Mac Stuff


   Last updated: February 19, 2011






Mac DVD Rip

If you try to find information on DVD rip, you will probably get too many search results from search engines than you expect.  If you enter 'DVD rip mac' at Google, for instance, you will get 3,370,000 search results.  In contrast, if you search for DVD rip at VersionTracker (search directory for Mac software titles), there are only 25 results.

After searching for information on 'DVD rip,' you will find references to such Mac software titles as Roxio Popcorn, HandBrake, Fast DVD Copy, MacTheRipper and 0SEx.  So which Mac software title do I exactly need to rip DVDs?  That depends on your definition of DVD rip.  If you are just talking about DVD ripping per se, there are only a handful number of Mac software titles.  Because one DVD can contain about 4.4 GB of data, many DVD rippers subsequently choose to compress the DVD content to a 1-CD or 2-CD size.  That's simply video compression.  But it's often considered as part of DVD ripping.  Confusion perhaps comes from the fact that there are several software titles that will let you rip a DVD and compress the content at the same time.

What does DVD rip mean anyway?  In general, it's the removal of an encryption algorithm called CSS (Content Scrambling System), which prevents the DVD content from being copied to a hard disk drive or being accessed by video compression programs.  And the removal algorithm is called DeCSS (De-Content Scrambling System).

Typical commercial DVDs have another protection. It's region protection. The globe is divided into several DVD regions.Your DVD drive will probably allow you to switch regions several times.  After reaching the limit, you will only be able to play DVDs with the same region.  But there are DVD drives that do not enforce region protection. And not all DVDs have region protection.  By the way, if you create your own DVDs with Apple's iDVD, you won't be able to install region protection.

Roxio Popcorn 3

Screenshot from Roxio Popcorn 3

Before introducing particular Mac software titles for DVD ripping and video compression, there is one important aspect that we need to discuss.  After ripping a DVD, you have an option of compressing the DVD content in MPEG-2 or MPEG-4.  If you want to retain the entire DVD content including the DVD menu, then you need to compress the content in MPEG-2.  On the other hand, if you want only an important segment of the DVD conent, skipping some chapters like a copyright notice, then you should use MEG-4.  Furthermore, just for you to know, there are several variants of MPEG-4 compression including 3ivx, MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC or H.264), DivX and Xvid.





DVD ripping


If you only want to rip DVDs on your Mac, you will only need to know a couple of Mac software titles.  MacTheRipper is a popular freeware/shareware title.  Version 2.6.6 is a freeware title.  It's not in Universal Binary.  There is an unofficial version, which is not free.  And this version 3.0 is a Universal application.  Another DVD rip freeware title for Mac OS is 0SEx (or OSEx).  It's an old freeware title and has not been updated for a long time.


Screenshot from MacTheRipper 2.6.6

DVD ripping + MPEG-4 compression

Handbrake is another popular Mac freeware title.  Unlike MacTheRipper and 0SEx, Handbrake allows the user to rip a DVD and subsequently to compress the DVD content in MPEG-4.  Handbrake is one of the few Mac freeware titles in this category that are constantly updated.  Basically, Handbrake is built upon open-source libraries to perform both de-scrambling and video compression just like ffmpegX.  The lastest version is available in Universal Binary.

DVDibbler also allows the user to rip a DVD and then to compress the content in DivX.  But it's old and may not run under the latest version of OS X Tiger.  And Xilisoft's DVD Ripper for Mac is perhaps another shareware title in this genre.  But we have never used it. 2

HandBrake 0.9.0

Screenshot from HandBrake 0.9.0


MPEG-2 compression

If you want to retain the whole content of a DVD (VIDEO_TS), you need to compress it with MPEG-2.  One of the shareware titles is DVDRemaster.  Another shareware title is DVD2one.  These Mac software titles are both available in Universal Binary now.  Another shareware title from Xilisoft, DVD Copy Express, we believe, falls into this category.  But, again, we have never used it at the time of writing this article.


MPEG-4 compression

There are several software titles in this category.  Sonic Solution's Roxio Popcorn is one.  It's brother, Roxio Crunch is another.  One of the easiest freeware titles to handle in compressing a VIDEO_TS folder is Objectif Mac's D-Vision 3.  Basically, there isn't much you need to know about video compression, and D-Vision 3 runs very fast.  ffmpegX also allows the user to compress a VIDEO_TS folder in MPEG-4.  Moreover, DVD rip software exports the DVD content in the form of Video_TS or a single VOB file.  If you choose the latter, your software choice for video compression will expand.

Finally, after introducing several Mac software programs, we have one more issue to discuss.  Should I rip a DVD and then use another software title to compress the content or use one like HandBrake to do the whole sequence at the same time?  If you have a choice, you should rip a DVD and then use another software title to compress the content.  Ripping a DVD can only take 20 minutes or less.  And compressing the whole DVD can take hours.  HandBrake supports only a limited number of compression libraries, most of which are old, anyway.





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1 DVD region code at Wikipedia (
2 Xilisoft Corporation does not reveal its office information.  Therefore, MacHouse does not support their software programs.