Essential Tools for Ripping DVD and Blu-Ray DVDs

There are a number of reasons you would want to rip your DVDs to your Mac. When you rip your collection onto your Mac you can load it into iTunes, copy it to your iPod, iPad or iPhone, play it via Front Row or stream it to your Apple TV. Whatever the reason, before your go and purchase software to help your rip your disks take a look at this list of FREE tools.

VideoLAN – VideoLAN (VLC) is a free media player that can pretty much play every format you throw at it including DVDs. You generally need this as part of your ripping tool chain because other programs like Handbrake and Fairmount use VLC to decrypt DVDs

Fairmount – Fairmount is a free program that will mount DVDs in a way that allows you to rip the content off the disc. Normally if you try to copy files from a DVD it will fail because DVDs are encrypted to prevent you from copying the files. Fairmount uses VLC to “mount” the DVD as an unencrypted disk image.  Fairmount is a free utility that comes with DVDRemaster. You can download the demo and continue to use Fairmount after it expires.

MetaX -MetaX is a tagger for MP4 files. It will allow you to lookup the names of DVDs on multiple websites and import the DVD information as metadata on your MP4 file. This will allow the content to properly show up with artwork and descriptions in Apple TV, and iTunes.

HandbrakeHandbrake is an open source transcoder that will take a video file in one format and convert it to another format. This is typically used to rip a DVD to an Apple compatible video file. If you want to use other tools with Handbrake you may also need to download HandbrakeCLI, a version of Handbrake without the GUI.

MakeMKVMakeMKV will read and decrypt DVDs and Blu-Ray DVDs.

Elgato Turbo.264- If you are ripping a lot of discs you should invest in this piece of hardware. It’s basically a USB plug that will speed up the conversion of your DVDs to Apple compatible file formats.

Automator – Automator is a scripting tool that comes with OS X. It allows you to build workflows to help you convert video. It basically can be used to tie the various tools together to make the conversion process automated.

If you know of any other tools to rip DVDs that you just can’t live without, let us know in the comments section.

About Joe Cotellese

Joe is the founder of Learning OS X. He's often spending way too much time playing with new Mac software in order to improve his ability at "Getting Things Done."

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