WinX DVD Ripper Platinum
This article is part of a series related to Are Home Theater PCs Ready for Prime Time?
Where to buy this solution: WinX DVD Ripper Platinum WinX DVD Ripper Platinum + WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe Bundle WinX Blu-ray Decrypter
I want to copy my movie DVDs to hard disk
First, an emphasis that the purpose of this article is not to encourage illegal copying and distribution of movies. Rather, this is a logical extention of my series of articles on home theater PCs—how to move your personal movie library onto your home network so that you can enjoy all the advantages of your media center for your movies, too. I wish a different term than "ripping" had been applied to the process of copying the DVD to disk. On the other hand, there is unfortunately an awful lot of movie piracy that comes of this. Please play fair with those who invest to provide these movies, just as you would not be pleased to have money stolen from you.
Do you want an image of each DVD or just the movie file?
Choice 1: Make an image copy (ISO file) of your movie DVD. With this option you will end up playing a file on your computer that acts the same as when you play your DVD. You'll still get the legal warnings, the movie trailers, the special features, a button to play the movie, etc. The only difference will be that encryption and copy protection has been removed. Thus, you can skip past things that the DVD forces you to sit through. This choice requires that you have a virtual optical drive application (more on that below).
Choice 2: Copy the movie to file. When you launch the file, the movie itself starts running immediately. With this choice you can save to a variety of formats according to personal preference and available movie player and CODECs.
Both choices will be discussed below.
What is a CODEC? The term is short for compressor-decompressor. The wide selection of CODECs reflect efforts to optimize often mutually exclusive goals in quality, file size, and performance. Related to this are the variety of video formats (AVI, MP3, WMV...) that require whatever software player(s) is supported by the equipment you're using (PC, iPhone, Android, etc.). Some players support multiple video formats and provide the necessary CODEC as part of their installation. For example, Windows Media Player supports formats with file name extensions of avi, wav, wma, mp3, and several others.
Seeking the Best-of-Breed Solution
Coming into this search as a movie ripping neophyte, my first effort some months ago resulted in movies on disk that were horrendous in quality. I couldn't believe anybody would even offer such products for sale.
Recently I tried again. I searched for a lot of solutions and finally succeeded in finding a good one. See below about the friction factor I experienced as I searched for the right solution.
Discovery: the it can't get any easier than this solution
WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is a pleasure to use. When opened there are a lot of options on the screen and some are confusing until you figure out what planet you're on. But even for this movie ripping novice, once I understood that all you need to do is "load" the DVD and press Start, it was hard to hold back a big smile. Let's take a look at the actual screens.
When you open WinX DVD Ripper this screen is displayed. Check the tabs at the middle of the screen; ensure that the "Copy" tab is selected. Optionally change the output folder to your desired destination. WinX DVD Ripper seems to always put the main movie track as the first title, automatically selected by default (nice). So just click the big Start button. So easy!
The movie is copied to disk at accelerated speed. When finished, go to the destination folder, rename the copied movie file if desired, and run it. It's that easy.
If you want to create an ISO copy of the movie DVD, i.e., a complete image of the entire DVD, then change the Profile Setting to "Full Disc ISO Image Copy" and click Start.
ISO and Virtual CloneDrive
An ISO is a full image of the DVD. You can "burn" the ISO to a blank DVD and make a copy of the movie that way. But we want the convenience of running the movie from our disk storage media collection, right? So to run an ISO file directly from disk you have to make the computer think it's running it from a DVD drive. This, too, is easy and free to accomplish. Download and install Virtual CloneDrive from Slysoft. It will recognize when you play an ISO file and will automatically load it via Virtual CloneDrive.
For Other Formats and Players
You will no doubt have noticed that there are other tabs that let you save your copy to other formats. In addition there are settings that let you adjust audio quality and other settings as you learn enough about them to make a difference.
Managing and Playing Your Movie Files
Organize your movie files into folders as you would any other files. Movie files, especially high definition movies, are large files, so you'll need plenty of disk space. Also, if it would make you unhappy to lose those files, make sure you back them up as part of your regular backup strategy.
Your Movies Library: In Windows Media Center go into Tasks => Settings => Media Libraries and add the folders that have your movies. Then you can view your movie library and select movies to watch from within WMC.
I also like to be able to jump directly to my movie folders in my home theater PC, so I put shortcuts on the desktop to the movie folders. I use Windows 7 libraries to bring all the folders into one view.
Consider getting a Windows Home Server (WHS) for your home network, which I very highly recommend, and store your movies in its centrally accessible disk space. WHS will also magically do the critically important task of automatically backing up all of your home computers every night.
My friction factors while trying to find the best-of-breed solution.
It was complicated by vendors making the wrong assumptions about my questions. They all seem to start from the assumption that people who are interested in their product already know how the process works. For example, with one product I tried, I opened a movie DVD within that product and got a long list of titles or tracks. When I saved the movie to disk I ended up with just one short segment that wasn't even part of the movie. I scrolled the entire list of tracks and didn't find any that represented the entire movie. I assumed then that a movie DVD is separated into individual segments for special features, introductions, etc. and into individual chapters for the main movie. And there was no apparent way to select all the "tracks" and have them saved to disk in proper order as a merged file.
To me this seemed the epitomy of uselessness. And when I tried to ask how to accomplish what I wanted (what anybody would want), I got answers that "merge isn't supported" and similar. Obviously I was doing things entirely incorrectly and this lack of understanding will be humorous to those who know stuff. But the entire purpose of this publication is to find low friction solutions for mortals.
In fact, I even got a similar answer from Digiarty. But, as it turns out with Digiarty's WinXDVD Platinum, the main movie track is in the list, automatically listed at the top, is marked by default, and simply clicking the Start button results in what is needed—a movie file on disk. So I was immediately lifted from confusion to amazement.
Where to buy WinX DVD Ripper Platinum: WinX DVD Ripper Platinum WinX DVD Ripper Platinum + WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe Bundle WinX Blu-ray Decrypter
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