Ripping old DVDs made viewing videos on my mobile devices more enjoyable

Sections: DVD/DVR/Blu-ray, Features, Portable Video, Video

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Lately I’ve been feeling very nostalgic for older episodes of The Simpsons. My local Fox station rarely shows episodes from the show’s best years, and my digital lifestyle doesn’t make watching the box set DVDs I own very convenient. To make things worst, The Simpsons has managed to steer clear of Netflix. That’s why over the weekend I set out to pack my Kingston Wi-Drive with Simpsons episodes so that I could stream them to my mobile devices without sacrificing my internal storage.

The first thing I did was download DVD Shrink. This is an older piece of software, but it’s free and gets the job done. It also chews through the encryptions that were placed on my DVDs. One of the best things I like about DVD Shrink is that it lets you remove unneccesary bulk from the final converted file. For example, The Simpsons DVDs contain secondary camera angles, subtitles and audio tracks in multiple languages. I was able to remove everything except English audio. The ripped video files were around 800MB each.

800MB is large for a 23-minute video in standard definition. This wasn’t a problem because the file had to be converted anyway. DVD Shrink rips videos into VOB format. I needed to convert those files to MP4 format using another free program called WinX Free VOB to MP4 Converter. In the end, each episode of The Simpsons was around 260MB each. I was able to put multiple episodes onto my Wi-Drive and stream it to my connected devices with no problems. The videos are letter-boxed, but I’m fine with that because it’s the default aspect ratio of the videos.

If you’re like me and have trunk filled with DVDs, you should consider ripping them. Not only does this create backups just in case the discs become damaged, but you can also move them onto your favorite mobile devices with ease.

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  • Craig

    When I read this article, it took me back a number of years, maybe 5 or 6, to when I faced this problem.

    I concluded that downloading from torrents, p2p sites, Usenet etc… was actually the most efficient way to achieve my aims. Madness I know, that it was actually quicker to download a copy from the internet than it was to insert DVDs, rip, encode and name the files, before moving onto the next one.

    I think the problem is compounded as the DVD ripping process becomes a bottleneck, so that you can only be doing this for one disk at a time, and you physically have to be there in person to intervene between disks. Compare this with queueing up a bunch of downloads and going out for the evening, or leaving running through the night.

    The legality of downloading, of course, is questionable at best. But having already bought the DVDs, I found myself unable to justify spending more hours than needed just to achieve a file in the type required for my purpose, ie, an avi file.