Anyone ripped their entire DVD collection?

Anyone ripped their entire DVD collection?

Summary: Over the weekend I was sitting down looking at my DVD collection when had one of those "weekend ideas" - Would it be feasible to rip my entire DVD collection to hard disk?


Over the weekend I was sitting down looking at my DVD collection when had one of those "weekend ideas" - Would it be feasible to rip my entire DVD collection to hard disk?

Like most "weekend ideas" it sounded like a good idea at the time. No more risk of damage to my media, instant access on the media center and the ability to pipe the movie to where I wanted it. However, like most "weekend ideas" I hadn't really thought it through very well. First off, I'm not sure how many DVDs I've got. I figure you get about 20 DVDs per foot of shelf space and that I have some 30 - 40 foot of shelving devoted to DVDs so that could be anything between 600 and 800 DVDs (I've been an avid DVD collector for some years now). Let's say for argument sake that I've got some 600 DVD. Many of these are multi-disc packages so that ups the number considerably but let's assume that I'm not going to bother with special features and so on.

Then there's the disk space. An ISO can be anything up to 8.5GB, so 600 DVDs translates into over 5TB of storage.

Then there's the time it takes. Let's say it takes some 30 minutes per DVD, that works out at 300 hours or some 12.5 days of solid ripping. Working eight hours a day that's a good month's worth of work. I'm not going to be keen on losing my library to a disk crash so I'm either going to want a decent backup or use a RAID 5 setup. That's now a good handful of 1TB disks I'm having to buy to handle the job.

This job reminds me of a job that my late father-in-law was planning to undertake for years before he died in January of this year. He had a massive collection of photos (thousands), slides (thousands) and home movies (hours and hours in a number of formats) that he was going to work through and digitize everything, correct the color where things had faded, and burn them to the storage media of the time (floppy discs, ZIP, Jaz, CD, DVD, Blu-ray) and give each family member a copy. Over the years I put several systems in place for him to do this but he never did it because the scale of the task made it off-putting (I think that in all the years he talked of doing this project, he scanned maybe a couple of dozen photos in all). Some projects are just too big to take on.

Anyone here actually ripped their entire DVD library? If so, how many DVDs did you rip, how long did the process take and how much storage did it take? Was the end result worth the hassle?

[UPDATE: Shortly after posting this last night, my former blogging colleague George Ou dropped me an IM saying that the job of ripping 600+ DVDs is nowhere near as big a job as I'd first imagined it to be. See, when I thought about this job I'd seen it as 2-dimensional job - ripping a disc at a time. George suggested instead that I think about the job 3-dimensionally and rip multiple discs simultaneously. So instead of ripping one disc at a time, you are instead ripping five at a time. To do this you need a monster ripping machine!

To make this work you need a lot of DVD drives and a fast RAID 5 array. George had the idea of a system with 5 DVD drives and a RAID 5 array consisting of 5 x 1TB drives. A build like this needs a lot of SATA ports so we started with a P35-chipset motherboard (a GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3R with 8 SATA ports) and adding a 4-port SATA 1 PCI card (as George pointed out, if you hook up the DVD drives to these ports you don't need the expense of a SATA II PCI card).

For a complete listing of parts, take a look at this post.

For me, this idea is not only starting to take shape but it seems doable. What I didn't like before was the idea of having to juggle one disc at a time, and so ripping six at once is a far better option for me. This way I could either choose to do the whole lot over a long weekend, or just do a handful at a time in a less crazy fashion.

I can see myself deviating from the plan a little though. While a dual-core processor is ideally suited to NAS and home theater systems, I think it might be underpowered for transcoding formats (I like to take movies and turn them into formats I can play on my iPod touch or on Windows Mobile devices). This is a pretty intensive process and transcoding two movies at once can push even a quad-core Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 3GHz chip to the limits (see image below). 


What I might do is replace the dual-core processor with a Core 2 Quad (a Q6600 or a Q9300). ]

Topics: IT Employment, Hardware, Storage

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  • dvd collection

    i have also been thinking about doing this, i have found that depending on how you are planning to stream the media you have to format it different ways. if you are using a windows media extender (xbox360) the vob files have to be converted into 1 vob file, otherwise the movie will split into chunks and play that way also. i have also played around with compressing the movie down and havent noticed a difference in playback quality. the next thing i am trying is xbmc for windows, because that plays a vast array of different codecs. i want to see if i can use a different video compression codec to retain video quality but vastly reduce file size.
  • RE: Anyone ripped their entire DVD collection?

    Try Apple TV, and Itunes, i have about 200 DVD's, not a big collection, but so far i have RIPed over 30, each one taking 800 Megs, yup, 800 megs. If Apple can make a bigger Apple TV then the 160 GB, then i will buy it in a hearbeat. And the quality is incredible. Stop messing with the MS crap.
  • Not yet...

