Every time I travel, I face the same dilemma: I want to watch movies on my PC, but it doesn’t have a DVD reader. The solution: Rip a digital copy with an external drive and WinX DVD Ripper Platinum.
It’s one of the great frustrations of the digital age: Owning media doesn’t mean that you can watch it when and where you want. Plenty of people have smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, laptops and, yes, TVs with DVD players. And if you’re like me, you probably have stacks of DVD disks, and can pick up more every time you’re at the store, often for just a few dollars. Which leads to the dilemma: if you own the movie on disk, why can’t you watch a digital copy of it on your tablet, phone or computer?
Travel the world or have relatives overseas and it gets even more complicated because DVD disks are coded with a specific region and your player works with one, not multiple regions. Amazon identifies the six: Region 1: U.S., U.S. Territories, Canada, and Bermuda, Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East, including Egypt, Region 3: Southeast Asia, East Asia, including Hong Kong, Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, Region 5: Eastern Europe, Baltic States, Russia, Central and South Asia, Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia and, finally, Region 6: China. Pick up a movie like The Wandering Earth while in Beijing and your DVD won’t play on TV when you’re home in Brunei, Bangalore or Boston.
Which is why WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is such a great addition to your Windows PC utility app collection. It can not only easily rip (make a digital copy) just about any commercial DVD, but it also has the smarts to read discs from any region and output a digital copy that’s region free. Nice!
Let me show you how it works by making a digital copy of the classic dystopian sci-fi thriller Soylent Green, one of the movies included in my TCM Greatest Science Fiction Films set. First off, my setup, including a $29 LG external DVD reader:
You can grab a copy of the Best DVD ripper for the PC right from their Web site.
Fire it up once installed and you’ll see a window like this:
Turns out that there really are only a couple of mouse clicks required to create the digital copy, whether it has to circumvent regional protection or any of a variety of DRM encoding systems.
Note: Since the program can defeat most common digital rights management systems, make sure you stay cool and don’t steal digital content. Ripping a DVD for your own use is fine, but sharing that digital file with others? That’s illegal, so don’t do it.
I’m going to slip the Soylent Green movie into the external DVD player and click on the “DVD” button on the top left of the app. It knows the player and identifies the disc too:
Next step is a click on the “OK” button away. So click on it!
Now you’ll really see the power of the program: Look at all the output device profiles. Rendering a video for your iPad? Or your Microsoft Surface Pro? Or even your Android smartphone? They all have handy presets, or you can do what I do and choose the recommended generic MP4 video format:
The last step is to look through all the different segments and tracks on the disk and figure out which one (or ones) you really want. Lots of them are menu animations and extras, so I usually just look for the longest track and that’s almost always the actual movie.
Also notice on the lower right that you can change and try out different hardware acceleration options:
Ripping is pretty darn fast (depending on your hardware; I’m using a pretty old Dell laptop) and if you find your output is a bit blocky, no worries, simply re-rip it at a higher quality level. The higher the quality you specify, however, the slower the rip. Even then, though, one of the best features of modern ripping software is that it can work much, much faster than real time. In this case, we’ll be able to fully rip the 96-minute movie in…well, let’s see…
A click on “RUN” to proceed and it’s off and ripping!
This computer works pretty well, but the combination of an external drive and a slower processor is only giving me a 3:1 performance boost, ripping a 90 minute movie in about 30 minutes. If you have a PC with an internal drive, lots of RAM and a zippy modern CPU it can be 5:1, 6:1 even 10:1 (which means it would rip this 96min movie in under 10 minutes).
Also worth mentioning is that output files can get pretty big – particularly if you have it set to high quality – so make sure you have space for a 1GB output file or bigger. In this case, the resultant MP4 file ended up being about 895MB, still a decent size.
Does it work? A double click shows that indeed it does!
Mission accomplished! Now I can bring Soylent Green with me when I next travel by simply ensuring that the digital file is on the computer. No DVD to carry and potentially lose, no external DVD player to drag along, no fuss, no hassles. Quick and easy.
If you too want to be able to make digital copies of all your favorite DVDs, whether movies, TV shows or even documentaries, training courses or other educational material, I gotta say that WinX DVD Ripper Platinum makes it both fast and easy to accomplish. It’s definitely worth checking out.
WinX DVD Ripper Platinum for Windows and Mac: Normally $59.95, special Anniversary pricing of $29.95 for a one year license.
Disclosure: Digiarty Software supplied me with a full software license for the purposes of this article.