I’m a movie addict. This would be one of my dream jobs – to sit all day long and watch movies. So, whenever I’ve got a few free hours, and if I can, I just sit back, relax and enjoy the film. I don’t even know how many movies I’ve downloaded over the years on my computer, but I can guarantee you that there were a lot! And I don’t want to see those movies lost, because they’re like my personal collection.
Having just a list with names on a website like IMDB isn’t enough, because I want to be able to watch a movie whenever I want to, not having to get it again. These days, I’m starting to consider storing my movies, but I’m not yet sure of which is the best way to do it. Let’s see what are the available options.
What’s the best solution for storing movies?
You probably all know what are the available solutions for safely storing your movies. There are two ways of storing your movies: digital and physical. So, if you’re not like me and you just need a quick resolution to your problem, my advice would be – buy a stack of DVDs and burn your movies.
But if you’re like me, you may want to read this article until the end to know what’s the best solution for your case. And if money is no problem for you, then probably you can simply buy all your favorite movies with some beautiful DVD cases. But we’ll talk about that, as well.
This is probably the safest method of them all: physical storage. And if you’re afraid that even that is not safe, then write down the names of your movies, just like I did. Write that down and also have an online watchlist – that’s an easier method to organize titles by genres. So, before starting to “export” movies from your computer’s hard drive, be sure to write the names of the movies, TV shows, if you want everything to be in perfect order. And, if some of these storage options fails, and your movies get lost, you have at least the list.
Optical disc storage
This is probably the most common solution for storing movies and it’s the most used one. I don’t know how many movies you want to store and what is the quality that you want them to have, so you should get that straight from the beginning. The same 1.5 hour movie can have 700 MB, 1 GB, 1.5 GB, 4 GB or even 10 GB. So, if you want to have a collection of Blu-Ray movies and you have 300 of them, then that’s going to cost you quite dearly.
So, let’s just suppose that the medium size of your movie would be around 1 GB (albeit something more enjoyable would be around 1.5 GB). Now, it depends on just how many movies you need to be stored. But, if you’re a StarTreak fan, for example, then you’ll be needing A LOT of space. But, for the sake of keeping this article in reasonable limits, let’s say that we’re looking for 1 TB of space to stock our movies.
1 Terrabyte of storage, according to our example, would mean the possibility to store 1,000 movies. Now, you should know right from the start that CDs are not a good choice anymore, since they tipycally have the 700 MB limitation. What you’re going to use will be DVD’s. They come in the following capacities:
- 4.7 GB
- 8.5–8.7 GB
- 9.4 GB
- 17 GB
The most used version is the 4.7 GB one and that’s what we’re going to use in our calculations, as well. 1,000/4.7 = 213 units. Now let’s see how much would that cost you. I’m not sure in what country are you currently residing, so I’ll use some numbers from the Internet to come up with an average price. Since you’ll be buying in bulk, then you shouldn’t be paying more than 0.3$ per piece. And chances are, you’ll pay even a lower price.
Your private DVD movie collection
If you’ll buy DVDs from brands, then you will end up with a slightly bigger price. But if you want to be sure that the quality of your DVDs won’t be compromised, then I probably think that it’s better to pay for the brand, albeit, in my case, I opted for “no-name” DVDs. Also, if you’re not sure about the speed, 16X should be fine. So, to have an idea, you shouldn’t be paying more than 60$ to get your DVDs’, but I think you’ll actually pay less than $50. There are plenty of offers on Amazon and eBay.
Now, we’ve settled the money issue. Next, we’re talking about time, because for many, time is money, right? Burning 1 Terabyte on 213 DVDs is not an easy task. Broadly speaking, it would take around 4-6 minutes to burn your movies onto a 4.7 GB DVD. Provided that you’ve got all your movies arranged, you’ll burn them one after another, so let’s say you’ll spend around 10 minutes for each DVD to be recorded (sorting movies, writing on the DVD, putting the DVD). 213 DVDs * 10 minutes = 2130 minutes, but once more, let’s add a few more hours for safety and make it a total of 40 hours.
