With nearly everyone in the developed world in possession of at least one iPod, people are losing patience with media that plays on only one kind of device. Chief among that media is the commercial movie DVD. In this episode of the Macworld Video I present options for converting these DVDs to a format playable on your computer, iPod, and iPhone.
- Format: MPEG-4/H.264
- Resolution: 480 x 272 (iPhone & iPod compatible)
- Size: 8MB
- Length: 5 minutes, 3 seconds
Or you can look below for the full-quality video embedded from YouTube. (Please note our videos are now available in HD on YouTube as well!)
Software tools for doing the job include the free HandBrake (in cooperation with the free VLC), the Little App Factory’s $20 RipIt, and Metakine’s free FairMount. I also mention Roxio’s $100 Toast Titanium 10 and Elgato’s $150 Turbo.264HD.
Note that if you’re running Snow Leopard as well as the 64-bit version of HandBrake, that old copy of VLC you have won’t work. You need to get a 64-bit version of VLC, which you can find as part of the nightly builds.
With some luck (and foresight on the part of the right people) ripping DVDs for personal use won’t be necessary in the future. Increasingly, commercial DVDs and Blu-ray discs are shipping with a code that allows you to download a digital copy of the movie for playback on an iPod or iPhone.
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[Editor’s note: The MPAA and most media companies argue that you can’t legally copy or convert commercial DVDs for any reason. We (and others) think that, if you own a DVD, you should be able to override its copy protection to make a backup copy or to convert its content for viewing on other devices. Currently, the law isn’t entirely clear one way or the other. So our advice is: If you don’t own it, don’t do it. If you do own it, think before you rip.]