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Friday, April 18, 2008

How to rip your DVDs

Whether you want to watch a movie on your iPod or back up your too-easily-scratched DVDs, DVD ripping is a mysterious realm for many. Even those in-the-know find it difficult to keep up with the best tools for the job, especially in the face of increased copy protection. On Tuesday we asked you to share your favorite DVD ripping tools; today we've sifted through hundreds of comments to bring you the five most popular answers. Hit the jump for a closer look at five of the best and most popular DVD ripping tools, then cast your vote to determine the best ripper of the bunch.

DVD Shrink (Windows)
Despite the fact that the freeware DVD Shrink (download) hasn't been in active development for years, this freeware decrypter, ripper, and compressor is still a favorite all-in-one stop for ripping and backing up DVDs. Its compression feature is what sets DVD Shrink apart, compressing 8GB dual-layer DVDs down to 4GB sizes that will fit on standard, single-layer DVD-Rs (i.e., the type of DVDs most consumers can burn to). It's even inspired us to write our very own DVD Shrink helper application, DVD Rip, which turns the already simple DVD Shrink process into a one-click ripping affair.

HandBrake (All Platforms)

The free, cross-platform HandBrake makes ripping DVDs to a bevy of useful, playable file formats a cinch, with support for iPods, PSPs, Apple TVs, PS3s, and pretty much any other format your device requires. It's fast, free, and takes the difficulty out of both ripping and transcoding.

DVDFab HD Decrypter

Much like DVD Shrink, DVDFab HD Decrypter cuts through copy protection and rips DVDs to your hard drive. Unlike DVD Shrink, DVDFab does not offer compression tools. DVDFab is shareware, but its trial version lets you do nearly as much as you'd ever need. That said, users who pony up for the platinum edition don't seem to have any regrets. (original post)

MacTheRipper (Mac OS X)

Freeware application MacTheRipper breaks copy protection from DVDs and rips the contents to your hard drive—which makes it the go-to Mac version of apps like DVD Shrink or DVDFab. Like the other two, MacTheRipper doesn't encode its rips to other formats (instead it just rips the DVD menu and all to your hard drive), but that's what Handbrake is there for.

DVD Decrypter

The freeware DVD Decrypter works much like DVD Shrink and DVDFab, ripping DVDs to your hard drive by tearing through pesky copy protection. Like DVD Shrink, DVD Decrypter hasn't been actively developed for a while, but it's still doing the job for most folks without complaint.

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