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The PS3 can be...

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a real bi*** when you want to copy your DVD collection onto an HDD. I have about 200 DVDs plus all Star Trek Series waiting to be pulled off the DVD and transformed into a PS3 readable format.

Although one might think that this is an easy task, I went from failure to failure in the last couple of weeks. I tested ~20 different programs, combining several video and audio codecs, only to see that almost all of them fail (or I am too dumb to succeed).

My objectives were:

1. PS3 readable
2. Small data footprint (aka "Please... no big files...")
3. Good quality

2 and 3 actually is a question of fine tuning. I don't want to have a 1 gig file for a 40 minute Star Trek Episode. 500 Mb is my limit. Normally, one would rip off the DVD the VOBs and encode them via a tool or another with DivX, xviD or whatever else codec to reduce the data footprint.

Actually point 1 is difficult and the number of discussion one might find if you google for it, is quite impressiv. While different video and audio codecs are available, they are not "mixable" as you want. I could not manage to mix a DivX video stream with an MP3 audio stream. While it play fine on my computer, the PS3 reports "Corrupted data" or "Incompatible data".

I messed around with the vobs but they are just too huge. The only "good" combination I have found is ht263 combined with AC3. Unfortunately, not very much software can combine it. Or they're not fast (waiting ~2 hours on a quad-core machine to ripp-encode an 1:30 h film isn't my idea of fast).

Finally, I stumbled onto CloneDVD mobile (by Slysoft) which combined all I need: PS3 readable without a glitch, fast (1h 30 to ripp-encode 1 film (1:23h in length) and 2 episodes (42 minutes long each)). That is the speed I wanted. I set the quality of video encoding to 18 (whatever that means) which results to a good quality (can't see the difference between DVD and encoded file).

The file size is 905 Mb for the 1:23h film and 459 Mb for the 42 minutes episodes.

And these files (in opposite to the files generated by much other software) does play without a glitch.

Ah yes, I combined Clone DVD mobile with AnyDVD (by Slysoft also) which removes copy protection from any DVD.

Another remark or two:

1. No, I won't hand you any of my encoded files if you ask for them. I encode them for my personal use; I don't spread them...

2. Please refer to your countries laws to know if you may or may not copy your DVDs (and bypass any copy protection). Don't do anything illegal.

Have fun,
Stefan
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