I have been using Handbreak for a while. It is pretty good, but I notice that it will not work with Region 2 DVD's if the region is not set on the DVD player in the Mac. It would be great if they could do a check of the region and then process as if the DVD was set to another region. Hope I explained this. There is a product for Windows: DVD Region Free by DVDidle. It can play ANY DVD and allow DVD transcoding. Handbreak needs this functionality to really be a killer app. For this, I would even pay gladly.

Posted by Don Trammell on April 24, 2007 at 12:52 PM (PDT) Comment 1

Windows version: Chapter markers are awesome, and having all three typical aspect ratios as presets makes it extremely easy. Making a 2.35 version of a DVD was super-easy. Having h.264 is great.

There are still a few bugs in the user interface and I haven't transcoded a complete DVD yet. I have used anyDVD extensively. It works fine, but does not support h.264 for iPod and it doesn't support chapter markers.

Posted by Chrystopher on April 24, 2007 at 2:52 PM (PDT) Comment 2

You may get much better File Sizes with 2-pass encoding enabled.
Unlike most Transcoding software for iPod, Handbrake manages to perform 2-pass encoding, but maintain iPod compatibility.
Also, while the TV, iPod and Optical-Audio Mac's won't benefit from it, Handbrake can transcode 5.1 Audio into 6-channel Discrete AAC, however you want to crank up the bitrate to accommodate the extra Audio Channels. To take advantage of Multi-channel AAC, you will need an Analog Surround Sound Card like the Griffin Firewave.

Posted by Salvo.Dan on April 24, 2007 at 3:59 PM (PDT) Comment 3

Just downloaded it. Haven't tried it yet but must say that unless I'm doing something wrong the Windows interface is butt ugly and looks nothing like the one shown in this article.

Posted by Voh Poh! on April 25, 2007 at 1:30 PM (PDT) Comment 4

I'm curious about the legal implications of this review. Every time I start researching fair use over at the EFF, I get a headache from all the intricacies of copyright law and how it applies to this DVD transcoding issue in the US.

Since you guys are in the US, are you concerned about doing these reviews knowing that to test the equipment you have to remove copyright protection? Or has it been established that fair use for review of a product governs over the DMCA?

This is an honest and sincere question from someone trying to gain some knowledge of the intracacies. I'm NOT trying to be a jerk, and I'm a supporter of the work that the EFF does.

Posted by alexarch on April 25, 2007 at 3:22 PM (PDT) Comment 5

iLounge has staff and readers spread across the world, including in territories where video and audio ripping are either or both legal, so we attempt to provide iPod, iTunes, and Apple TV-related information of use to people in various territories regardless of legal restrictions that may exist in certain countries.

That said, we do not endorse the violation of any country's laws, and note as much in a caveat at the start of each video conversion piece we publish. The topic of whether the DMCA precludes both a fair use exception for average people with DVDs, and such an exception for journalists, is as yet unanswered to the best of our knowledge. Based on our understanding of copyright law, journalists would have a greater chance of meriting such an exception than average users, who are generally believed not to have an exception under the DMCA. Greater certainty, and certainly a clear restoration of yesteryear's widely acknowledged fair use rights, would benefit millions of U.S. iPod users.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on April 25, 2007 at 3:47 PM (PDT) Comment 6

I have been using both Handbrake and VisualHub for some time now. Both have performed exceedingly well for me on my iMac 2.16C2D. I enable the "que" option in Handbrake, select all of the episodes on the disk and convert my 24 and Battlestar Galactica DVD's with no hassle at all.

I do select the original 720 pixel size to retain all of the quality, not really caring about file size too much yet. The files play very nicely on my tv and scale down on the ipod perfectly.

I mostly use VisualHub for converting formats such as wmv to mp4. The ability to "stich" multiple files together has been of great use to me. The vast majority of transcoded files have been flawless. The few exceptions seem to be due to errors in the original files.

Of all the dvd-to-ipod converters I have tried/purchased, I am most satisfied with the Handbrake and VisualHub programs.

Posted by colabear8900 on May 3, 2007 at 11:54 PM (PDT) Comment 7
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