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DVD Ripping, Linux-Style

Posted by anjilslaire on August 21, 2008

Yeah, I’m a slacker. been 2 weeks since last post. That’s a problem with Linux: Things don’t often break when you get it up  running 🙂

OK, today I’m going to give a rundown on how to rip & encode your precious DVD movie collection from the original disc to xvid format (.avi) which is playable and convenient to stream across your LAN to your display of choice, therefore removing the need to keep using (and potentially scratching) your discs.. In my case, that’s a TV with an XBMC-enabled xbox.

1. Ripping from the original media
Most DVDs are encrypted with some scheme to prevent your backing up of your own purchased media. Now, truth be told, the decrypting tools native to Linux are not on par with those available to Windows. Sony’s ARccOS protection is pretty crafty, and frankly does a rough job to the dvd standard spec. Luckily, there are relatively few discs with this garbage on them.

In many cases, the now-defunct DVDShrink works great to rip the vast majority of titles, and works perfectly under wine. Just install it, and set the Windows version to XP. I have mfc420.dll, quartz.dll & riched20.dll set to native/builtin. Yes, K9Copy in Linux does this, but I’m a fan of DVDShrink, and I know it has great quality. Your choice.

However, for more stubborn titles, DVDFAB HD Decrypter works great under wine as well, and is even ilsted as supported under Linux via wine by it’s developers. I run it under wine as Windows 2000 with mfc42.dll in the library as native.built-in

Use one of these 2 apps to rip the main movie only, including the single language track of your choice (English 5.1 personally) to your hard drive. DVDFAB does this with no compression, and you need to manually override it in Shrink, unless you’re looking to put it back on a single layer dvd. But that’s another post 🙂

After you have the decrypted files on your harddrive, (they are in a VIDEO_TS directory, comprised of several .VOBs, .BUPs, and IFOs), you’ll want to re-encode them into a cohesive single high quality file for playback. My preference is XVID, because its open source, and high great quality. For encoding, enter Acidrip. It’s in the Ubuntu repositories, and is simply a sudo apt-get install acidrip away.

Launch Acidrip, go to the Video tab, and configure it as follows:
Codec: lavc
Passes: 2
Options: vcodec=mpeg4:vhq:v4mv:vqmin=2

Now, the tricky part. Well, not really. You want the bits/Px to sit at .200, which the hint on this window tells you is a great ratio and the picture will be good. Not too high (wasteful) and not too low (blocky/pixelated). So, go to the Path window and point it at your source directory (where your .vob files are) and hit Load.
Change the bitrate until the bits/px reach .200, and it should change to a grey color. You may need to enable the Lock box to change the bits. On most movies, this ends up with a bitrate of 2067, or somewhere abouts. You can now save your settings, although I prefer to save it without the final destination listed in the Load field, as it changes depending on the film title.

Oh, enable Crop, and hit Detect. This will detect th formatting and avoid processing the blank black bard on a widescreen movie. Saves on quality, and video size. Why waste time & size on blank space?

OK, with all that set, flip over to the General tab, name the movie, and input the destination in th File name field. I prefer this:
/home/username/movies/%T. This puts them in my movies folder, with a filename the same as the Track Title. Handy, huh?

In Audio, I prefer the following:
Codec: mp3lame
Options: abr:br=128
Leave Gain a 0

I don’t include extra subtitle racks, so the rest is empty.

Whern you’re ready, click Start, and away it goes. On my Athlon 3200+ 2gigs ram, the average 2 hour movie takes a couple hours. YMMV. I suggest not doing anything else remotely intensive with the CPU in the meantime.

When it completes (remember, 2 Passes. It improves the quality), be sure to delete the original DVD files to save space, unless you want them for something else, or to burn a backup. I’ve discovered that most movies processed this way have a great picture (on a 31″ standard TV, as well as a monitor) and good sound (through a 100watt receiver) with a file size between 1.2 – 2 gig each.

When I’m done, I store them on a share on my server, and stream them to my XBMC systems connected to each TV in my house (living room and bedroom) It works awesome, and I never have to see the annoying spam & adverts on a movie, or search for my discs stored away in a box or a shelf somewhere.

Enjoy 🙂


Posted in dvd, kubuntu, linux, media, stuff, xbox | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Assassin’s Creed

Posted by anjilslaire on July 21, 2008

Yeah, I know I’m late to the party on this one. Just picked it up this weekend for $30. I must say, I’m impressed. I was a huge fan of Splinter Cell on Xbox, and this is beginning to get me excited as well.

