Backup Your DVDs

If you have movies or TV shows on DVD, it's a good idea to get them onto your computer. This serves two purposes -- it will preserve them, and allow you to watch them on more of your devices including smartphones and tablets. To do this, you'll just need a computer with an optical drive (most newer computers will take DVDs), and the software to rip and encode them. Here's how to do it:

  1. Rip the DVD using DVDdecrypter or MakeMKV.
  2. DVD Decrypter will all menus and special features of the DVD. This would be good if you just want to backup the entire DVD. If you want to make them playable on other devices, then MakeMKV is a good choice. It costs $50, but it works like a charm.

  3. Encode your DVD (or files) with Handbrake.
  4. If the DVD is unencrypted, Handbrake will rip it. Otherwise, Handbrake will encode the MKV file you created into a format that your devices understand. Play around with Handbrake and you'll see settings for audio and subtitles. You can customize your video all you want.

  5. Add metadata to your media files
  6. This will make the file look better and display the proper information. You can use MediaMonkey for Windows or iDentify for Mac. Both are free.

  7. Import your resulting files to iTunes.
  8. You'll have the album artwork and information right in the file.

Now you'll have your file available in iTunes. If you want to play this on an Apple TV, there are just a couple more steps:

  1. Enable sharing in iTunes
  2. You'll find it in iTunes Preferences > Sharing.

  3. From the Apple TV, choose 'computers', and you'll see your library.

For more information on this subject, check out episode 22 of Know How from TWiT.tv.