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Media Hardware

Good Disk Library Solutions? 371

First time submitter fikx writes "How do Slashdotters manage large collections of disks? I'm hoping for a way to manage a large collection of movies that would give me menu type access to the content, and the only consumer device left seems to be the Sony disk changer, which is discontinued. I would have thought that handling disks would have been a solved problem and on sale in many forms, but I guess not. Have Slashdotters found or built solutions? Or has this problem gone the way of the typewriter?"
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Good Disk Library Solutions?

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  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <> on Sunday November 27, 2011 @03:34PM (#38183376) Homepage
    ... is to rip everything to a large hard disk and set up some sort of media center.
  • Yes, typewriter (Score:4, Informative)

    by somersault ( 912633 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @03:34PM (#38183380) Homepage Journal

    Rip discs. Use media center application.

  • Kaleidescape (Score:5, Informative)

    by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @03:42PM (#38183436)

    How big is your budget? [] []

    Beautiful stuff. Flawless operation. Drains your bank account.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 27, 2011 @03:44PM (#38183450)

    Handbrake takes care of DRM for DVDs. For Blu-Ray use MakeMKV to extract the disc from DRM, then Handbrake to bring the file size down to 5 to 10 GB depending on the quality you want.

    I'm amazed anyone DOESN'T rip their discs. Who wants to be forced to wade through stupid menus and messages that you can't skip?

  • In March of 2011 I bought an HP desktop that has a media center remote. (It also has a TV tuner, BluRay, and HDMI.)

    I installed XMBC, which supports the remote. It provides a great menu to navigate EVERYTHING, isos, avis, mkvs, mp3s, aacs, flacs, and some of those other whacky DVD rip formats.

    The only problem is that my hard drive with about 500 gigs of DVD rips crashed! Just make sure to back up everything on a regular basis!

  • by D4C5CE ( 578304 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @03:50PM (#38183522) [] with Windows disk database, stackable with USB through ports.
    Robot arm optional by DIY ;-) if you take a unit without internal drive (which reduces capacity by 50 disks).
  • by Venner ( 59051 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @04:18PM (#38183694)

    I wanted a home theater PC with instant-access to all of my films. My solution was as follows:

    (a) Rip all discs to hard drive,
    (b) Index and link to files with software solution

    In detail:
    (a) I chose to go with MakeMKV for most of my ripping. It rips the mpeg2/4 video directly to an mkv file, without reencoding, and you can choose all the tracks you want to go with it. (I.e., some titles I rip multiple audio streams and subtitles, some I take just English 2.0). For me, I just ripped the main title from each film; if I want to see the special features later, I'll take the box down off the shelf and pop the disk in. (Special features don't really matter to me that much.) Each rip averages 3 to 6Gb. Now MKV, while a great file format, isn't compatible with some (especially older) consumer electronics. You can always re-encode, if you really need to make a particular title portable. And for my Blu Ray / HD-DVD titles, I re-encoded anyway. I found a 1080P 6Gb-target-size h.264 two-pass re-encode to be indistinguishable on my 52" TV from the original. In fact, it's probably quite a bit of overkill.

      For storage, I have a couple of 3Tb drives in an external enclosure, with a duplicate unit for backup. (Got them for a song before the manic price gouging going on now started!.) So far, it's holding over 500 titles and several TV series, and plenty of room to grow. And I can always increase capacity.

    (b) For keeping track of everything, I eventually went with Movie Collector. I've tried many solutions, both free and payware, and Movie Collector was the one that fit my needs the best. (There is a lot of good software out there -- look around!) As I ripped my collection in my spare time, I simply scanned in the UPC on the back of each film using an old CueCat barcode scanner. The software then populates all of the data for the film. Once the film was ripped, I simply linked the title in Movie Collector to the video file on the hard drives. Now I can visually browse my entire collection and watch any title at the click of a mouse. And it's nice to be able to go, "Hey, how many Humphrey Bogart movies do I own?" and find out with a simple filter.

    What worked for me might or might not fit your needs, but hopefully it gives you ideas.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @04:24PM (#38183724) Homepage

    He's asking for more than just a decrypted copy of a DVD.

    He wants the same thing that is commonplace and expected for a music CD: something that detects all the tracks and matches them up to content titles. Clearly he wants something that can sort out a pile of Buffy DVDs, correctly label season, episode and title names and possibly fetch extra metadata.

    A simple ripper doesn't do that.

