John wants a device for watching DVDs with a large screen. Leo says that optical media have disappeared and large screen laptops are rare as well. Dell and Lenovo still sell 17" laptops, though. But he won't have a DVD drive with it. He could get an external DVD drive. They're cheap and he can plug it in when he wants it. Leo also recommends getting a larger external monitor. He should just use external peripherals when he wants to watch DVDs. That will give him the best of both worlds.
Richard has some old 8mm home movies that were transferred to DVD. They were transferred out of order and he wants to redo them, re-edit the video files, etc. Leo says that those DVDs are a treasure chest but he'll need to make sure he gets those videos off them and onto a hard drive, because sooner or later that DVD may not be playable. Is there something online that he can use? Leo says that video files are too big to upload to the cloud.
Dan wants to rip some old DVDs so he can stream them on the Apple TV using Plex, but he's having trouble with Handbrake. Leo says that he can rip it and then keep it on his computer, or use a network attached storage device running the Plex server. Leo says that Handbrake should have an Apple TV profile. He also needs to be sure he's using VLC to break the DRM.
Carey wants to know what the future holds for DVDs and thumb drives. Leo says that DVDs are going away as people are preferring to stream more than playing them on optical drives. But Leo says that USB is going to be around for quite awhile.
Steve is ripping all his DVDs and putting him on his network so he can stream them via Roku. He's worried with all the DVDs he's ripping, that he'll wear out his computer. Leo says use does wear down the parts, but not as fast as he might be worried about. It should work fine for Steve's purposes.
Gary has reconnected with an old friend, but he has no digital access. He wants to be able to create a slide show of pictures and burn it to a DVD so he can watch it with his TV. Leo says that while it hasn't been popular for awhile, it's still doable. Roxio makes great DVD burning software that will do it. Another option is Corel DVD MovieFactory Pro 7.
Jan wants to know how she can watch all of her videos on the TV by making a DVD. Leo says that things are changing and less people are relying on optical media. If she wants to burn a DVD, she'll need software that will import all the videos and craft a disc to burn it. Is Nero still good for that? Leo says that Nero is fine, but almost all video editing software will burn DVDs now.
Paul wants to know if DVDs are going to be obsolete. Leo says not really. As long as his DVD player works, it will play. Eventually, when the technology changes, DVD players won't be available. But Blu-ray players can also play DVDs, and Leo has a hunch that backwards compatibility will continue.
Marilee and her husband are both artists and they'd like to use the Internet to earn a living with her art. They're looking to do tutorials. Should they create a DVD or do online training? Leo says that online training is definitely the way to go, buy why not do both? There will be older people that want to do it as a DVD, but also have an online option for the younger crowd. Leo recommends checking out Lynda. Then Lulu for DVDs on demand.
(Disclaimer: Lynda is a sponsor)
Guido burned a DVD a few years ago and now it won't play. Leo says there's a thing called "CD rot," and it happens to DVDs as well. The metal layer of the DVD can actually rot, preventing it from being played. It may also be that the dyes have faded. It also could be that he burned it and didn't finalize it. Then he just can't play it.