Welcome back, both Chris and I trust you had a wonderful holiday break and New Year’s celebration.
This week’s topic is aimed at addressing a common problem that movie buffs encounter. Whether you have Disney movies for yourself, or your children, or other titles, I’m sure we all could agree that a streamline method to play your titles on your media device(s) would be welcomed. Point in case, over the holiday break I spent a great deal of time working on a method to stream my personal DVD collection to all my end devices (PS3, Iphone, IPAD, DirecTV HR20).
Before I begin, it is extremely important that the methods and software I mention herein are intended to help individuals who own the DVD (HD or SD) in which they work with. With that understanding please adhere to the local and Federal laws that are included with your DVD Titles.
In continuation, my wife and I are—what you would call—movie buffs. We rarely watch regular TV, and when we do it’s almost always from our DVR—a Wonderful invention!
Today, we own more than 150 Movies—over 30 Disney Titles just for our children. As I am sure most would agree with, unfortunately owning movies is far easier than watching them. Whenever my daughter request to watch Cinderella, or other Disney movie, we have to go on the hunt for the DVD. In some cases once we find the DVD, we are unable to play the DVD due to a scratch or some sticky residue. In order to resolve this ongoing problem, I decided to RIP all of our DVDs. This decision brought far more questions than answers upon my initial attempt.
Ripping a DVD:
The first course of action when deciding to RIP your DVDs is to determine the encoding methodology. H.264, MPEG-4, MPEG2—bit rate for each—and many other codecs exist; so, which is the best option to use? In my case, I wanted to RIP the DVD and keep the original format intact.
Why not encode to a specific format? The reason is rather simple; I did not want multiple copies of the same DVD tile on my hard drive. Rather than having multiple formats for different devices I would rather allow my computer to encode the video in any required format on the fly. In order to achieve this, I needed the manufactures original format copied from the DVD to my local HDD. As I’m sure most of you already know, this is not a simple copy and paste as all dvds are encrypted with varying encoding keys. Luckily, there are many software manufacturers that produce DVD Ripping tools.
Note: ripping is the method in which a video image (or music) is copied from its original source(DVD/CD) to a file for easy manipulation.
Though many ripping tools exist, some free (handbrake, dvdshrink, MacTheRipper, etc.) and some not (iSkysoft Video Converter Ultimate, Magic DVD Ripper, etc.), my personal favorite is Magic Dvd Ripper. I wanted an out of the box solution that would RIP my DVD with absolutely NO encoding, allowing the original format to stay intact and Magic DVD Ripper http://www.magicdvdripper.com/, provided this functionality.
What solution will STREAM ANY video file (including web video) to my end device(s)? Far too many applications exist for me to list them all, but the most well-known video streaming applications are Windows Media Player, VideoLan, Tversity, Twonky, Playon, etc… In my personal opinion TVersity is one of the best video streaming applications on the market (lite version free, pro has a small onetime fee that’s worth it.)
Though TVersity supports apple devices (Iphone, IPAD etc..) I was not able to get my Iphone to work out of the box due to a missing codec. I spoke to the development team at TVersity and they informed me that this would be simplified in future releases.
To that end, my final solution was twofold; TVersity for in-home devices (such as PS3) and Air Video for Apple devices. Though both products read from the same source, each product has a unique purpose. TVersity streams my videos to my in-home devices (PS3, etc…) as well as internet HD video blogs (such as http://revision3.com/tekzilla/). With respect to my apple devices (iphone, Ipad, etc), Air video http://www.inmethod.com/air-video/index.html is able to convert the video in real-time from its source MPEG-2 High RES DVD’s to a fraction of the size for my Apple devices (IPAD, Iphone, etc) so that I may stream my videos outside my home firewall without consuming large amounts of bandwidth.
Though TVersity can down convert in real-time, I do not use this functionality on my local devices and due to the missing codec for apple devices. With respect to Air Video, it is compatible with apple devices only (at this time).
Lots of storage is required.
- Regular DVD (Standard Def) will be ~720 X 480 MPEG-2 and consume about Approximately 5.5 GB for 2 hours.
- Minimum Dual core recommended for real-time conversion (no matter streaming server software)
- Minimum 4 GB with Windows 7, or Mac OSX 10.6 or >
ISP speed for remote video viewing
- Recommend ~ 5Mbit or greater upload speed
I use a model similar to HP Pavilion Elite HPE-590t series found at http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/compute
Though 100’s of computer models exist that will achieve GREAT results for the above objective, if you currently own an HP computer and encounter performance limitations I suggest you contact your local HP technical support services center (or go to hp.com) and investigating upgrading your hardware (you may be able to change just the CPU, or add some memory to reduce upgrade cost)
As of today, TVersity allows me to watch my movie collection at home in Perfect clear vivid detail, and air video allows my daughter to watch her Disney movies on our IPAD/Iphone anywhere (as long as the IPAD has 3G access)… I am sure other software exist for none apple devices but I have not taken the time to research these solutions as of this time. If anyone has any pertinent info that they would like to share on this topic, please post a reply.
Happy video streaming!!!