Buy once, watch anywhere? Hardly. The movie industry likes to have you pay for the same thing time and time again, making that DVD collection in the basement almost obsolete. Unless you have software like the slick WinX DVD Ripper program [available for Mac & Windows], which makes converting a physical DVD disk into a digital movie a breeze. Here’s how it worked for me…
I’ve been frustrated for years about the hundreds of DVDs I own, classic movies, rare cult films and lots of documentaries, all of which I can watch on my TV’s Blu-Ray player but none of which I can watch on my computer, tablet or smartphone. Heck, my computers don’t even have optical drives, so even if I wanted to insert a movie into the slot, there’s no darn slot!
If the industry had a program where I could trade in a physical disk for a digital copy, I’d be sending them a couple of really big boxes. Instead, like too many other consumers, I end up stuck. I have a legal, legit copy of the movie, TV series, or documentary, but no way to watch it on the road, on a plane, or anywhere else outside of the living room.
When Digiarty Software asked if I wanted to check out their WinX DVD Ripper Platinum software, I was most interested. Even better, it featured “hardware acceleration" for the right sort of systems, which would theoretically make the process even faster and easier. My suspicion was that ripping software can only work in real time but depending on your hardware setup, I verified that the program can indeed rip a two hour video in five to ten minutes. More on that in a bit, however.
Speed is good, but to me the real virtue of DVD Ripper is really the simplicity of use. I used it to rip a few episodes of the terrific PBS documentary series Queen Elizabeth’s Secret Agents. Individual episodes are perfect to have in digital form and at under an hour per ep, easy to enjoy during a lunch break or similar.
Here’s how the process went…
Start out by downloading, launching and entering your license code. It’s easy to see what’s going on:
From this point, I simply inserted the DVD into my external drive (which I purchased for $40 or so from Amazon quite a long time ago) and the program immediately recognized the content and offered up a suggested title:
Easy enough. Next step is to choose an output device if you don’t want the default output format. Since I’m going to watch these episodes on a new Samsung Galaxy phone, I chose the default General Samsung Mobile Video H.264 format:
A click on “OK" to proceed and the program immediately analyzed the disk and figured out all the tracks and duration. This is shown in a simple list with audio options, subtitles (if any), and much more information:
A close look reveals that this particular DVD contains four episodes of the series, each 53.56, 53.57 or 53.58 minutes long. There are also interstitials and DVD titles, menus, etc, that range from 7-10 seconds. Don’t need those! That leaves four video tracks to convert, and at 4*53min it should take about 212 minutes to complete at real time, or faster if the hardware supports it.
Last step: make sure that you’ve enabled any available hardware accelerators as the program supports both Intel and nVIDIA. Ready? It’ll look like this:
Click on the Run button, then go get a cup of coffee or switch to a different task. It’s going to take a while… Or, perhaps it isn’t. On a different computer, with a different disk, note the speed attained (the FPS number):
DVDs are generally 23.97 fps, so you can do the math: If it’s ripping at 315 fps that means it’s going 13x faster than 1:1 real time. That means that the above movie, at 1 hour, 20 min, or 80 min, will be completely ripped in just over six minutes. Impressive!
The original Queen Victoria disk, however, was on a clunky old single CPU unit and took rather a bit longer than six minutes. Once it was done, sure enough, the output folder had the four ripped episodes of the show:
That’s great. MP4 is super easy to work with on a Mac or Windows computer – or even a Linux system or mobile device running iOS or Android – and while the files aren’t small, they are self-contained TV episodes or movies. Pretty nice!
The WinX DVD Ripper Platinum program made the process really easy, though you definitely will find it way more useful on decent, modern hardware.
Either way, though, if you’re like me and have a library of DVDs that you’d like to digitize and then enjoy on whatever device you’d like, wherever you may be, WinX DVD Ripper might prove a great solution for you. Check it out, whether you’re Mac or Windows: Download WinX DVD Ripper Platinum.
Note that you can use the special code AAY53-D37SY-ZP3JK-STUSU to register the program and gain full access for 15 days. A perfect way to see how fast your computer is too!
Full license price: $39.95 Mac or Windows.