Going to the Movies!

Adding movies to the nabi Tablet seems to be one of the larger growing interests on the Facebook page.  The information provided below is given simply to educate parents on the subject. 

First backing up or ripping of your personal DVDs to another electronic format is illegal, as a result of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copy Right Act.  This law goes against the rights of consumer's Fair Use protection and what has been previously ruled in regard to the older Audio Home Recording Act of 1992.  The circumventing of a manufacturer's Digital Rights Management protection appears to be universally frowned upon by most governments and the Motion Picture Association of America.  Please take this into consideration when reading the rest of this post.

While the nabi Tablet provides the FoozKids Videos with access to an assortment of predefined and customizable kid-friendly YouTube videos; WiFi access is required.  On a long road trip you can only count on Angry Birds to hold your child's attention for so long.  Sure tethering the nabi Tablet to your smartphone may be an option, but unless you have an unlimited data plan, this could be expensive.  

An assortment of your Home Videos may do the trick.  In this case, you can simply copy the AVI formatted files to your Micro SD card and the Gallery app will play them.  That will probably keep your child entertained for a half hour or so; unless of course you're one of the families that is constantly submitting to AFHV.

On the other hand, if you have a number of DVDs that your children enjoy, you may want to make some of your investment portable by backing it up to an electronic file format that an Android Tablet can view.  This is where the small investment in a large and fast Micro SD Card becomes worth it.

While some parents on the Facebook community have posted freeware applications that can bypass DRM protections and convert from DVD to the MP4 format, none of these are generally associated with each other or come in an all-in-one application.  One of the issues that can arise with freeware is that the developer stops upgrading their program on a regular basis.  With new DVDs releasing every Tuesday introducing the latest DRM protections developed by the industry, it may be important to choose something that is constantly being upgraded.

One application that can convert the latest commercially released DVDs with DRM protection direct to a supported digital file format is IDEAL DVD to MP4 Converter.  A lifetime license key is currently on sale for $30.00 (regular $35.00) which provides you with the latest decryption software updates.  An added bonus is that the fully functional trial version is capable of converting up to 10 DVDs at no cost.

Below are the basic steps required to use IDEAL DVD to MP4 Converter, after you've downloaded the trial version and installed it selecting all of the defaults.

1. Put your DVD into your Windows computer.
2. Launch IDEAL DVD to MP4 Converter.
3. Dismiss the Registration window.
3. Check the Title that you'd like to converter.  Generally this will be the option with the largest time in square brackets.
4. Enter the desired Filename for the converted file or accept the default.
5. Choose the location where you'd like the converted file saved.  

NOTE: You can save the file directly to your Micro SD Card.  This will probably take a bit longer than saving the file to your hard drive, but it will save having to move the file later.  A Class 10 Micro SD Card is recommended for this method.

6. You can change the default MP4 Profile to one of the many choices available in the pull down list or create your own by selecting the Configuration button.  I'd recommend sticking with the default MP4 settings for now.  You can play around with the settings on future rips, once you see how the first conversion turns out.  Increasing or decreasing the quality and resolution settings will respectively increase or decrease the size and time to generate the file.
7.  There are other settings for the program that you may also choose to change.  Especially if you're doing this late in the evening.
8. Click the Rip button, once you have everything setup the way you want it.
9. The time it takes to backup a DVD will be dependent on several other factors including: other programs running, Windows OS, amount of RAM, Processor speed, DVD drive speed,  and where the file is being stored.
10. Once the conversion has completed, if necessary, copy the MP4 file to your Micro SD card and put it in the nabi Tablet.
11.  Launch the Gallery app and your video will display as one of the possible choices.

NOTE:  IDEAL DVD to MP4 Converter will remember all of your settings from the previous backup, so if you were happy with the results all you'll really need to do is insert another DVD, launch the application, select your desired title and click the Rip button. 

I'd request that if you have any other software recommendations for the community that you leave a comment below.

As a cool alternative to the default Gallery, I'd highly recommend Movie Gallery Free available in the Android Market.  The only real difference between the paid and free app is that the free version limits the display to up to 10 movies in 5 folders.

The creators of Movie Gallery, Tools4Movies, also offer an all-in-one DVD to MP4 conversion application called DVD Catalyst which is currently on sale for $10.00 (Regular $20.00).  They've provided the community with how to instructions from inserting the DVD to viewing the video on the nabi Tablet.

March 13, 2012 UPDATE: Check out Going to the Movies - The Sequel! for steps on how to install, rent, view and download movies using Google Play Movies (formerly Google's Videos app).