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Ripping a Blu-ray or DVD

  Panasonic DMP-BD91 BD tray for blu-ray player

If you have a large collection of DVD & # 39; s and Blu-ray discs that collect dust, consider digitizing these bad guys so you can digitize them on your phone, computer or tablet anywhere and anytime. In addition, having a backup means you don't have to worry about repairing a scratched DVD or CD.

Although you may not yet know how to rip a Blu-ray or DVD, the process is not complicated if you are familiar with some basic software, but we will guide you through the process to make it as simple as possible.

A Warning: Technically, if the work is copyright protected, it is illegal to do this even if you own it. To be clear: we do not approve the unlawful ripping and / or reproduction of copyrighted material. That said, if you have home videos (or basically anything that is not copyrighted), you can do whatever you want with it, and that includes digitizing it.

What you need to rip a DVD or Blu-ray

This may seem obvious, but it is important to list everything you need:

  • Your DVD or Blu -ray (s)
  • A DVD or Blu-ray disc drive on your computer ̵
    1; you will not rip anything without one. If your computer does not have the correct disk drive, you can purchase an external DVD or a good Blu-ray drive for only $ 25.
  • Enough storage on a hard drive to save the ripped files. A Blu-ray makes a huge file, so we recommend that you have 30-60 GB of free hard disk space if you want to rip one
  • A program to rip the files. We use MakeMKV in this manual, which is available for both PC and Mac.
  • A program to transcode the file after it is ripped. We recommend Handbrake, which is also supported by both PC and Mac.
  • A VLC media player to view your video

Once you have all the necessary materials, it's time to get started.

How to rip a DVD or Blu-ray with MakeMKV

Whether you use a PC or Mac or rip a Blu-ray or a DVD, this process is identical for everyone. First download and install MakeMKV and then open the application after it has been completed. The app says "MakeMKV BETA" at the top – ignore this and put your DVD or Blu-ray in the drive. Once the program recognizes your drive, click the large drive icon to begin. Theoretically, this process can also remove copyright protection from a disk, but again, that is not something that we approve or encourage.

After selecting your disk, MakeMKV returns a list of chapters and segments that you can rip. To rip only the movie itself, and not additional & # 39; s or bonus material, select only the movie chapter or segment (usually the longest title or largest file) and clear all other boxes. Then point to an output folder where you want the file to end once it is ripped. When you are ready to go, click the & # 39; Make MKV & # 39; at the right. This process can take two minutes to half an hour, depending on the specifications of your computer and the size of the file, but when it's done, you need to have a nice large MKV file in the specified folder.

In some cases you do not even need to convert this file, because MKV files are compatible with the desktop and mobile versions of VLC, as well as the Plex media server. If these are your primary methods for viewing videos from your library, you can stop here. However, it may be advisable to convert these files to save space; Blu-ray files in particular are often huge. That's why you want to use a transcoding program – to minimize the file size and / or play the file on multiple devices.

A note about 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs

With 4K becoming more and more the standard for movies and TV, many of you are probably collecting a whole new collection of Ultra HD Blu rays. Many of these movies come with digital copies, but what if yours didn't, or what if you just prefer an alternative delivery system over the apps that require these codes?

One of the greatest things you need if you decide to embark on this painful journey is patience. If you want to rip a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, it is possible but be prepared to spend valuable time solving strange problems that may occur. As good as MakeMKV has become over the years (it supports thousands of UHD disks!) There are still problems with certain combinations of disk drives and firmware, and not all Blu-ray disks are made equal. Just because you ripped your copy of Star Wars does not mean that you have the same result with a similar copy of The Dark Knight . Some of you may experience difficulties extracting HDR data and finding the formula to crack patented codecs such as Dolby Atmos has proven to be a significant hurdle.

If you are willing to tackle all of that, remember that we & # 39; still in the early days of this, so it's not exactly easy even for those familiar with ripping other discs. First, you need a specific 4K Blu-ray drive to rip these discs, and chances are you don't have one. There may also be a few extra advanced steps, such as creating a text file with the decryption keys in it or downgrading the firmware.

Ultimately, this may prove to be more trouble than it is worth, but if you are unshaken after all these warnings and decide that you want to continue ripping your 4K Blu-ray discs, see the MakeMKV forums for more information. The UHD FAQ thread in particular is a good place to start.

How to Transcode with Handbrake

After successful ripping, you have a large file that needs to be transcoded for use on different devices. Before you transcode, it's a good idea to make sure your video looks good – use VLC (if you don't have it here, get it for free) to play the file.

To start, install and open HandBrake (which you can get here for free), click on Source in the top left corner and find the file that you just ripped.

Now you can decide where you want to watch your video. The developers of the app have already made presets for many products; there are a few different options for Apple and Android devices, as well as PlayStation and Xbox game consoles and various streaming devices. You can also change each of these presets and save them with new names or create custom presets yourself. If you select one of these presets, all settings are automatically adjusted to whatever you want.

You can also use HandBrake to make files larger or smaller; For example, if you have a huge MKV file, you can choose a preset under the "Matroska" subset (MKV stands for Matroska Video) and run the program to reduce that file.

If you perform a transcoding from a Blu-ray disc, the process works in the same way, but you want to select different settings to prevent unnecessary compression and maintain video quality. For DVD & # 39; s there is no reason to select a resolution above 480p; this will only increase the file size without improving the quality. For Blu-ray discs you want to choose between 720p and 1080p – to save space, we recommend selecting 720p for everything that doesn't benefit from Full HD. For video & # 39; s with more visual content, it's probably worth choosing 1080p.

In general, the preset is & # 39; High profile & # 39; – which is in the Legacy subset – a good place to start, with passed audio codecs selected (choose an HD audio option for lossless, if that is your bag) and a constant quality value of RF 18 or so; this is usually personal preference, so you have to experiment to find out what works best.

Choose a file destination, play with the options until you get everything right, go ahead and click on Start. This part takes a while, so sit back, relax and let HandBrake do its thing. Once the process is complete, you have a shiny new file ready to play on your chosen device. This process is also repeatable; if you have several devices, you can easily change the presets and run the program again for the same DVD or Blu-Ray (as long as you have selected a new destination to prevent overwriting the previous result).

That's all! You have successfully ripped and transcoded a DVD or Blu-ray disc. View now using a media server such as Plex or your favorite media player software.

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