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How to Convert DVDs for Plex Streaming (3 Ways)

How to Convert DVDs for Plex Streaming (3 Ways)

Plex is a powerful media server that allows users to organize and broadcast their digital media library across multiple devices. It has an easy-to-use interface, transcoding features, and remote media access, making it a great choice for managing and watching your favorite content.

Converting DVDs for Plex streaming provides various advantages, including simpler access to your DVD collection, increased portability, and the option to stream DVDs on multiple platforms.

Keep in mind: You’ll need a PC or Mac before converting the DVD.

By digitizing your DVDs, you may watch movies without the need for physical discs, increasing convenience and minimizing clutter.

Also see: How to Cleanly Rip a DVD with VLC (& Fix any Ripping Errors)

Which media tools are ideal for Converting DVDs for Plex? 

There are various software options for converting DVDs for Plex, but VideoProc Converter (a well known video processing software) and VLC Media Player (open-source freeware), both stand out as they are simple, and straight forward to use.

Also see: Jellyfin vs Plex vs Emby: Comparison

Paid options typically have a smoother UI and make it significantly easier for those who aren’t tech savvy.

Continue reading to learn about the optimal video format for Plex and how to convert DVDs for streaming using the two tools.

Which Video Format Is the Best for Plex Streaming?

Although Plex can play a broad variety of video formats, some are more suitable and advised for the best playback. The best video format for Plex is MP4 with H.264 video codec.

MP4 is a widely supported video format that can be played on various devices and platforms, including Plex’s native media player and mobile apps. It ensures that your videos can be seamlessly played back on different devices without compatibility issues.

The H.264 codec utilizes advanced compression techniques to reduce the file size while maintaining the visual integrity of the video. This allows you to store more videos in your Plex library without sacrificing quality.

Also… MP4 with the H.264 codec is well-suited for streaming and transcoding. In addition, the MP4 format enables embedded metadata such as movie information, cover art, and subtitles. Plex can simply read and display this metadata, improving the user experience and making it easier to organize and search for material in your Plexlibrary. 

While MP4 H.264 is preferable, Plex also supports MKV, AVI, MOV, M2TS and TS, and WMV. However, it’s worth mentioning that certain formats may require a special codec; for more information, see here

How to Convert your DVDs into a Plex-Compatible Format

Let’s dive into all the ways you can convert your DVDs to Plex!

Method #1: Using Video Proc Converter (Easiest option)

VideoProc Converter is a well known, easy to use media software that allows users to convert videos and DVDs (to over 420 different formats). This includes MP4 H.264, MP4 HEVC, MKV, AVI, MOV, FLV, WMV, MP3, AAC, and many more. It merely takes a few mouse clicks to accomplish this. 

  • Step 1: Launch VideoProc Converter and select DVD from the main menu.
    videoproc converter 2
  • Step 2: To load your DVDs, click the ‘DVD Disc‘ button.
  • Step 3: In the ‘Target Format‘ column, select MP4 H.264 as the Plex streaming output format.
  • Step 4: Select the target folder with the ‘Browse‘ button and then press the “RUN” button to begin.

Tip: You can Enable Hardware Acceleration Engine (Nvidia / Intel / AMD) for faster DVD conversion, this allows max speed (with less CPU usage).

videoproc convert dvd 2

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface, ideal for beginners (UI made the process easier, which is the big Benefit here)
  • Support for all types of DVDs, ISO images, and DVD folders
  • Wide range of output formats, including MP4 H.264, MP4 HEVC, MKV, AVI, MOV, FLV, WMV, MP3, AAC, and more
  • Ability to adjust the aspect ratio to 16:9, convert to 1080p or higher resolution, and transcode for enhanced viewing. Also allows GPU hardware acceleration for faster conversion
  • Users can convert videos and audio, compress large files to desired size
  • A rapid editing toolbox, a built-in downloader, and a recorder engine

Cons:

  • Not completely free. The free trial version is limited to converting files less than 5 minutes

Method #2: How to Convert DVD for Plex Using VLC Media Player

Plex also allows you to convert DVDs for Plex, it’s a bit slower than paid options and certainly less smooth, but it does work. Those who are technically savvy may want to give VLC a go for converting DVDs for Plex.

