#1 DVD Ripper


Finally, a reliable, powerful, easy-to-use DVD-to-MPEG4 ripper

Month Reviewed: February 2005
Verdict: 9
URL: www.dvdtox.com

For the last year, Maximum PC editors have scoured the net, searching for a program that seamlessly rips DVD movies and converts them to an MPEG4 based format—namely Divx or Xvid. We’ve tested literally dozens of freeware and shareware apps, all of which suffered from fatal flaws: ridiculously complex set-up processes, constant crashes, and some just plain haven’t worked. Then came the aptly-named #1 DVD Ripper. It’s easy to use, rock-solid stable, and works beautifully every time.

Ripping a DVD with #1 DVD Ripper is simple. First, the software scans your DVD for video content, then breaks out all the videos on the disc by title and chapter. You select the chapters you want to rip, select either a multi-pass or single-pass encode, and then define the audio and subtitle tracks you want to use. Once that’s done, you click Rip, and let #1 DVD Ripper work it’s mojo.

The ripper doesn’t actually ship with any MPEG4 encoders, so you’ll need to download and configure either Xvid or Divx yourself. For best results with either codec, we recommend you go with a two-pass encode, at the very least. On the first pass of a two-pass encode, the encoder first scans the entire video file to suss out a strategy. In fact, on the first pass, no video is actually written to disk! On the second pass (which is usually called the Nth pass in the encoder control panels), the encoder uses the information gathered during the first pass to allocate more bandwidth to difficult-to-encode high-motion scenes. Encoding times are more dependent on the codec you use than the DVD ripping software itself, but you can expect a two-hour DVD to rip and encode each pass in about an hour and forty-five minutes.

In its current version, #1 DVD Ripper requires the user to manually change codec settings between the first and second passes when encoding multi-pass MPEG4 files. We’d really like to see this become automated in order to make one-click DVD rips possible. But even without one-click ripping and encoding, #1 DVD Ripper is undeniably the best DVD archiving program we’ve tested. --Will Smith

+ Fair Use: It’s easy. It works. We love it!

- Piracy: Shouldn’t every thing be automated these days?

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