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Looking for drive recommendations for ripping (1 Viewer)

Kent K H

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Hello, fellow enthusiasts. I have a huge physical movie library. However, they’re all currently in storage, because I moved in with my girlfriend and there’s no place to put them. As we look for a bigger place (which may take quite some time), I want to start ripping my collection onto a private Plex server, so I can watch back-ups. I need recommendations on a drive to rip them with.

The particulars:
I have a Mac desktop and a Mac laptop. They mostly have USB and USB C connections, respectively, that I would be plugging the drive into. Dongles are not a problem.

The collection is 4K, blu and DVD, with a decent chunk of multiregion discs, so the ability to switch regions is key.

Cost is something of a factor, but I already know I’m probably not getting out of this with something cut rate.

Also, I’d be happy to hear software recommendations.
 

JohnRice

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I don't know the current status of what we can and can't discuss regarding this topic is. @Sam Posten would you chime in to clarify what's permitted?
 

Todd Erwin

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We have a long thread already on this topic:

 

Josh Steinberg

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Hello, fellow enthusiasts. I have a huge physical movie library. However, they’re all currently in storage, because I moved in with my girlfriend and there’s no place to put them. As we look for a bigger place (which may take quite some time), I want to start ripping my collection onto a private Plex server, so I can watch back-ups. I need recommendations on a drive to rip them with.

The particulars:
I have a Mac desktop and a Mac laptop. They mostly have USB and USB C connections, respectively, that I would be plugging the drive into. Dongles are not a problem.

The collection is 4K, blu and DVD, with a decent chunk of multiregion discs, so the ability to switch regions is key.

Cost is something of a factor, but I already know I’m probably not getting out of this with something cut rate.

Also, I’d be happy to hear software recommendations.

Check out the thread Todd linked and post any questions there and we’ll be glad to help as we can.

P.S. for ripping discs only, the drive doesn’t need to be all region - the ripping software will work around region coding. You’d only need multiple regions capability if you were using the drive to watch the disc on the computer itself.

Wirecutter recommends an LG drive which runs about $100 - $130 depending on when and where you buy it. The pricing among the various brands isn’t much difference.

Storage is going to be your biggest cost by far. An uncompressed DVD rip is about 5-8gb each. An uncompressed BD rip is about 25-50gb. And uncompressed UHD rip is about 66-100gb each. All of that means you’re getting into terabytes of storage very quickly. You’ll spend almost nothing on the drive compared to the fortune you’ll spend on hard drives.

I don’t mean to sound discouraging - I’m glad I did it for myself. But just be warned, my collection of around a thousand DVD and BD discs took more than two years to rip and probably 100 terabytes of hard drive space to store. It’s not a project for the faint at heart :)
 

jcroy

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The collection is 4K, blu and DVD, with a decent chunk of multiregion discs, so the ability to switch regions is key.

Region is not an issue with 4Kbluray. It never had region coding to begin with.

For generic bluray, region is mostly software enforced via licensing. Unofficial bluray disc ripping programs will bypass it altogether.

In the case of dvd, region coding is not an issue for 99% of cases. The encryption on dvd is so weak that it can be trivially cracked by brute force within seconds by generic dvd ripping programs.
 

JohnRice

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Regarding region coding, my experience is as long as you don't play a disc in the ripping drive, which usually forces you to select a region for the drive, then you can rip anything and then play back the file. When the ripping drive isn't set for a region, it just treats everything like data.
 

jcroy

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Regarding region coding, my experience is as long as you don't play a disc in the ripping drive, which usually forces you to select a region for the drive, then you can rip anything and then play back the file. When the ripping drive isn't set for a region, it just treats everything like data.

It's actually somewhat more complicated than this. ;)

Though in practice with no region set, the drive functions more or less like reading a data disc AFTER the drive has already been authenticated by the dvd css algorithm. If the drive is not authenticated, then any encrypted *.vob files will return back a "read error" when accessed.
 

JohnRice

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It's actually somewhat more complicated than this. ;)

Though in practice with no region set, the drive functions more or less like reading a data disc AFTER the drive has already been authenticated by the dvd css algorithm. If the drive is not authenticated, then any encrypted *.vob files will return back a "read error" when accessed.
That post was carried over from another thread. It's been a long time since I did much ripping, but now I do recall that only certain ripping software worked this way. I do know that I can rip an other region DVD or BR using MakeMKV and a "neutral" ripping drive.

Once I found a solution, I just went with that. Like I said, it's been a long time, but I did recently rip a different region BR using this combination.
 

jcroy

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That post was carried over from another thread. It's been a long time since I did much ripping, but now I do recall that only certain ripping software worked this way. I do know that I can rip an other region DVD or BR using MakeMKV and a "neutral" ripping drive.

I use the older final version of DvdDecrypter to rip dvd discs into a giant 4 to 8.5 gigabytes sized iso file, where I don't turn on any features beyond copying the disc sectors without any decryption. Effectively running the ripping program in a "minimal" mode with no further processing.

