When evaluating today’s DVD ripper software choices I have noticed that some are lacking in features that are found in the best applications that are still updated today. I have come up with a ‘best’ of feature list that all good rippers must have.
The Primary function of DVD Rippers
This process is best described as comparing it to CD ripping like you do with Audio CD’s. When you rip a DVD, it’s like extracting the songs on a CD into the MP3 format. You get the audio tracks, but not supplemental material that you might access by putting the CD into a CD-ROM drive on a computer.
While there are ways to make a bit-for-bit rip of the DVD, you’ll have a hard time finding ways to play it back, same as an iPod wouldn’t know what to do if you somehow tried to play that supplemental material on it. It’s best just to rip the main “track,” which is the movie itself, to the video equivalent of an .mp3 or .aac which would be either an .avi or MPEG format and leave the DVDs on the shelf for the rare time you want to watch supplemental material.
Good ripping applications will have the following options: The ability to set the CBR quality (recommended 63%) using the H.264 codec in an .mp4 container produces video that’s indistinguishable from the original DVD.
Stepping through what that means:
- – At least 63% CBR quality: You probably know from ripping audio that CBR means Constant Bit Rate. Basically, instead of letting the program intelligently increase or decrease the bitrate based on the contents of the media at any given point, you specify a bitrate for it to use during the entire encoding session. 63% is DVD-quality. Any higher, and it’d be like encoding a 128kb/s song at 320kb/s – a larger file size and longer encode time with literally zero increase in quality. If you want, you can enable two-pass encoding, which basically encodes the video once and then goes back to double-check that it did the best job it could. It doubles the encoding time, but I use it just to be safe.
- – H.264 codec: This is the algorithm used to encode the video. There are a lot of boring math-type reasons H.264 is the best codec to use, but the long and short of it is that it’ll produce better-looking video than any of the competition.
- – .mp4 container: This is the type of file that’s output at the end of the encoding session. Different containers have different ways of handling things like subtitles, multi-channel audio, and so forth. This is largely a matter of preference and compatibility, but .mp4 will play on pretty much anything and is a safe choice.
Many free DVD rippers will only allow you rip the movie without any settings, basically you take it as is. There are plenty of quality rippers on the market and we have compiled a list of the best DVD rippersthat have more advanced features that will offer you more choices and a better overall experience.