DVD Ripping

Just wanted to share something and no, I am not promoting privacy…directly

(Older version of the Handbrake in action – image source: Wikipedia)

I have a problem.

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, when pirated DVD sellers can be found at almost every corner of neighbourhood and when watching movies on ASTRO was a distant away. In fact, most of the DVDs are collecting dust and just taking up precious space on my cabinet.

I hardy touch them these days as 1. I thrown away the cheap China-made DVD player that I had, a long time ago (the expensive 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) and 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 (easier to watch them on PC when travelling). Quality wise is not so bad but it does not beat the real thing of watching original DVDs (especially those heavily loaded with special featurettes).

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

First way

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 player).

Second way

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 of more than 3.6 GB of HDD space). Another advantage is that it is easy to get players to play the avi, mp4 or mkv format. 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, a hot cocoa and do nothing but watch good movies.

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 malwares 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 allows DVD ripping to mp4 or mkv formats in HDD. It takes about one and half hour to rip one movie into mkv format. There is an option on whether we want to remove or add sub-titles. Quality wise – almost in par with watching from DVDs and there is no misplaced audio synchronising like some ripped movies that I have seen.

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