You pay good money for your DVDs, but they're hardly the only format you need these days. These five ripping tools ensure you can back them up, keep them on your media server, and load them on your favourite portable player.
Photo by jonasj.
DVD Shrink (Windows, Free)
DVD Shrink is a free and capable ripping tool that excels at, as the name would imply, shrinking DVDs. DVDs come in two common formats: DVD-5 (4.7GB) and DVD-9 (8.5GB); the Reauthor mode in DVD Shrink helps you to ditch disc extras and strip most larger DVDs down to fit into a standard (and less expensive) DVD-5 disc. DVD Shrink does a good job handling many protection schemes, but hasn't been updated to remove some of the newest schemes.
DVD Fab (Windows, $US50)
DVD Fab is a commercial DVD ripper that supports the removal of all current DVD copy protections. In addition to being current on protection schemes, it boasts a large array of options for stripping and repacking your DVDs once the copy protection is removed. You can rip the entire disc, rip only the main movie, or split it into pieces — among other options. Like DVD Shrink, DVD Fab also supports compressing DVD-9 discs to fit on DVD-5 discs.
Handbrake (Windows/Mac/Linux, Free)
Handbrake is a DVD-ripping tool with a strong emphasis on not just ripping media but recoding it for playback on computers, portable devices, and other non-disc based systems. Handbrake can help you convert DVDs and other MPEG-based video into MP4 and MKV files. You can tweak settings like video frame rate and audio codec playback to your heart's content with Handbrake, and even batch encode all your media at one time to make filling up your iPod or other device relatively painless. The one major shortcoming of Handbrake is that it doesn't have any copy protection removal tools built in, which means you may occasionally need to use a 3rd-party stripping tool to prepare your DVD for conversion.
AnyDVD (Windows, $US60 per year)
AnyDVD is another commercial entry in this week's Hive Five. It's not cheap, with a one year licence running $US60 — although the multi-year discounts quickly stack up — but it can boast that it stays on top of current protection and encryption schemes to makes sure you're never locked out of your own discs. In addition to stripping protections from the disc, it also has the ability to control DVD playback speed so that DVDs played on media centre computers will play slower and quieter, and it allows you to remove things like forced subtitles, warning screens and disc material you don't want.
DVD Decrypter (Windows, Free)
Although DVD Decrypter hasn't been updated since 2005, it still works on a significant number of DVDs and has a strong following resulting from both its original user base and new users who find it cuts through the copy protection on their current DVDs protected with CSS, Macrovision content protection, region codes and other hindrances.
Have a favourite that wasn't featured or a tip for ripping DVDs? Let's hear about it in the comments.