Got DVD-watching woes?

I’m assuming that any Pinoy DVD junkie would have encountered a newly bought/rented DVD not playing on their dvd player. Not that its a bad copy. It does play, but its all black-and-white, or the video is fuzzy, but it plays fine on another player. Easiest way to resolve the issue is to buy a DVD drive for your PC. I did, but not for the purpose of watching movies on my computer: I wanted to convert the DVD into a DVD-quality VCD copy, and then play it on my 5.1 speaker’d home-theater-in-a-box (not my primitive second-hand 15′ monitor and 2.1 speakers set).

It doesn’t take a techie to do it, too, but tonloads of patience is required.

There are two programs to download, for FREE, that can automate the process for you (Yes, the keyword is ‘automate‘, and that means no jumping to software-to-software to do this):

  • DVD2SVCD – Your DVD ripper, and everything else, but the video converter.
  • TMPGENC – Your highly-rated video converter. The trial version for download will work for 30 days, afterwards, it will not be to do MPEG-2 encoding.

Doom9.org has laid out step-by-step instructions on how to do this here.

The lowdown on this DVD-to-VCD conversion method:

  • It will usually take 6 to 8 (or, unfortunately, more) hours for the entire process. A fast PC with lots of RAM will help speed things up with conversion. It makes sense to do this before sleeping for the day.
  • The DVD2SVCD logo will flash for 2-3 seconds before the movie. Minor inconvenience, really. There should be an easy way to edit this out from the video files, but I’ve never bothered to do that.
  • The generated files from the conversion will be in cue or bin format. You can burn the files to CD using commercial programs like Nero, or if you want to go full-on with using free software, you can scour the web for DVD Decrypter (the application has ceased development and distribution, due to legal issues).

Mind you, there could be faster ways to do this, but the above scenario will guarantee high quality VCD’s, several times better than commercially-available ones. Here’s an easy way to make the comparison, using the FREE and excellent VLC Media Player (click to view):

DVD converted to VCD: Screencap from Hiroshima Mon Amour‘s intro.

Commercially-available VCD: Screencap from Kung-Fu Hustle.

Bluntly put, the larger the video dimensions of your movie, the better the video output (the lesser effort your TV will make to stretch the video to fit the screen).

Another great advantage is subtitle ripping, for those who’d like to watch foreign language cinema, like yours truly.

DISCLAIMER: The above steps are not intended for illegal media duplication.

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  • darksparrow

    can’t wait for DVD Blue ray

  • AnP

    so true!

    Most of the dvds we bought from the Philippines have problems with our code-free dvd player so we always end up attaching the laptop to the tv.

    and guess where my husband got our dvd program… GREENHILLS! haha Ooops, obvious that we aren’t supporting the anti-piracy program there!

  • darksparrow: Let’s see it when it gets here.

    AnP: Expats and foreign visitors love Greenhills. Some regular American visitors from my former company who work for a big IT company (starts with M, ends with T, one word), always look forward goung there, to buy DVDs, nonetheless.