Newbie here with probably stupid questions lol :P

Hi all, longtime lurker, first time poster. :slight_smile:

As some of you may know, today Microsoft updated the 360 to allow for streaming of video from WinXP machines (running Windows Media Connect). I own many tv series on dvd and would like to copy them to my computer’s hard drive to have them available for streaming to my 360 when there’s nothing else on (and my wife’s sitting there with me, preventing me from actually playing a game on the 360 lol).

Anyhow, I’ve downloaded a few trial programs to convert my tv shows to .wmv files (which is apparently the only format compatible with the 360) with mixed results. The one that seemed to work best is called iSofter DVDPlatinum as far as the output quality goes, however the program didn’t seem to list all the titles and chapters of the dvd in the main window, leading me to believe I’d have to do each episode individually as opposed to doing the entire dvd at once. I also tried a program from Xilisoft that looked alot like another program I tried called something like ‘ImToo’? and while both programs gave me the option of converting all the episodes on the disk together, neither program ever outputted a file with any video in it (I just got a gray screen regardless of the video settings I used.)

Now on to my questions lol. Are there any good freeware converters to copy dvds into .wmv files? If not, what would be the software that you would recommend to do these conversions? I really don’t want to spend a lot of money on a conversion program considering that once I’ve got all my tv series dvds converted, I doubt I’d have much further use for the program in the future (with the obvious exception of when the tv series I collect release new dvds). I’ve spent most of today searching on google, reading tutorials, and trying to find anything I can on how to make this process as simple as possible, and if the iSofter program was able to extract all the episodes from a dvd in one shot, I wouldn’t even have to post here. I would’ve just bought that and would be ripping away right now, but I haven’t been able to get it to do that. The information about the additional titles/chapters simply does not show up in the main window, and if I hit the “dvd” button several times, it just keeps adding the same title and chapter over and over to the list. The other two programs just wouldn’t give me any video output at all, and I’ve given up on them in complete frustration.

Would it be easier for me to rip the dvds to my hard drive first, using something like dvd decrypter (not really needed, at least not for the dvd I’ve been testing with, Three’s Company Season One, as there’s no copy protection on the disc), and then use some other conversion program to convert the files from the hard drive, or is there some other utility out there, freeware or otherwise, that would give me the “batch” processing ability from the Xilisoft program, with the quality from the iSofter program?

Thanks in advance for any help on this subject, and I apologize for the length of my post, I tend to ramble when I get confused and want to make sure I’m getting my points across. lol. :slight_smile:

Thanks!
-George

Would it be easier for me to rip the dvds to my hard drive first, using something like dvd decrypter (not really needed, at least not for the dvd I’ve been testing with, Three’s Company Season One, as there’s no copy protection on the disc), and then use some other conversion program to convert the files from the hard drive, or is there some other utility out there, freeware or otherwise, that would give me the “batch” processing ability from the Xilisoft program, with the quality from the iSofter program?

I would rip the dvds to HD first. I use decrypter regardless of protection, it’s just a very good ripper. After you get the dvds on your HD, if you want individual episodes i would use this dvd shrink tutorial to do so. Mediacoder is a freeware program that you should be able to convert those episodes to wmvs. It does mention a batch mode too. I’ve only used it to convert flac files to mp3s.

Thanks for the tip. :slight_smile: That mediacoder program looks great, unfortunately it’s not working out for me. I keep getting “this program encountered an error and needs to shut down” whenever I try to encode the .vob files over to .wmv, regardless of what settings I’ve tried using. Thanks for trying to help though, I really do appreciate it. :slight_smile: I did try out another trial program last night called “Magic DVD Ripper” (used it directly on the DVD and not on the ripped .vob files), and while it worked, it took about an hour and forty five minutes to encode a 24 minute episode, and the quality was severely lacking. Oh well, one of these programs has got to give a good quality file with a reasonable encoding time, right? Well, if you can think of any other programs I should try, please give me a shout. :slight_smile:

Thanks again! :slight_smile:

-George

(edited for spelling error)

Just wanted to come in and say thanks again for the help. After lots of trial and error with many trial versions, I finally found one that suited my needs. I went ahead and purchased a copy of WinAVI today, and it does exactly what I needed, and it lets me select the .vob files directly off the dvd (at least on the Three’s Company discs that have no protection.) It’s not super fast, but it does allow me to select multiple files at once and I’m quite happy with the output quality when the video is streamed over to my tv through my 360. Thanks again, I really do appreciate your help. :slight_smile:

-George

Glad you found something to suit your needs. WinAVI is a great program and you will be happy with it.

if you do have copy protection problems, you could try Anydvd :wink: , problem solved.

at slysoft.com

Thanks again for all the help. Maybe you guys could help me understand something with the wmv files that are output by winavi.

I’ve made a few copies of the same episode now, trying to determine the best settings to use for file size vs picture quality, and one of the things I’ve tried is encoding using wmv 8 dvd quality video vs wmv 9 dvd quality video. When WinAVI encodes to wmv 8, a half hour episode of Three’s Company comes in at around 140 or so megabytes when set to 100% quality, and encodes rather quickly in comparison to when I encode in wmv 9 dvd quality, the same episode comes in at around 450 megabytes when set to 100% quality and the encoding process takes close to two hours (almost four times longer than encoding to wmv 8 format) for the exact same episode. All other settings are the same (‘keep original frame rate’ is checked regardless of which format I’m outputting, as is the ‘keep the original size’ box under ‘picture size’. The ‘audio sample rate’ is also kept at 44100 for both formats.) When I stream the videos to my tv through my 360, the colors are better on the file encoded using wmv9 format, a noticible difference if you keep switching back and forth between the two copies of the video, but not a huge difference. So my question is this, aside from the slightly better color data that seems available in wmv9 encoded files over wmv8 encoded files, what other advantages are there to encoding to wmv9 format to justify the files being over twice the size of wmv8 files? Is color data alone enough to do that? Or are there other benefits to the increased file size that I’m just not aware of (due to my own ignorance)? I just don’t get how a file can get to be over twice the size, take almost four times as long to encode, to only come out marginally better than what I would get with a wmv8 file, so I’m just trying to figure out what I’m missing here lol. :slight_smile:

Thanks!
-George