When I want to watch a particular iso from a ripped dvd disc, I just used DvdDecrypter to extract the movie/episodes and cracking the encryption by brute force on the fly. (Makemkv will do the same thing in this manner from alreadty extracted undecrypted isos from dvd discs).

If I'm too lazy to do that, I can just drag-and-drop the undecrypted dvd iso into VLC where VLC will essentially do the on-the-fly brute force cracking of the encryption keys. (This doesn't work for undecrypted bluray disc isos on VLC).
 

jcroy

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... as long as you don't play a disc in the ripping drive, which usually forces you to select a region for the drive

The main reason why this happens, is that a computer dvd viewing program (such as powerdvd, vlc, mpc, etc ....) is usually programmed to do this deliberately when the region is not set on a dvd drive. If one reads through the open source code of vlc, one will eventually find a code segment which does exactly this.
 

Kent K H

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Check out the thread Todd linked and post any questions there and we’ll be glad to help as we can.

P.S. for ripping discs only, the drive doesn’t need to be all region - the ripping software will work around region coding. You’d only need multiple regions capability if you were using the drive to watch the disc on the computer itself.

Wirecutter recommends an LG drive which runs about $100 - $130 depending on when and where you buy it. The pricing among the various brands isn’t much difference.

Storage is going to be your biggest cost by far. An uncompressed DVD rip is about 5-8gb each. An uncompressed BD rip is about 25-50gb. And uncompressed UHD rip is about 66-100gb each. All of that means you’re getting into terabytes of storage very quickly. You’ll spend almost nothing on the drive compared to the fortune you’ll spend on hard drives.

I don’t mean to sound discouraging - I’m glad I did it for myself. But just be warned, my collection of around a thousand DVD and BD discs took more than two years to rip and probably 100 terabytes of hard drive space to store. It’s not a project for the faint at heart :)
I'm looking through it now. Finding out that I don't have to worry about region coding is a nice change. I'm not so worried about the storage at the moment. I may look into Handbrake, though. But the whole thing feels like it'll be worth it to me, even if it involves buying lots of virtual storage. I knew it was going to be a process going in. Still, given my investment in my collection, it feels worth it to have back-ups.

I'm also reading this thread regarding the software with interest. Thank you to everyone commenting.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Still, given my investment in my collection, it feels worth it to have back-ups.

That’s where I came down too. Plus, it really is wonderfully convenient once you start getting it running - being able to stream perfect quality copies of your stuff to any streaming box, computer or phone/tablet inside or outside the house, it’s great.
 

jcroy

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I'm also reading this thread regarding the software with interest. Thank you to everyone commenting.

For ripping programs, in practice there's only three left over which are actively maintained: makemkv, dvdfab, and anydvd. They're mostly point-and-click programs nowadays, where one doesn't really have to know much about what goes on "underneath the hood" of the engine.

If one doesn't want to pay the yearly subscription fees for these "grey market" rippng programs, the alternatives are much more technically complicated and a mine field in some cases. (Only the dvd ripping portion of makemkv is always free).
 

Alan_H

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Can't you just put your girlfriend in storage?

I mean, c'mon man, get your priorities straight!
 

John Knowles

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FWIW, here's what I have been doing for a while now.

After going through a couple of external/laptop USB BD drives, I sprung for the OWC Mercury Pro enclosure which came with an LG desktop drive installed. The enclosure is really solid and the drive is quite speedy at getting through discs (it's capable of ripping UHDs with a firmware flash but I haven't tried this myself). If I had it to do over again, I'd get this instead of the slightly cheaper portable drives which weren't as fast and had higher failure rates.

I use MakeMKV and have had good success with it. It's not the most polished app but it gets the job done.

I run a Plex server on a 2018 Mac mini with attached external USB HDs which is more than enough to handle my collection (around 800 movies with some TV shows). It's also quiet and doesn't consume a lot of power.

I don't store pure BD rips for the most part and have compressed them using some command line tools by Don Melton that use ffMPEG. If you're comfortable with some light Terminal work, I highly recommend it: https://github.com/donmelton/other_video_transcoding The results look very good and produce files that are between 4 and 8 GB per movie (h.264 or HEVC options). Otherwise Handbrake is a good way to go. Having said that, I recently got a larger OLED TV and may feel the need to re-rip my BDs to store uncompressed. Or at least on some titles. More hard drives!

This allows me to keep my discs in a closet and I've become quite spoiled having the collection so easily available on my streaming devices. It's a great setup but it takes a long time to set up if you have a lot of media.
 

Al.Anderson

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" ... If one doesn't want to pay the yearly subscription fees for these "grey market" ripping programs, ... "
DVDFab is a one-time purchase, there's not a yearly fee.

I think it's wasteful to not save compressed (CRF 20 for Bluray, 18 for DVD), so it's roughly 4-8G for a bluray and you can fit 125+ on a 1 TB drive.
I highly recommend using a 4 bay NAS for the drive failure flexibility (using RAID5); using four 4TB drives gives 12 TB of usable space and would allow for 1500+ movies.
 

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