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How I Get My DVDs Into Media Center

I have had a few questions about ripping DVD’s and the best format to use.  The answer to that question really depends on what you want as the end product.  For me, I wanted a copy of the movie that had the same visual and audio quality as if I were watching the movie directly from the DVD.  Also I wanted a process that was quick and easy.  The one drawback of my process is that it produces rather large files (about 4GB on average) because I do not re-encode the movie.  So with that caveat out of the way here is how I get one of my DVD’s into Media Center and my MediaBrowser library.

1) Rip the DVD with DVD Shrink 3.2

First I insert the DVD into my DVD drive.  Then I open DVD Shrink 3.2 and press the Open Disc button in the upper left.  The resulting dialog box already has my DVD Drive highlighted so I press “OK”.

DVDShrink 01

DVD Shrink then proceeds to analyze the DVD…

DVDShrink 02

… and the result looks like this:

DVDShrink 03

I only want the movie with the AC3 Dolby Digital audio track and nothing else so I choose the “Re-Author” option by pressing the button on the toolbar.  You then get the following screen with the main pieces separated out.

DVDShrink 04

Next just drag “Title 1” under main movie over to the left under DVD in the DVD Structure section.  To verify that you actually have the movie you can highlight Title 1 in the DVD Structure section and press the blue play button above the black box.  You should see something like this:

DVDShrink 05

Next click on the Compression Settings tab.  Here we can deselect all the audio and subtitle tracks that we do not want.  This avoids the end product having audio in a different language and also reduces file size by not keeping audio tracks that you do not need.  You should only have the AC3 5.1-ch English audio track selected like so:

DVDShrink 06

Before you actually kick of the DVD ripping process double check your settings under “Edit > Preferences”.  On the first tab you should have DVD-9 selected in the target DVD size drop down box and uncheck “Split VOB files into 1GB chunks” under the Output Files tab.

DVDShrink 07a DVDShrink 07b

Next click on the “Backup!” button in the toolbar.  Change your backup target to “Hard Disk Folder”, select an output folder (click on the folder icon for a suggestion) and uncheck the “Create VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS subfolders” option.  Then press OK and the Encoding dialog box will pop up.

DVDShrink 08 DVDShrink 09

Wait for the encoding to be done and the DVD is ripped to a single VOB with full DVD video quality and the AC3 5.1-ch sound.  You are done wit DVD Shrink.  The encoding time will depending on the hardware you are using and the system resources available at the time.  I was actually recording an HD show at the same time as ripping the DVD for this post.

2) Convert VOB to DVR-MS with VideoRedo

I chose early on in my Media Center journey to try and work with the native file formats as much as possible and bypass any on the fly transcoding.  The main reasons for this were ease of use for the family and consistency of experience (i.e. all my video files have the same FW/RW experience regardless if it’s ripped or recorded TV).

I use VideoRedo for the last step but I am sure there are other options.  This to me was the easiest.  Open VideoRedo and open the VOB file.

Then under the “Tools” menu choose “Quickstream Fix…”.  Change the “Output Stream” option to reflect the final directory and filename of the movie file.  In this case I want to put it in the movie folder of my home server so the “Output Stream” value is “\\server_name\movies\Memento\Memento.dvr-ms”.  Click on “Start Quick Fix”.  About 5-8 minutes later you are done.

VideoRedo 02

VideoRedo 03

3) Open up MediaBrowser and verify

Last thing I do is open up MediaBrowser and verify that the new movie was scanned and picked up.

MediaBrowser 01MediaBrowser 02

If you see any issues with the meta data that was automatically pulled by MediaBrowser you can use MetaBrowser to make corrections.

That’s it!  Any questions just shoot me an email or leave a comment.

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32 Responses

  1. I used to do that but then i discover makemkv and i never going back!
    Its much easier, it keeps all the audio streams and subtitle streams of the movie plus it just creates a single file which makes it easier to manage.

    And for us European users its now very easy to add external subtitles (.srt) on the file

  2. Only problem with that is that the end product is an MKV and I want a DVR-MS file that will play nicely with Media Center and my Extenders.

  3. Andres, thanx alot. i dont see an option to email u. is it possible tojust burn directly to dvr ms? do u use mymovies? can i have your email?

  4. @Hy – My email address is aechevarria@gmail.com

    Feel free to email me. I am actually doing a post on all the movie library choices this week.

    As far as direct to DVR-MS, I have never seen a solution that would allow that.

  5. Hi I like the post, will this work if I use a hard drive connected to the PS3 and I use it as a media center, I would like to have all my DVDs, in there

  6. Octavio,You cannot use the PS3 as a Media Center extender but you can use it as a way to centralize a lot of your media (aka "media center").If you have MKV's the best program to use to convert for PS3 is MKV2VOB.If you are ripping DVD's you can use the same process. Just convert the movie to an MPG instead of DVR-MS. Everything else would be the same.

  7. HiI just found your site and I am so glad, you apprear to be the evil genius I was looking for to help me with my dilema-about 4 months ago I built my first htpc and use it exclusivly for movies. I found mymovies and was going along happily putting movies into it either by first ripping it to disk with DVD shrink or ripit4me until I found out that my xbox 360 cannot use these files in extender mode. So now with almost 100 movies in my mymovies collection I feel stuck. How do I make these usable files? Can I use your outlined steps here but put the new file back into mymovies? So confused.

