Introduction: Ripping Your DVDs for IPod, Apple TV or That Other Video Player

Picture of Ripping Your DVDs for IPod, Apple TV or That Other Video Player

In this Instructable I will be demonstrating how to backup your personally owned DVDs to a format playable on your computer. These file can also be burned to DVD, copied to your iPod (or that other video capable player) and even streamed through the soon to be available Apple TV!

It's perfectly legal (in the US anyway) to backup your own DVDs to protect the original from little sticky fingers, accidents and use with your other Video Players.

There's been talk that the new Apple TV will only work with movies purchased through iTunes. Not true! Any movie that will stream with iTunes will work with Apple TV. Also, you'll be able to stream from up to 4 computers (Macs or PCs) on your network.

All this is possible with a recent merger of two great open-source utilities, Handbreak and MediaFork! The new merged utility, adopting the name MediaFork, is currently available for Macintosh (GUI), Windows (command-line or GUI) and Linux (command-line). I will be covering the use of the Graphic User Interface (GUI) version. There's also a special version for Mac called "Instant Handbreak" that removed all the confusing settings and just does the job for you.

A note about this specific DVD: I've taken the liberty to semi-hide the title to avoid inciting any publisher's anger. Please don't mention the name of the DVD when posting. I chose this particular DVD because it happens to be resistant to any other copying process. As it is, with this software, the first (very important) 7 minutes of the movie are lost.

Very few movies will have problems making a full copy.

Step 1: Getting the Software

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Note. There are many techniques that will accomplish this. Most will require 2 to more packages. This one only requires the one program that will run on any computer under 5 years old.

MediaFork (currently 0.8.0 beta 1) is available for download at for all three platforms. Just choose the version for your computer and download it!

On the Mac, drag the application, MediaFork from the downloaded disk image or folder to your Utilities folder (located in the Applications folder). Then drag the newly copied MediaFork application, from your Utilities folder, to your Dock for easy access.

For Windows & Linux follow the included instructions for installation.

EDIT: The new link to Handbrake is This now has presets for everything!

Step 2: Insert Your DVD

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Open your DVD drive and insert the DVD.

On most computers (unless you've disabled it) a DVD will automatically open your DVD Player. Just quit out of the application. If asked, choose not to eject the DVD.

The DVD should remain mounted on your desktop or in "My Computer."

Step 3: Run the Software

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Launch MediaFork (or HandBrake if the beta scared you). The program will automatically recognize your DVD and list it as "Detected volume." Just click the Open button.

The next stage will read through the disk and find the largest title (the movie) for you.

Step 4: Select the Movie

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As I said in the previous step, MediaFork will automatically select what it thinks is the Feature movie. If the DVD contains more than one movie, or you were more interested in one of the extra shorts included you may want to change this setting.

At the top of the window, the DVDs name appears and the currently selected title. The popup menu will show all found titles by number followed by the duration in the format HHhMMmSSs where HH is hours, MM is minutes and SS is seconds.

Select the title you want if it's other than the main feature. Note that the Chapters are listed and you have the option of choosing the chapters you want. Leave this setting alone unless you only wanted part of the movie! :)

Step 5: Set the Destination

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If you're like me, the boot drive is pretty much filled up with Applications and the OS. I keep all of my movies on a set of external drives.

If you want to save the movie to another drive or somewhere other than the default (Desktop on Mac / My Documents in Windows), Click the browse button to choose an alternative location.

You will have to navigate to the location and enter the name of the movie; Then click Save.

Step 6: Decide on the Output Settings

Picture of Decide on the Output Settings

If you're extracting for use with iTunes, iPod or Apple TV, leave the settings at MP4. MP4 is also a very good choice for re-burning to DVD. If you've got another specific application you intend to use, you might change the format to AVI or OGM.

In the lower section it asks for specific encoding settings for the Video and Audio separately. If you're not using iTunes, you may want to change the Encoder to Xvid, rather than FFmpeg.

Don't make any changes here unless you really know what your doing. There's plenty of time for experimenting later!

Note that on this particular DVD, there's an apparently deliberate glitch right after the lion roars... To get around this glitch, change the beginning chapter to 2.

Step 7: Disable Queue

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Unless you're converting more than one DVD at a time, you have no need for a Queue. Make sure that the "Enable queue" checkbox is unchecked.

Step 8: Let-r-Rip!

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Click the "Rip" button and wait. Go have a coffee... Take the wife shopping... Watch a different DVD. This is gonna take awhile... About 3 hours for this movie.

