Should I buy an eee PC?
June 27, 2008 1:01 PM   Subscribe

How do I get DVD video onto a optical driveless PC?

So I'm thinking about getting one of those mini laptops such as an ASUS eeePC or some such. My main concern is the lack of an optical drive. I think it's a little silly to buy an external optical drive that you have to lug around with you if you want to watch DVD's.

So actually, I have a couple of questions and if you own one of those eees, I'd love your input.

1) Is it possible to compress a DVD movie on my mac, transfer it to a USB flash drive and watch it on an eee?

2) Does the battery life on one of these computers even make it possible to watch a movie while travelling?

3) The new eee 1000H actually can be configured with a 80gig hard drive. Would this be the way to go over one of the smaller ssd drives?

4)I'm a total linux retard. Is it tough to learn? Should I get one with XP? Will my mac play nicely with both or either?

Thanks for your help!
posted by smithmac_99 to Technology (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
1. Yes with Handbrake.

2. "Under normal use, backlight at 100 percent and using wireless for web browsing and watching a DivX movie at 75 percent volume, the Eee PC managed to deliver three hours and 23 minutes of battery life under Linux."

3. It has a larger screen as well. It depends what your priorities are.

4. Its different. Not as easy as Macintosh. If you are up for learning, have at it. You can always install your brothers copy of Windows XP later on. If you do want XP, its probably worth getting the 1000H.
posted by SirStan at 1:13 PM on June 27, 2008

I would go with the 1000H or 901 over the 701 if price was no object (and probably the 901 first if I didn't need the internal harddrive).
posted by SirStan at 1:16 PM on June 27, 2008

1) It should be - I haven't tried it. DivX would probably be the best codec, and remember to downsize it to the Asus Eee screen size.

2) A 1.5 hour movie should be fine.

3) Yes - I am sooo space constrained on the 4gb SSD.

4) Actually, on this machine it is easy - nothing to learn, if you just use the bundled software. If you want more - there are tutorials for how to drop to a shell/command-line and then use tools to automatically install other software. Honestly - I spent the time to put XP on, and frankly the 4gb SSD is full and the screen is too small to work comfortably. (I have the original 800x600 model)
posted by jkaczor at 1:18 PM on June 27, 2008

re: jkaczor

What do you mean "downsize it to the Eee screen size"? The EEE can do 800x600 or higher, and DVD video is 480i maximum? (720x480). They don't really need to be "downsized" as the Eee's screen is superior to a DVD's resolution. HD/BlueRay -- naturally a different story.
posted by SirStan at 1:21 PM on June 27, 2008

FYI I use Handbrake to rip DVDs for watching on my iPhone (a small format). The movie files are typically about 1.5 GB. I recommend a flash drive of 4 GB or more.
posted by neuron at 1:25 PM on June 27, 2008

I've done something similar with the EEE 701, using handbrake to encode movies to an external hard drive, and playing them with VLC on the EEE. I have found that using h264 at DVD resolution is almost too taxing for the processor on the smaller EEE. I'd suggest either DIVX or downsizing the resolution.

As far as Linux versus XP, it is much easier to install programs on XP than the EEE's custom Linux distro.
posted by zabuni at 1:29 PM on June 27, 2008

1) Yes, using Handbrake. It also has an SD card slot if you have one of those. Then it won't stick out the side like a USB drive.

4) I'd recommend going with eeeXubuntu over the default Linux configuration if you decide to go that way. I had a much easier time finding and installing software once I had access to the Ubuntu repositories.

vlc will play pretty much any movie format and runs on both Linux and XP (and more).

(sorry that eeeuser link appears to be down at the moment, they are usually a great resource)
posted by Gary at 1:53 PM on June 27, 2008

SirStan - you are correct, I wasn't thinking - I was thinking more in-line with HD video, not DVD video.
posted by jkaczor at 3:26 PM on June 27, 2008

3) Depends on what you want. I'd take a 20GB SSD over the 80GB rotary drive any day. You'll have better performance with the SSD and it won't break if you drop the machine. 20GB is plenty for a Linux or Windows installation unless you want to store your media collection.

Also- Wait for the 901 over the 900. Better battery life and a slightly faster processor.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 5:42 PM on June 27, 2008

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