, I used the movie Serenity, and made several different attempts at ripping the first 3 minutes. The first technique I used was to make the MKV file in MakeMKV. This was pretty straightforward. Then I tried to create test files in every different format that Handbrake allowed. In each case, there was tearing and terrible pixellation. I figured I must be doing something wrong, so I tried several different forums and several different google searches. But nothing helped. So I figured I'd try to rip from the source since I had VLC installed to decrypt the DVD. Nothing. All day I spent trying to get the software to encode just 3 minutes in a format that would work. But nothing worked.
Finally, I started to get tired of trying Handbrake, and decided to branch out into commercial offerings.
Before when I toyed with this, I tried Xilisoft DVD Ripper
. I have an older version, but figured I'd see how things had changed. Against this, I stacked up AnvSoft's Any DVD Converter Pro
, Magic DVD Ripper
, and WinX DVD Ripper
Again I used the first 3 minutes of Serenity, and tried on a variety of formats to see which one gave the best results and was easiest to use. The first thing that I noticed was that for default settings and such, easiest didn't really come into it- they have different user interfaces, but one thing was common- each was created for non-computer users. They even had the steps on the user interface! Like handbrake, they had different conversion profiles, but unlike handbrake, in each case, the default profiles worked. I tried to do a straight rip because that's what I was used to - ripping for the computer in MPG format. But I quickly discovered that the media player formats were better suited, especially when I copied tests to the NAS to look at them on the TV. But other than that, the quality of all of them were similar. Some boasted about speed, but they were pretty comparable. So in the end, the only thing that swayed me was price - there was a Bits Du Jour promotion for anvsoft's Any DVD converter, which put the price at $27. As all of the others were uniformly around the $40 range for what I needed, in the end, price was the reason that I settled on that software.
I didn't write this up as a review, because I really didn't go indepth into the software- I had a simple need, and though all of the offerings have more functionality than that, I don't think I'll need it.
Now that I can actually rip a whole DVD, I'll see how it stacks up and post an update later, but has anyone else had any experience in these matters?