Practical Technology

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How to put your movies on your media server

I have a huge movie collection. It used to all be on VHS tapes, then I moved to DVDs, and now I’m slowly moving to Blu-Ray. That’s all well and good, but along the way I decided I liked the convenience of making my hundreds of movies accessible from a single hard drive instead. Does this sound good to you? Here’s how you, too, can put twenty boxes of DVDs into a single 2TB hard drive.

Note: Before you go any farther, you should know that most movies comes with some kind of Digital Rights Management (DRM) encryption. I feel that since I bought these videos I should have the right to do with them what I want — so long as I don’t try to sell or distribute their contents to others. I am not a lawyer though and this is a legal gray area. If you decide to follow a similar course, you should be fine, but neither I nor ITworld can be responsible for any legal damages that may result from this how-to article. Got that? OK then.

[Here’s what buying movies and TV shows online looks like, drawn in marker ]

The media server and extender

Before you start any of this you need a media server and a media extender. A media server is a program, such as iTunes, MythTV, or Windows Media Center, that enables you to “broadcast” your videos to other computers and media extenders. A media extender, in turn, is just a device, like an Apple TV, the Xbox 360 and most 2011 and newer Blu-Ray DVD players, such as a Sony BDP-S580, that lets you view video from your media server on your TV.

How to put your movies on your media server. More >

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