I’ve been working on setting up a Mac media system in my house, and no matter what I do, I just can’t make it work the way I want. The AppleTV is great, but I first have to rip things via Handbrake – which takes as long as the movie takes – and then I have to play with the settings until it’s perfect. It’s a good solution, but ultimately, I just want to put my DVD in the drive, and burn it to iTunes just like I did with my music library. For the immediate moment, that’s just not going to happen.
So I started trying out other options, and that’s when I found out about RipIt. It’s one of those cool little Mac apps that does exactly what it describes – it rips DVDs straight to your drive. They have a free trial version that allows you to rip 10 DVDs before it requires licensing, so I downloaded a trial and gave it a shot. But what makes RipIt so different from Handbrake or Toast?
The most obvious thing is the price. At $19.95, this is a lot cheaper than Toast. Although it doesn’t offer a lot of the flexibility of that program, it does burn your DVDs to your drive, which is ultimately, all I need. Secondly, these are straight DVD copies, not just video files like Handbrake produces. That means that you can burn all of those extra content DVDs included with most movies today, as well as TV show DVDs, something which I’ve always wanted to do, but never been able to using Handbrake.
But the best thing about this app is the speed. I ripped a copy of Zack & Miri Make a Porno in just under 15 minutes. Once it was done, I double-clicked the file and up came DVD player, where I could peruse the menu or do whatever I wanted. Ultimately, it’s like the DVD was in the drive, but without searching for the disc.
How does this fit into the home theatre picture? I’m running an AppleTV, so anything that’s in my iTunes library can stream into the box and onto the TV. That works out great, but I can’t put a RipIt file into iTunes, so how would you make that work? My answer – I think – is to buy a Mac Mini and use it for my new home theatre. That way, I can still watch movies from iTunes, but I can also watch DVDs ripped from RipIt, giving me flexibility as well. It’s not an ideal setup, but I think that for a Mac, it’s probably the best option out there right now.
If you have any other ideas, feel free to let me know. I’d love to learn more.
We’ve had a lot of success with a mac mini, handbrake, iflicks and a drobo (external hard drive array). Handbrake’s latest version rips versions (clear enough for a 37″ flatscreen yet still compatible with the iphone) faster than the running time of the movie (although nowhere near 15 minutes). We then take the files and run them through iFlicks (iflicksapp.com) which is a handy little program by a very active developer which takes your handbrake file, looks up the cast info and album art, and dumps everything into itunes in about 2 minutes.
Although using itunes as your media manager can be limiting, it does allow a single app (front row) to view movies and tv, a familiar app (itunes) for management and also allows really easy sharing between other computers or apple tvs that are on the same network. Its not super high-end, its not very customized, but it works really well, and we haven’t had any problems since it was set up.
You should encode the dvdmedia file as an mpeg4 file. The fastest is using the turbo.264. Alternatively, you can use Handbrake. Both have AppleTV settings.
I have a single disc Netflix account: as soon as a movie arrives, I rip it via RipIt to my 4tb Drobo which is connected to my Mac Mini which serves as my music and movie server. The disc gets sent back the next day, and in another day or two another arrives and the cycle continues. The Mini is hooked directly to my Sharp 65″ , 1080P LCD via a mini-display port to HDMI cable (a Toslink cable connects the MIni to my surround processor); and using the Apple DVD software, every one of those movies is available to be seen whenever I damn well please.
It’s a great setup; and will be hard to improve upon anytime soon. Any questions?
Not gonna lie, I’ve thought about doing the same thing with Netflix. Just haven’t gotten around to it.
The Toslink cable is something new to me, but after reading about it, I think that may be a cool option. I’ll try that out.
I use a program called makemkv (www.makemkv.com). It is a free program. It can rip most DVD and even Blu-ray discs. The gui is not quite as simple as Ripit. When you stick in a disc it will read it and then give you a choice as to which soundtracks (Dolby Digital 5.1, DD 2.0, etc), subtitles, etc you’d like to include in the .mkv file. Whereas with Ripit it’s click on one button and grad everything.
But, the good thing is that unlike Ripit, you can have the file only include the movie and not all the disk space eating extras. Most importantly, that once you have the movie as an .mkv file, you can view your movies with software called Plex/XBMC to have a beautiful interface to your movie library. You can control the interface on your couch. There in no need to double-click on a file from the Finder. Granted, you have to have your folder naming scheme that adheres to IMDB.com standards (e.g. movie name–>The Dark Night—–folder name—->The Dark Knight (2008)—–v
The Dark Knight.mkv
Here is what the Plex software looks like:
P.S. I also use Ripit when on occassion makemkv fails to rip a disc. Once I rip the disc with Ripit, I use makemkv to turn the video_ts folder into a .mkv file.
