Newb questions galore

Hi all I have gotten interested again in backing up my movies. I’ve got a LG DVD combo drive single layer.

Just wondering, is there any good open-source video converters/rippers/burners?

I have about 20 movies that I did a few years back on DVD-R’s with… dvd shrink i beleive was the program. Forget what I burned them with though.
Maybe ripped them as ISO’s then burned it with alcohol or something… but anyway…

I have nero 7, and I swear it used to let me simply drag video clips (.avi’s) when making vcd/svcd and dvd videos, and if it was too “full” , it would say “do you want to resize video’s to fit to disc”. Well, now it doesn’t just tries to burn it and it fails of course.

So I would like to know if nero 7 has a way to auto resize to a smaller bitrate/quality etc. when dragging too many files on to a vcd, svcd or dvd video “job”.

I have several tv shows that are 175-200MB each, and would like to just drag a whole bunch to a vcd,svcd or dvd and fill it up for couch viewing goodness.

Which leads me to another question, how many minutes can each of those hold? or is it only limited by how good the quality of each show is?

Thanks for reading my post, sorry if it wasn’t as galore as you expected.

EDIT:: Uploaded picture of video stream info as reported by VLC media player. Looks like DivX or am I wrong? How would YOU burn that stream?

You can google and download gspot (free) to find out what kind of file it is for sure. I have never done it by just dragging and droping but there is a pretty simple way with nero and yes it will resize automatically. Open nero start smart and look for the “make your own dvd-video” icon, under the forth group of icons (make sure only dvd is selected at the very top of the window). You can either drag and drop on this window, or select the add video files option and go find them. You can literally just click next 3 times (close the tips popup windows) till you get to the burn screen, and you will have a working disk without changing anything, though you might want to change the titles etc. Most of the options (changing around the menu is about it) is pretty easy to figure out but post if you need help.

there are similar options for vcd and svcd but at the top of the nero start smart window, you will have to change it to cd for the options to show up. I cannot remember the details on these though as it has been quite some time since I have done it.

As far as how much you can fit, anywhere from 3-8 files of that size depending on the original files, using standard dvd quality. If you let it reduce quality, you can get more (quite a few more) but if you get to low of a bitrate, you might end up with something worse than your original file. I think that just takes a little trial and error to know how much you can pack on a disk (because it varies based on the quality of the original).

Thanks for the reply.

I’ve learned gspot is my friend, and have figured out how to do super long play for more video/disc, but if the average bitrate of the video I’m putting in is under 1000KB/s, does that mean that it will burn it at 1600KB/sec since that is the bitrate for super long play? Or can I lower that even further?

Going for quantity/disc not quality of disc.

Thanks again!

Thats as low as I can get nero to set the bitrate (if I try to set it lower it automatically sets it back up) so that would seem thats as far as nero can do it. The dvd standard will allow a bit rate as low as 300Kbps, so there are probably other programs that can go lower. I’m not sure which though.

If anyone has any ideas about which programs could burn at this low of bitrate, I’m all ears!

On a separate note, I am looking at a 70 dollar dvd player that has dvix and xvid support, which would let me burn a WHOLE lot more videos than I ever would be able to by re-encoding to dvd video at a low bitrate… I’m assuming.

Is this a correct observation?

I think its a substantially better solution. I have 3 multi format players (actually 2, ones broken). You can get substantially more content on a disk in other formats. Mpeg2 which is what dvd uses is a very old, low compression format. There are much better options out now. Do check out what formats the player can play as it can very quite a bit. If you are buying locally, you might even want to take some disks to the store and try them on the display. You can also look up info on a particular multi format player here.

I actually have a multi format player that has a usb port designed for a flash drive, but it is just as capable of reading from a usb hard drive (I think they use the same protocols).

I have gone one step further and am using an htpc, but that is a much more expensive solution. Now I am doing just the opposite (converting dvd movies to beter higher compression formats for the htpc).

HMMM, now you’ve got me confused ripit. What good would upping the bitrate do? It’s not gaining any detail!? Or is it?

I’m not trying to go to better quality, but rather to smaller size with no quality loss. Mpeg2 used in dvd video has pretty outdated and poor compression. I have been converting my dvd movies to nero digital which is an mpeg4 format. Nero claims that you can compress a dvd movie to about 20% of the size with no quality loss. Once I get a new video card with h.264 hardware support, I’m going to start converting my dvd movies to h.264, which is an even better mpeg4 format (the same used with blueray and hddvd) and in theory it should give even smaller file sizes with no loss of quality. Fyi, no I am not planning on convert dvd’s to HD, I’m planning on using the standard def level of h.264.

Oh ok, I get it now.

I use SUPER, the open source converter, and I see that you can select h264 for either the avi container or the mp4 container. WOuld there be a difference?

I would decide on what you are going to play it back on before you decide what kind of file type to use. If you are going the htpc route though, you should be able to play anything. If you are considering a stand alone dvd player that is a multi format player, its important to find what file types it will play first (and actually try a test disk befor converting a lot).
As far as the containers, I am quite far from being an expert (actually I know very little other than what I have learned doing a little conversion), but as I understand it, the avi container is older and more supported, but its not as well suited for h.264 and newer formats (may take more processing power if I understand right). Mp4 is a newer and more suitable container for h.264. I would use mp4. You can just google avi wiki or mp4 wiki to find out more details.

You know the more I think about it an HTPC is what I need. Sure it’s nice to burn a quick dvd to take to the cabin or a friends house, but most of my watching is done right at home.

With my newly discovered VLC player, I’ve been streaming wirelessly with the DIV3 codec set to 1000Kbps streaming video and 128K audio, which is roughly the same as the bitrate of the original file according to Gspot… I then set the cache to about 2 seconds and only rarely get hiccups (except when the microwave goes on).

Anyone do this? Just stream on demand?

The only disadvantage of an htpc is cost (its certainly more expensive for a computer than a dvd player). Beyond that its very nice to have, especially when you get it set up with a htpc front end program and a remote control.
I have just recently started streaming video from my htpc to the computer in the bedroom (and the tv that is hooked up to it). The video streams just fine, but I’m not quite happy with how you access files on the server from the remote computer. I’ll hae to play with it a little more. I assume that vlc just works over a regular home wireless network like nero does?

Yeah but it’s a lot of configuration and quite a big hassle. Not really what you’d call “on demand” if ya know what I mean.

I’ve been using orb ( to play stuff wirelessly now. Pretty easy program to use and you can stream your audio and video or whatever you want to anywhere you have an internet connection! (make sure your server has a decent upload speed though…)

Honestly I can say, you are right about the configuration, and getting various software and hardware to play nice can be a nightmare. ITs not for the light hearted, but once you get it setup (or even half ass setup and working), its the best. Advantage to an htpc, its SWEEEETT!!!, disadvantage, its a pain to get working, software and hardware conflicts or incompatibilities are galore, you gotta know computers or pay someone or get lucky (if you got the bucks, you can get lucky easy as the parts that work well cost). Honestly, I have 3 divx players (you can get a season of most shows on 1 dvd), and if I didn’t have a running htpc, I think I might add that to the mix (or just use that).