Thursday, November 30, 2006


I am moving closer to my ultimate digital goal: Being able to consume the media I want, when I want it, where I want it.

All 10,000 or so of our CDs are now digitized- not once, or twice, but three times. Each time I got a better digital music player, and increased the volume the music played on external speakers, I could hear more of the hiss present at the lower rip rates- so after moving from 128kbs to 256kbs, I then made the ultimate leap to Windows Media Lossless (essentially, the same quality as a CD). Each time requiring me to open up and re-rip each CD. Insane. I store it all on an external drive/media server connected to our wireless router. By the way, you can set your WindowsMedia Player to rip at this level by clicking Tools/Options/Rip Music.


Now, almost all of our family photos are also available on our home network, accessible anywhere in the house (via laptop/desktop, tv). All that is left is to get our old photos converted from negatives to digital files (about 75 cents a strip at Wolf/Ritz Camera).


The final frontier (at least as I can see for the time being) is to get our video content digitized. The goal is to move the cases in our family room that currently hold good old-fashioned plastic discs with movies on them to a final resting place in storage next to the dusty cases of CDs.

I have been able to get our home movies onto the network- the ones from the last couple of years were recorded on a Sony Handycam DVD recorder. The older ones were a bit harder. $30 a pop at Wolf/Ritz to convert our old Sony Handycam 8mm tapes to DVD. It only took a couple days, but with about 20 to convert, was not cheap.

Our DVD collection is next on the list. I have found a simple tool (and free as well if you use it right) to rip all our DVDs called MagicDVDRipper, so the only issue I can see is storage. Each DVD when ripped will take up about 4.7-15.93 Gig (depending on if the disc is single or double layered, has extra content, etc)- so I will be able to place about 30-60 movies per 300GB external drive (the size I use now).

I will likely wait a bit longer before ripping the full collection- maybe until something in the 5-10 Terabyte storage range if affordable so that I will be able to get all of our films on one drive- important as the new formats coming out (HD DVD, Blu-Ray) have much larger capacity for content.

File size will only get bigger- One hour of uncompressed Ultra High Definition Video (UHDV) consumes approximately 11½ terabytes of data. Can't wait.

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