Ripping DVDs

My tool of choice for my DVD ripping needs is Handbrake.  It is an Open Source tool which supports Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.  It is highly configurable, but also has a great set of defaults for various codecs and container formats.

On the ripping side, it natively supports ripping unencrypted DVDs and supports ripping encrypted DVDs if your system has a DVD decryption library built in.  On Mac OS X, that support is built into the operating system itself.  On Windows and Linux, you need to install a copy of libdvdcss to handle the DVD decryption for you.

For instructions on installing libdvdcss on Windows for Handbrake to you, you can find instructions with links to the library.  On Linux the instructions will vary a bit based upon the distribution.  I typically use Ubuntu but you can also find instructions for Fedora and other other common distros.

Once properly installed, ripping is fairly easy.  Simply launch the program, select “Open Source”, and select your DVD drive:

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After a brief delay as the disc is scanned, one of the tracks on the disc will be selected by default, and a filename is generated.  Assuming the filename, Title/Track and the preset you want are all selected, simply click “Start Encode” to begin ripping.  You’ll be notified once the ripping is complete.  The time required for this to finish will depend on the size of the movie, speed of your DVD-ROM drive and the processing power required/available for the encoding part.

Some DVDs may contain multiple Titles/Tracks.  This is especially common when ripping DVDs of TV shows where you’ll see multiple episodes per disc, or for ripping multi-packs of movies which may have multiple movies on the disc.  To rip multiple tracks, just select each track individually, name the destination files, and click “Add to Queue”.  You can queue up as many rips as you need to.

Handbrake can also be used to re-encode existing video files on your drive if desired.  This is especially helpful when doing Blu-ray rips.  While Handbrake cannot rip Blu-ray discs, it can re-encode Blu-ray data files once they are ripped from the disc by another program.

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