Re: Building Another HTPC
A nifty little program out there (made by an Aussie Company) is called Wavepad. You can convert AAC to just about anything else you want out there, and jack up the encoding quality so you don't lose the quality from the AAC conversion.
For Dvd ripping, DVDFab Platinum is very handy. You can rip it to specific sizes, screen size, audio type, bit rates, etc... Also very handy for backing up any discs you purchase and don't want them scratched. Example, To rip Madagascar with screen size 944x508 (16:9 ratio) with H.264 Mp3 @ 320 kb/s and overall Bitrate of 1026 kb/s, it comes to a total of 796 Mb. Going fullscreen on my 42" with that kind of rip is slightly blurry, but sitting back from it you see no difference to DVD.
Same details, but with 128 kb/s AAC audio, i get 681 Mb.