How to go digital and put your music and films on your computer

Is your film and music collection gathering dust? Wondering whether to invest in yet another shelf for it all? Here’s how to free up some space in your living room while holding on to your exquisite compendium. 

Ripping discs to your computer

Music CDs

With music CDs, the process is quite straight forward. Simply insert your disc into the disc drive of your computer and open your media player—most people use iTunes, but you might also use Windows Media Player, or another alternative.

Media players like iTunes will prompt you to import the CD into the player when the CD is loaded. 

If the prompt doesn't appear simply select Rip CD option across the top of your player. You can then right-click the tracks and select Find Album info if the names and artwork aren't displaying.

 

DVDs

DVDs are a little more complicated as you may have to download special software to allow you to do this. Follow these steps:

  • Download handbrake—a reliable method programme built especially for this purpose. However, it will only work on unprotected DVDs
  • Insert DVD and open handbrake
  • Click the 'Source' button in the left-hand corner and choose your DVD drive
  • After it has scanned the DVD go to the drop down menu called 'Title' and select what part of the DVD you want to rip.
  • Then go to the bar on the right and named 'Presets'. From there chose the format you want is in. For your computer, 'Normal' or 'High Profile' will be fine. If you want to watch it on your phone or mobile, then make sure you select the correct preset.
  • Then it's a waiting game. When it's finished it will notify you.

 

burning a CD

 

Is ripping discs to computer illegal? 

Firstly, don’t worry about the legalities of burning your own CDs to your computer, as under the doctrine of Fair Use the music files belong to you as you purchased them. Just don't share any music you upload and certainly don’t sell it on.

Burning copies of your DVDs onto your computer is more of a grey area, as it technically violates the Digital Millenial Copyright Act. However, most will argue that ripping your own copy qualifies as Fair Use.

Make sure you’ve got enough memory on your computer for the files or invest in a large memory hard drive that can handle your carefully collected anthologies.

Read more: How to backup your computer (and why it's important to do so)

 

Alternatively, subscribe and stream

If you’re fancying a change from your usual collection, online streaming services can provide a wide range of new and old music; films and tv shows, usually at a monthly fee.

Services such as Spotify and Amazon Instant Video provide access to you favourites once you’re all signed up. Spotify, is a free online music library that gives you free access to stream your favourite singles and albums without needing a membership (as long as you don’t mind the odd advert).

Read more about streaming music to your computer, phone and tablet

Netflix is a similar online library but with films and TV shows. Try using site instantwatcher.com before you throw away your treasured box sets and find out which programmes and films are currently available on Netflix.

You have to sign up and be a member to start streaming your faves, so why not try a month’s free membership to find out if binge watching on a Thursday night is for you. You can decide how many linked members and separate screens you can use, so it’s family friendly too.

 

What to do with your old physical CDs and DVDs

Now you no longer need your piles of plastic discs and boxes, you can put them up for sale on sites like eBay or Amazon which will help you find the right price whether they’re like new or second hand.

You will make more money selling CDs and DVDs separately or in groups of similar categories, rather than selling to a retail shop or distributor.

Read more: Make money fast by selling online

If your discs aren’t up to scratch for the discerning online shopper, you can still donate them to your local charity shops as long as they’re still playable and are in their original box.

Read more: 7 Helpful recycling tips

Another option is to sell your discs in bulk to an online recycling site such as Green Ant Plastic Recycling who will give you a quote for your unwanted CDs and DVDs regardless of their missing cases or scratched surfaces.

 

While you're at it, why not see if you have any expensive and collectable vinyl knocking about?

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