As I pointed out in Step 6, Ripping stopped at the start of chapter 1 (The lion roared!). This appears to be a copy protection scheme of placing a glitch in this chapter. If this happens, just change the beginning chapter to 2 and live without the first chapter.

Step 9: Import Into ITunes or What-have-you

Picture of Import Into ITunes or What-have-you

Importing into iTunes is very straightforward. Just drag the movie to the iTunes icon.

If you've got one of those other programs, I leave it as an exercise for you.

You can also burn the MP4 to DVD using any number of free and not-so-free DVD Burning utilities. This, I also leave as an exercise for you.


wacool (author)2012-10-13

im trying to download for windows and it asks me 32 bit or 64 bit whats the difference and wich one is better

turtlerck (author)2010-08-08

For those who want to rip all episodes or titles into one video files, I think the dvd free ripper should have the "merge" feature, so you won't be interrupted when watch the movie.

Wareagle (author)2009-09-27

i want to add episode 3 season 3 of LOST to my iPod. i have the episode 1-4 disc. i was confused on which one to choose in the video TS file. these are the ones to choose from that i believe are from episode 3... VTS_03_O.BUP - 52KB VTS_03_01.IFO - 52KB VTS_03_0.VOB - 124.5 MB VTS_03_1.VOB - 1023.9 MB VTS_03_2.VOB - 613.4 MB thank you!

LasVegas (author)Wareagle2010-02-14

 IFO files are the Information document for the video portion. The BUP is a Backup of the information file in case the DVD player has a read error with the IFO file. The VTS files are the actual Video information. None of them will work on the iPod. That is why you need to rip the video into an M4V (MPEG 4 Video) file.

Mathias Re'eh (author)Wareagle2010-02-14

most likely it is VTS_03_1.VOB - 1023.9 MB because it is the most amount of memory i hope it helps :)

Wareagle (author)Wareagle2009-09-27

BTW i am using a macintosh.

LasVegas (author)2009-12-06

 You can pay for and use that software, but Handbreak is free and does as good or better job than DVD Ripper.

adam2013 (author)2009-02-16

its only illegal if you aren't using it for personal use like selling the copies

chibiwind (author)adam20132009-11-18

i thought it was illegal to bypass the DVD encryption?

finleym50 (author)2009-09-09

This DVD Ripperis the most powerful one that I have used before. It has great power to rip DVD to video of all formats.

LasVegas (author)2009-08-31

That's nice as a Windows only solution and if you want to spend money on a commercial package that isn't near as powerful as Handbreak for rripping for the iPod/video player. If you want to rip DVDs to make a backup copy on the Mac, there's no better solution that RipIt, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper!

abadfart (author)2008-12-28

sweet I'm going to be streaming through my house

kburesh (author)2008-10-03

If you have windows just use dvd shrink to rip your dvd, and videora to convert. If the dvd is new you have to use ripit4me and dvd decrycter. you can find Tutorials all over the web

collard41 (author)2008-08-14

after all of my complementing here is a quabble, when i try and load the dvd, it says that i cant find a title file, or that it is copy protected, but it had no copy protection. how do i get it to recognise the files?

LasVegas (author)collard412008-08-14

While Handbrake handles the RPC encoding without problem through the OS, a newer protection mechanism called RCE (Regional Coding Enhancement) that isn't necessarily as easy to get around. Other protection techniques are also being used such as empty or missing VOB files.

There are other techniques that help get around these issues such asMacTheRipper for the Mac. Some discs are just too difficult to waste much time on...

collard41 (author)LasVegas2008-08-14

i have found a new piece of software. Imtoo ripper pack platinum. it is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo easy. three steps 1> select dvd 2>select profile (you can make your own, or chose from the 30 or so presets) 3> press rip. i also have the media version that converts files. here is a screenshot of selecting a profile, see how easy it is

danlab (author)collard412008-08-14

I ran into this problem, but if you read their how to guide, it tells you to select the “VIDEO_TS” folder not the actual dvd. When I did this, it worked fine.

the how to guide is

collard41 (author)danlab2008-08-14

thats what i did. and if that did work, surely you would use the audio files

collard41 (author)2008-08-14

as a message to LasVegas, do you think you could change the link in the intro to as this works perfectly and still works ps it isn't in french

LasVegas (author)collard412008-08-14

Sounds like an idea! No problem.

collard41 (author)2008-08-14

i use the standard Handbrake and it is easier than this, as there are presets and less ways to go wrong, but you can also go as complicated as you want.

