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  • DIY Media centre experts….
  • Premier Icon monkey_boy
    Free Member

    What the simplest way of setting up a PC so you can copy ‘originally purchased’ DVD’s onto the hard drive and watch them through the TV?

    My mate who has 3 kids and is on a tight budget has a 6 year old PC with Windows XP on, his tv is 7 years old but has an HDMI output. (basically wants to copy battered kids dvd films onto hard drive)

    Would I be correct in saying…

    1 – Stick an HDMI card into the PC – connect to TV

    2 – Buy a wireless keyboard with built in mouse , stick the USB dongle thingy into the PC?

    3 – Stick one of his kids DVD’s into the drive, copy it to the hard drive, double click and watch it via media player? (is it that simple?) I’m guessing not and specialist software is needed to convert? It would be nice to have a set-up similar to itunes where you have the cover of the film and can search through each one?

    or get him to save up and just get something like this..



    Premier Icon DrP
    Full Member

    It’s not that simple.
    DVDs are about 6gig, and the DVD file is not really a watchable format.
    It needs to be:
    -copied as a BIG file onto the PC.
    -converted into a smaller, watchable file.

    There’s lots of posts on here about that (It’s called ‘ripping’), and they have some links to necessary software.


    Premier Icon mynamesnotbob
    Free Member

    It’s almost that simple.

    You can convert media to a new container without needing to encode – check out makeMKV (this is free). This gets the media on the machine.

    Then use Plex as the media player to play the MKV once they are ont eh machine. Plex is a great media manager and is far better than itunes (you get the covers, plot summary etc that you can browse through).

    Pretty simple really – storage will be an issue but it sounds like it’s only a few movies.

    All free software. Look on for guides

    Premier Icon sharkbait
    Free Member

    One option is to:
    1) Download Handbrake and rip DVDs to PC – should come out at about 1gb each

    2) Buy a Raspberry Pi (£about £35) and a SD card (price depends on size)

    3) Download and install Raspbmc on the SD card (so you’ll need a sd card reader) – this is free and takes about 2 mouse clicks

    4) Plug Raspberry Pi into TV with ripped DVDs on either a USB stick or the SD card.

    Works great, is cheap and the kids can’t really break it.

    Edit: ^^ Plex is great but the above method does mean a PC is involved in the playback which can get messed up by fiddling kids

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    You’ve also got the issue of pretty much all commercial DVDs being copy protected, though there’s various software to deal with that.

    TBH though, you can pick up a DVD player for not much more than the price of the cable these days. I’m not sure what you’d be gaining with a PC-based solution other than complexity. You’ve got something more kid-proof I suppose, but I’d be inclined to say “if you break it you can’t watch your films any more.” Good way of teaching them to respect / value stuff.

    Premier Icon tree-magnet
    Free Member

    but I’d be inclined to say “if you break it you can’t watch your films any more.” Good way of teaching them to respect / value stuff.

    This. My 4 year old handles his spiderman and pixar DVDs with more care than I do with vinyl after losing a Wall-e DVD to scratches. After a night of playing PS3 games he came and got me out of bed at 6am to inform me that I’d left some of them out on the side and I needed to come and put them away less they get scratched.

    Premier Icon monkey_boy
    Free Member

    cheers all,

    food for thought.


    Premier Icon dirtyp
    Free Member

    You may need to use DVD decryt tool to convert files from DVD into watchable file like mp4 or avi, etc,then play them on your TV.
    Avoiding the copyright issues from a technical viewpoint it’s really easy. Along with the ones others have mentioned here are two more x264 interfaces that I have used with good results.
    HandBrake or AppGeeker
    Source: rip DVD files to .mp4 – The tool can also convert dvd movie files to other file extension.
    I use them when I have a large number of files to convert.

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