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newbie setting up library & tools


Junior Member
Aug 23, 2013
I am technical and understand lots about codecs, containers, etc. but have not used a lot of these tools in many years, am not up on the best-of-breed, ...

... so I am hoping to get some fast advice from someone who already did all the experimenting and who can tell me the tools to use. I tried this a few years back and gave up because it just took too much work and the results weren't even that good (especially, easy to use when I was all done).

I want to rip (and destroy with extreme prejudice) my DVDs to have

(I) high quality movies (HD with 5.1 sound) through an easy to use interface to any TV in my house, and then

(II) transcoded movies I can load to iPads and Androids ... preferably transcoded on demand when I load them to devices, so I don't have to store everything multiple times,

... and I hope to only go through this pain once, which is why I am looking for advice so I don't screw it up.

I am ripping DVDs to a Buffalo LinkStation NAS and have a folder MOVIES_TS that contains all my TITLE/VIDEO_TS directories. That is working fine, and I am mostly done.

What I am looking to do next is

1. Retain my original ripped library in a high quality single file format that can be played on devices around the house

Problem 1: what format and container is the best current choice for a high quality library intended for big screens with 5.1?

It seems Mkv/H/264/ and saving both AC3 and DTS Passthrough is probably the best but I will loose support on some devices that don't support Mkv and might have to buy something to play on those TVs.

Problem 2: I'd _really_ like to be able to choose what movie to play at any TV from an iPad/Android app with nice organization tools and GUI/Cover Art, rather then a remote control. This has to be easy so my young kids can do it.

There are HTPC systems (Media Center, XBMC) and that would work for one TV if I built one and could read from the NAS, but I don't want to buy a HTPC for every TV, I really want to stream from a PC, NAS, or media server

Plex might be a candidate ... but I have read that Plex does a lousy job scanning/identifying your library, so I'd need a tool to supplement it to fix meta data, and it isn't clear how kids would select movies to play in Plex.

2. Be able to load the kids iPads with videos transcoded from the central library to an appropriate format, which Plex does not seem to do though it will stream to them.

Problem 3: How to get video from DVD/HD library to iPads in a more appropriate format without doing a lot of work and allowing the kids to choose which movies to sync

Problem 4: If I have to do all the transcoding myself (e.g.: keep two copies of my library, one for big screens and one for tablets),

1. is there a way to do a "batch convert" of the hundreds of the library files without me manually setting the settings and file name?

Handbrake seems to require I queue up every file independently, plus in queuing the files I have to edit the resulting name as it always adds some numbers like "-1" to the end, plus I have to double check the audio choices manually. This is _really_ time consuming and boring!

2. what container/format will work on both iPads and Androids - seems it must be M4v/H.264/AAC for iPads


Junior Member
Aug 23, 2013
a lot there, thanks, and I'll look through it but it isn't a quick "here's how I'm doing it" for me to crib from.

After I posted I came across an article on the Google Chromecast which I'd heard the buzz about but hadn't paid much attention to - more interesting than I realized - if that could stream from my NAS that would be a great solution for 1/2 my problem (the big screen)...