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Rip Movies to Watch on Xbox

Discussion in 'Xbox 360 - Modding & Hacking' started by ffejie, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. ffejie

    ffejie Member

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    Hey all, I'm looking for some general advice and maybe some specific help.

    I'm looking for a way to take all of my DVDs and put them on to my Xbox. I already have all of the hardware and I was looking for some additional software advice on how to proceed. Currently I have a QNAP TS-101 (highly recommended) and a Xbox 360. I have a bunch of shows that I put on the QNAP (which uses TwonkyMedia Server 4.3) and have linked my Xbox to the TwonkyMedia server. The files that I have on the Twonky are all in WMV and are all standard def (640x480) encoded at ~800 kbps. The files look good, but the source material (recorded off regular cable) wasn't great so I wasn't worried about quality.

    However, now, I'm looking to take my DVDs (especially my TV show DVDs) and turn them into data files for watching on the Xbox. I've got two concerns, size and quality. Certainly I'll have to balance both. I don't want to lose the HD quality of my DVDs while converting. Also, since I encoded a bunch of WMV last time, Xbox has enabled h.264 support and I was wondering if that was a better option. I prefer standard formats like h.264 when I can, just because I believe there is a future there and less lock in, as opposed to Microsoft's WMV.

    The last variable is that I have a Quad core CPU and really need to be taking advantage of it, so I want programs that have the options to use all 4 CPU cores.

    So finally, my questions:

    1. Which format should I be using? H.264 or WMV?
    2. What programs should I be using to rip from DVD and converting to whatever format I choose?
    3. Are there any guides that I should be checking out? Specifically about what encoding options I can use with Xbox, as I've found it pretty strict with what it offers.
    4. Are there are any good resources for Linux for all of this? I've been fooling around with Linux now and I greatly prefer CLI to GUI as it makes it easier to select features and run batch scripts.
    5. Am I completely insane?
     
  2. budro

    budro Regular member

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    well, you could use DVDFab to convert to mp4, then some other program to convert to wmv. acually, i think under the software section of this site, there's a new piece of software that'll do that for ya
     
  3. ffejie

    ffejie Member

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    Any advice about which format, encoding options?
     
  4. budro

    budro Regular member

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    no, sorry, I don't know a whole lot about this sort of thing.
     
  5. VidJunkie

    VidJunkie Member

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    Well AFAIK h.264 is the codec for HD content for the forseeable future. It has two main benefits. (1) It provides very good compression, which results in smaller file sizes (lower bit rates) than previous codecs, for the same video quality. (2) there are shareware tools, like x264, that make it available for DYI'ers on a budget. The drawbacks are that because it is an open codec (i.e., shareware is available), the "commercial" world is slow to embrace it and the encoding/decoding is very CPU intensive, compared to other video codecs. But these drawbacks are being quickly overcome.

    The decision to support h.264 in an .mp4 file is a good one for Xbox owners who want to play HD video content (files) through their Xbox, because it gives them more flexibility than being locked into just WMV with VC-1. However, actually getting video encoded as h.264 in an .mp4 file is a bit of a challange for the moment, unless you want to download it from the newsgroups and let someone else do the hard part. But there are guides and new tools available to help anyone who wants to tackle it themselves. Right now the majority of available h.264 content is in .mkv (Matroska) files, again because there are shareware tools available for DYI'ers. So I believe that converting .mkv files to .mp4 files (without re-encoding) would be a good topic for a guide.

    I've only been messing around with HD digital video for about six months, and one thing I have learned so far is that there are MANY codecs, splitters, muxers, and various other tools out there. Both shareware and low cost but figuring out exactly which ones to use, and in what order is the real challenge. So good luck with whatever method you choose, and if you have any major breakthroughs post it back here so we all may learn.

    Cheers!
     
  6. VidJunkie

    VidJunkie Member

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    After doing a little more research I have located some more information on this subject. The Xbox 360 always accepted .wmv files, but it will now accept .mp4 files that contain H.264 video and 2 channel LC AAC audio. (AAC is the only audio format supported for .mp4 files, but the .mkv container offers support for several other audio formats the most common being AC3; this is another reason for its popularity.)

    Most of the mux, demux, and converter GUIs that are available are basically "front-ends" for the various tools that only provide a command line interface. The GUI collects information from the user and then operates the tool in the background with a script. If you are more comfortable with the CLI, just skip the GUI and use the tool directly. Although, one handy feature of the GUIs is that they will usually show you the script they generate, and some allow you to edit it. This can be useful for learning the various CLI options. I can't offer any help related to LINUX.

    If you are starting with a DVD, then read this guide, http://www.digital-digest.com/articles/Xbox_360_H.264_Conversion_Guide_page1.html

    If you are starting with an .mkv file, MKVExtractGUI will demux it into an .h264 video file and an .ac3 audio file.

    This guide, http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/belight-ac3toaac.htm, covers converting the AC3 audio to AAC audio (note that for Xbox compatibility you need 2 channel LC AAC).

    This guide, http://www.doom9.org/index.html?/mp4.htm covers muxing the separate audio and video files into an .mp4 file.

    When you have successfully completed these steps you should have a file that may be played on the Xbox 360. There are certainly other ways to accomplish the same goals, using various combinations of tools.

    B.T.W. you should be to burn these files to DVD5 or DVD9 as a data disk, using the DVD-ROM option with UFD formatting, (Nero Burning ROM has a UFD "Xbox compatibility mode" setting but I have no idea what it does). I know this works with .wmv files, but I have not yet tried it with an .mp4 file.

    Good luck!
     

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