  8. @Anonymous – You should be able to pick up right after the DVD Shrink steps if you have the movies ripped as a single VOB. Can you past an example of what is in one of your movie folders?

  9. Is there a spot to get videoredo for free? All I'm finding on their website is a paid for version for either 50 or 80. And both seem to do way more than I have need for. Unwanted my media center to do just what you have depicted in this article.

  10. VideoRedo is a paid for piece of software and there is not legal way to get it for free. I am looking for free alternatives to share with the community.

  11. Ok so I gotta pay, that's cool. I got two more quick questions for ou and I'll leave you alone.1- do you prefer mymovies or mediabrowser?2- do you have a similar method to getting blu-Ray titles into your computer? If so do they play on your xbox360 too?Thanks for all your time-Dave

  12. Currently I prefer My Movies 3.0 but the next release of MediaBrowser has me very interested. One of the main reasons I moved away from MediaBrowser was stability. The next release scheduled for around Dec. 20 should help with that. They are working on a version that has a database but I am not sure if that will be in the next release. It's coming a long way and I will be reviewing the next release and comparing it to My Movies.

  13. I do not have a similar method for blu rays. I am in the market for a Blu Ray drive for my PC and I am currently researching this. Please keep the questions coming Dave!!

  14. So what do I need videoredo for with the release of "mencodeproper" if I'm reading and understanding all of it right this appears to do just what I'm looking for doesn't it? Secondly after the file becomes dvr-ms and is playable through extenders is the GUI on the extenders similar to on the computer? Ie meta data and cover art? Ps I tried to post this earlier but I must have done something wrong because it didn't show up, so inthe event this double posts, I'll apologize ahead of time. Thanks-

  15. Dave the only hitch with using MencoderProper-DVRMS Toolbox is that it does not work properly with VOB's for some reason. Really you only need the ToDVRMS application that comes with DVRMSToolbox. ToDVRMS.exe has been updated but I do not know if the VOB issue was ever fixed.

  16. Dave here again…. Ok so I'm using video redo now and it's amazing. So far in my trial runs I'm encountering some suspect things. I've done ten movies so far and 8 of them have given me some "red text" when I get to the completed screen the top line or two are almost always in red either tellig me there was an audio error or some video sync was removed. Is this usual?

  17. Dave – the red text is usual. Sometimes it has to do some corrections. You will not notice a difference in the final product. I also forgot to mention that I use VideoRedo to creat DVD's of recorded tv. I'll write a post on that soon.

  18. Hi Andres, I used your steps but ran into a problem when trying to view the movie on Xbox 360. When I try to watch the movie on Xbox 360 via My Movies 3.0 I click play and get a black screen for a couple of seconds and then a blue screen that says the movie title,Finished, and the options of Done, Restart, and Delete. Is the DVR-MS file corrupted because I can watch the movie on my pc with My Movies 3.0?

  19. There are a number of things to check here.1) What version of Windows are you using?2) Are any other movies working?3) Have you tried the file outside of MyMovies – meaning the Video Library section.You can also email me directly.

  20. I am using Windows Vista Home Premium. It's X-Men 2, first movie I have tried. Wanted to test one before I tried others. I tried Video's Library but the Xbox didn't see the file at all, maybe because it is a DVR-MS?

  21. Are you trying to watch the DVR-MS files through the Xbox Dashboard or are you using the Xbox as a Media Center extender?Email me directly: aechevarria@gmail.com

  22. Just emailed you.

  23. Andres, any way to add subtitles when using VideoRedo?

  24. Not that I know of. I still have not figured out a good way to get the subtitles in.

  25. Dave here again, last time we spoke you mentioned something about tvshows. Is there a was to use redo to remove commercials from tv shows that I have recorded and is there a way if I own a season of a show to make it so I only see the DVD cover art once in mymovies? I'm ok with my movies and tv shows being in the same location I just don't want to see the cover art for sons of anarchy 4 times (for example). Thanks again, as always,

  26. Dave – You can edit out commericials in VideoRedo. It has a built in commercial scanner but I usually do it manually.As far as the TV shows you can either set it up as a box set or add one dvd and then add each episode as a separate disc for that DVD.

  27. OK so the box set idea sounds nice, is this a function of my movies or redo…. Sorry I'm asking for you to hold my virtual hand walk me through all this but your really the most helpful person on the web for this sort of thing.

  28. Upon further review I figured out how to put the whole season of a show into one file with redo but then I cant choose what episode to watch. How do you do tvshows and can you run media browser and my movies in media center at the same time. I'm thinking use mb for tv and mm3 for movies. I understand you have been busy thanks in advance.

  29. Dave,You really need to do one episode at a time. I use MyMovies for my movie collection and MediaBrowser for TV. I think the easiest thing at this point will be to create a video. I will try to get one on the site tomorrow.- Andres

  30. Wow- that would be amazing. I am sorry you're still on this topic but I really apprietiate it!

  31. Hey it’s good to see you back up and running. They new site looks and feels great. I’m still struggeling with tv shows. Not stuff media center records just purchased seasons. If your still willing to post that video or step by step Instructions Im still really interested. Thanks in advance. Dave

  32. Dave,

    I actually started on the video and there was an error in the encoding and I lost it. I am definitely back and I will have the video up for you tomorrow. Hands down promise!!!

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