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I have tons of DVDs that I have bought over the years, many of which I love.

I also have tons of empty DVD covers, and tons of cover-less DVDs.

Once and for all, I'd love to digitize (or more accurately, copy), each DVD onto a big hard drive, so that I can watch them easily, without hunting for the original disk. This would allow me to keep my precious original DVDs in an archive somewhere, away from harm; away from the prying fingers of kids and friends.

Problem is all the copyright issues. What's the cleanest and easiest way to "itunes-ify" (or equivalent) my DVD collection?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

My favorite DVD ripper is still DVDFab; it combines top quality, speed and ease-of-use.

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DVDFab is shareware, try before you buy.

If you want to catalog your movies I recommend php4dvd, a small yet powerful, PHP/MySQL-powered movie database. You can search for movie information and add your own covers.

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php4dvd is open source freeware.

As for your legal concerns, I'd say under 'fair use', you are allowed to backup your movies. However, selling the DVDs and keeping the backups - that would be highly illegal. IANAL.

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DVD Fab is hands down the best I've ever used. You can use the try before you buy 30 free trial, but get ready to dig into your wallet. You'll fall in love with it and won't mind paying the asking price. – Patriot Dec 28 '09 at 2:27
DVD Fab sounds great I'm going to give this a shot. Unfortunately Shrink is Windows only, and Handbrake is great, but it requires VLC and actually doesn't seem to work that well on my computer. Don't mind paying if it's good software. – Thomas Browne Dec 28 '09 at 9:56
Ahhh - DVD Fab is also windows only. – Thomas Browne Dec 28 '09 at 16:25
sorry, but you didn't specify any OS in your question. – Molly7244 Dec 28 '09 at 16:29

I recommend DVD Shrink for this purpose on Windows for it's pure simplicity.

DVD Shrink is a versatile freeware tool for fitting a DVD-Video disc on a single DVDR disc.

DVD Shrink is capable of both re-authoring and re-encoding the movie. It features an intuitive user interface which makes it easy to choose what to keep, and what to lose.

DVD Shrinks allow the user to select compression level for each video track separately to obtain the desired disc size (which is usually below 4.38GB). The software is capable of producing either an ISO image of the ripped DVD, or a VIDEO_TS folder for further processing, viewing or burning.

You won't find a download on their site though:

due to a number of limitations and facts, we are not allowed to host it here.

although you can find it on a number of different download sites such as softpedia.

There is also HandBrake (Windows, Linux, Mac) which does an excellent job.

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thanks chief - I will take a look at this. – Thomas Browne Dec 27 '09 at 20:53

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