Get Media into your iPad

Definition of media?

DVDs, BluRay disks, CDs in their original form are examples of analog media. You need to play them on the appropriate player.

Digital media means that you have the movie / TV show / song in a digital format on your hard drive. It has been ripped from the original source. 

Media that can be used on your iPad can therefore include: music (.mp3), video ( video formats accepted) and books (book formats supported by the iPad). So, this may be songs, TV shows, movies, music videos, ebooks and audiobooks.


Where does your media come from?

Purchase it from the iTunes store. You can use either the iTunes app or  the iTunes Store in iTunes.

  • The main problem here - whatever you buy from the iTunes store is copy protected and attached to your iTunes account. You can play it only on an authorised computer. Up to 5 devices can be authorised for one iTiunes account.  If you want to share the file with a friend or play it on an authorised device, you will have to break the copy protection and convert the file.  This generally requires some paid software. Here's one example: How to remove DRM protection from iTunes
itunes authorise.png

Rip it from the original source

Use ripping software to extract the digital file from the DVD. Rip the movie, rip the TV episodes and import them into itunes . For DVDs, here's a link: 5 best DVD ripping tools or use the free software: Handbrake and VLC Player.

For music, insert the CD into itunes and it will rip the tracks for you and import them into the music library of iTiunes.


Download video from Youtube, Dailymotion, Vimeo (online source)

There are many downloader options which now appear to be broken as Youtube is preventing video downloads. However, there is one site I use which works. There are no apps that will download Youtube video  from within the iPad.

How do you rip media?

For a DVD, software is required. You can purchase copying and cloning software but there is a free product (Windows and MAC) that will rip DVDs. Handbrake uses some of the components of the VLC player to remove the copy protection and region code and convert the file into a format that you select. There is also an iPad preset which makes it even easier.


Handbrake presets. Simply select the device you want to play the ripped file and all the settings are provided. Selecting the Universal preset seems to work for all media.

handbrake presets.png

How to rip and convert media using Handbrake and VLC player (Updated 2013)


See also the post: How to rip a DVD using Handbrake 


Reducing the file size of a ripped video

Ripping files at full-quality is great if you’ve got a lot of storage space. A full movie, ripped fully-quality, can land at a gig of hard drive space or more! Sometimes, you just can’t afford to use that much space, especially if your iDevice does not have plenty of storage space. You don't want a 1 gb video file ... You need to reduce the size of a file without affecting its quality. Handbrake can do this for you. See this video.

Lifehacker article: How to rip a DVD to your computer - Windows and MAC 

Converting Video

iPads / iPhones require specific video formats. If you have an incompatible video, then watch this to learn how to convert it. For example, you may have a .avi or .mpeg 2 file. This video shows you how to convert a video to an .mp4 format using Handbrake. It also shows you how to change the picture settings in Handbrake to 'downsize" from 1080p to 720p.

Ripping DVDs with Mountain Lion (MAC OSX 10.8)


Unfortunately, Handbrake does not work consistently with Mountain Lion (OSX 10.8) .  So this is now my ripper of choice for the MAC. It's not free - $35.95 for a family pack (5 computers)

Rip it 

Ripping a DVD using the Compression method rips individual episodes or the movie and will copy the finished files into iTunes.




Converting your Media

Handbrake will rip and convert in the one process. By selecting a preset - like the Apple TV or iPad, the correct format is selected for you. The finished rip will also be in the appropriate format for the device. 

However, you can always use a dedicated converter program to convert media files into formats appropriate for the different devices - phones, tablets, DVD, games machines.

This video is a tutorial on the program: WinX Video Converter Deluxe - available in both MAC and windows versions. 

Tagging your ripped files

iDentify 2              

Download from Macupdate or the MAC App Store


Normally, when you convert a video file to the format used by iOS devices such as the iPad, iPod, iPhone or AppleTV, all the information about the video is missing! The only thing you see is the name of the file where the title of the video should be! Enter iDentify 2! 

iDentify 2 looks at the name of files as they are added to it. Based on the name of the file, iDentify determines wether it is a TV Show or movie based on common naming conventions. From the file name, a lot of information can be gleaned, such as movie title, show name, season number, episode number, year of release, and imdb code. iDentify can then automatically look onThe TVDBThe Movie DB, and tagChimp to gather more information about the title, such as description, rating, chapter names and more! iDentify also inspects the file and can automatically turn on the HD flag on the movie when the resolution of the file goes above a set minimum.

Use Bit Torrent?

Bit Torrent - when all else fails and you can't get the media in any other way, try this.

What is Bit Torrent?

BitTorrent is a protocol (a set of rules and description of how to do things) allowing you to download files quickly by allowing people downloading the file to upload (distribute) parts of it at the same time. BitTorrent is often used for distribution of very large files, very popular files and files available for free, as it is a lot cheaper, faster and more efficient to distribute files using BitTorrent than a regular download.



To use bit torrent, you need to search for a file - a video, application, music, game and use the torrent client - Mediaget to download the file for you.
Quick guide to using Mediaget.

Search for a file

Search for a file

Successfully downloading a bit torrent file depends on how many people are holding complete copies of the file on their computer and who are sharing it. Each person contributes a piece of the file to the torrent.
This is demonstretaed by the number of 'stars' in the search results. A file with one star could take days to download. Just keep the computer on and let it download in the background.

Select the files to download

Select the files  to download

As this example is a TV series, I could select just the episodes I want to download or leave the default and get them all.

The Transfers window

The Transfers window

1. Mrs Brown's Boys had 5 stars in the Speed column and is downloading very quickly. At its current rate, the entire Season 3 will be downloaded in an hour.
2. The Skivers had 1 star in the speed column and at this point has made no progress. Whoever has the file is not online. This type of file can take many days, in some cases. You need to be patient when you want a torrent file that is "not popular".

Deleting the torrent

Deleting the torrent

Once the file has downloaded, you can retrieve it from its downloaded location. You can change this in Settings.
Right-click to bring up some delete options.

Putting it all together in iTunes

Once you have converted one or more videos into an iTunes-ready format, the next step is to actually get them into iTunes in a usable and organized format. While importing the file is extremely straightforward—just drag-and-drop it into iTunes or use the Add to Library option on the File menu—actually organizing the file can be a somewhat more involved process. Third-party tools such as MetaX can help with this and can be used either before or after you import your video files into iTunes.

The complete guide to managing iTunes video

This video looks at: importing a movie file into iTunes, adding tags and other metadata in a consistent manner and syncing that file to the iPad.