So, in terms of money and time: you’ll spend around $50 or so for blank “naked” DVDs and around 40 hours to burn them all. You shouldn’t be paying too much for DVD cases, if you want those too, and go for the most basic ones. But what are you going to do with that huge collection of DVDs? Where are you going to keep them? To store your DVDs, you’ll need some DVD bags, DVD racks, cases or holders. And since you’ve put such an effort to see your movies stored, you definitely don’t want their “house” to look bad.
Amazon, eBay (Walmart and BestBuy if you’re in the USA) are your best friends once more. Here are some beautiful and cheap products that I’ve managed to find:
This is the option that I have chosen to store my movies because I love to have a personal movie collection and I simply want to know that my movies are there, in that lovely bag and I can take it with me to impress my friends. But I realize that not everybody is like me and some might find all this process uncomfortable. And here’s a middle solution that combines both physical and digital storage solutions.
External hard drives
If you want to save yourself from the hassle of buying all those DVDs, burning them, finding a suitable case and all that, then maybe what you’re looking for is this: an external hard drive. If you’re a fan of the digital age, but still want to “feel” things, then this is the best solution. You’ll be looking for a 1 Terabyte external hard drive. If you’ll keep a good eye on the offers that are on Amazon, you’ll even be able to buy one for less than $70, but that’s on a “good day”.
But a more realistic price would be around $100, I think. I’m going to provide a list with some of the best external hard drive, because their prices keep on changing and a few months after this article would’ve been published, they’ll probably get cheaper (or more expensive, who knows).
When looking for an external hard drive, try to find one that has USB 3.0, since that’s one of the fastest and most available ports. An eSATA powered device will provide even faster speeds, but then you’ll need a special cable for it. And since you’ll be using this external drive just for your movie collection, you should be fine with USB 3.0 and even USB 2.0. Here’s a good guide on the speeds that you’ll be getting. And for around $100, I don’t think you’ll be able to get an eSATA external hard drive.
Great speed and mobility, but at a price
From what I’ve managed to find, the average writing speed to your external hard drive would be around 30 MB/s. But, if your PC or laptop doesn’t support that, you’ll have to stick with the maximum speeds your machine allows. Then this means that 1 Terabyte should be copied in around half an hour. But, if you have more money to invest on your external hard drive, then you can buy a faster and even nicer looking one. You’ll also need a case for your external hard drive, if you want to keep it well protected. You shouldn’t be paying too much for that.
The biggest disadvantage with this option is that the movies can be accessed only in electronical form and the external hard drive can be damaged more easier than the DVD collection. The advantage is represented by the speed and time that you save. Also, if at one point you think you’re no longer loving one movie, you can simply delete it. Oh, and did I mention that it will occupy far less space that your DVDs?
Your movies in the cloud
This is one of the solutions that I found to be very annoying and not reliable. But I’m recommending it for those that believe in the power of the cloud and have enough money to spend for monthly storage plans. Others might want to use the cloud to store some special movies there. Otherwise, for the average users, the cloud is a pretty bad idea. Here’s a recent article that highlights that. The cloud is more for “smaller files”.
But, if you really want to store your movies in the cloud, you can, and we’ve previously showed how you can get up to 370 GB free of cloud storage. Another reason why I mentioned the cloud as a solution to store your movies is the fact that you might be doing this already. If you have a digital account with such services as Hulu, Vudu or Lovefilm, you’re probably renting or buying movies, and all that’s being done, of course, using the power of the cloud. This is the most expensive solution, because you’ll have to pay either a monthly fee or to buy/rent the movies, which doesn’t quite mean you’ve got your own collection.
But for those who can afford it and have a lot of devices (tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, smart TVs), being able to watch the movies on multiple screens, resume them at any moment is a very modern way to have your films stored. That’s an even better idea for those that are fans of TV Shows.
Hope this short guide has been useful for movie fans out there. I hope you’ll make the right decision and quite soon, you’ll be proud to have your own movie collection.