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Bleg: DVD to cloud players

I have a few DVDs that I want to keep the movies but I don’t really use the DVD player. I’d like to somehow transfer them to a streaming service. Any ideas?

19 Responses to “Bleg: DVD to cloud players”

  1. Lyle Says:

    “Ripping” (copying) movies to a computer is looked upon unfavorably by those in the movie industry.

    Years ago I started buying movies from iTunes, using Apple TV, but the old DVDs are still around collecting dust. Most movies suck of course, being little more than agitprop, so I should probably throw out most of them. For the rare DVDs I might watch, I keep the old disk player plugged in.

    Another option, I believe, if you have a computer with an optical drive, is to play the disk on the computer, streaming it over Apple TV to the big screen, and thus you don’t need a DVD player per se.

  2. Kristophr Says:

    Just look up “DVD rip”. There are a bunch of solutions out there.

    Pick a codec ( mpeg is read by most devices, like roku ), and rip them to an external drive, and maybe plug it into your player ( or even your TV for the newer ones ).

    Just don’t put the files on the cloud, or some studio will go medieval on you.

  3. 1 With A Bullet Says:

    Use disc to digital. You can purchase the streaming rights for $2 per disc or upgrade to Hi-def for $5, I think. You just need a PC with a disc drive (blu ray capable of you want to concert those). Ir you can use the smart phone app to scan the bar codes from the disc jackets (gps confirmed from home). After conversion your movies can be streamed using any PC, smartphone, Xbox, PlayStation, tablet, Etc that has the Vudu app loaded or you can even download them to those devices for viewing later or whwn not connected to the web.

  4. Michael Says:

    Plex is where it’s at. First rip your movies to a computer at home. Install Plex Server on that system, and point it at that library. Then, using whatever your TV streaming device of choice is (Roku, Apple, Chromecast), install the plex app. There’s apps for iPad, Android, etc, too. Boom, your own personal private Netflix.

  5. 1 With A Bullet Says:

    Wow. My phone typing is awful.

    P.S. Vudu is owned by Walmart so it’s probably going to be around for a while. Additionally, the streaming rights are through Ultraviolet so any of those UV codes you get inside DVD/Bluray jackets can be redeemed with Vudu (added to your library)

  6. Scott Says:

    I’m totally checking out Vudu’s disc to digital, but will second the ripping recommendation. Two free pieces of software and a lot of free time are all you need. Handbrake ( will turn the files on your DVDs into something your computer can work with. VLC ( will then allow you to convert it into whatever codec you prefer. The real hangup is that it generally takes as long to rip a title as its actual screen run-time.

  7. poobie Says:

    So here’s what I’ve done:

    I used makemkv to rip the DVD and BluRay discs to my desktop. I transcoded the MKV files to MP4 with Handbrake to make them smaller. I installed Plex on my desktop, and let it index the movie files stored on that machine. I play the files using the Plex client software on my smart TV, phones, and tablets.

    I liked Plex enough to sign up for their Plex Pass, which also gets me access to their cloud service; you store your movie files on your favorite cloud storage provider (google, in my case) and it streams to your clients just like it does from the local server. Works great either way, and thanks to some built-in clever network tunneling your local library is accessible from anywhere.

    Anyhow, all those components are free, at least for now, so you stand to lose nothing but time to try it out.

  8. L Says:

    FWIW: “Ripping” a DVD almost always involve a hack of the encryption/copy protection software on the DVD, and thus violates the “anti-circumvention” law (DMCA 1201). (This differs from CD’s, which generally don’t have copy protection that has to be defeated in order to rip.)

    Good basic article about this:

    In other words, just because it may be technologically possible to “rip” a DVD does not mean it’s legal to do so. (Extreme analogy: it’s easy to convert a shotgun to a SBS, but it’s a seriously illegal and a very bad idea to do so without the required tax stamp.) And the DMCA brings some very serious heat if you get caught.

  9. Ravenwood Says:

    +1 to poobie. MakeMKV and Handbrake are great tools that don’t degrade the quality. MetaX is a great tool to edit metadata.

    You can stream them locally off a computer via Plex, AppleTV (itunes) or whatever. Also access them away from home (via Plex) or other third party tools. Shoot me an email if you have questions.

    As for L’s comment, that is technically true. But enforcement efforts are targeted at people who download and share movies, moreso than those who are simply changing format of titles they already own.

  10. beatbox21 Says:

    “somehow transfer them to a streaming service.”

