Home video has come a long way since the 80’s when VCRs and rental chains like Blockbuster were all the rage. Now fast forward (pun intended) to the age of Wi-Fi where digital movies can be broadcast not only by the means of game consoles, tablets, but even smartphones and smart TVs!
According to many, the age of streaming has arrived and physical media may go the way of bell-bottom Jeans and polyester leisure suits!
Despite Netflix starting and becoming the forerunner of the technological trend that is instant streaming (which eventually led to Blockbuster’s demise) there have been times when I have been in a mood to watch a certain movie or program that for some odd reason (expiration of licensing rights), it’s not available on my paid streaming services; Netflix, Hulu or Amazon.
So suppose you have all these DVDs sitting around talking up plenty of space and not to mention how the discs may wear out via scratches and blemishes that can affect playback.
What is one to do indeed?
Well boys and gals, I, Stalks has got the solution when it pertains to storage media. However, before we go any further, here’s an important disclaimer: the sole purpose for this tutorial is so that you can preserve and archive your very own purchased DVD/Blu-ray collection via ripping and conversation software.
“Disclaimer”: I do NOT recommend using rentals or bootlegs as they violate the copyright works of artists, producers, writers and directors and so forth. *Wink*
Now unless the rules have changed, you are allowed to make at least one copy of your DVD collection that you have purchased. And not to mention that services such as Vudu can rip your DVD copies so that your collection can be streamed directly to your DLNA device. But why shell out money to VUDU’s service when you can create your own streaming network?
*Ahem* now that we have gotten that out of the way, here’s what you will need.
- Ripping software, preferably Wondershare ultimate video converter.
- A PC with large storage, memory and a DVD drive that can read either or both DVDs or Blu-Ray discs.
- Wireless N Router (broadband of course).
- A DLNA compliant device, be it a Blu-ray player, game console like the PS3 (or my favorite: Xbox 360) or the Amazon Fire TV stick, which is capable of streaming video files straight from your PC which can be utilized as a go between server.
Wondersharing is daring!
What I love so much about Wondershare is the user friendly interface and fast conversion. It costs well over $40 but well worth it. If you happen to be strapped for cash, you can try out its features for free (one caveat, hope you won’t mind the watermark in the middle of the video lmmfao ).
Step one: Insert DVD into tray as you would normally do.
Open the Wondershare application if already installed. Wondershare has a built in CSS system so there should be no problems when ripping a DVD or Blu-ray disc.
If you can’t use Wondershare for some reason, I recommend trying out AnyDVD ( the trial run lasts for fourteen days so that should give you more than enough time to convert your Disc Library).
Now select which container you would prefer based on the built in codecs your streaming device is often familiar with.
I prefer MPEG 4 HD as it is the most commonly used video format. It’s compatible with all the devices I have listed above also and it’s also excellent for making custom thumbnail images when using Wondershare.
Press the load disc or file button. The software will then open the movie or TV episodes (if it’s a TV series) or the bonus material like deleted scenes, etc.
Then, of course, you can select which subtitle and audio language to use among those available (based on what files are contained on the DVD).
Now, choosing which format plays a major factor in regards to the quality of the compressed video. You may get better resolution if you choose MP4 or MKV HD but keep in mind that the compression of video will add more gigabytes. This may have a negative impact on the bandwidth when streaming.
Higher gigabytes are better utilized for external hard drives and USB thumb sticks since most devices are equipped with a USB port.
In order to keep the video at a smaller size while maintaining the resolution quality, I recommend selecting small size under the settings option. It may take longer for the conversion to finish depending on your PC’s RAM, but it’s well worth the hassle.
Note: For DVDs that are pan & scan, make sure that you select the HD MPEG 4 and adjust button (preferably “widescreen”) for compatibility of LCD/LED TVs (See Fig.3).
You can choose which folder or even a storage device, i.e. USB thumb drive to store the converted video. Default location is “My Documents” however I recommend that you change it to My Videos in order to stream from your PC.
Click convert button and you’re ready to go. When finished you’ll hear a little jingle that informs you of the conversion being completed.
Trial and error is the key when converting videos. Experiment with different containers in order to see what works best for you!
DNLA devices can easily stream converted video files from your PC’s Video folder or just transfer them to a USB thumb drive/portable hard drive for reliable viewing.
In order for your streaming network to be proficient, I strongly advise using the Plex application. Not only is this software reliable for streaming, but it has a built in metadata system that adds movie poster thumbnails and information for the selected video file.
With the premium service, $40 per year or $100 for lifetime, you can even stream your movies on the go (providing that you have a smartphone or tablet that is capable of receiving Wi-Fi connections of course).
You can’t go wrong with these two applications as they are more than worth the investment.
It’s best to make sure that all your converted files are copied and stored onto an HDD, especially if you plan on discarding your physical media.
Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!