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Old 05-26-2016, 10:54 AM   #1
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Movies on Hard Drive

I've been told that having a bunch of movies on a hard drive is a good way to handle entertainment on long trips. Anyone ever bought one of these pre-loaded massive hard drives with hundreds of movies? Any other ideas for getting a movie library together on the cheap?

Thanks!
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:15 AM   #2
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Netflix, Hula, Amazon and CBS all access all offer free one month memberships (good once a year). Local libraries all have 1000s of DVDs. With an inexpensive copying program (Tunebite) you can copy 1000 movies onto a one terabyte hard drive. Use a separate computer as the copying is done in real time.

Many inexpensive DVD players allow you to attach a hard drive and play the movie on your TV. The LG units accept wmv files. What files your player accepts is important because it varies by the DVD player.

Legality is another issue. If you want to rely on the time shifting argument as with a vcr you cannot distribute copies.

Have fun. It takes some experimenting to have the right settings.

Also if you do this for a large number of films I recommend a 2nd drive as a backup.
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:48 AM   #3
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In almost every anchorage on our way south movies have been "exchanged". Biggest maistake I made was not to have enough hard drive space. We are over 2tb now! Had to stop taking movies. We dont have all the streaming internet stuff in Central America.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:08 PM   #4
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We also have a couple of hard drives of movies and TV shows. When we bought out latest TV, we made sure that it could read and play movies via a USB flash drive so we could dump the DVD player. We transfer what we want to watch on to the flash drive and plug it in the back of the TV.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:26 PM   #5
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I've got a pretty good drill down now for getting DVDs into a library. Of course you should only do this where it's legal. Here are the steps. It does take a little work, but results in a library with full HD movies from BlueRay disks as well as DVDs, and full meta data and artwork for all the movies which makes browsing much easier. So the results are really good. I do all this on a Mac.

- Converting a DVD or BlueRay to an MKV file. I use MakeMKV to read the DVD or BlueRay and create a MKV file on the computer. The advantage of MakeMKV is that it can handle BlueRays which pretty much nothing else can.

- Convert the MKV file to an M4V file. The MKV file is just a raw extraction of the DVD/BlueRay. I then use Handbrake to convert the MKV files to M4V or MP4 files that can be played on a computer, and more importantly can be catalogued in iTunes and played by an AppleTV.

- Find and attach meta data and artwork to the file. I use Identify for this. It searches a number of online databases and finds all the meta data for the movies. Most of the time it finds the movies on its own, but sometimes you need to look up the ID number and tell it what it is. Once the movie is found, I find you need to check the artwork to be sure it has selected one that is in English or whatever language you prefer.

- Add the movie to your iTunes library. Simply drag the file to iTunes and it will copy over and load into your library. You can search based on any criteria, and movies get grouped by genre etc.

- If you want, you can play back directly from iTunes. We prefer to do so from an AppleTV connected to our big TV. The AppleTV can connect to your iTunes library on your computer, display your library, and play back any movie.

This process works for TV series too, and iTunes will group them all together by series, season, and episode so it's real easy to keep track of where you are.

Like I said earlier, there are a lot of steps, but the end results are really good, so at least for me it's worth it. The MakeMKV part of reading teh DVD/BlueRay goes fast, typically taking 15 min or so per disk. The slow part is the Handbrake conversion. To deal with that, I'll scan a bunch of DVDs, then set up a queue in Handbrake and just let it run overnight. In the AM it's all done, I run Identity, load them into iTunes, and it's done.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:33 PM   #6
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Read a book. Remember those? They kind of make a movie in your mind. Use a Kindle or an I pad etc. No storage space taken up on board. When in port you can go to see a movie.
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Old 05-26-2016, 12:52 PM   #7
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I rip movies I own and transfer them to my iPad using a product called Handbrake. A full length movie becomes about 1GB of storage and can be connected to a TV via an HDMI cable unless you want to watch it on a mobile device. It works well and it reliable - and is how I catch up while on flights.
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:14 PM   #8
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I very rarely watch a movie twice, so no need for permanent storage. Just rent a download (or free Amazon Prime) and watch whenever.
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Old 05-26-2016, 01:47 PM   #9
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I really like twistedtrees idea for putting movies you already own into your itunes library.

For movies we buy, we just get them through itunes, then view them using the apple TV on the boat. Right now we have over a hundred, and the library keeps growing.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:24 PM   #10
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The various streaming services (netflix, amazon, hulu, etc) are great, but require abundant internet. Once away from a marina with good internet, that's no longer an option, and is why we have built up our own library.
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Old 05-26-2016, 03:28 PM   #11
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One of the best things we've ever done is to digitize our movie library.

Use Handbrake or a similar program to rip your DVDs, and keep them on a USB hard drive. We have 3 WD Passport drives, each can hold a couple hundred movies, though none are full.

The next step, I highly suggest!!!. Get a $35 Raspberry Pi, $50 worth of external components, and build out a home theater pc. There are dozens of walkthroughs on the internet like this one. This gives you a very easy to use UI to allow you to manage, navigate, and select your movie. It's small enough to be portable, so we take it on vacation and hook it up to in-room televisions.