    Don’t do that. Don’t. Do. That.

    Hell, you could store 10 HD movies on a $15 USB.

    Use a media center like Kodi or Plex. Kodi is free. Warning, there is a learning curve. It’s best if you are the type of guy who has fun doing that stuff. Google and reddit are your friends.

    One route. Get an android box for your TV for $50. or a firestick. Store your movies on a PC connected to your network. or if we are just talking a few movies, save them to a USB connected to your router. Install kodi and learn to use libraries.

    Pro-tip. Do a test run to see if this is for you. Install Kodi on your PC and learn to use the library functions. It is much easier. Oh, and don’t be afraid by any reports of kodi or plex being “illegal.” That has to do with streaming. You would only be using it to access local content.

  11. Chris Says:

    Echoing everyone else, you want to rip those DVDs to standalone video files. MKV or MP4 are the rage these days. Plex is awesome but it requires you to host your files on a Plex server – i.e. on your computer which has to be running with the server active to access it. The better solution I’ve found is to use the Infuse app on an AppleTV4 (or other similar device). Infuse allows you to access the files on a remote share which in my case is a small thin hard drive plugged into my router tucked away unobtrusively. Infuse is as good as Plex at pulling the artwork and movie descriptions to make everything clean and pretty without having the hassle of running a server on a computer.

  12. Tim Says:

    I use DVDFab ( and have had great success. I retain all of my media to show proof of ownership under the fair use concept.

    I use Plex and Kodi to stream my ripped files. The ripped files also worked with my AppleTV but was a little tedious to use as the AppleTV will not automatically include the Cover art and rating like Plex and Kodi does.

    Good luck.

  13. Will Says:

    L’s comment probably falls under the “3 felonies a day” label.

  14. L Says:

    WRT beatbox’s comment that:

    “Oh, and don’t be afraid by any reports of kodi or plex being “illegal.” That has to do with streaming.”

    Nope, but thanks for playing.

    If there is encryption or copy protection built into a DVD — and there almost always is — then using kodi or plex to circumvent it to facilitate a “rip” almost always violates DMCA 1201. (Streaming the “ripped” content makes matters worse, but the whole point of DMCA 1201 was to prohibit “cracking” of encryption / copy protection of content in the first place.)

    You may disagree with the law, but just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not there. And as for law enforcement priorities, DMCA 1201 also has a civil enforcement provision (DMCA 1203) with really ugly remedies.

    Bottom line: if you want to do this, don’t say you haven’t been warned. . . .

  15. SayUncle Says:

    Thanks for all the advice. I want to do so legally, of course.

  16. Jailer Says:

    Poobie’s got it. If you just want to convert and get rid of the player you could always go with a raspberry pi with Kodi installed and an external USB drive to hold the movies. Hook it up to whatever device you want to watch them on and you’re golden.

    I prefer Plex for the features it offers (centralized storage, remote viewing, stop playback on one device resume on another) but the Kodi/usb option is what we use when we travel.

  17. Jeffery Says:

    “HandBreak DVD to MP4” – It’s Open Source, so won’t cost you anything. Just keep the DVD someplace as proof that you bought the movie. Having a rip onto your own computer is Fair Use.

  18. L Says:

    Jeffrey says:

    “Having a rip onto your own computer is Fair Use.”

    Again, nope, but thanks for playing. (IP lawyer with 30 years experience here.). Opinions like this is comparable to crap like having a “solvent trap” for your AR isn’t going to present any NFA issues because . . . .

    DMCA 1201 (anticumvention) is not subject to a fair use defense, other than the explicit exceptions in that statute (none of which are implicated here). Read the ars technica article linked above for a decent overview of the subject.

  19. Patrick Says:

    Use Handbrake to rip the DVDs to MP4 format. Set options for streaming and “iPod” compatibility and the files will play on any modern device you find.

    Then install Plex at home and dump the files there. If you set Plex to use an external IP (not the default) you can stream the movies from your home to anywhere else. You can use the internal Plex web-server to watch, or the Plex app.

    We have the Plex app installed on our phones as well as the Amazon FireTV stick, which we take on vacation. This way we have access to the movies in our basement pretty much anywhere we roam. Combined with unlimited data from AT&T and Mobile tethering, the kids can watch shows during those 1000 miles drives we take about ten times a year.

    We tossed the DVD players attached to TVs. We ripped our entire collection to digital files. But we don’t share them with anyone, cause that’d be wrong.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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