Rip a DVD to iTunes using VLC

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If you have any movies or TV shows on DVD that you would like to be able to watch on your computer without the disc, it is possible to rip the video to a file that you can watch on your computer later. This is very similar to ripping CDs that you own to MP3 files on your computer.

In this walkthrough I’m going to tell you how to convert and DVD you own into a *.mov file using the open source cross-platform VLC media player. This free program is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac OS X, and most distributions of Linux including Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSe, and many others. When you are done you will have a single file that you can play either in VLC media player on any computer, or you can import the file into iTunes on a Mac or PC and be able to play it within iTunes or QuickTime, and then you can sync it to your video capable iPod, iPod nano, iPod Classic, iPhone, or iPod Touch to watch any time.

  • NOTE: This walkthrough is meant to be used ONLY with DVDs that you own for backup purposes only.*

Step 1: Go to http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ and download VLC media player for free for your operating system, then install it.

Step 2: Insert the DVD you want to copy into your computer and open up VLC media player.

Step 3: Select ‘File’ on the top menu, and select ‘Open Disc…’ from the drop down menu.

Step 4: Select the Title you want to copy. On most movies this will simply be ‘1’, and if there are any special features they will be titles ‘2’, ‘3’, and so on. Usually with TV series on DVD ‘1’ will be the first episode, ‘2’ will be the second, etc. Put in the title number box the number you believe is the title you want to copy. At this point it’s a good idea to check that you’re going to rip the correct video file so go ahead and click ‘OK’ at the bottom and the correct Title should begin to play. If this isn’t the correct Title, then try a different number until you get the right one, once you have the correct title continue to the next step.

Step 5: Check the box that says ‘Streaming/Saving:’ on the bottom left hand corner, at this point the ‘Settings…’ box should not be grayed out so click on it so we can fine tune the video and audio encoding settings.

Step 6: Check the ‘File’ box at the top and then click Browse. Now you will need to select where you want to save the file and what you want to name it. Select a directory where you would like it to be saved. My Videos on a PC or your Movies folder on a Mac/Linux is a good place for now. Make sure that at the end of the name you add ‘.mov’ because VLC will not automatically add the file extension.

Optional: For advanced users, if you are not planning on importing this into iTunes to use on an iPod you can select a different file extension such as .mpg, but just make sure that when you encode it you use the correct MPEG TS encapsulation method and mp4v or other corresponding transcoding option.

Step 7: Now we need to select the encapsulation method. On a PC or Linux you need to select MOV and in OS X select QuickTime.

Step 8: Check the box next to ‘Video’ in transcoding options. In the drop-down menu select ‘h264’ under the ‘Bitrate’ select ‘1024’ and under ‘Scale’ select 1.

Step 9: Check the box next to ‘Audio’ in transcoding options. In the drop-down menu select ‘mp4a’ under the ‘Bitrate’ select ‘192’ and under the ‘Channels’ select 2.

Step 10: Now click ‘OK’ at the bottom on the box and it will close. Click ‘OK’ again in the original box and the ripping will begin. Depending on the speed of your computer this can take anywhere from 15-40 minutes to import every half hour of video.

Step 11: Import the video into iTunes by dragging it into the Movie section. you can now play the movie right in iTunes, enjoy!

Optional: If you wish to sync the video with your iPod, go to the Movies tab within iTunes, select any videos you wish to put on your iPod, right click them and select ‘Convert Selection for iPod/iPhone’. ITunes will automatically convert the videos to the correct format for your iPod and you can now sync them straight to your iPod!

For Reference: A regular 30 minuet TV show will produce a roughly 200MB file, and a 1.5 hour-long movie will produce a roughly 800MB file.

NOTE: VLC 2 and higher uses a new video library. Many apps use the VLC video library to 'do their thing.' To repair the video library you must install the VLC library into your Mac in a place where it is accessible by other apps such as VideoDrive. Download the installer from VLC: http://download.videolan.org/libdvdcss/last/macosx/. Run it. Check with Terminal to verify a proper installation: Type this in Terminal: file /usr/lib/libdvdcss.2.dylib You should see this: /usr/lib/libdvdcss.2.dylib: Mach-O universal binary with 2 architectures /usr/lib/libdvdcss.2.dylib (for architecture i386): Mach-O dynamically linked shared library i386 /usr/lib/libdvdcss.2.dylib (for architecture x86_64): Mach-O 64-bit dynamically linked shared library x86_64 If you see "Unknown File" or similar message, it did not work. Apps that use the VLC video library will now work again.