I’ve finally found a good way to rip DVDs to WMVs for Portable Media Center… thanks to Jake Ludington…

As a few folks already know, I like portable media devices… and I have a couple myself (I had the Samsung, it got smashed… now I have a iRiver PMC and a Creative Labs PMC.. if you are interested in getting one for free… check this out)… and I use them on trips with the kids. My normal usage is to just pull TV onto them from Windows XP Media Center Edition, but the kids often want to watch one of their DVDs… so I decided to rip all of our family-friendly DVDs to WMVs. Well… that has never really worked for me. I bought (crazy, eh?) a program called DVD to PocketPC… I tried another one called DVD2WMV… I tried a bunch of ways to rip the DVD content out and then do my own encoding using TMPEGENC and other tools. Nothing ever worked consistently, and with several hours required to rip each movie (even when the process failed), I was wasting so much time that I nearly gave up.

I recently found this blog entry from Jake Ludington though, and he introduced me to flaskmpeg… a program that takes my DVDs and produces nice and standard AVIs. From there it is an easy process to use Windows Media Encoder to make WMVs at whatever specs I want… and he even details some good settings to use if your target is a portable media center. I’ve ripped a bunch so far (including some Disney ones, which often seemed the hardest using other methods) and it is working perfectly for me. It does take a very long time though, expect your computer to spend 4 hours or so on the process… but hopefully you will just be kicking off the various steps and then going to bed/work/whatever… depending on your machine you can do other work at the same time… I’m encoding Finding Nemo right now while I type this blog entry and run Outlook 2007 at the same time…

Note, for those of you that think this is an activity of questionable legality… it might be… but these are all my own DVDs… I’m just avoiding the hassle of carrying them with me in the car and using my crappy portable DVD player that skips on good DVDs and totally refuses to play rented ones… so I’ve decided that it is ok, until someone convinces me otherwise.

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