Answering "Will It Play?" WITHOUT trying to play the movie


So here's the situation. For a few years now I've been watching movies on my desktop, because my desktop monitor was better than my TV. In the process of doing this, I ripped nearly all of the DVDs I owned onto the machine with Handbrake.

Now that I have a nicer TV, I want to switch back to watching via the Xbox 360 or, possibly, an Apple TV. Which of those I end up using is beside the point: one could easily imagine that I have a PS3 instead and this question still holds.

At some point I got overly-wanky about quality and began mucking about with Handbrake settings to try to play the min-max game about quality. The end result of this is that some of my ripped movies play on the Xbox 360, and some don't. I presume this would also be true for any other set-top box-ish solution. I now know what settings I "should" be ripping them with so that they work. That's not my question.

My question is this: is there some sort of tool I can run on my computer to automagically figure out which movies are compatible and which are not, so that I don't have to individually try to watch every one of several hundred files on the TV in order to figure out which ones I need to re-rip?


Hmm. Do you actually know what the difference is between a file that will play and one that won't? I doubt very much that there's any magic tool to say 'this works on XBox', but if you know what the difference is between working and non-working files, there'd probably be a way to do that with a shell script and some sort of Unix utility.


There's a tool called Gspot Information Appliance, that will tell you the codec info on the current file.

"Establishes what codecs (audio and video) are required to play an media file"

So you find one that works, run it thru Gspot, and then you know which encoding types work and which don't.

Also, there's another possible solution. Tversity. This tool might be able to automatically re-code those that don't work. Tversity is a media server and it's site states:

"Delivering any media to any device; an extensible platform independent Media Server that can serve any media to any networked device doing all the necessary conversions to overcome the limitations of any given device."

So, you might be able to go with you what have now. I've had great success with Tversity in the past, your mileage may vary, of course.

Good luck

edit: oh, and both of these tools are 100% free.