A Ripping Good time for my DVDs and AppleTV

A Ripping Good time for my DVDs and AppleTV

As I mentioned in my year-end retrospective, I have the new AppleTV that allows third-party apps and have combined it with my Synology NAS[1] running the Plex service to serve up all kinds of multimedia straight to my TV.

To complete the circuit, I’ve spent the long weekend ripping all my old DVD collection to the NAS with Handbrake. It hasn’t been too tedious since it’s just a matter of swapping disks every hour or two. The Plex software automatically grabs the metadata (title, description, cover art, etc.) from the Internet based on the title of the file once it’s ripped, which it did for all but the more obscure or older titles in my collection.

A big advantage of ripping them is that I can then store the DVDs and not have them taking up precious space in the already crowded office where the TV lives. It also makes them more present since I rarely look at the DVDs when wondering what to watch, but will scroll around on the AppleTV. Another big benefit is that if I have a Plex subscription I can stream the movies over the Internet or download them to my iPad or iPhone to take with with me on trips.

There are two downsides though: The DVD extras aren’t included, which isn’t a huge deal, and I only have a DVD reader attached to my computer, not a Blu-Ray reader so I can’t rip any of my newer stuff like Lord of the Rings, Star Trek or Star Wars. I may pick up an inexpensive one soon off of Amazon[2] because while I know I can buy movies as digital downloads, for the movies I buy on disk now, I really want the extras to watch at least once. And plus even if they do a “George Lucas” (i.e. edit the beloved version into some new incomprehensible mess while pulling the old version offline), I still have my original discs. At least that’s the theory.[3]


  1. In case you’re wondering which NAS I have it’s the DS214se, which has been replaced in the product line by the DS216se.  ↩
  2. This is the one I’ve been recommended: Epartsdom@USB 2.0 Slim USB External Blu-Ray Player External USB DVD RW Laptop Burner Drive White  ↩
  3. Unfortunately, ripping BluRays is more complicated than ripping DVDs, but with these instructions it’s not too bad.  ↩
Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
1 comment
  • I have been slowly digitizing my collection. Mostly by converting when I plan to re-watch something.

    I do use that Blu-Ray drive you recommended. I picked it up based on Andy Ihnatko’s recommendation. It sometimes has problem with DVDs with scratches, but mostly works.

    I mostly use MakeMKV for both Blu-Ray and DVD since I can rip selectively DVD extras when I want to – which is mainly Pixar shorts. I will then transcode from MKV. Still I really like the MKV format since it lossless but of course produces large files.

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