Movies burnt on DVDs are too bulky to be transferred to the hard drive. When you have a limited space on it, you can't afford to have a 4.5 gigabyte disc to be copied. The best way out of this situation is to rip DVDs to other formats like AVI and have the same movie on your hard drive, using less than one-fourth of the space you would have required otherwise. There are many video converters that can be used to rip them and most can be downloaded for free. They also let you go the other way round and convert AVI to DVD.
DVD files are mostly encoded in the MPEG- 2 format. Though this format is appropriate for DVD players, when it comes to watching movies on a computer, the format tends to be unnecessarily bulky, occupying substantial hard disk space. A solution to this problem was found by software programmers through the development of converter programs, that can encode these MPEG files into the more compact AVI (Audio Video Interleave) format.
The trick in ripping DVDs to AVI video format is to maintain picture quality, while reducing the overall file size. This has been made possible due to the ingenious video encoding techniques developed over the years. One of the free downloadable programs available on the Internet is 'DivX', which can be used to rip files in AVI format quite easily. One needs to understand that ripping copyrighted material and distributing it is illegal. Make sure that you honor the copyright laws in your country.
DivX is an open source program developed for the Windows platform. It can convert MPEG-2 format on DVDs to WMV and AVI formats. It is made available in standard and ultra versions now. While the standard version is made available for free, you need to pay for the ultra version. The free version cannot rip copyrighted DVDs, but the ultra version can.
How it's Done
You will need a computer with a DVD drive and adequate hard drive space (at least 1 GB).
Download and Install DivX
Download the DivX software to your computer. Run the setup and install the program. Download and install AutoGK or separately install codecs to ensure that you have DivX drivers.
Insert DVD and Run the Program
Insert the disc, which you intend to rip, in the DVD drive. You could either rip it directly from the DVD or save the file to the hard drive and rip it from there. Open DivX and select the location of the source file to be converted to AVI, through the 'Open IFO' option. Select the IFO file of the movie that you intend to rip. Also select the subtitles file if any, in case you want to embed subtitles.
Select Output File Format
In the output settings, select the output format to be AVI. In the same window, there will be settings for screen resolution and audio quality. Select the screen size (16:9 is recommended for widescreens) you want and high quality audio.
Choose Video Codec and Audio Compression
Select an appropriate audio compression format (Lame MP3 is recommended) and also the video codec you need to use (XviD is recommended). Check the 'enable video' check box.
Select the 'whole' option for maximum frame number and set maximum file size for the output file. Lastly, don't forget to select the file destination for the output file i.e. AVI file. Hit the record button to begin ripping. The encoding takes time. So go have a coffee till it finishes up. Once the encoding is done, you are free to enjoy the movie on Windows Media Player.
Even if you opt for any other program, the settings will remain the same. Waste no more time and download DivX as soon as possible to start ripping. That way you can carry your favorite movies on your laptop computer hard drive and watch them any time on the go.