Films and Music
Films and music
Suggested software to rip DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs, where to buy cheap DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs, and cheap music downloads.
Ripping DVDs to your iPod / iPhone / iPad / Android phone or tablet
It's quite easy to rip DVDs for your phone or tablet. Handbrake (handbrake.fr) is free, and works well in combination with DVD43. The speed of ripping depends on your computer, a fast PC can rip 60 mins of DVD in 20 mins, i.e. 3 times speed. Ensure you have space on your phone as a 1 hour DVD might be 400MB of space depending on the amount of action in the DVD and how lossy you allow the encoding to be. With Constant Quality setting RF28, simple animation is about 125MB per hour, whereas a concert might be 600MB per hour (RF22 is DVD quality and about twice the data rate). If you need more space, you can buy a larger memory card if your phone or device can take it.
Ripping Blu-rays to your iPod / iPhone / iPad / Android phone or tablet
Ripping Blu-rays to your phone or tablet is more complicated than DVDs. Lifehacker has a good blu-ray ripping guide, but sometimes you have to pay for the software needed.
Adding videos and podcasts to your phone or MP3 Player
Another source of content for your MP3 player are podcasts, downloadable audio or video shows that are often available for free. Some software (including iTunes) allows you to subscribe to any periodic podcasts.
Buying extra memory for your phone, tablet or MP3 player
With these films and music to store, you may need more space to store it. Some devices use memory cards to store their films music on. See the memory page for links to price comparisons of memory cards (SD / micro SDHC and Compact Flash memory).
Streaming Film and Music
When at home it can be easy and fum to stream films and music to your phone or tablet (see the Film and Music Streaming page) over wi-fi. For example iPlayer and similar players offer the latest TV content. Out and about, it is still possible to stream data over mobile network connections, but it can be costly due to mobile data charges.
Ripping music CDs to play on your phone, tablet or computer
This article in PC Magazine concludes that "ripping music you have already bought for your own use is regarded as 'fair use'". You may want to rip songs from your CD collection to use in your iPod or computer's MP3 player. If you rip to MP3 format you will be able to use the songs in any player (though the songs may take up more space than they would in other formats). One thing to look out for when ripping tunes on a Windows PC for an iPod is that iTunes crashes when it encounters long filenames, so you may need to cut down on long directory names.
I recommend using the free software CDEx to rip the songs. Other Rippers can be seen in the MP3 ripper category on Dmoz.org.
If you are buying CDs mainly to rip them, you may want to buy cheap, second hand CDs (see below), especially if you are replacing cassette tapes and vinyl.
Moving your LPs and tapes to MP3
The computer magazine PCW recommend audacity.sourceforge.net and the use of its Noise Removal tool to clean up hiss and clicks. Other solutions include LP Ripper from CFB Software for vinyl (see the MP3 encoder category on Dmoz.org).
Which audio encoding - MP3, WMA or AAC (or ATRAC, OGG or FLAC)?
Songs can be recorded as different types of files (encodings). Most portable audio players play MP3 format songs. Formats other than MP3 generally include DRM (Digital Rights Management), which limits the ways in which purchased songs can be used (for example whether the songs can be burnt to CD or the numbers of machines that the songs can be shared with). Microsoft's WMA format is the most widely implemented in players after MP3. Apple's popular iPods use the AAC format in addition to MP3. Music bought in the AAC format on iTunes use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to limit them to being played on Apple's products. Sony have their own ATRAC format (less used).
With the convergence of mobile phones, digital cameras and MP3 players, increasingly mobile phones will include hard disks in addition to digital cameras.
How to buy DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs cheaply in the UK
The key to this is to cast your net fairly widely and to accept new and very good condition second hand items from smaller retailers and individuals. Use a price comparison site (such as Find-CD or Find-DVD, which includes Blu-rays) to check the prices of new items and compare them with the prices of new and used items on Amazon.co.uk, which lists prices from individuals and smaller retailers.
In comparison, Ebay.co.uk's guarantee's aren't as comprehensive, you have the uncertainty and delay of an auction and seller's "Buy it Now" prices tend to be more expensive than new.
Selling your old DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs online
Online DVD, Blu-ray and CD retailers
Music Download sites
One way of filling up your MP3 player with songs is to download music from online shops.
http://www.reviewcentre.com/products2485.html - reviews of music download sites.