[Aaron Shephard] at mini-itx.com just finished a backup DVD burning robot based on an EPIA M10000 Mini-ITX motherboard and scavenged parts. A Perl script interacts with stepper motors, LEDs, and sensors through the parallel port on the motherboard. The robot inserts DVDs for burning, flips them for labeling, and stacks completed discs in a pile. Coasters are rejected to a ‘penalty box’ for easy disposal.
We’ve also covered some other optical disc duplicators in the past.
Nintendo Wii Fanboy explains how to watch DVDs on your Wii using the new MPlayer application. Although the reviews are mixed, some claim it works and others claim it doesn’t, most are excited about this new feature which has been missing since the Wii’s launch. To get this working, you need to run the Twilight Hack and get the Homebrew Channel. Then you download the MPlayer software onto your SD card and install that using the Homebrew Channel. From there, you can launch the application and play your DVDs with ease using the minimalistic DVD player interface.
Although this seems like a lot of work just to watch a DVD, especially considering this might not work for you, it is interesting to see people trying to push for media center software on the Wii. Now they only need to find ways to get past the Nintendo’s attempts to stop this Homebrew movement.
There’s an interesting thread discussing mods to improve the inexpensive Oppo 980 DVD player for better performance. The power supply, capacitors and opamps can benefit from some higher end components. [Occam] suggests several replacement opamps options for upgrading the audio output. The realatively low cost of Oppo gear makes it a better risk than modding a multi-thousand dollar DVD player.
A recent report from Futuresource Consulting states that just under 1/3 of Americans and just over 1/3 of UK residents have engaged in some form of DVD ripping in the last 6 months. Though [Jacqui Cheng] of Ars Technica was unphased, we were very surprised to learn that one of the most common methods is possibly the most low-tech, yet certainly cross-platform: hooking a DVD player to a DVD recorder via coaxial cable or composite. Our toolbelt is somewhat different, as we imagine yours is.
Continue reading “Hackit: Ripping DVDs”
For $99, Apple will happily sell you a slick USB superdrive (aka DVD burner) that only works with the MacBook Air. [tnkgrl] swapped out the USB-IDE interface with a generic $9 unit to make it work with everything else. The generic board required a few mods: relocating the crystal oscillator along with the amputation of its daughter-board that carried an external power connector, usb connector and some caps.
If you are curious about reading all the bits on a DVD, [tmbinc] has devised a hardware hack that uses a Pioneer DVD drive with leads soldered onto it and a Cypress FX2 microcontroller board to grab the flow of bits and push them over USB2.0. My favorite part of this tutorial is when you slow the spinning DVD down very slightly with your finger with a scope hooked up over what you believe to be the raw data stream from the disk. If the data rate slows when you physically slow down the disk, you probably are grabbing data from the correct pin. [tmbinc] even put together a software tool to process the resulting raw DVD data.