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Technology 101: Making DVD Ripping Easy

DVD Movie

As technology evolves, the media storing movies also changes from VHS cassettes, VCD, DVD and now softcopy files that can be stored in a thumb drive. Photo by Agostino Toselli from Pexels

Why Rip DVDs?

In short, it is all about storage.

I have plenty of good, expensive DVDs lying around at home; reminiscence of the days when I was still young and had plenty of money to buy original DVDs.

Also when pirated DVD sellers can be found at almost every corner of the neighbourhood and when watching movies on ASTRO was a distant away.

However, sad to say, most of the DVDs are now collecting dust and just taking up precious space on my cabinet. Then I moved most of these into 2 huge boxes and I gave away a good deal of them as well.

I hardly touch them these days for 2 main reasons.

Reason 1

I have thrown away the cheap China-made DVD player that I had, a long time ago (the expensive branded player has been put back in the box and wrapped in plastic and that too is collecting dust and taking up precious space in another cabinet).

Reason 2

Most of my movies are now in small AVI or MKV formats and tucked away by proper folder and genre in my external HDD (it makes it easier to watch them on the computer when travelling overseas where the internet is a premium).

Quality-wise this file format is not so bad but it does not beat the real thing of watching original DVDs (especially those heavily loaded with special featurettes).

There are 2 ways of copying over the DVDs from their original place (discs) to my external HDD.

Rip Method 1 – Brute Copy & Paste

I can just copy the whole AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folder from the disc and then get the right player to play the VIDEO_TS.IFO file.

The problem with this method is that obviously, the size of the folder is huge – easily 4.35 GB for one movie and also it is not so easy to get players that can play the VIDEO_TS.IFO file (especially when I already have a favourite video player).

Rip Method 2 – Software Conversion

So, the better method is to rip the DVD format into a smaller one file format – AVI, MP4 or MKV.

The advantage of this method is obvious – the file size reduces drastically from 4.35 GB to just 700 MB (saving more than 3.6 GB of HDD space). Another advantage is that it is easier for any standard video player to play these formats.

Smaller file size also means more movies can be tucked away for the “rainy days” when you have nothing to do at home and you just wanted to snuggle down with a warm blanket, hot cocoa and do nothing but watch good movies.

Using Handbrake Tools

DVD ripping although is the right way to move the contents from DVD to your HDD – it is not so easy to do it.

One main reason – there is no free DVD ripping software that can do the job properly and without introducing malware to your PC. The trial basis ones only allow you to rip a certain percentage of the movie so that too defeats the purpose you ripping the movie in the first place.

That is when I found Handbrake – open-source software that easily allows DVD ripping to MP4 or MKV formats in HDD. It takes about one and half hours to rip one movie into MKV format.

There is also an option on whether we want to remove or add subtitles. Quality-wise – almost on par with watching from DVDs and there is no misplaced audio synchronising like some ripped movies that I have seen.

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