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Rip a TV Series DVD and Convert to Individual H.264 MP4 files

Would you like to rip an entire TV Series disc set and convert the episodes to individual MP4 files? Today we’ll take a look at how to setup and batch process an entire DVD set using Handbrake and the H.264 codec.

In all likelihood, any commercial DVD will be copy protected. Handbrake doesn’t have the native ability to remove copy protection. So we will use HD Decrypter, which is the always free module of the DVDFab software suite, to rip each DVD to a folder on our hard drive. Then we’ll use Handbrake to convert the episodes in those folders to individual MP4 files.

Note: You’ll get full access to all the options in DVDFab  during the 30 trial period. HD Decrypter is always free. You’ll also want to be sure you have plenty of free hard drive space. In our example, we use a 5 disc set that took up over 30 GB when ripped to a hard drive.

Download and install DVDFab. You’ll find the download link below.

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Open DVDFab and insert the first disc in the series set. DVDFab will open the DVD source.

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Next we’ll check the settings so that the default output is a DVD folder. Click the green button at the top right.

Note: After the 30 day trial expires, you can skip this step. Output to a DVD folder will be the only option.

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Select DVD to DVD on the left pane and choose DVD folder as the Default output type.

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Select Full Disc from the options on the left. (This should be the default)

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Click Start when you are ready.

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Conversion times for HD Decrypter will vary depending on hardware, but it is generally pretty quick.

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When the process is complete, click OK.

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Select Finish. Now repeat this process for each DVD in the set.

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When you are finished you should have folder for each DVD in the set.

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Handbrake

Download, install, and run Handbrake. You’ll find the download link below. The first thing we’ll do is configure the settings. To simplify the process of choosing output settings, Handbrake has a group of of presets. If converting specifically for one of the Apple devices listed in the preset list, simply click on that device and the settings will be automatically applied in the Output Settings tabs. For basic PC or universal output, select the Normal profile or High Profile.

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Now we are ready to add the episodes to our queue to be converted. Select Source and then choose DVD / VIDEO_TS folder.

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Select the first folder in the series and click OK.

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Select the Title dropdown list and inspect the listings. You’ll see a group of titles and durations. You should find a group of titles with running times that match the approximate running time of a single episode in the series. In our example, we are converting a series of one hour shows, so we have two titles running close to an hour. For a broadcast TV program it will be more like 40-45 minutes for an hour show and 20 minutes or so for a half hour program. You may want to refer to the original DVD if you aren’t sure of the number of episodes per disc and running times.

You can ignore any additional smaller clip. They are likely to be intros and extras. Select the first title you’d like to add from the dropdown list.

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You can manually rename the file right in the destination text box if you wish. Careful, Handbrake will automatically give your file a M4V extension if you choose MP4, so be sure you change this unless you will be playing the files only on an iPod.

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Select Add to Queue when ready.

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When you’ve added each episode from the first disc to the queue, continue adding episodes from the next disc. Repeat this process until you have added each episode to the Queue.

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When you’ve added everything, click Start on the Main interface to begin the process.

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Handbrake will begin the process of converting the episodes one at a time.

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When the process is finished you’ll have a season’s worth of individual MP4 files. Once you’ve verified all the MP4 files are to your liking you may want to consider deleting the original DVD rip folders to free up some hard drive space.

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Now you’re ready to enjoy the series.

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Conclusion

Handbrake will give you good quality output at a greatly reduced file size, but it is rather slow. Be prepared for quite a wait when converting an entire season DVD. If you prefer to get the full DVD contents from your hard drive, you may want to check out our previous post on how to Rip a DVD to your Hard Drive and Play it on your PC.

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 07/1/10

Comments (13)

  1. Trevor

    If you have a Mac with VLC and Handbrake installed you can rip it directly from the disc in handbrake just by choosing the title for the episode that you want to rip.

  2. Mike

    Just wanted to let everyone know, if you have a mac Ripit is perfect. Pop in a DVD and press compress. Your Done! Ripit will automatically rip the DVD, separate the episodes, and transcode the files to a mp4 format.

  3. Doc

    Would love to know the best way to do this WITHOUT Handbrake, as I’m (much) more partial to XVID/DIVX.

  4. joe

    AVG detected a virus on this application after the first running of the application.

  5. Danny

    Doc…

    If you’re looking for convert to Divx/Xvid then you can use a program called AutoGordianKnot to do the conversion in place of Handbrake

  6. Gordon

    Article says there are links to download the applications (DVDFab & Handbrake) bellow, but I do not see them.

  7. Rico Yarde
  8. Louis

    Use the Apple Universal format – plays on iPod Touch, Ipad and Apple TV with one fil.

    Use “MetaX” to tag the movies on your PC. Movies look better with covers and information on the selection display. This makes it easy. Program is at:

    http://danhinsley.com/metax/metax.html

  9. Cindy

    Can you download HD Decrypter as a stand alone item if we already have a basic converter that will convert non-copyrighted material (such as TV shows that we record off of our cable input)?

    If not, will the HD Decrypter that comes in this 30 day trial still be accessable for use after the 30 days with another converter program?

    Thank you,
    Cindy

  10. Al

    You can bypass the need for DVDFab (or any other DVD ripper) and Decrypt the DVDs on the fly using dvd43 — download it for free from dvd43.com, it runs in the windows system tray and let’s you use handbrake direct from the DVD.

  11. Al

    @Doc XviD/DivX is a dying format. You’ll get higher quality rips if you use h.264 encoding. Most modern Blu-Ray players support h.264 files out of the box. Nearly all other media players support it as well (Xbox, PS3, AppleTV, iPod, Android, GoogleTV, WDTV, Roku, etc)

    Not to mention encoding to h.264 is much faster than encoding to divx/xvid.

  12. Al

    @Doc if you really insist on sticking with XviD however, look for an old version of Handbrake. It used to support XviD prior to version 0.9.4.

  13. Cindy

    Thanks Al, I’ll check out dvd43.com!

    Cindy

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