General Question

mattbrowne's avatar

How long does it take to convert a 500 DVD collection into H.264-based MP4 files?

Asked by mattbrowne (31648points) August 1st, 2009

Some years ago I converted all my audio CDs which I own legally into MP3 files because an external hard drive requires less space in my living room and I can search and pick music more easily and listen to the music in my car during my daily commutes. I’m thinking about doing the same with my DVD collection which I also own legally. I have no intention of sharing anything and therefore the effort is legal in my country. Again my shelves are getting crowded and a 500 gigabyte drive doesn’t cost much. But what about the effort of converting everything? How much time does it take? Will my 2006 PC running XP be up to the job?

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10 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

The good news is it only takes a few seconds to setup each DVD.

The bad news is it is going to take a few hours for each DVD and will beat your CPU when you do it. I would just try to do one at night and one every time you leave the computer for a while.

But you computer should be up to the task. But it might be a little slow.

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks, John. Can a new fast 2009 PC handle 1 DVD per hour? Should I will till 2010 or 2011? I mean just thinking of the electricity for the nightly conversion process. My PC was able to handle one audio CD per 3 minutes. So this job was doable. A DVD is just 7 times the size of a CD. So this huge difference is astounding.

jrpowell's avatar

Compressing video is a lot different. A good quad core machine should do one per hour. It is almost so fast the limitation is getting the info off the DVD. That is the bottleneck with new CPU’s. If it was me I would just try to get a few done per day.

rooeytoo's avatar

I usually do one a night, pop it in right before bedtime, shut down all apps except the one doing the work and then off to bed. That way it is finished in the morning when I am ready to use the puter again. If I try to do it during the day when I want to use the puter for other jobs as well, it is so slow, drives me crazy.

I also find it is good to restart in the morning after converting one, seems to pep everything up again.

whitenoise's avatar

Hi @mattbrowne, it depends to what quality you shoot for. If you use handbrake and aim for about 500MB per hour of movie, encoding on an apple 2 core 2.5Ghz takes about 455 of the playing time of the movie you rip.

When you rip (solely for your own use, I trust), you need to check first in your DVD application which title you need. Disney for instance will put up to a hundred titles on one DVD, that way hiding the real movie. Only one title will have all the scenes in the right order.

Handbrake is available both for windows and OSX and has a great number of presets, including those for ipods, PSP portable and others.

mattbrowne's avatar

Well, maybe I should wait then another year or two. Do you expect the video industry to offer mp4 in the future? I’ve noticed the audio industry occasionally offering collections as mp3 cds. Why not something like all TNG series as mp4 on two blu-ray disks? Instead of 7 times 7 dvds.

whitenoise's avatar

That depends on where you live. In the US, for instance, apple’s iTunes is already selling video .264s online.

I would feel somewhat disappointed to again have to pay for the titles that I own on DVD. Some of those I already bought twice: once on VHS and once on DVD.

jeffpetersen's avatar

The time it takes depends on your computer, and the compression used.

Here’s a nice guide to get you started. Try one to see how long it takes on your hardware, then you can extrapolate from there.

On my Core2Duo Macbook Pro, it takes about 1.5 to 2x the run time of the DVD, or you could say compression runs at 15–20 frames per second. This is using Handbrake with the Apple TV preset (x264 in m4v container) at ~75% quality setting. This produces a picture indistinguishable to DVD (to me) at about ¾ the size of the original DVD.

styfle's avatar

Your computer from 06 will probably stuggle so definitely do it overnight. There’s a new software out called badabing which puts most of the load on the GPU rather than CPU but you would obviously need a good video card. This way would allow you to still use your computer while ripping though.

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks everyone for the great advice!

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