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Rip DVD with VLC

Rip DVD to hard drive and play with most media players.
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When everything failed you can always turn to VLC.  VLC Media Player is one of the most versatile media players ever. What it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in functionality. It can read and save all the major formats of video and audio, and much more than that, it can rip DVDs. This is a pretty simple process, if you know what you're doing. Plus, it saves you having to buy expensive DVD ripping software!

The first step is to open up VLC and click the open button (itís the leftmost one). From the dialog box that appears select Disc and then DVD. Enter the letter of your DVD-ROM drive in the device name box, and ď0Ē in the title box. Click OK to see if thatís what you want to rip. If it is, click the stream/save box and then settings. Otherwise, change the title to ď1Ē and then keep increasing the number until you find the one you want. It might take a little bit, some DVDs have the main video as late as title 15.

Once youíve got the right video though, open the settings box and uncheck the ďplay locallyĒ box if itís checked (unless you want to watch it at the same time itís ripping) and check the file, video, and audio boxes. Select where youíre going to save your movie (save it as a .mpg, like movie.mpg) by hitting browse and then navigating to the folder where you want to save it and typing moviename.mpg in the name box. Select mp1v for the video codec and mp3 for the audio; 1024k is usually a good size and produces a nice balance between size and quality.

Click OK, and OK again. VLC should start transcoding the disc to your hard drive, where you can watch it. As a bit of a warning, when you want to watch the file with VLC, be absolutely sure that the stream/save box is unchecked in the open dialog box, or bad things might happen. Like your two hours of transcoding being erased (guilty!). You can watch the ripped files in any media player though.

Disclaimer: Because of the DMCA, itís illegal for you to rip a DVD that has CSS (a form of DRM) on it. Iím no lawyer, but I think it should be fair use to do it. This being a democracy though, my opinons donít matter, so yeah. Donít hold me responsible if the MPAA comes knocking at your door. That said though, thereís a lot of DVDs that donít have content protection, those should be perfectly legal to rip. And for any MPAA people who read this, I found this all out so I could rip The Manchurian Candidate (original version) which has no CSS. So there. Anyway, I think Iíve got all the bases covered ...


 Recommended DVD Ripping Utilities  

Despite the fact that the freeware DVD Shrink (download) hasn't been in active development for years, this freeware decrypter, ripper, and compressor is still a favorite all-in-one stop for ripping and backing up DVDs. Its compression feature is what sets DVD Shrink apart, compressing 8GB dual-layer DVDs down to 4GB sizes that will fit on standard, single-layer DVD-Rs (i.e., the type of DVDs most consumers can burn to). It's even inspired us to write our very own DVD Shrink helper application, DVD Rip, which turns the already simple DVD Shrink process into a one-click ripping affair.


The free, cross-platform HandBrake makes ripping DVDs to a bevy of useful, playable file formats a cinch, with support for iPods, PSPs, Apple TVs, PS3s, and pretty much any other format your device requires. It's fast, free, and takes the difficulty out of both ripping and transcoding.

The freeware DVD Decrypter works much like DVD Shrink and DVDFab, ripping DVDs to your hard drive by tearing through pesky copy protection. Like DVD Shrink, DVD Decrypter hasn't been actively developed for a while, but it's still doing the job for most folks without complaint.

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DVD Ripping made easy.