If only I can get this Eavesdropping thing down….

I’ll give more details later if something truly cool pops up, but so far I’m loving th graphics & sound on the 360 version. I’m finding myself wishing it was on PSP, too. Weird that it has a DS version, but no PSP love 😦

Posted in gaming, xbox, xbox 360 | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

work-obsessed slacker = old-school gamer

Posted by anjilslaire on June 7, 2008

I realize I haven’t been active the last couple of weeks. Been bogged down at the office lately.

However, in the midst of that I have found myself playing old(er) games, rather than my shiny Falcon Elite. In fact, She has found me playing Neverwinter Nights natively on my linux box. I’d forgotten how much fun it was, and she was interested in it as well. I may have to pick up another copy to install on her Inspiron so we can play together. Of course, then I’d need to set up my own NWN server 😉

In other news, I’ve found myself playing old-school emulated games on one of my modded xboxes, notably MAME roms, but a few Sega Genesis games as well. My infatuation with Sega goes back to the 16bit era, having owned a Genesis (we played that thing constantly early in our marriage as cheap fun), SegaCD, then Saturn. She is still bitter about the Shining Force III disc ONE cliffhanger Fiasco, and refuses to play any other Shining Force games (except SF CD) until she can someday play the completed discs TWO and THREE. I may have to look into Saturn emulation again…

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Kubuntu On The Rainslick Precipice Of Darkness

Posted by anjilslaire on May 23, 2008

Yup, a new proprietary RPG released multiplatform. On Windows. On Mac. On Linux. Even on the Xbox 360. Demos available for all platforms
Tycho & Gabe, along with PlayGreenhouse, have released the 1st Episode of On The Rainslick Precipice Of Darkness. For those unfamiliar, you should spend some time reading Tycho’s editorials and Gabe’s comic strips. I love Penny Arcade, and read it every update (Mon/Wed/Fri). I personally find it hysterical myself.

I’ve tried the Linux demo, as well as the 360 version. They both play well, and capture the feel of PA perfectly. Surprisingly, it ran as flawlessly on my Kubuntu box as well as my 360, so I have no complaints. I feel the urge to pick this up for Linux to show my support. At $20 per episode, it seems reasonable. I hear each episode should provide between 8-12 hours of play. Not too shabby, I guess. I’m just excited they threw in a native client. There’s also a thread on the Ubuntu Forums.

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Lost in Oblivion

Posted by anjilslaire on April 22, 2008

So, I started playing Oblivion again this weekend, Sunday to be precise. I hadn’t played in a few months, it seems, as I’d gotten distracted and lost interested when I couldn’t find some I was supposed to. Whatever.
So, I loaded my last save, and with Her watching from the couch, I began wandering about until I stumbled upon some book that told me about some evil cult, etc, until I found myself running for my life and stumbling upon a new Oblivion Gate. Long story short, I’m back on track with the Main Quest, and have also joined the Fighter’s Guild, allowing my pathetic Gamerscore to bump up few more points. Of course, this took most of the afternoon and evening, wasting the majority of the day. It’s like a drug though. I keep thinking about what is going to happen next in th game. I was never this interested in Morrowind…

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Flashy Ninjas

Posted by anjilslaire on April 19, 2008

I’ve been playing N for quite some time, originally on Windows, and more recently on linux. It’s great fun, and has a really awesome physics engine. Also, the upcoming v1.5 will sport improved graphics and source code, so that’s really cool, too.

It’s recently been added to Xbox LIVE as well, and its the 1st title that’s sorely tempted me to to purchase. I may need to get a LIVE Points card to buy it (I’ll never give them my CC data. Sorry MS), cuz the demo is sweet, trust me. If you’re a graphics whore, you may want to pass.

Give it a whirl. Its free on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

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Spring Cleaning

Posted by anjilslaire on April 11, 2008

I realize I’ve been neglecting the page; work continues to monopolize a majority of my time, and I have an extraordinary commute to tend with as well (extraordinary meaning triple digits on the odometer daily, but I don’t complain. Much). But, I suppose it absorbs most of one’s time for most people.

Let’s see, in the past few weeks I’ve found a local LUG in my neck of the woods, and have been making posts on their forum, updated the cfw on my PSP (when will we get DivX out of the box?!? 3.90 m33 FTW btw), started prepping my kid to go to the People To People Word Leadership Forum this fall (5th graders meeting Congress…scary) and general domestic living.