LasVegas (author)collard412008-08-14

Yes. The new presets make everything easier! This was written before them.

gamerguy13 (author)2007-12-25

Handbrake can't read the DVD, even when I directed it to VIDEO_TS. I get a message saying "No Title(s) found. Please make sure you have selected a valid, non-copy protected source. Please refer to the FAQ (see Help Menu).

collard41 (author)gamerguy132008-08-14

you want to select the option Folder under the Browse button instead of File

HardCoreHacker (author)2008-08-05

Please put the installation program on the instructasble!! My computer wont let to the web site.

collard41 (author)HardCoreHacker2008-08-14

try this link:

weebl (author)2007-03-27

or just a thougt you could download limewire and get what you want when you i know five year olds that could write better instructables than this

bengerszewski (author)weebl2008-08-07

i've tried getting videos from limewire, and it doesnt work to well for me... any tips?

LasVegas (author)bengerszewski2008-08-07

I'm sorry... I refuse to instruct or condone any process to illegally acquire copyrighted material. This Instructable assumes the user is transferring a movie they own for the purpose of watching it on their video capable player. BTW: I wouldn't give too much merit to weebl's comments. Just look at the quality, or lack thereof, of his Instuctables (all two of them!).

bengerszewski (author)LasVegas2008-08-08

i don't like limewire much either, good to know someone shares my opinion. Anyways... great instructable.

fionaleigh (author)weebl2007-04-24

yeah, what a great idea! think of all the awesome viruses i could put on my machine! i'm so excited, i can hardly wait to get started! i've had limewire twice, and both times it TRASHED my computer. not only that, but limewire cuts down on hard-earned profits that musicians like myself deserve.

weebl (author)fionaleigh2007-04-24

wow you seel music whitch means that you have enough money for a gutar plug to normal headphone jack AND you have enogh money for a microphone And cd to burn,WOW a recording studio whith a computer and if your very edgy you could even try to make a video whith a webcam wow a whole recording studio for you very high valued musicians explaned in one comment.

weebl (author)weebl2007-04-28

what im saying in simple terms so the tiny penut inside your head can figure out is that if you have enough money for a microphone a gutar and a cd.what!!???!??!?!? i have all those and guess what i must be a hihly valued musician!!!!!!!!

bengerszewski (author)weebl2008-08-07

dude! stop being a jerk! and yes, i agree, comment below me, LEARN TO SPELL!

fionaleigh (author)weebl2007-04-25

maybe if you learn to spell, i can understand what you're trying to say to me.....

spottedape_05 (author)weebl2008-05-11

Or just a thought, you could reply constructively, Nice Instructable... this works much better than cucusoft and theres no annoying water mark.. Thanks

gizmo_ult (author)2008-06-21

thanks finally one i can get free and be able to do more like pick chapters for my ac/dc family jewels

2685866 (author)2008-03-17

he is copying 007 Casino Royale

Sandisk1duo (author)2008-03-07

i wonder what movie you were ripping...

jamnoopers (author)2008-01-05

The software cuts off 7 mins of the beginning of every movie?

LasVegas (author)jamnoopers2008-02-12

No. It did this particular movie because of some special copy protection used.

reeding (author)2008-02-11

hand break takes FOREVER any ideas for making it faster

LasVegas (author)reeding2008-02-12

DVDs use VOB files which are MPEG2 video interlaced with one or more audio streams of various formats (Dolby, 5.1, 7.1, DTS, etc.). Deinterlacing, expanding and re-compressing this data takes a lot of processing power. You can speed up the process by upgrading to a faster processor and/or more memory (RAM).

little_genius241974 (author)2008-01-03

Thanks Las Vegas,

One thing I would recommend is first transfer the movie into an ISO file with DVD Shrink available at, and then use the ISO file to make the MPEG video or any other format. I have gotten better results with this and I've backed up nearly thirty-six videos!

Oops... Sorry about the ""

Wareagle (author)2007-12-28


potternerd876 (author)2007-10-13

ok, I transfered a movie onto my i-pod, but it is SOOOOO blotchy and is missing some sound. Please help.:(

potternerd876 (author)2007-10-12

And the ones it does encode, the picture is very blotchy, and it only has, like, 18-19 seconds copied

potternerd876 (author)2007-10-12

Yes, I have read the Windows Documentation. Whenever my Com. reads the DVD, for some of them it cannot find a title

potternerd876 (author)2007-10-12

Okay, but whenever I try to download Mediafork, anywhere, is says that the Page cannot be displayed

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