See our post on: How to Convert Videos with VLC Media Player (Mac & Windows)

  • Step 1. Run VLC Media Player on your PC or Mac
  • Step 2: Click ‘Media‘ in the top-left corner and select ‘Convert/Save.
    VLC
  • Step 3: Locate the “Disc” tab and check the DVD box. Ensure that the “No disc menus” option is selected to avoid complications during conversion.
    VLC convert DVD
  • Step 4: Click ‘Convert‘ and choose the default “Video – H.264 + MP3 (MP4)” output profile, ideal for Plex streaming.
  • Step 5: Set the output destination by clicking ‘Browse
  • Step 6: Click “Start” to initiate the conversion process to MP4 H.264
    VLC output profile

Pros:

  • VLC is a free and open-source media player available across platforms, allowing DVD conversion at no cost.
  • Supports various mainstream output profiles, including WMV, MPEG4, iPod, Android, and YouTube.
  • Offers customization options for video codec, audio codec, bitrate, and more, catering to personal preferences.

Cons:

  • More complex compared to premium DVD-converting software.
  • Slower conversion speed than some other options, particularly for larger or longer DVDs.
  • Limited support for certain types of DVDs and somewhat limited range of output profiles available.

Adding Your MP4 H.264 Video File to Plex

  • Step 1: Start the Plex Media Server application on your computer. If you haven’t installed it yet, download it from the official Plex website.
  • Step 2: Access the Plex web interface and sign in to your account.
  • Step 3: On the homepage, locate the “+” icon next to “Libraries” on the left sidebar or click on the “Add Library” button on the dashboard.
  • Step 4: In the pop-up window, select “Movies,” enter a name for the library, and click “Next.”
  • Step 5: Click the “BROWSE FOR MEDIA FOLDER” button and navigate to the folder containing your MP4 H.264 video files that you want to add.
  • Step 6: Click the “ADD” button, then select “Add Library.”

Now, allow a few minutes for Plex to add all the necessary metadata for the movie file you just uploaded. If you encounter any issues, such as a delay in updating or a failure to update, ensure that the folder containing your movies is included in Plex’s library settings.

You can also try manually refreshing the library by selecting the “Refresh All” option.

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For more on this, see our post on How to Cleanly Rip a DVD with VLC (& Fix any Ripping Errors)

Method #3: Using Handbrake for DVD conversion for Plex

To convert DVDs for Plex Streaming, you can use a DVD ripping tool like HandBrake, which is a free, open-source software. Here are the steps:

  1. Download and Install HandBrake: You can download HandBrake from its official website. Once downloaded, install the program.
  2. Insert your DVD: Insert the DVD into your computer’s DVD drive if you have one, if not, you’ll need one (there’s low cost options available depending on the PC you’re using).
  3. Open HandBrake: Once you’ve launched the program, click on the “Open Source” button to load your DVD.
  4. Choose the DVD: HandBrake will scan the DVD. Once it’s finished, you’ll need to choose which title you want to rip. Usually, the longest title is the main feature.
  5. Select the Output Settings: In the Output Settings, choose your preferred output format. Plex supports most formats, but MP4 is widely used and should work on almost all devices.
  6. Choose a Destination: You’ll need to choose a location on your hard drive to save the ripped file. Make sure you have enough space to store the ripped file.
  7. Start Ripping: Click on the “Start Encode” button to start the ripping process.

Once your DVD has been ripped, you’ll need to move the file into the directory that Plex is using for your movie library (as mentioned earlier). After that… you should be able to stream the movie from Plex to any of your devices.

Related: How to Download a Youtube Video with VLC (Windows & Mac)

Other tools that let you rip a DVD and upload it to Plex

There are a number of tools that you can use to rip DVDs for Plex. Note that the legality of this process can depend on your jurisdiction, so make sure to stay informed about local laws.

Among the available tools are HandBrake, a free and open-source multi-platform DVD ripper, but it does not support ripping commercial DVDs with DRM protections by default. MakeMKV is a good option for preserving original quality as it rips DVDs to the MKV format without any changes.

Related: How to Convert Videos with VLC Media Player (Mac & Windows)

DVDFab and WinX DVD Ripper are comprehensive tools that support a variety of formats, but DVDFab is a paid software. The format you choose for ripping your DVD should depend on what formats your Plex client devices support.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