Re-Encoding Your DVDs

Hate to break it to you, but based only on the two images you posted, there’s a lot of quality loss. Maybe you can’t see, then it’s ok, you won’t miss it either, but I can see it.

I pretty much watch all my moves/tv shows off my computer nowdays. Of course in the next few years BluRay players should come down in price and I’ll be a slave to the disc yet again.

I don’t like the lossiness; it’s easily visible, and I bought an HD TV so I could get the clearest picture possible.

The one thing I miss when watching transcoded videos is the concept of chapters or at minimum, decent fast-forward/rewind capabilities. Maybe I’m using the wrong players, but seeking through encoded video is not a seamless experience.


Which codec do you have installed on your HTPC to play back your H.264 files in Windows Media Center? ffdshow?

Also, what program are you using to do your video screen grabs?

So what you are really saying is that a Developer should only have 2 Cores at work, but 4 cores at home.

Yeah, ripping DVDs is basically the reason I just bought one of those new rev iMacs… that and teh nVidia board.

If you have access to the master discs of the movies, you can easily beat the DVD quality when encoding with H.264. Now that’d be geek nirvana.

And you don’t need to jump the horn about Handbrake. There are valid fair use possibilities, like transcoding your home videos.

I kind of wish that the compression weren’t lossy, though. I feel bad if I’m losing any kind of quality—it means I should have just stuck with the original source, especially at only 4.7 GiB (or less if you only want the main movie, with one audio track).

I guess Blu Ray is the best of both worlds then? Because it’s already H.264 encoded IIRC, so we’re not going to improve on that much, and of course it’s already at a delicious HD resolution. (Too bad portable players [understandably] don’t like to downscale… but we’ll get there eventually.)

“How is any of this violating the law?” - Aaron G

"Unfortunately, the software to do so isn’t legal to distribute in or import into the U.S., thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Section 1201 of the law bans software designed for “circumventing a technological measure”–in this case, the CSS, a copy-protection algorithm in commercial DVDs.

"That’s led to a bizarre legal result. Because of a twist in the law, the software to move DVDs onto a video iPod is illegal to sell but probably legal to use–if you can get it.

"“You’re permitted to do it, but nobody’s permitted to help you,” says Peter Jaszi, who teaches copyright law at American University in Washington D.C… “And you’re not permitted to help anyone else.” (Although, Jaszi cautions, that’s “not a perfect argument” because it relies on a legal theory that hasn’t been tested in the courts.)"

For those commenting on the legality of this, quite frankly, if you’re in the US, it’s illegal because it’s in violation of the DMCA, which prohibits the DeCSS portion of Handbrake to violate copy protection technology.

The reason why Handbrake is NOT is that it’s not produced or distributed by anybody in a country which has such silly laws (the main guys are in the Netherlands IIRC). Therefore, Handbrake is legal at the point of production and distribution.

Jeff, however, by downloading it and using it in the US, has violated the DMCA. Even better, he’s now publicly admitted it, and therefore the MPAA can sic their lawyers on him immediately.

Aside from that, great post! :slight_smile:

This sort of goes along with this topic, but if you are making backups of DVDs…so if it gets damaged you don’t have to buy it again, I have a little sister who destroyed a few copies of The Incredibles and Monsters Inc…how long do the backups actually last on the burnt disc? And is there a way to store the DVD in a compressed manner with the menu and all?

Knuth’s words obviously carry significant weight (despite the fact that he made directly contrary indications further on), and when I saw his statement I knew that you would feel vindicated (even though he is arguing against dual cores, which you are fanatical about), but let’s look a little closer – only on rare occasion does Knuth see any benefit from multiple cores.

Now open up your task manager and sit watching your processing time all day long. Guess what – the overwhelming percentage of time it’s going to be sitting using less than 1% of its power.

So therefore we should all downgrade – no need for multiple cores. No need for 3Ghz. A good Celeron 667 should be enough for anyone, because if it isn’t saturated all day long, what’s the point?

Ah, but look here – you made the point directly: One of the very rare things that actually needs more than yesteryear’s processor is very parallelizable, which is true for almost all intensive applications that actually require the power.

The PRO-IP act means there are going to be cops looking for exactly this as well, called United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representatives (USIPER).