I’ve also been neglecting my 360 as well. My 360voice account has been shaming me. To rectify this however, I logged on, and loaded up every 360 game I own and played a few minutes each to look impressive. That in itself is rather pathetic, but it’s the appearance of hardcore that is easy to maintain.

I’ve been meaning to play some Wesnoth recently as well, but I seem to get too distracted whenever i get a free moment on my PC. Seeing as I get distracted easily on the net, I’m surprised I have any readers at all. However, I did get a comment on the previous post, so I wanted to let Tom know I appreciate it and will be more dutiful going forward.

Oh! I’ve recently learned that Amazon’s online MP3 store now natively supports Linux, and they even have binaries for a few platforms, including a deb that works beautifully on Gutsy. Love that. Cheap MP3s, DRM-free on my Linux box. If people knew me offline, they’d find quite a bit of irony considering what I do professionally.

I’ve also been staring at a beat-up regular xbox with a bad dvd drive that I’ve had for months, just waiting to load XBMC on and placed on my network. The bad dvd drive is irrelevant when I put in a modest 40gig hard drive to load a few games, and stream my Xvids from my media server. It’ll be perfect as a 2nd box in the bedroom (streaming video in the bedroom baby!). Uh, sorry for that image.

On a vaguely similar note, I’ve switched the TV back to regular (non digital) cable from the Dish Network we’ve had for a few years. I’m intolerant of the weather taking my viewing away, primarily since I don’t watch much TV, so it had well better be there when I want it.

Well, that and the fact one of my receivers went bad, and it was going to cost me over $100 to fix it. Screw you, Mr. RadioShack sales guy in the mall. Also, with a plain coax feed I can more easily build A MythTV box. Homemade DVR without the DRM is where its at.

Well, it looks like I did have something to say, after all…

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Cogs and Devils

Posted by anjilslaire on February 22, 2008

So I’ve picked up Gears of War since last post, and I’ve been thoroughly immersed in it. It’s great: You can duck, cover, swat-turn, and a myriad of other evasive maneuvers with the flick of the control and ONE button press. Amazingly intuitive.

If you’re right-handed.

Sure, you can set the controller scheme up to lefty, but that switches the triggers and thumbsticks. The problem is, that puts movement and the almighty action button A on the same side. Try moving the right thumbstick and mashing A with any sense of dexterity. Doesn’t happen. Makes me stumble around the map like a fingerless, one-armed monkey. Just one more reason to postpone buying a Gold Live account, to prevent publicizing my lameness.

On the other end, I picked up Devil May Cry 4 last night for my better half. She tried the demo and was immediately hooked. You can imagine her disgust when she realized the demo had an artificial time-limit imposed. Its not that the demo includes a small portion of the game to play; no they limit you to 10 measly minutes to spend as you see fit. Pick your nose for 10 minutes without moving, the developers don’t care. Thats all you get.

So, I dutifully shuffled off to the local office of the lowest common denominator to take advantage of the massive think tank they employ to do their dark master’s retail bidding and get as cheap a copy as possible. No, I don’t want your Special Edition, thank you!

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chasing the score

Posted by anjilslaire on January 23, 2008

Been pretty busy at work lately. The Women-folk have been playing lots of Viva Pinata, and I must admit I’ve gotten quite the garden going myself. There is a certain satisfaction in setting paper-mache pseudo-moths on fire in order to transform them into a flammable mutation that has an inordinate resale value to boost one’s trove of Chocolate Coins. Ah, commerce….

I’ve also spent a bit of time playing Oblivion, but the townsfolk don’t ever seem to like me. Perhaps a bit of medieval ethnic cleansing would lighten their hearts. Of course, for some reason my wandering through the countryside isn’t doing anything for my gamerscore, either. Playing Demos doesn’t help it, either.

In other news, I’ve played a bit with the newly minted KDE4, all shiny and new. Much like Vista, I’m not sure I like the new feel. Time will tell.

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Posted by anjilslaire on January 10, 2008

My xbox has gone unused for several days now. Its voice is making a mockery of me. However, The Pinatas have arrived in the mail today, so I’m sure She will begin play again soon.

In other news, a recent blast of snow had kept me working from home an extra day, which makes me grateful that my management had seen fit to give me remote access to the corporate network. Makes me much more productive. Unless I pick up Gears of War…

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