So you have an awesome movie in your hands, and you want to play it on your Apple TV, iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. To get the video from the DVD onto your Mac or iOS device it will have to be converted into an iTunes friendly format. There are a lot of applications that can rip a DVD onto your computer. Some are free, some cost money and some really don’t work all that well. There is however one application that stands out, and it’s a favorite amongst many people, including myself.
This app is called HandBrake, it is by far the best tool for easily converting your DVDs to iTunes, and to top it off, it’s completely free.
//Disclaimer: I’m not entirely certain if ripping your DVDs is legal or not. So check your laws or whatever it is that you would check before ripping the DVD. Basically what I’m saying is if you get in trouble for ripping your DVD, that’s on you. AppDucate and myself is not responsible for any damages that result from this article.//
Now that I’ve finished covering my ass (I hope), here’s HandBrake.
Gotta love the Presets
I’ll start off with my favorite feature, the presets. Presets is how HandBrake makes getting your DVD into iTunes easy. Instead of having to configure settings that most of us would find confusing, the presets are a simple means of converting a video without having to manually configure the conversion settings. As you can see from the screenshot, HandBrakes presets allows you to easily convert to many devices:
- Universal – Universally compatible with every current iOS device and Apple TV
- iPod – lower resolution, small file size
- iPhone & iPod Touch – compatible down to the original iPhone 2G, lower resolution, small file size
- iPad – compatible down to the iPad 1
- AppleTV – Compatible with 1st Apple TV, compatible with most iOS devices
- AppleTV 2 – Sweet spot for quality and file size. 720 resolution, works with all newer devices
- AppleTV 3- Full resolution, large file size.
- More info on the presets: HandBrake Presets
A DVDs maximum resolution is 720, and all of the more recent iOS devices and Apple TVs support 720 and up. Personally I like my video to be very HQ, for this reason I pretty much only use the AppleTV 3 preset. And since the video will be 720 once it’s done converting it will work on both my iPhone 4S, iPad 4 and Apple TV.
Convert a DVD to iTunes
As you can see there are a lot of options on how you may want to fine tune the video conversion. But lets keep it simple for now:
- Insert the DVD, click the Source button and then select the DVD (HandBrake may automatically grab the DVD)
- Click “Toggle Presets” and choose your desired preset.
- Select the desired title. You want to select the longest title as that is usually the movie. HandBrake will show all the titles, even if it’s just a trailer. As you can see in the screenshot, I chose the title that was 01h33m30s (the longest video stream).
Those are the only options you really need to worry about. You can of course customize it further, however the presets default settings work great.
When you’re happy with the output settings, just click the “Start” button.
Remove Copy Protection
Some if not most DVDs have some sort of copy protection. Without some means of decrypting the DVD, HandBrake can’t rip or convert it.
HandBrake does not support ripping copy protected DVDs, however there is a plugin called libdvdcss that seamlessly integrates into it and gives it the ability to bypass the copy protection.
When you first start up HandBrake it will actually ask you if you’d like to install libdvdcss and even gives you a link to the download page. The file that you want to download and install is called “libdvdcss.pkg”. If you missed the download page here is a link: libdvdcss
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the plugin, a DVD that is copy protected can be decrypted and converted by HandBrake.
- MetaX – Easily add any meta data and artwork to the converted video file.
- Alternatively if you just want the artwork and don’t want to install anything, here is a guide that will show you how to get the artwork directly from the iTunes Store. Get iTunes Store Media Artwork
- HandBrake does a lot more than just convert DVDs to iTunes, it’s also a full blown video converter. From the source button just select any video even a 1080 video (doesn’t have to be a DVD) and convert it to any supported format.