Basic DVD conversion | iLounge Article


Basic DVD conversion

Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

Q: I read your excellent three-part series on converting (ripping) DVDs to watch on an iPod. What are the chances that the process will work without a great deal of difficulty for someone who’s not a computer wizard? Are there other conversion programs that you recommend other than the ones mentioned in the articles? And what about transferring DVDs that I’ve recorded from TV? Can they be watched on an iPod?

- MJ

A: For most users who simply want a simple and straightforward method for converting their commercial DVDs into an iTunes-ready format we generally recommend Handbrake, as it provides the most effective one-step solution for this. It also has the advantage of being updated quite regularly to provide support for new features such as subtitles and Dolby Digital sound (which is now supported on the Apple TV 2.0 firmware). Handbrake’s normal default pre-sets will generally produce more than acceptable results for the casual user, so don’t be intimidated by all of the advanced settings that are otherwise available.

For Windows users looking to copy commercial copy-protected DVDs (ie, movies and TV shows), an additional DVD decryption component is required since the open-source DVD decryption libraries that Handbrake uses on the Mac are not available on the Windows platform. Tools such as DVD Decryptor and DVD43 can be used for this, and are explained in our Windows conversion tutorial.  DVD43 is generally the recommended solution for the average user, as it simply sits in the system tray and silently decrypts the DVD as Handbrake reads it, so there is no need for any extra steps.

Users of Handbrake on the Mac should not require any additional software beyond Handbrake itself, as the Mac version includes the necessary DVD decryption components built in.

Note that DVDs that you have recorded yourself from TV or from home movies will not have any copy-protection on them, however, and these can therefore be fed into Handbrake without any additional tools required to decrypt them, so this should be an even simpler process. Other than the copy protection, there is really no difference between converting a DVD that you’ve recorded yourself versus on that was purchased in a store.

It should also be mentioned that the legality of the process of “ripping” commercial DVDs varies in different countries due to the issues surrounding the copy protection itself. For example, in the U.S. the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prohibits the circumvention of technical copy protection restrictions (such as those found on commercial DVDs) for any reason, apparently including fair personal use. You should therefore of course consult the laws in your particular country of residence.

The most asked question at

How do I copy content from my iPod/iPhone onto my computer?

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, Apple TV and iPhone Video Formats

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Mac)

Converting DVDs, web video, TV shows and more:

The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Win)

Best Speakers?

Best Headphones?

Best Case?

Best In-Car Solution?

Best Battery Extender?

Find more answers in the latest publications in our Library. Free downloads developed by the editors of iLounge!

Ask iLounge Archives:

1-24-14: Viewing only downloaded iTunes Match tracks

1-22-14: Splitting purchased content between two iPads

12-13-13: Non-Bluetooth Lightning dock speakers

12-11-13: Shared Apple ID and switching away from iPhone

12-6-13: Syncing multiple iCloud data with a family Mac

Read more recent Ask iLounge articles...

View the complete Ask iLounge archives...

« Does iPhone SDK mark the end of Click Wheel iPod Gaming?

Using the Voice Memo function »

Related Stories


If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy