Saturday, January 01, 2005

DVDs for Seniors

My parents' old cabinet TV finally gave up the ghost. For Christmas, they picked out a new entertainment center and I bought them a 27" Toshiba nearly flat screen and a DVD/VCR combo. I wanted the VCR since they still have a lot of old video tapes that they watch every now and then. I thought the DVD player would give them more options.

However, ...

What I didn't figure was the complexity of the DVD player's remote control. They need the DVD player to work just like the VCR. Tune the TV to channel 3, pop in the media (a DVD in this case), and sit back in the recliner. No buttons, no remote.

What I came up with was to rip the DVDs to where all that was on them was the movie and no menu. This was much easier than I thought.

I use DVDShrink and DVD Decrypter. DVDShrink lets you "reauthor" the DVD selecting just the files you want. By default, no files are chosen so I choose just the main title and the English sound tracks. 8 times out of 10, this results in no reencoding.

Here're some screen captures. First, open the disk in DVDShrink. You'll see that it starts in "Full Disk" mode. The compression required to fit this DVD on a 4.7 GB disk is 47.8%.

As I mentioned, I wanted to re-author this DVD to remove all the menus so click on "Re-Author." Drag the "Main Title" over to the left panel and click on the "Compression Settings" tab. Now uncheck all the stuff you don't want on the right. Watch the compression go down!

I always want as little compression as I can get so now click on the double arrows just left of the word "Video." This lets you crop the movie from the front and rear. You'll notice that the time has been reduced from 02:15:10 to 02:07:14 and the compression is down to 77.5%.

You're almost done. Now click on "Backup!" In this dialog box, click on "Quality Settings" and make sure that "Perform deep analysis..." is checked. This makes DVDShrink do a double pass and use Variable Bit Rates when it recompressess the movie.

Wait! Click on the "Target Device" tab. DVDShrink recognizes DVD Decrypter and automatically invokes it to burn the output DVD. I've got a DVD reader and a DVD burner so I put the source DVD in the reader and a blank in the burner. Click on "OK" and you're off.

If there's no recompression required, my system (with a 2.4X DVD burner) takes about 20 minutes. If you have to recompress, your mileage may vary.

I'm running DVDShrink v3.2.0.15 and DVD Decrypter v3.2.3.0. My processor is an AMD Athlon XP 2000+. My DVD burner is a Sony DRU-120A.

You can find DVDShrink and DVD Decrypter at VideoHelp.

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