In my lifetime, the landscape has changed in the world of video. When I was a kid, the state-of-the-art in video playback for the home was the VCR. I have fond memories of going to the video store with my mom on Friday nights to pick out two or three films to rent. Huge, towering shelves covering the wall and aisles with VHS boxes, the video rental store was the place to be on Friday nights. It was a 20-minute car ride away with a stop by a restaurant for take-out. It would be a night of binge movie watching, usually films I was too young to be watching, but my parents were just cool like that.
Over the years, we amassed a collection of VHS and later DVDs, our very own video store at home. We even had a video camera to record our 6000-mile trip across the American West and Canada, black bears and all, on a small cassette that required a special VHS adapter tape to replay. We thought that was it.
Today, I’m all grown up, and the video market has matured. I still drop by a restaurant for take-out, but now, I rent digital videos through iTunes on my Apple TV over the Internet. Indeed, my entire television watching experience happens on the Apple TV, renting television series and films alike. My days of buying DVDs are over, but I still occasionally buy films and often TV-series on Apple TV. So, what do you do about digital video management, and what do you do with all those DVDs?
There are myriad options, but I will discuss two with the best interfaces and user experience at two radically different price points. If you are an avid film buff and home theater enthusiast, you have probably heard of Kaleidescape. Kaleidescape makes a video server capable of managing your vast collection of digital videos and a digital video player with the most intuitive user interface anyone could ever hope for. The major drawback with Kaleidescape is the price. A typical mid-level Kaleidescape system will run you about $17,000, not including installation, Blu-Ray Disc capability, or the digital video content (movies). If that wasn’t enough to keep from pulling out your credit card, Kaleidescape is perpetually embroiled in litigation with content producers that don’t like Kaleidescape enabling you to do what you want with the movies you legally purchased.
If you aren’t Bill Gates, you can turn to his competitor, Apple, for your digital video management needs. For the price of that Kaleidescape system, you can buy an Apple Time Capsule to store your digital videos, a MacBook Air to manage your digital video content in iTunes, Apple TVs for the living room, bedrooms, office, and kitchen for every TV in the house, and still have enough left over to buy 1000 films on iTunes. An additional advantage over Kaleidescape here is that you can also view your digital videos on your mobile devices. ITunes and AppleTV can also manage your home videos and not-Apple-approved NSFW videos you’ve purchased through a third-party, and it’s still an incredibly simple user interface.
But, I still have hundreds of DVDs.’ Whether you go the Kaleidescape route, Apple TV route, or anything in-between, if you want to hold onto those videos, you still need to ‘rip’ your discs, that is import the videos from your DVDs onto your computer or external hard drive. Kaleidescape’s player does this for you when you insert the disc. The advanced do-it-yourselfer can use software called Handbrake with VLC, but as a DIYer, I don’t recommend it except for the most patient individuals. There are services like Moondog or Digiraw that will allow you to mail in your discs for conversion, but you will pay from around $2 to $4 per disc.
There must be a simpler and cheaper way. When I was a kid, eagerly awaiting Friday movie rental night, we didn’t have a collection of movies. In the early days of VHS, people predominantly rented them. We were perfectly happy not to own them. When we did own a collection of VHS tapes and DVD came on the scene, we ended up abandoning a lot of VHS movies in favor of the new format. You can convert the DVDs that you can’t find on iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, and for the cost of that Kaleidescape system, you could buy an Apple TV for every room in the house and still have enough left over to rent 2700 digital videos. You can rent the same digital videos three times over the course of a lifetime and still only spend as much as buying them, and you can rediscover the joys of Friday movie rental night.
Are you still confused about digital video management? Want help ripping DVDs? Look no further than Fulkra. Fulkra will design a solution tailored to your needs and wishes. We understand the joy and memories films and television create for you and your family, and our mission is to make it simple for you to achieve balance between the technology and your lifestyle.
Call 877.738.5572 today for your FREE digital video management quote. We would be happy to help you organize your daily digital needs. Fulkra is the worlds first choice for innovative technology solutions.