Also, most $100 LCD TVs that have an external brick power supply are actually running 12v inputs and either 5 or 3.3v internally, and they can easily be direct wired into your power supply. Just don't forget the fuse. It doesn't make any sense to me to go from 12v--> 110v --> 12v -->5/3.3v.
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Old 05-26-2016, 06:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
The various streaming services (netflix, amazon, hulu, etc) are great, but require abundant internet. Once away from a marina with good internet, that's no longer an option, and is why we have built up our own library.
Outside of the US, Canada and Australia getting local TV is difficult. Directv stops before the Exumas in the Bahamas.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:09 PM   #13
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Here's what we do:

I downloaded Handbrake (did not get any malware), Wondershare and WinX DVD Platinum. I tried them all and liked WinX DVD the best so I bought the full version for $39.95. I would say Wondershare is great too but when it came to speed the WinX DVD was a bit faster. For free Handbrake is really good but my time was worth more than the price.. We had lots of movies to rip to the hard drive so speed was critical...

So far Win X DVD Platinum has ripped every movie, including the tough Disney ones, and has done so with good speed. I can rip one about every 20-35 minutes but some movies are stubbon and take upwards of 45 minutes..

The hard drive:

Seeing as our boat quite often lacks cell range or wi-fi (even with boosters) we bought a Western Digital My Passport 2TB WiFi Hard Drive. There are other brands such as Lacie etc. but we wanted 2TB so the options in a wi-fi / wireless hard drive were a bit more limited at the time.

Some wireless hard drives are solid state drives but the GB sizes are limited. This is a spinning drive. The WD My Passport Wireless hard drive allows you to stream movies, video, photos etc. to multiple devices at one time. We can stream three different movies to three separate devices without any buffering or hiccups.. Pretty cool...

You simply load an app onto the iPad, tablet, phone computer etc., log onto the hard drives wi-fi network, open it, and begin streaming. The batteries last about 6 hours and it can be charged/run through a 12V USB charge adapter.

This has been a great fit for our charters/flights & travel with kids.. The nice thing is, in the evening, the kids can climb into their berth with the iPad, put on headphones and stream a movie while mom and dad sip cocktails in the cockpit..

Loading our entire DVD collection took time but now we have them all ready to travel anywhere all in about the size of a deck of cards..
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Old 05-27-2016, 07:11 AM   #14
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We still live in the dark ages: we just slip the individual DVDs into the sleeves of soft multi-section DVD (or CD) cases. I think we've got about 50-60 or so in a 6"Wx12"Hx3"D case... and it takes zero rip time.


And then we don't usually watch them.


Can't imagine watching a movie in our hotel room while on vacation...


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Old 05-27-2016, 10:32 AM   #15
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The only issue I've run into using programs like WinX, WonderShare, MDRP, etc is that they only work with regular DVDs, but not with BlueRays.

The only thing I've found that works with BlueRays is MakeMKV followed by a conversion with Handbrake. Has anyone else found another way to rip BlueRays?

And you gotta love hard drives. You can now get a 4TB drive in 2.5" size, USB powered, for somewhere under $200 - probably closer to $100. I think our library is pushing 700 or 800 movies now.

Also, having spent much of my career in the computer data storage industry, I highly, highly recommend making a periodic copy or other form of backup of that giant disk. It WILL fail. I guarantee it. And it would really suck to lose all those ripped DVDs.
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Old 05-27-2016, 10:09 PM   #16
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Can't imagine watching a movie in our hotel room while on vacation...


-Chris
Chris, either you're watching the wrong movies or you're vacationing in the wrong place! There's a time and a place for every combination!!
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Old 05-28-2016, 12:49 AM   #17
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I've been told that having a bunch of movies on a hard drive is a good way to handle entertainment on long trips. Anyone ever bought one of these pre-loaded massive hard drives with hundreds of movies? Any other ideas for getting a movie library together on the cheap?

Thanks!
I have a hard drive with 1000 or so movies and TV shows on it that I've collected. I clone it and put hard drives feeding media players at each TV. That way anybody in any room can watch what ever movie they like.

Kind of works like a poor mans Crestron or Kaleidescape.
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Old 05-28-2016, 04:13 AM   #18
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Can't imagine watching a movie in our hotel room while on vacation...


-Chris
Hotel room and vacation. Just as boat needs vary so do lifestyles. Those of us who are retired are not on vacation but just living our lives.

We spend four to five months at anchor on the boat without access to TV other than stored programs on our hard drive. When we are not on the boat we spend another month or two, usually in apartments or cottages, in countries without English language TV.

Watched a whole season of "The Good Wife" - 22? episodes at anchor in Martinique last year. Also knocked off 12 books while there. Had a weekly game of Mexican Train with friends, and at least a dozen cocktail/dinner parties. Basically we live a full life but there are times when the clock strikes 8pm/9pm that it is nice to turn on a mindless program and relax.
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Old 05-28-2016, 06:56 AM   #19
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If anybody wants to share movies I'd be happy to sent them a hard drive filled with my movies if they return it filled with theirs?
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:01 AM   #20
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If anybody wants to share movies I'd be happy to sent them a hard drive filled with my movies if they return it filled with theirs?
Even X Rated stuff??? Haha...
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