The combination of Jeff’s earlier posts on building your own HTPC and now about re-encoding DVDs using MPEG4 with the H.264 codec leads me to believe that he’s going to soon have a large collection of movies ready to watch in his theater all via a remote.

I’m working on something very similar but will try to hack my AppleTV for the playback component instead of building another HTPC.

Jeff, let us know how it goes when the finished product is ready.

It is illegal to defeat any copy protection scheme for content that you do know own the rights to. Purchasing a DVD doesn’t give you that right, and backing it up is technically illegal. People used to say that theres no way that the RIAA / MPAA would ever go after someone for making a digital backup / copy of their own legally purchased music or movies, but they stopped saying that.
The RIAA has made the statement that people making a digital copy / backup of legally purchased content is still a pirated copy and they are actually actively prosecuting a man for his digital backups of legally purchased music right now, although he was file sharing, this is a seperate charge for his own digital copies of his own music.

So i’d say its a gray area indeed. Thank your senators for the DMCA!

(originally posted in the windows home server forums on MSDC)

I am not from the US, but isn’t any form of decryption to copy a DVD highly illegal in the US?

Would it be wise to post such information on your blog?! (namely publicly stating that you do said copying, and support it)…

Just dont want you to get a huge fine, I have seen news stories about how the DMCA has reacted in the past!

As to whether or not they are right/wrong, thats another debate!

Sadly, soon it will be faster to download the whole movie again than it is to encode it. There are no Moore’s Law for bandwith. Stream is the way to go.

At first, CSS is not an encryption scheme (as the name implies, it only scrambles to content, it doesn’t encrypt it), so whatever law states that breaking an encryption is illegal (does that law apply to the NSA, too? Last time I checked they do that on a regular basis), this law cannot apply to “breaking” CSS. Well, in court the actual outcome would probably depend on your lawyer’s abilities, so make sure, she’s any good… :wink:

At second, multi-cores are not overrated, they’re just under-used.

Beware, this post is encrypted with Double-ROT13, reading it might be illegal in your state. :slight_smile:

This falls under the “build it and they will come” category. Hardware always leads software and now that multi-core is becoming mainstream, sofware vendors will need to figure out a way to make use of all that extra horsepower. Those that can innovate on top of this new hardware paradigm will live to play another day. Those that can’t will perish or become freeware.

Intel and Microsoft recently funded research centers at UC Berkeley and UIUC to tackle the problem of software parallelization. Unfortunately most coders these days don’t know the difference between a SW thread and HW thread so any parallelization framework would need to be dead simple for the average joe coder to be able to use it.

“I think much of the current multicore hype is overrated” …

You can’t convince me there is no value in having 4 cores at roughly the same price as last year’s dual core. Despite what Don Knuth says about running multiple tasks, there are loads of processes that Windows Vista loads up just to boot the desktop. If there are more cores to handle the OS tasks then you have more CPU time to run your own tasks. And if you can’t think of a way to make use of the extra cores just download the FightAIDS@Home project from and put those extra cores to use for a good cause. Don Knuth also says the following: “Other people understand parallel machines much better than I do; programmers should listen to them, not me, for guidance on how to deal with simultaneity.” So even he admits he is not an authority on this subject.

I remember going to a WinHEC conference in 2003 or 2004 and Microsoft were touting some SW technology they were implementing at the time in the OS scheduler in order to reduce the hisses and pops one get while playing back media on Media Center. I think that project quietly died because they realized this problem is mostly solved by having more cores to run things on and intelligently using those cores to minimize interrupts of user tasks. Offloading to GPU/HW MPEG encoders etc also helps. This is my conjecture only but seems plausible.

Bottom line: 4 cores IS ACTUALLY better than 2 and not just because of simple arithmetic. In real world usage 4 cores is simply better and doesn’t cost much more. I would also argue quad-core is far more relevant to the desktop (vs. Server) user than 64-bit was. But AMD were able to milk that advantage over Intel for all it was worth in 2004. If I had been given the choice in 2004, I would rather have had a quad-core 32-bit CPU than a single core 64-bit CPU.

Jeff, if you want to pick on hardware excess, the multi-GPU market is far more wasteful of computing cycles than multi-CPU. You double your cost, your power consumption and the amount of expansion real-estate in your PC for maybe a 20% gain in 3D performance? Tell me how that’s a good trade off. Now if I could use my GPU to encode to DiVX … hmmm