Advice on digital entertainment solution

Hi, I’m a newbie to this forum and don’t know where to ask, so please forgive me if I’ve posted in the wrong forum :o

Here is my problem: my 2-year-old son likes to mess around with the DVDs we bought for him and it wouldn’t be hard to figure out what would happen when the DVDs got scratches all over them. My DVD player has been used for several years and wouldn’t play some of the DVDs sometimes (partly due to those faulty discs and partly hardware problem I guess) So instead of purchasing another DVD player/recorder and a bunch of the same DVDs, I’d like to preserve the original copies and perhaps make copies into a harddisk based media player so that I won’t need to worry about my son damaging the discs while he can continue to enjoy watching his favorite shows… :wink:

I have a home network setup and I’m thinking of getting one of those media players with built-in harddisk and network connection, so that I could convert DVDs to some digital formats and transfer them onto the player for viewing; so my questions are:

  1. Any recommendation on which player to get? What should I look for when choosing one?

  2. Which file format is best to preserve the original content in the DVDs (video quality, menus, subtitles, audio channels etc.)? Which is the smallest in file size?

  3. What software do I need to do the conversion? What are the minimum requirements to run those?

Thank you all!!:bow:

Start with second question. DVD is Mpeg2 file format, if you want smallest size you will have to convert to DivX (mpeg4).
Than you have to be sure the player/recorder you choose, can play that format.
All the conversion and ripping will have to be done on your computer and transferred to the player.
For that look at the recorder which will have a Firewire/iLink (IEEE 1394) input.
There are many rippers and converters on the web, some free, some for a price, you just have to do some search and decide which way you want to go.
Other way to go, if you have a home network through your computer, to buy an external hard drive and store all the files there.

Thanks for the reply, CDuncle! I do have a NAS at home so I guess I could store the media files there. But wouldn’t it be slow when streaming full screen DVD quality files across network? I guess it’d be better off copying them into the player itself and play it from there…

BTW, how would the DivX quality as compared with Mpeg2? Could I still keep all the things like DVD menu, subtitles and audio channels selection stuff? Or do I need to pick one when during the conversion?

Thanks again!!

I did not think your TV is on network. What I thought that you play TV through your computer(as monitor)
DivX quality is same as DVD, it is just a better compressor.
As for menu, I am not sure, because I did not use any mpeg4 converting software, but if it will let you convert whole DVD or VIDEO_TS folder, than it will be exact copy.