My DVD burning rig: Asus EeeBox

DVD Burner Rig

I just thought I’d take a moment and share with you the rig I use to process and encode my video collection. At the moment, I’m using this setup to encode all of the movies I have recorded digitally onto DVD format. This is how I’ve decided to backup these videos, in the even that the hard drives they’re stored upon ever fail.

At first, I thought I’d just do a bit-for-bit backup of the files onto DVDs. But then I thought, if I encoded them as playable DVDs, then we could watch these movies on our standard DVD player as well. So, this setup has been working away in the corner, quietly churning out DVDs of my movie collection.

The computer is an ASUS EeeBox EB1021, which I bought sometime around 2010. I originally bought it to replace an aging desktop PC. But over the years it’s also doubled as a media centre for our home, a file server, and now a video processing centre. It has a dual core 64bit AMD processor and 8GB of RAM and HDMI video out. But, best of all, it’s small, consumes very little energy (23 Watts) and runs Q4OS extremely well. Plugged into it is an older LCD monitor and a USB external CD/DVD R/W disc drive.

The nice thing about this setup is that it takes up very little space and can sit there quietly, doing its work without having us tie up one of our regular use laptops to do the grunt work. I can just load up a USB mass storage device with some MP4s from the collection, setup the DVD layout in 2ManDVD, then click the “render” button and walk away. In a few hours time, I then come back, load up a DVD and burn the disc.

I can easily record two movies on to one DVD. It takes this rig approx four hours to re-encode two 2 hour movies, in MP4 format, into DVD format. I don’t think that’s too bad, especially since I’m not waiting for it to finish so I can use the computer for something else.

As I’ve gone through and cataloged my digital movie collection, my rough count of movies comes to just shy of 500 individual titles. At 1GB per hour of video footage, I’ve got an estimated 1TB of data I have to process (averaging out two hours per movie). So, I’m looking at roughly 250 DVD disc I have to process. I’ve done about thirty, so far.

Of course, I’m not including the hundreds of more hours of television series we have stored as MP4s (the bulk of our collection). I don’t even want to think about how many discs I’d need to back all that up right now.

It’s a lot of time and work to do this sort of project, but it’s actually enjoyable, as I’ve been taking a closer look at what we’ve recorded and collected over the years and taking stock of what we actually have. It’s helped me rediscover some of the older movies I once had on VHS, which I’ve forgotten that I recorded, and has helped me appreciate the collection even more.