How to Play your Ripped DVD vob Files in Vista Media Center
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Over the years I have amassed a large DVD collection of over 600 movies and trying to catalog them and store the cases has become quite a chore. I tried Excel spreadsheets and Access databases with varying degree’s of success. I can’t count how many times I bought a move at a store then got home and found out I already owned it.Then a few years ago, actually 5. I found a program called Movie Collector from Collectorz.com
I downloaded the trial program and within a week I purchased the Pro version, and have been using it ever since. It has a great many features including the option to export your movie list to your iPod – Boom no move duplicate purchases, More on this program later.
On to the DVD ripping.
One of the programs I use is DVD Decrypter. It will rip your DVD’s to your hard drive plain and simple. You can get it at Video help, along with some great tutorials. This program is free and simple to use and will output vob files to your choice of folders. Each movie needs its own folder.
Another great program I use is DVDfab Platinum from DVDfab.com it costs around $49.00 US but it’s well worth the price because of the many exporting options it has. I find that I use DVDfab more then DVD Decrypter because DVDfab will allow you the rip just the main movie, removing all the trailers and commentary that I never watch anyway, and saving a lot of space in the process. This program will also transcode your DVD’s to iPod, PSP,Zune, NDS, Xbox 360, PS3, format and others. They also have a free version here.
I rip all my movies to vob files and stop there. Now you can transcode the files if you wish to shrink the file sizes down to a more manageable level with Divx, Xvid , Handbreak along with DVDfab and many others. You can shrink movies sizes from 4 to 8 gigs down to as low as 500 megs if you like, but you will sacrifice quality doing so, not to mention the time it takes to run these programs if you don’t have extremely fast computer. But with the price of storage at an all time low, internal 500 gig hard drives are now under $100 US and 500 gig external drives around $125 US from Newegg why bother and I can fit about 135 movies on a 500 gig drive with out losing any quality and that’s important if you’re watching them on a large HD TV.
I use a Drobo unit with 4- 500 gig drives. The unit is expensive but you never have to worry about losing your data with this bad-boy, and its easily upgraded when you need to add more storage just pull one drive out and put in a larger one in, that’s it.
With the ripping out of the way. Back the the Movie Collector software. Adding movies to your collection is easy, just type in the name and the Movie Collector downloads all the info automatically including the covers, but if you have a Barcode scanner or buy one from them you just scan the barcode on the movie and don’t have to type in the name, then just tell the Movie Collector where on your drive the movie is located.
With the recent update to version 5.5 Movie Collector includes the great MC Organizer program from Brian Baskerville of mcezone.com. built right in, and allows you to view and play your Movie Collection in the Media Center software.
These programs have served me well over the past year and I highly recommend them. Best of all you can try them all for free before you have to shell out any money.
Are there are other programs out there that will do the job completely free sure, but when you find something that works great without a lot of fuss and have great support I don’t mind spending a few bucks.
So there you have it,
1) Rip you’re DVD’s to your hard drive,
2) Add the movie name to the Movie Collector and tell it where the files are located.
3) Fire up Media Center, go to the Program Library, Click the Movie Collector.
4) Choose your movie and click play on your remote.
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