So we've almost completely rid ourselves of our CD collection, converting hundreds of the CDs we owned into digital files for space saving purposes. And now we're doing the same with our DVD collection (though we plan to keep some of the Criterions)...
Weighing in at about 1.6-2 GB in file size once we converted the DVDs via Handbrake, we're using the spacious 1 TB external drive to store our Apple TV compatible files (which we then watch via HD projector). It's a fairly easy process anyone can do.
Want to do the same? What you'll need are:
• Ample storage space: 1 terabyte used to be a figure of science fiction proportions. Now you can get an external 1 TB drive for $239 or cheaper. We're big fans of the Seagate FreeAgent Pro because of their sharp looking design (TRON meets Drakkar Noir), 32MB cache buffer, 7200 rpm operation and its quiet performance. Oh, and they're finally now Mac compatible (the included software) and come with a 5 year warranty. If you're one to worry, get two drives and keep your collection in duplicate.
• Conversion software: Roxio Crunch, Handbrake, MactheRipper, Mediacoder, etc.
• A fast PC/Mac machine: the faster the better. We often stare envious at the benchmarks posted by Handbrake users with newer Intel multi-core machines here. So far, it's been a slow going transition since our once pokey PowerPC G5 is very slow at converting the files (we leave it working overnight, with fingers crossed there is no crash window in the morning greeting us). We're trying to do one a day, hopefully finishing our collection sometime by the end of summer.