How to rip a DVD using Handbrake & VLC Player
Watching a DVD movie or TV show on anything other than a DVD player will require a process called 'ripping'. To rip a DVD means to digitally extract the movie or TV show from the physical DVD, turn it into a digital file and convert it to the appropriate format for the device on which you want to watch it. These days, it is more feasible to watch your media on a phone, iPad, Apple TV or Android tablet, or load them onto a media streaming device like the WD TV. (It goes without saying that this applies only to DVD movies / TV Shows that you own, and that you will only use the encoded files in your own home).
If you have an iOS device - iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, there are many options for streaming your media from its storage location (on a computer, external hard drive or Network drive) and watching our media anywhere inside your home network or even remotely. See Streaming your media. You can also turn your computer into a media centre using free software called Plex. This will work with Windows or MAC and will stream your media both remotely and inside your home network. See the page, Media Centre for more information on how to setup and use Plex.
What do you need to rip a DVD?
However, before you can stream your media , you need to separate the movie or TV show from the physical DVD - rip it. There are some commercial programs that will do the job - rip and convert, but we'd all like a free way - wouldn't we?
Handbrake and VLC media player are the two free programs that you will need. The installation process also requires the installation of the file: libdvdcss-2.dll into the Handbrake folder. Instructions on how to do this are below.
HandBrake is really an encoding program. It takes a video file and converts it to a format known as h.264 (a high-quality version of MPEG-4). Specifically you can convert a video to play on various Apple devices such as an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Apple TV. If you’re not in the Apple ecosystem, don’t worry. You can create files that are more universal. When you encode with HandBrake you choose a profile that is appropriate. As you mouse over the profile names, they give you “tools tips” that help explain what they do. The h.264 format is becoming THE web standard, featured quite prominently in what is known as the HTML5 standard. What HandBrake is good at is taking a DVD and converting just the movie (no menus and such) to a playable file that resides on your hard drive. These files would play in QuickTime or iTunes.
An example of the software that will play DVDs on your computer is a free program called VLC. Stick a DVD in your computer’s DVD drive and run the VLC software. Choose File>Open Disc… and soon you’re watching movies on your computer. What VLC has built-in is the necessary encryption capability to allow you to watch a DVD. You can even select a menu item to go full screen on your computer (go to Video>Full Screen).
What else do you need?
VLC lets you watch DVDs. How does VLC help you rip files? Well, just by having installed it will allow it to coexist with HandBrake. VLC includes a “library” file, libdvdcss, that allows for the decryption of DVDs. This file no longer comes with a VLC player installation. You need to download a file called: libdvdcss-2.dll and copy it into the Handbrake directory.
In summary, software that can play DVDs relies on dll files to tell it how to read the encrypted disc for playback. By using libdvdcss combined with HandBrake, we will be able to decrypt our DVDs while we transcode, without any additional software. Without this .dll file, you will get errors when you use Handbrake.
See also the page: Get media into your iPad
Instructions: How to get Handbrake working in Windows 8
- Check which version of Windows you have: 32 bit or 64 bit. Click Start, right click on Computer; select Properties.
- Download (64 bit) Handbrake for Windows from http://handbrake.fr/rotation.php?file=HandBrake-0.9.8-x86_64-Win_GUI.exe
- Download (32 bit) Handbrake for Windows. http://handbrake.fr/rotation.php?file=HandBrake-0.9.8-i686-Win_GUI.exe
- Install Handbrake and take note of the install location. Usually, it will be in C:\ Program Files\Handbrake
- Download the VLC media player from VideoLan.org Get the correct version for Windows. Link to the Downloads page.
- Download the libdvdcss-2.dll 64-bit from VideoLan at http://download.videolan.org/pub/libdvdcss/1.2.11/win64/libdvdcss-2.dll or
- Download the libdvdcss-2.dll 32 bit file for VideoLan. (Depending on your system) at
8. Move the libdvdcss-2.dll file to the Handbrake directory. It's probably C:/Program files/Handbrake. Then you can start Handbrake and begin ripping!.
How to copy a DVD (or clone it)
Now, if you want to put the entire DVD, with menus, special features, etc. on your hard drive, you’ll want to use a program that rips the entire disk. Most DVD movie discs come on what are known as dual-layer discs. The reason is that not only do these discs need to hold the movie, they also need room to hold those special features. A standard 4.7 GB disc just won’t hold all that data, so a dual-layer disc that holds about 8.5 GB of data is needed. VLC will play those ripped files from your hard drive, just like they were playing from the original disc. The quality will also be maintained as there is no encoding of the video, just copies of the files.
So in summary, standard DVD decrypter programs don’t encode the movie, they simply copy or clone it to the hard drive in MPEG-2 format. HandBrake encodes the movie (in MPEG-4 format) and in the process makes the file smaller. (The MPEG-4 format is required to play the file on mobile devices while the MPEG-2 format can only play in DVD players (or VLC player)
Here is a summary of the software and what it does:
- VLC (PC and Mac) – A DVD player with decryption that assists other programs in ripping. Also has a record feature to save clips to the hard drive. Free.
- HandBrake (PC and Mac) - A video encoder program that saves files in the h.264 format. Free.
- MPEG Streamclip (PC and Mac) - A basic video editing program whose basic function is to extract short clips from video and save them as new files. Free, but the MPEG-2 plugin is $20.
- Free DVD Decrypter (PC) – A DVD copier program. Essentially saves the complete file structure of a DVD to a hard drive. Free.
- DVD Fab HD Decrypter (PC) – Similar to the above program, but will decrypt Blu-ray as well. Free, with extra features extra.
- AnyDVD (PC) – Removes restrictions (copy protections) from DVD, Blu-ray, and HD-DVD discs. 79 Euros.
- DVDRipper Pro (Mac) – A Mac decrypter program like Free DVD Decrypter. $20.
- FairMount (Mac) – A restriction remover similar to AnyDVD, but only for DVDs. Free.