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Adventures with DVD ripping

Those who know me will know that I’m a bit of a cinephile. I love my movies. There’s not much I’d rather do of a Friday/Saturday evening than chill out with a takeaway on the sofa and watch a movie or two.

Consequently, over the years I’ve amassed quite a big collection of DVDs. About 550, to give you a rough guess.

Given the way that technology is moving, I thought it was high time that I bit the bullet and created digital versions of them all so that I can watch them across my network at home without having to arse about at the DVD shelf hunting for the right one or trying to make a decision (naturally, as you’d expect, they’re all in alphabetical order on the DVD shelf anyway, but it still takes time.)

So I’ve started ripping them all to my PC.

Using a combination of MakeMKV and Handbrake, the process isn’t quite as painful as I thought it would be, and I’m able to do quite a lot in a single day – I’ve been able to manage 40+ in a single evening before, so given an entire weekend I could feasibly get most of my collection sorted.

People have said to me, “Why not just download rips from <insert BitTorrent site here>?” and although I could do that (I think it would just about be seen as legal given that I own the DVD and it’s a “backup” copy) my OCD tendencies are coming into play, and I’m finding that I’m fastidious about the ripping process. It has to be high quality (using Handbrake’s “High Profile” preset), has to include the English subtitles (I have been conditioned since I was a kid to have subtitles on when watching movies and TV shows, even though my hearing is fine – odd fact!) and has to have the chapters defined. Most rips I’ve downloaded previously don’t meet these criteria, so it’s The Hard Way for me.

Still, once it’s all done, my life will be a lot easier, and my home will have a lot more free space when I put all the DVDs into storage!

Now, I just have to work out the best way of making them viewable on my TVs. Ideally I’d like a front-end like Plex or Xbox Media Center, but running from a NAS device. Any clues, people?