This is a quick and dirty guide intended for users to quickly rip a DVD for playback on an XBox 360 using XBMC. We are going to bypass examination of the various supported AV containers and codecs the XBox supports for streaming, and simply work through a procedure which should result in guaranteed playback.
I am using Ubuntu 10.10 x86 to host my XBMC server, and my XBox is using the latest system firmware available at the time of writing.
The first thing to mention is that we don’t need any of the shitty third-party paid apps out there to perform the DVD rip, as seems to be popular on many of the ad-polluted sites out there offering similar how-to guides. We are going with an open-source and easy-to-use utility in the form of Handbrake. Let’s get started.
We are going to use the Ubuntu version of Handbrake, so we first need to add the Handbrake “Personal Package Archive” (PPA) to our software sources on Ubuntu, which will make installing and updating it a snap via the Ubuntu Software Center application.
Visit https://edge.launchpad.net/~stebbins/+archive/handbrake-releases and make a note of the PPA link (which is ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases at the time of writing). In Ubuntu, launch the Ubuntu Software Center application:
In the application, click on Edit -> Software Sources… then click on the Other Software tab. Click on Add…, then copy and paste the link noted above into the APT link field. Click Add Source, at which point you’ll see entries similar to the following:
Go back to the Ubuntu Software Center main window, perform a search for “Handbrake”, and install the handbrake-gtk package which should now be visible:
Once Handbrake has been downloaded and installed, launch the application (it may be found at Applications -> Sound & Video. You’ll presented with the main Handbrake window:
There are a lot of scary-looking settings here, but we are going to bypass this and simply use one of the included presets. Let’s first select a DVD as the media source. Insert your DVD into the optical drive of the computer (duh), then click on the Source button visible at the top left-hand corner of the Handbrake window, and select dvd from the window that appears:
Next, click on the High Profile preset visible on the right-hand side of the Handbrake window. Give your ripped file a name and destination. Leave all other settings at the defaults, including the file extension. Finally, click on the Start button to begin the transcoding process:
Depending on the length of your source material and the performance of your computer, this can take a long time to complete – you may like to rip only a single chapter from your DVD for starters to make sure everything plays back before ripping the entire disc. Once complete, you can then use XBMC to stream the file to your XBox using XBMC.