I’m not saying you should copy DVDs… but if you really want to, and you find that the copy protection is proving a little too challenging for your favourite DVD ripper, then mplayer has a very simple way of extracting video from the DVD.
For example, to extract the first title, and save it in a file called out.mpg:
mplayer dvd://1 -dumpstream -dumpfile out.mpg
In an earlier post, I mentioned the problem I had streaming from a Slingbox to anything other than the Sling Player software. Ralph Irving kindly pointed out that he had got the beta 5 release of the VLC Slingbox plugin working with his Slingbox Solo. I gave it a try, and it worked for me too.
Only one problem… the distribution of the plugin only has a Windows binary, you have to build from source for other platforms. So I gave it a go for MacOSX.
I failed to build VLC entirely (instructions here for those of you with more patience than me), but I did enough to be able to compile the Slingbox plugin. I’ve tested it on VLC 0.8.6a + MacOSX 10.4 and VLC 0.8.6c + MacOSX 10.5 and both seem to work OK. Of course that’s no guarantee it will work for you, but you can download the binary and try it.
To install it, just put libaccess_slingbox_plugin.dylib in /Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/modules and restart VLC.
To configure it, read the readme that comes with the distribution. But here are some additional comments I’d make from my usage of it.
You can tell if the plugin has been loaded because it will add a configuration menu. Go to VLC/Preferences and select the Input / Access modules / Slingbox configuration. I have mine set to use the admin user so I enter my admin password here. I have the input source and channel both set to 0 (my Slingbox takes uses the composite video input; if you use one of the others you will probably need to specific a different input source number). In the advanced settings, I specify the IP address of my Slingbox, and have left all the other settings as default.
Then to start the video, I do File / Open Network, and just type sling:
You can also specify some of these input options in the URL, e.g. sling://192.168.0.94/input0 – see the readme for the plugin for more details.
If you try my compiled version of the plugin, I’d be interested to hear how you get on – leave a comment if you succeed (or fail).