DVD to iPod coversion using HandBrake...

Has anyone tried the HandBrake software in transferring DVDs to one’s iPod Video? The articles I’ve read seem Mac-oriented. Is this also usable on PCs with Windows systems?

looks like theres a Windows version available:


I have no experience with it, but I do use Handbrake on my Mac. It’s a great piece of software. Give it a shot and report back (assuming this thread won’t be locked).

Another Mac user here. I looked before I had a Mac and there was a beta Windows version somewhere on the Handbrake site. It should be there somewhere.

The last time I tried the Windows beta, I wasn’t impressed. It’s not as seamless as the Mac version. It’s almost as if it were an entirely different program (well, literally speaking, it is, but you know what I mean).

I’ve used the Mac version. It does work but has limitations.

First, in order to do this conversion, you must defeat the region protection on the DVD. I have been told this violates the DMCA. Also, the conversion process is slow. On a fast computer, it will take about 1.5 times the length of the DVD. So, a one hour movie will take about 90 minutes to convert. On a modest system, the conversion could take overnight.

In the articles which have promoted HandBrake, they have addressed the legality
issues. Have there been any complaints against them re legality?

Interesting. Can you provide a link or two? So far as I know, in the USA, there is absolutely NO WAY to convert (as opposed to repurchase) a purchased (CSS encrypted) DVD to any other form without violating the DMCA because of the CSS encryption.

In fact, this is cited by most Linux DVD player applications as the reason why they won’t play/copy/whatever a commercial DVD. And frequently cited as a reason why the DMCA is an oppressive law.

I burned the Windows Handbrake to a disc for a friend who isn’t on the Net, but while it technically opens, neither using the Wizard nor copying & pasting will work for her to put it onto her computer. Any ideas as to what to do?

So I tried to actually use it & seemed to get an actual copy made but now I can’t retrieve the movie to play it. It was a $1 DVD cheapie public domain movie so it didn’t have copy-protection on it (a better disc I tried to transfer DID stall from what I assume was the protection). I figure that I didn’t adjust the settings correctly so please advise.

THere is another DVD-to-iPod software out there, I can’t recall the name of at the moment- anyone have info or experience on that?


Is this it?

There’s Videora iPod Converter, but you need to use a separate program to decrypt the DVD. They recommend one in their guides, but that one has been discontinued, and there’s a “fab” new program available if you don’t mind searching for it.

I’ve used iLounge’s step-by-step guide successfully.

I’ve had pretty good luck with the Mac version. When I first started using it, it seemed slow, but extra RAM made all the difference in the world. It’s still not much faster than real time, but that’s adequate for my needs. They’re supposed to be working on an updated version that supports H.264 in 640 pixel width for the iPods, but I haven’t seen a beta yet.

For the most part, I use it to copy TV shows to the iPod to watch on planes, so the ability to queue up the whole disc with each chapter saved as a separate file is just what I’m looking for. It’s also the only process I’ve found that lets me save the file with captions displayed. I’ve never had problems with encryption, and I’ve never taken any steps but to insert the DVD, open Handbrake, choose the right chapter and image quality, picture width, file name, enable captions, and press start.

The biggest problem I’ve heard about on the Mac version is that it won’t keep your Mac from sleeping during the file finalization phase. If your Mac goes to sleep during that time, the application will sit indefinitely at 99% or 100% without ever finishing the job. The solution for this is to temporarily change the power management settings to keep the Mac from ever sleeping before starting Handbrake, and changing it back when you’re done.

I thought I’d spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to give something back to the SDMB. This is how you convert a DVD to iPod video under windows.

  1. Get hold of DVD43. This transparently gets rid of CSS.

  2. Get hold of ffmpeg. Save this to a folder on your PC e.g. Desktop\ffmpeg.

  3. Open Windows Explorer and find the file you want to copy. If this is a DVD you need to look at your DVD drive and look in VIDEO_TS. The VOB files are what you want. Looking at my Star Wars disk, I see

Size Name
196,564,992 VTS_01_0.VOB ← This is the menu
1,073,676,288 VTS_01_1.VOB * ← Part one of the main title
1,073,596,416 VTS_01_2.VOB * ← Part two of the main title
1,073,655,808 VTS_01_3.VOB * ← Part three…
1,073,563,648 VTS_01_4.VOB * ← Part four…
1,073,629,184 VTS_01_5.VOB * ← Part five…
1,073,672,192 VTS_01_6.VOB * ← Part six…

Now, you don’t want the VTS_01_0.VOB. Thats because its the title you get when you insert the disk. VTS_01_1.VOB is the first part of the film. You want all the files marked with a *. Remember, only the VOBs

  1. Copy the VOB files to the folder you saved ffmpeg in (as I suggested Desktop\ffmpeg).

  2. Open a command line. Start->Run->cmd.exe.

  3. Copy the text below and paste into the command line (Click on the MSDOS icon at the top left of the command line, select Edit, select Paste). Change “SOURCE_VIDEO” to the VOB file you copied. Change “OUTPUT_VIDEO” to the output file.

ffmpeg -i “SOURCE_VIDEO” -f mp4 -vcodec mpeg4 -maxrate 1000 -b 700 -qmin 3 -qmax 5 -bufsize 4096 -g 300 -acodec aac -ar 44100 -ab 192 -s 320x240 -aspect 4:3 “OUTPUT_VIDEO”.mp4

  1. Press enter. ffmpeg will probably scroll lots of messages about buffer underflows. Don’t worry. Wait until it’s done.

  2. If you copied a number of VOB files, rinse and repeat. Use different output names though :slight_smile:

  3. Copy the OUTPUT_VIDEO file(s) using iTunes and enjoy.

I’ll look around to see if I can find a better way for you to identify the correct VOB file. The file structure is VTS_<title number>_<part number>.

If you play the DVD and select the part you want (e.g. main feature, not making of or previews) then look in your DVD player for the current title number. This title number corresponds to the number after VTS_. If the title (movie) is larger than 1GB you will find it’s split into a series

Size Name
1,073,676,288 VTS_01_1.VOB
1,073,596,416 VTS_01_2.VOB
1,073,655,808 VTS_01_3.VOB
1,073,563,648 VTS_01_4.VOB
1,073,629,184 VTS_01_5.VOB
1,073,672,192 VTS_01_6.VOB

These are the 6 parts of title 01. Remember the VTS_01_0.VOB is the menu. You don’t want this.

Fortunately, living in the UK I am not stifled by the DCMA. If you have any problems with this, feel free to mail me. I’m going to find one of those screen capture tools so I’ll record a video explaining how to do this.


Not exactly. VTS stands for Video Title Set; the number after VTS is the number of the title set. Each title set can contain several titles, as long as they all share certain properties (aspect ratio, audio formats, etc.), and many multi-title DVDs only have a single title set. Some DVD authors might choose to put each title in its own VTS, and some cheap DVD authoring software always does, but you can’t make that assumption in general.

To extract an individual title, you need to use a program that can parse the IFO file to figure out which video cells are part of the title. I don’t know if ffmpeg is up to the task.

OK, I have got to be a total idiot…

I downloaded ffmpeg & couldn’t figure how to fill in the SOURCE_VIDEO and OUTPUT_VIDEO parts of the command line.

So I tried Handbrake again and in the Output box (which I had before left blank) I thought I’d try iTunes, which ended up with me having to reinstall iTunes after an hour of installling nothing.

bangs head on wall