Picky Pirates

picky pirates x264 xvid

The world of TV piracy is in uproar over the adoption of a new ripping/releasing standard that went into affect on February 22nd. The change, which was adopted by a lot of the big release groups, would make x264 the new standard for SD TV Show rips instead of XviD. x264 has been used in HD rips for a while now as it provides better quality, but apparently that’s not what the people want. Comments have started popping up on some of the more popular torrent sites expressing their displeasure in the change and threatening to move on to other sites… but I don’t think these people know how this actually works.

I’d be lying if I said I never pirated anything in my life, however I don’t have nearly the same involvement in the piracy scene now as I did 10+ years ago… I mean, I own about $20,000 worth of DVDs and Blu-Rays (probably a bad investment looking back on it). But these people that are threatening the sites they get their pirated material from are morons. 99.9% of the time the site you’re downloading a release from has nothing to do with the ripping of that release, they are merely a way to distribute said release. They have nothing to do with the file format, naming, or codecs used to compress or encode these TV shows. There are a few sites that do INTERNAL releases of things, in which case they are responsible for all of the above, but most of the time you see a major release it’s not coming from the site itself. So guess what… you’re going to have to deal with it.

The main complaint I’ve seen come across the comments is that x264 won’t play on a lot of DVD Players, but if you’re still playing your XviDs on a DVD Player, I think it’s time to look at other options. It’s pretty cheap to setup some sort of media center these days and be able to stream your movies to any TV in your house. As long as you have a main computer that you leave on most of the time you can serve the files, then all you need is a way to play them on the TV and there are a bunch of options out there such as internet connected Blu-Ray players, AppleTV2 or if you want, you can build another computer to do it. My current setup uses PLEX. While PLEX used to be Mac only, they have since branched out and have server clients you can install on Windows machines as well as Linux. I run the PLEX Media Center (the client that serves up the video) on my iMac and then I have an older Mac Mini in one room, an AppleTV 2 in another and a Samsung Blu-Ray player in another, all of which are capable of playing the videos that the iMac is serving up. The AppleTV 2 and Samsung Blu-Ray player are using Wireless and the Mac Mini is hardwired; I have no problem playing 720P content on any of the connections. My main purpose for setting up the Media Server like this is that, as I mentioned, I have a ridiculous amount of DVDs and Blu-Rays, so instead of keeping the boxes everywhere, I ripped them all and store them on a 8TB NAS so they can be streamed in any room at anytime without having to dig out the case. Plus it allowed me to move all of the DVD cases/movies into storage so they didn’t take up space.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s no reason to get all up in arms over the changing of the standard away from XviD. To be honest, XviD is a pretty terrible format that’s ridiculously compressed, so why wouldn’t you want better quality? There are plenty of other options out there for playing your content on your TV aside from your XviD enabled Blu-Ray player…