Downloading Plex as we speak. I’m sure I’ll have a review of it sometime next week.
Here is another video that shows off the Mediastream “skin” for Plex. The video refers to XBMC. But, Plex is a Mac-specific branch of XBMC. XBMC also runs on the mac. But, Plex ties into more Apple specific technologies (Core Audio/Core Video/Itunes-integration) whereas XBMC does not. Also, Plex has Hulu and Netflix streaming plug-ins.
On my old G5, I used MacTheRipper, but since getting my new Mac mini I’ve switched to RipIt! It’s perfect for time-shifting my Netflix rentals (I can mail back two discs at a time and watch the second movie while my discs are in transit) and for prepping for iTunes/iPhone.
I still use Handbrake for re-encoding movies/TV to be put on my iPhone, but I rip them with RipIT! first. It puts much less wear-and-tear on my DVD drive (far less spinning up/down) and it allows me to use the 64-bit version of Handbrake for even FASTER transcodes. (Handbrake uses VLC for it’s ripping engine and the 64-bit VLC isn’t out yet.)
I also am in the process of ripping all my home DVDs. I have a Mac Mini and have ordered a Drobo to store my DVDs, Music and Pics on. Everything will be attached to my Samsung Flat Screen when I am done for family viewing.
To rip I had been using (1) Ripit and (2) HandBrake to convert to a format so I could copy into iTunes. Worked fine, but it was a two step process. So, I broke down and purchased Wondershare’s DVD Ripper to due the same two step process in one step. So far this has worked great for me. However, I do plan on keeping (and paying for Ripit) and HandBrake as a backup in the event Mac The Ripper fails, I can always try the other two!
Daring Fireball has a code for 25% off RipIt
RipIt is great but personally I am a fan of the Mac Mini – Boxee/XMBC/Plex setup. The iPhone is the perfect remote for Boxee and the Touchpad app has replaced the keyboard and mouse on the coffee table.
Why Boxee (XMBC/Plex)? Living in Europe we ‘have to rely’ on grey import to stay updated with the latest US TV series and with built-in streaming for many platforms these ‘HTPC’ platforms feel like Apple TV or Front Row on crack. Not entirely perfect when it comes to cover art and iTunes library import but great when you keep all your media on a shared network drive.
And TOSLink should be a main component of every media setup, just don’t forget to set your Mac sound output to surround if your amplifier supports surround output.
The makers of RipIt have another product called Evom that converts standard video formats to an iTunes-friendly format. Right now, however, Evom DOESN’T work with RipIt files (go figure) although the developers say that will be addressed in an upcoming Evom release.
I used a Mac Mini for a media center with a Sony Bravia and it couldn’t have been any easier to set up. I haven’t yet needed to use either Boxee or Plex for browsing content, but access Netflix and Hulu via the Web browser.
I have used a lot of apps for ripping.
Primarily what I want is Rip a DVD, get it to a single M4V, then use Metax on it, and it becomes good to go with Itunes.
I liked Handbrake a lot, but lately a lot of DVDs are not getting ripped. using the 0.9.3 or 0.9.4., and thats when I read that Handbrake cannot Rip DVDs.
So ive been using RipIt ,, and its awesome, 15 mins for a DVD is really cool.
But now the problem is that, I still want them in the M4V, so I put them in Handbrake 0.9.3 and it rips them, but in some wrong way or something, and I cannot play the file. The 0.9.4 doesnt even take the RipIt rips ..
So im in a quandary and am looking for fix to convert my RipIt rips to M4V.
I use Ripit. I’ve tried other rippers but their format was never as simple as Ripit. Then I use Handbrake to encode the rips into .m4v files and plonk them in iTunes. I use another Little App Factory program called Rivet to stream all my iTunes content to my Xbox 360 then just sit on the couch and hey presto! One push of a button and I’m watching whatever I want.
I have a PC too but trying to get my Media Player to play ball with my 360 was a headache. Too temperamental. The Media Player only wanted to play Microsoft-friendly files and spazzed out at the .mkv, .m4v and even the .avi files.
The Little App Factory is awesome! Can’t wait for Evom to encode Ripit rips though. Have never been able to figure that one out.