Are you looking to for a way to play your media DVDs without rifling through your collection and swapping discs? Today we’ll take a look at ripping a DVD to your hard drive and playing it with some popular media players.
To rip our DVD we’ll use HD Decrypter which is the always free module of the DVDFab software suite. HD Decrypter will remove the copy protection from your DVD, and copy the contents of the DVD to your hard drive.
Note: You’ll get full access to all the options in DVDFab during the 30 trial period. HD Decrypter is always free.
Download and install DVDFab. You’ll find the download link below.
If prompted with a Windows Security dialog box, select Install.
When you run DVDFab for the first time, you’ll be met with a Welcome to DVDFab screen. You can select the Do not show again to skip this screen in the future and then click Start DVDFab.
Place your DVD into your optical drive. The application will take a few seconds to open the DVD source.
Before we get started with the ripping, we’re going to change a few settings. Select the green button at the top with the white check mark.
On the Common Settings window, select DVD to DVD on the left pane. For the Default output type, we’ll select DVD Folder. The default setting of DVD Writer is used for copying and burning a DVD and won’t work after the 30 day trial is over.
Tip: If you’re going to play your ripped DVD in the Windows Media Center native Movie Library, select Create dvdid.xml which can be used by Windows Media Center. This will allow WMC to pull cover art and metadata for your movie.
You can set your output directory by selecting General on the left pane of the Common Settings…
And then browsing for your preferred output directory. On Windows 7 the default output will be C:\Users\%username%\Documents\DVDFab\
If you’ve made the changes you’ll be prompted to restart the program. Click OK then open and close the application.
On the the main interface, make sure to select Full Disc on the left and Copy DVD-Video (VIDEO_TS folder), which should be selected by default.
Under navigation select Remove annoying PGCs to eliminate unwanted program chains like FBI warnings. You can also change the Volume Label by typing a name into text box. We recommend naming the Volume label the same as the movie title, but it’s not essential.
Note: For the Quality setting, once the 30 day trial has expired your only available option will be DVD9. During the 30 day trial you can select DVD5, which will (if needed) compress the output to a size that would fit a single layer DVD.
As the DVD is being ripped to your hard drive, you can follow the progress. Typical ripping time may be around 15 – 20 minutes, but will vary depending on your hardware and size of the disc.
When the process its finished you’ll be notified by the DVDFab dialog box. Click OK.
That’s it. Your rip is complete. Click Finish.
When your finished you’ll have a root folder containing a VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders. The AUDIO_TS folder, however, is really not needed and will probably just be an empty folder.
Now we’ll take a look at playing the DVD rip in a number of Windows applications.
Playback in VLC
VLC is a popular cross platform media player that can play virtually any media type and VIDEO_TS is no exception. Open VLC and select Media > Open Folder.
Select the folder that contains your VIDEO_TS directory and click OK.
Your DVD will open just as if you were playing it from the disc.
Playback in Boxee
Add the folder containing your DVD rip(s) to the My Movies library. For Boxee to recognize it and display covert art and movie info, make sure your root folder is named the same as the title of the movie or TV show you ripped. Check out our previous article for an in depth look at setting up movie folders and managing your movie collection in Boxee.
Select your DVD from the My Movies section, then select Local File…
…and enjoy your DVD rip.
Playback on Windows 7 Media Center
Add the root folder containing the VIDEO_TS folder and XML file (if you choose to create one when your ripped the DVD) to your WMC library. Your DVD rip will still play without the xml file, but you won’t have all the nice metadata.
Click play and video playback will begin just like the DVD.
Playback on Windows Media Player 12
It’s a tad trickier on WMP 12. Instead of opening a folder, which Media Player doesn’t support, we’ll open the VIDEO_TS.IFO file.
Media Player will begin playing.
Not only is ripping your DVD collection to a hard drive a nice way to enjoy them on your computer or media center PC, it is also a great way to create backups of your media. It’ll take up much more hard drive space than compressing them to MP4 or AVI files, but in return you’ll get the full DVD experience right from the hard drive without swapping discs.
Andrew is a media center geek with some serious Windows skills. He's never far from a WiFi connection or a great cup of coffee.
- Published 06/28/10