How to Get DVD’s Onto Your Zune For Free!

First and foremost…I do not condone any illegal conduct.  These movies should have been PURCHASED (not rented).  So therefore, any movie should be YOURS and not a Blockbuster or NetFlix movie.

I searched for a way to change the .vob files to any regular video format (mpeg, avi, wmv, DivX, .etc).  I was able to find Jake Lundington’s post regarding putting DVDs onto your PocketPC.  I figured that since he was taking the video and converting it to .avi, that I would be able to convert that to a format supported by Zune at a later time.

Additonal Info:  I am running Windows Vista Ultimate.  I am not sure what versions (I believe most SKUs) have Windows Movie Maker, but that is what I used to convert the .avi file to .wmv.

These are the steps I took:

  1. Ripped the DVD to my computer using a program that rips DVDs to computers.  It creates the .vob files that you will find in Jake’s post.
  2. I followed Jake’s post regarding the type of software to download.  Using FlaskMPEG, I searched for the correct .vob file that contained the entire movie.  It took a couple of tries, but I was able to find it.  It was about vob_8…. for Anchorman.
  3. I set up the software as per Jake’s specs that he talks about in his post.  The quality is good.  I couldn’t find the encoder he was talking about in his post, so I decided to use the installed DivX codec.  The Zune software does not import DivX files, so I need to convert it yet again.
  4. After the video is encoded into a .avi file, I imported it into Windows Movie Maker.  It was not split into scenes, so I just placed the 1 file on the storeboard below.
  5. I went to “File>Publish Movie”.  When it prompts you to where you want to publish the movie to, select “This Computer”.
  6. The next prompt will ask you for a file name, as well as a location to save the file.  Since the Zune software is default to look for videos in the Videos folder, I saved it there.  Please note:  You can add more folders for the Zune software to “watch” for new media, it is just easier to place it in a central, easy to acces location like the “Videos” folder.
  7. The next prompt will ask you what type of .wmv file you want.  This incorporates all the encoding settings, like size, bitrate and so forth.  I decided to choose “Windows Media Portable Device” (as seen below).  It saves it as a nice 1.0mb/sec bitrate.  While that is 1/3 of”DVD Quality” (listed by the WMM), the zune will be able to handle it.  The Zune software reencodes to a lower rate as to fit more on the zune.  You will be fine with it.  I watched a couple of minutes of Anchorman, and I am satisfied.
  8. Do not be alarmed by the fact that it states it has a “4:3″ aspect ratio, as when watching the movie is reached both sides.  The only slight issue, is that it has small black bars on top and on the bottom.  But, still really good quality.


Movie Maker Encode Settings for Zune

   9.   After that, just hook your Zune up and sync with the new content.

Again, I do NOT condone anything illegal.

A needed improvment for the Zune Marketplace

One little annoyance about the Zune Marketplace that I have seen more and more lately, is the lack of uniformity with Artists.  I have downloaded music thROUGH the Zune Marketplace (ZMP) lately, and the lack of uniformity is annoying.  The more music you have on your player, the less duplicate artists you want. 

I downloaded “VooDoo Child” by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble.  Now, what annoyed me is that the data had the artist as “Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble”, but album artist as “Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble”.  Why is this?  What is the point to having “and” spelled out in one part of the song data, with it being represented by the symbol the next?

This also occured with “Name of the Game” by Crystal Method.  The arists appears as “The Crystal Method” with the album artist as “Crystal Method”.

I am liking the marketplace enough for me to be using it to download music, instead of buying CDs.  Its there, its easy to find, and it works.  Simply, it works.  While I understand that this is probably on the lower parts of the list for improvements, it is something that can be easily done, as the team who posts content can just make sure they have uniformity with the artists.

Artists uniformity

Just Announced: Xbox Rewards!

I gave a little leak to it about a week ago, and not it is finally out in the wild.  The gamerscore blog broke the news today, with this post.

The program launched on Febuary the 12th, for US members.  What you need to know:

 

Xbox 360 is teaming up with Old Spice to bring the first Rewards Challenge to Xbox Live. Gamers will be charged with increasing their gamerscore by 1,500 between February 12 and April 12, 2007. That’s 60 days to bring your overall gamerscore up by 1,500 for the chance to earn a bounty of rewards.   In order to participate, you need to have a valid Windows Live™ ID with your Xbox LIVE® gamercard linked, be a legal resident of the 50 United States and District of Columbia (expect future challenges to be global in scope) and at least thirteen years-old.

Reward Package Qualifications

  • Level 1 (Gamers who have a gamerscore between 0-4,999 at time of entry): Game Picture, Dashboard theme, Contra for Xbox LIVE Arcade

  • Level 2 (5,000-9,999 gamerscore at time of entry): Level 1 Package, 100 Microsoft Points and a contest T-shirt

  • Level 3 (10,000+ gamerscore at time of entry): Level 1 Package, 200 Microsoft Points, contest T-shirt and Fusion Frenzy 2

  • In addition, Old Spice will give Level 1 and 2 the gift of experience by upgrading their Rewards Level for 2007. 

Think you can do it? With more than $500,000 in total rewards, such as Microsoft Points and Xbox 360 games, it is time to tackle those unbeaten games and start unlocking Achievements, because this Spring the rewards go beyond just having an impressive gamerscore.

Be sure to log on to www.xbox.com/rewards on February 12 to sign up for participation. Reward quantities are limited so gamers who reach the set goal will be awarded on a first come, first served basis only.

Xbox.com has info on it as well, click here.

Can you ping your Xbox360?

A buddy of mine emailed me with a question earlier today.  “There is no way to poing a 360, correct?”.

Well…there is no way.  You can attempt to ping it, but the 360 will not respond to the ping.  It is almost as though there is nothing there.

Sorry, if you wanted to ping the 360 for info, but no go.

If anyone ever has any questions, email me through the email contact at the top of my blog.

-Masta