    I have not ripped my entire collection... yet... As of last night (strange this article should show today) I have ripped some 100 movies, and I rip them directly to uncompressed vob files. Yes, they're big, but I find the compression artifacting tiresome when watching my movies, especially on the 42".

    As far as space? I think I was at (around) 500G (out of 5.5T of RAID5) when I checked last night, (not all the movies use a full DVD.) and I about 1/4 to 1/3 done. Is it worth it? I almost think sometimes it isn't, except when it comes time to take a trip. I can copy (just about) any or all of the movies I already have ripped, to an external 2.5 inch 250G hard drive or two. (Or even over the network to the internal 200G drive) THAT part is nice, because I don't have to carry a bunch of DVDs with me, but I can carry a large enough selection that I'm sure to have SOMETHING to watch!
  • is that legal

    making copies is illegal according to MIAA.
    How do you go arround?
    Linux Geek
    • Yeah.... what he said.

      According to Jack Valenti you have no right to make a backup copy, no matter the reason for doing so, or the validity of that reason, of any DRM'd DVD.
      Hallowed are the Ori
      • well according to the mpaa

        when we purchase the movie all we are really doing is a long term lease.
      • Frankly, who cares...

        You bought it. Screw the 'attached strings'. Sometimes the only way you can get things changed is by good old fashioned consumer defiance.
        • Precisely.

          Not all things illegal are immoral. Just as all things legal are not
          necessarily moral.
      • RE: Anyone ripped their entire DVD collection?

        W-r-o-n-g period. As long as you don't torrent, show in public, copy for a friend, show for $ your are well within the liscense. Personal use only. Ug..sometimes.
    • dvd archive

      if you have to ask, then your not ready
    • yes it is

      consumer rights -> fair use. i am entitled to make a copy for personal use (eg car), a backup and copy on hard drive for play back on pc based entertainment systems.
      in australia
      • I was talking about US

        No more than a few years ago some legal goons shut down a few software makers in the US that made DVD backup software.
        If I'm not mistaken the name sounded like 123studio or something of that nature.
        Linux Geek
    • If you're not sharing it

      Then they can stuff it. I am a law abiding citizen: no piracy or any other junk on my systems, but some times they go to far.

      Have fun ripping Adrian. I only wish I had the hardware to do the same. :-)
      • fair use applies in the US as well

        Yes it's legal in US. Fair use applies here as well although Content providers want to pretend it doesn't. The DCMA makes it illegal to reverse engineer DCM but as far as I know it's perfectly legal to make copies for personal use.
  • I've done about 60 so far.

    I started to do this with my DVD collection (probably around 200
    DVDs). First I ripped all the kids/family movies and have them all
    on my Apple TV (which is seriously handy - no more swapping
    DVDs for high maintenance two year olds and waiting painfully
    for the copyright info / menu animations / etc) then I moved onto
    my favourite films. So far I've done about 60. I used Handbrake
    on my iMac, with a high quality, 5 channel surround, two-pass
    encoding and each movie averages at around 3 -4 GB each and
    took about 60-90 mins to encode. I'm happy with the quality.

    So what stopped me doing the rest? Storage. My external hard
    drive is now nearly full, and I want to get a proper redundancy
    solution like a Drobo, as losing the files would undo a heck of a
    lot of time and patience. But such storage is expensive, and I
    can't help but think the money would be better spent on some
    other things I need.

    I agree with your father-in-law's idea of digitising all his photos,
    etc. I want to do this with my parent's albums and videos but the
    sheer effort is overwhelming. Maybe when I am rich I will employ
    somebody to do it all :-)
    • Same for me

      I ripped my DVD library to an external HD (containing my
      iTunes Library) attached to my MacBook Pro, then sync that
      with my Apple TV.

      Once the Apple TV supported 5.1, I had no reason to wait.
      The quality is very good, and the convenience is terrific!

      Handbrake is a fantastic tool. Couple that with MetaX for
      tagging the files, and it's drop-dead simple.
    • When I rip

      I back up the ripped file to a DVD. Then, if my hard drive goes
      south, I simply restore from my DVD backups.

      It's true, though, that nothing beats having the kids' shows on a
      Mac using Front Row.
      • it took me 4 weeks to rip and back up

        it took me 4 weeks to rip and back up my dvd's i just did a few a day when i had the spare time.

        now i have a copy in mpg format to disk to watch on my hdtv and i have a copy burnt to dvd's. now when i buy a new dvd it's just a matter of ripping the 1 or 2 disk. in all it took all most 3tb to back it all up but it was well worth it.
        SO.CAL Guy
  • job is too big...

    to even attempt! i have however ripped all my CDs to apple lossless.
    • Job is not too big

      Nope, it's not too big a job. I just spent an hour chatting with Adrian and I'm posting a solution on how to do this fast.

      George Ou