Streaming my DVD collection

DVD JukeboxSomeday.

As 4 TB external drives approached $100 gave in to temptation, although my desktop has nowhere close to that capacity.  So what to do with all of the storage?  After weekends of swapping discs, finally have exact images (standard ISO format) of my DVD collection backed up.

Initially the idea was to stream them, a personalized Netflix of titles I cared enough about to purchase. There exists software for this, of course, “Plex” most notable, however none are designed for complete images.  They first require converting the movie to another format, sacrificing quality, then streaming.  In this process also losing DVD menus, an art form themselves, along with extras, which any self respecting film lover values.

Even Windows now supports the “mount” option for ISO files to create a virtual DVD drive.  From that point the images can be played with VLC or favorite media player, using an HDMI cable for TV to be an extra monitor.  I had that set up already, having “cut the cord” some time ago, and to stream from and such.     Regardless of the impracticability of streaming .ISO wireless at this stage, remain convinced I made the correct choice to back up rather than convert.

While backing up came across incredible, free cataloging software (“Filmotech”) that scans folders and indexes titles.  Then movie details and cover art can be imported from IMDB, DVD Empire and similar sites on the net.  It also supports associating a player with the  listing.  Selecting “play” for a title mounts the drive and starts to show the DVD.  The only thing missing is a remote control.

An unforeseen benefit of cataloging the collection is exposing titles I believed owned, but either let someone borrow indefinitely or lost.  Recently have noticed events reminding me scenes from “Broadcast News,” “Stand and Deliver” and “Running on Empty”, and was instantly aware those were no longer in the collection.

After experimenting found “DVD Shrink” to be the best free software for making exact disc copies. Although it is no longer supported and, as its name implies, was designed to make larger discs fit over-the-counter 4.7 GB blanks. When “no compression” is selected and target disc size is changed to 8.5B, the program makes an exact copy.  Removing region encoding is still an option.

Perhaps an existential question now is how I might backup my backups. Am concerned I’ve approached a level of geek where figuring out ways to appreciate my collection is more enjoyable than watching it.


About Richard Evans

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