Ripping DVDs

Bill wanted to know how to convert DVDs to iPod-friendly format. The process is pretty much the same as converting any other iPod video, but you must first do what is called “ripping” the DVD. Hollywood DVDs (i.e. the ones you buy from a store) are all encrypted. Therefore, if you just copy the video object files (.VOB) from the DVD to your hard drive, you won’t be able to play them. However, awhile ago some brilliant computer hacker found a way to crack the encryption, and the technique has subsequently been mass-produced. Now there are hundreds of programs that can rip DVDs, and they all have their strengths. The best one by far, though, is called DVD Decrypter.

Rather than reinvent the wheel and describe how to rip a DVD here, I will instead just link to a very easy-to-follow guide written by the same people who created the Videora iPod Converter. Click here to go to the guide on their site. Follow steps one through six. Once you get to six, you will have one large .VOB file somewhere on your hard drive.

Then, head over to my previous iPod Conversion howto and follow that guide. DVD conversion works exactly the same way as any other video once you have it on your hard drive and unencrypted. Just load the .VOB file into Videora when you get to the part of pressing “Browse” to find the video to convert. The one thing to keep in mind here, though, is that you definitely want to follow the note at the very bottom of the post that describes widescreen video. Not doing that will result in stretched videos, both on the iPod’s screen and the TV if you plan on outputting it.

If you have any specific issues, the forum would be a good place to ask it. I am going to make a Howto on subtitles soon, as soon as I actually figure out how to do it.