dvd ripper

Search for a DVD Ripper

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K3b

If you are like me, you didn't even realize K3b was capable of transcoding. I knew that you could rip an iso image for burning, but I never suspected I could create an AVI as well. Being a featured KDE app, K3b uses the Qt toolkit for its GUI. I used version 0.12.15-2. Since K3b is such a widely distributed app, it should be available from any distro's packaging system, and you may have it installed already.

How was the performance you ask? Very fast I'd say. In my test K3b was the fastest of them all, coming in under 3 hrs for the transcode.

Step-by-step (with default file size and options):

  1. Select your DVD drive from the folder tree on the left. The longest movie sequence will be automatically selected. This is usually the main movie, however you can change it if you wish.
  2. Right click the selected title and choose Copy.
  3. Choose your destination directory and click Start. It took about 6 minutes to complete on my computer.
  4. After the ripping stage is complete select Encode Video from the Tools menu.
  5. Select the DVD ripping file you just created and a filename for your movie. I left everything else as defaults.
  6. Click Encode and wait for the transcode to complete.
K3b encoding video

K3b encoding video.

Much like the K3b's primary existance as a CD/DVD writer, it's ripping and transcoding modes are very easy to use. I did run across a bug during the video ripping stage, but it didn't appear to cause any problems with the end result. When preprocessing the DVD, the calculation for percent complete is off and results in the percentage running significantly over 100% (i.e. >10,000%). One caution on this app is a message that appear saying K3b is currently looking for a maintainer, so it is unclear whether bugs like these are actually being fixed right now. If you are interested in this kind of work yourself and want to be involved in a great project it looks like a good time to contact the team and see if they still have an opening.

K3b default file size is a single 700MB file. A handful of other options are available from a drop down list. Many of the other rippers work in a similar fashion. The only reason I mention it here is to note that you can select whatever file size you want, even if it isn't on the list, but you might not realize it at first glance. Choosing --- from the CDs dropdown box will allow you to manually enter a custom file size. This option should really be marked with something more intuitive.

Another feature of note is K3b's support for an AC3 pass-through mode in case you want to maintain surround sound audio. The default is using MP3 compression, but AC3 mode is a good option if you really want Dolby Digital output. Hopefully we'll see an MPEG surround sound standard soon, but until that comes, keeping the AC3 track is the way to go.

K3B is my new favorite DVD ripper and the one I'll be using from now on. The one feature it is missing is support for subtitles. If you don't care about that though, K3b is the easiest and fastest of all the apps I tested. I rate it at 4 stars for DVD ripping, although I consider it a 5 star program for CD/DVD writing. Only its bug during the DVD ripping stage and lack of subtitle support kept it from being a 5. It would also be nice if the rip and transcode pieces could be combined where all of the options are selected up front.

Search for a DVD Ripper

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DVD Copiers

I included K9Copy and xDVDShrink in the chart above even though they don't transcode because I wanted to point out some options for maintaining a full DVD structure and truly copying a DVD (for personal use only of course). K3b also contains this functionality. This section does not contain full reviews, but should provide enough information to get you started.

If you already use K3b, it's likely you'll just want to stick with it, but if you want a single function app that easy to use then K9Copy should be right up your alley. There's not much you can do to mess up this one. Three steps are all you need.

K9Copy Title Selection

Select the desired title and soundtrack from the DVD.

Step-by-step (with default file size and options):

  1. Open the DVD
  2. Select the tracks to copy
  3. Start the copy
K9Copy ripping DVD

K9Copy ripping the DVD.

That's it. It doesn't get much easier. If you do want to burn the iso back to a DVD then what do you use? Why K3b of course. K9Copy has an option to integrate with K3b for the burning process.

xDVDShrink is a little more involved, which is why I prefer both K9Copy and K3b over it. In addition to a standard preferences page, xDVDShrink makes you enter options into a console at runtime. I'm not clear why these settings needed to be separate, but it's very annoying.

Search for a DVD Ripper

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Linux App Finder's first multi-page article is now available. Check out Search for a DVD Ripper for reviews of some of the top GNU/Linux alternatives. The goal was finding the best app for converting the main movie of a DVD to a single file playable on any computer. As a bonus I threw in a few apps targeted at creating DVD ISO's for burning back to a rewritable disk.

My Search for a DVD Ripper

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I'm currently in the process of writing a comparison of available DVD ripping programs for GNU/Linux. I picked the best contenders that I'm aware of and compared their features and ease of use. The goal was finding the best app for converting the main movie of a DVD to a single file playable on any computer and the winner is a surprising one (at least to me since I almost didn't include it). As a bonus I threw in a few apps targeted at creating DVD ISO's for burning back to a rewritable disk. Hopefully it will be ready to go within a week. Keep an eye on the News RSS feed for an announcement.

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