    Besides Kaledescape, I am not aware of anything that does.

  • by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @04:34PM (#38183790)
    Rip it, store it on a network storage system that XBMC can access (there are many []), and stream it to your display device. There are many thin-clients you can use as an XBMC box. I personally use an old Acer Aspire Revo (which have since been discontinued). Probably the cheapest device you can use as an XBMC box that's currently available and doesn't look hideous is the Apple TV 2. For $99 with a remote that works out-of-box, you can't really beat that (granted, it can only output up to 720p).
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @04:40PM (#38183824)
    Hard drive solutions are all well and good. But if you are using discrete disks (CD, DVD) for storage, then I highly recommend Discgear Selector [] products. While not automatic like a disk changer, finding and getting a disk out is as simple as sliding a knob and lifting the lid. I have several of the larger models.

    And you can use the included software to maintain your library index, and print index labels for the containers.
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @04:44PM (#38183848) Homepage

    Anything that Handbrake can't handle, AnyDVD will.

    There are really very few DVDs that you will need to use AnyDVD for. There have been a few failed attempts at extra copy protection on DVDs. However, for the most part it's mainly Disney disks that will give you trouble.

    The vast majority of DVDs won't give you trouble.

    However, since you're going to need AnyDVD for BluRays anyways you've got that as a backup option.

    +...yeah. It's easier to pirate than use modern video media to it's full potential.

  • by izomiac ( 815208 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @05:50PM (#38184294) Homepage
    Umm... with computers it does, as they were named by their creators. IBM called them hard disks, so everyone uses that terminology, including the British. Similarly, Philips (Dutch) and Sony (Japanese) called their products compact discs. Before that, the BBC used the different spellings to refer to different types of audio media, so it appears the two terms were always subtly different words rather than just a difference in the spelling of the same word.

    First four hits on Google:
    What's the difference between a "disc" and a "disk?" []
    Grammar Girl : Disc or Disk? :: Quick and Dirty Tips []
    Spelling of disc - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia []
    disc/disk [] (From the book: Common Errors in English Usage)

    And if that isn't enough, skim the article comments. It seems ~90% of slashdotters are using the spellings in this manner.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 27, 2011 @05:58PM (#38184350)

    Is there a good option (for mac preferably) that will rip a DVD after looking it up in some database (like CDDB) to get the names and indexing information correct. Ripping is easy enough, but I'm tired of choosing all the chapters for each episode when ripping season 3 of whatever. The last time I let RipIt have a go at a DVD I ended up with Battlestar Galactica disc 2 starting half way through the third episode.

    For the Mac, I use MetaX can write tags to ripped movie files, which gets data from But it's user-contributed data, so duplicates, errors and typos can creep in.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @06:13PM (#38184450) Journal

    Give it to XBMC, then point it to and Name the files correctly, "Farscape 1x2" for example, and let the magic of the media center software do the rest.

  • by thesh0ck ( 1983948 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @07:15PM (#38184886)
    He wasnt saying the law wasnt black and white. He said that peaople see the law in shades of grey and they do.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @08:55PM (#38185542)

    That only applies to copy protection and CSS isn't copy protection.Moreover it only applies to effective copy protection

    It most certainly is copy protection. And why would you think the DMCA only applies to "effective" protection? I know of no such distinction in the law. You'd be surprised how many times the DMCA has been invoked during lawsuits: printer cartridges, garage-door remotes ... even data streams that were not by any stretch of the imagination "encrypted" have still fallen under the DMCA.

    Regardless, you could take your data, XOR each byte with 0xFF, call it copy protection, and anyone that tries to recover your data by flipping the bits back is in violation of the relevant DMCA provisions. Period.

    and CSS definitely isn't effective at controlling copies by any definition one might want to apply.

    Sure it is. It's extremely effective. The reality is the bulk of people who buy DVDs will never bother to make a copy, and for those that do, CSS stops them in their tracks. Sure, it's not effective at controlling decrypted copies disseminated via the Internet, but that was never the purpose of CSS. It's intent was to raise the bar sufficiently that only the most knowledgeable individuals would be able to make physical copies, to make it too inconvenient for Joe Average. And you know what? That's still true today.

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @08:56PM (#38185554)

    That law isn't kicking in until you give those files (or discs) to someone else.

    However, I don't blame you for not wanting to be seen downloading the tools to do it.

    You have the legal right to make copies for personal use, but the media companies got around that by making the requisite software illegal. Your basic Catch 22.

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.