DVD Backup

Well the world is moving on to Blu-ray and I’ll have to get one of these bad boys at some point (and replace my whole television too, the lovely 250kg monster that it is). In the meantime, backing up DVDs and so forth goes on. Here’s the workflow I use. Its a little old these days, but has proven reliable:

# “DVD Decrypter”:http://www.dvddecrypter.org.uk/ has since been discontinued, but there is still a mirro available. You set it to File mode to have it work with DVD Shrink
# “DVD Shrink”:http://dvdshrink.org. I’ve tried a bunch, but this freeware still seem to work the best. Basically, it reduces the files and leaves everything else the same. Run this in File mode to get the raw files
# “VOB2MPG”:http://www.videohelp.com/tools/VOB2MPG to take these files on your hard drive and convert them to a single gigantic MPG file. Or use “DVD Shrink”:http://www.videora.com/en-us/Converter/iPod/guide/dvd-to-ipod/ Leave the DVD in there and now rerun DVD Decrypter on the these files in IFO mode for it to work with iPhone or your computer. In IFO mode, make sure to check on Tools/Settings/File Splitting and set this to None and select the first stream. It does most decryption and then puts the VIDEO_TS files on your hard disk.
# “Videora”:http://videora.com works on the PC and it takes an unencrypted DVD files on your hard disk and converts them to iPod, iTouch or iPhone formats. You can also use this for PC viewing if you keep in mind the raw format of a DVD is 720x480i or in 4:3 mode what is called VGA X.264, so if you just compress to that, you’ll get about 700MB per hour for a high-def DVD. Or 350MB per hour for a lower def. So in Videola, for an iPhone, select the setting set H.264 480×320 768Kbps Stereo/128Kbps two pass. And for your computer, select H.264 VGA 1MBps/128Kbps.

The Good Death on Cold Case

I just loved this episode 23 of Cold Case. Called “The Good Death” it was to me really touching and as I’ve always loved the last sequences on Cold Case, the song “Good Day”:http://www.have-dog.com/coldcase/ was just terrific. “Paul Westerberg”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000002N59/havedogwilltr-20 sings it from track 11 of Eventually. For those of you who don’t know “Paul”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Westerberg was the lead for The Replacements, one of the best alternative bands of the 80s. Eventually by the way was his second solo album from 1996.

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Digital Videos from your library

King County Library System – eCollection – Home. How amazingly cool. King County now has a deal where you can download IMAX and other films onto your PC. Check them out and watch them. They also do classical music and books-on-tape as well.

These do use Windows encryption so they won’t work on your iPod 🙁 but will work on your PC or if you really need to you can buy a Creative M:Vision or other iPod clone that uses Windows Media formats.

Oggcodecs decodes Flac

illiminable Ogg Directshow Filters for Speex, Vorbis, Theora and FLAC. I use FLAC for lossless compression to archive music. Until now I’ve used winamp to playback FLAC files or dbPowerAmp to convert them back to WAV or MP3.

A strange thing is that Ogg has a set of DirectShow filters that will let any DirectShow capable player like Windows Media Player or BSPlayer playback not just Ogg formats like Vorbis, but also Flac. So, loading this gets rid of a reason to have winamp on my machine. Now I just need Musicmatch to do MP3 tagging and BSPlayer for Dvix and Xvid movie playback plus itunes for my ipods.

Interesting to note that FFDShow also claims to decode Flac as well in addition to a zillion other formats but I’ve not gotten that to work in either the 8-2004 buiild nor the latest 12-21-2005 build.

Graphedit to debug audio and video problems

REALtime FM MP3 Recordeing. When you load as many codecs as I do, it is often mysterious what is really going on, so there is a tool called graphedit from DirectX toolkit lets you find it.

You load the File Open and you can see what DirectX would actually load. You can load it from “digital-digest.com”:http://www.digital-digest.com/dvd/downloads/showsoftware_graphedit_141.html and learn more about it. A super useful tool.that “Chris”:http://msmvps.com/blogs/chrisl/archive/2004/11/13/18992.aspx has a good tutorial on.

AC3, H.264 and every other decoding

OK, if you need to decode AC3 and other contnet, you can either download specific codec from xVid or for Free-Codecs.com :: Download AC3 Filter 1.02a test8 : AC3 Filter is a DirectShow filter for AC3 decoding.

However, most folks will be happier with “FFDshow”:http://www.afterdawn.com/software/video_software/codecs_and_filters/ffdshow.cfm, this is a multiformat decoder includes video formats including Xvid, Dvix, WMV, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 as well as H.264
Also, for audio, it decodes AC3, DTS, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis. So, its a good choice for general decoding and it means that any DirectShow capable player can do this. In a real sense FFDShow is the universal deocder.

It is open source and actually uses less CPU power than Xvid and Dvix codecs as well.

RSS and BitTorrent

a little ludwig goes a long way: I need a meta-guide for TV. A great tutorial on how to stick bittorrent and RSS together to find things.

Its much better than using a search engine like “isohunt.com”:http://isohunt.com. “Pealco.net”:http://pealco.net/archives/2004/11/08/how_to_never_miss_an_episode_with_bittorrent_and_rss explains how you never have to miss another show with RSS feeds.

Basically, you use Azureus and there is an RSS Import plugin that you connect to “TVTorrents”:http://tvtoreents.net.