Michael Roitzsch

A Whole New Way to Experience your DVDs

You are using iTunes to manage your music?

Then you already know the comfort of instant search, coverflow, smart playlists and a nice user interface to your entire music library. I bet you copied all your CDs to your computer and now you don't need them any more.

Wouldn't it be great to get the same experience for your DVDs?

The good news is: all the basic technologies to do this are available today. Modern video coding technology offers high quality at low datarates, harddrives are huge and iTunes supports movies just as well as music.

You don't want just the movie but the whole DVD with all menus, languages, subtitles and bonus material?

That's where currently available software fails and this project comes in. We try to do just that: Offer the full DVD experience in iTunes. Starting with iTunes 9, a feature called iTunes Extras should allow a hopefully lossless import of DVDs into iTunes.

Project Status

Because I have some prior experience with DVD internals (I worked on the xine and libdvdnav projects to enable full-featured DVD playback on Linux), I decided to give this project a try and started to work on it after christmas 2010. I also desperately need this stuff myself: my DVD collection will very soon outgrow has outgrown shelf space.

The bad news is: nothing really works yet. But the initial architecture of the code is slowly coming along. I am currently approaching the problem from two sides:

Implement a Cocoa application that imports the DVDs

The app will convert all the assets to MPEG4 and compile some JavaScript to describe and connect everything. This part of the project is still in an early stage.

Implement an iTunes Extras template that supports the functionality required for (most of) the DVD features.

iTunes unfortunately lacks some features to support everything a DVD can do. I filed feature requests and bugs with Apple accordingly. The iTunes Extras template currently supports still menus pretty well. You can operate the menus and play content nicely. It runs inside iTunes, on Apple TV (1st generation only) and thanks to an integrated Extras emulator also in HTML5 web-browsers.

Legal Caveat

Due to the legal pain the DVD industry has set up, this project can only directly handle DVDs that are not copy-protected. If you want to copy protected DVDs, you have to wrestle with the CSS copy-protection yourself.


Wiki: InitialIdeas