Easy DVD Archives

A quick disclaimer…

We are of the belief that you are within your right to backup your digital media for personal use. If you live in another country you might want to check your local laws with the lawyers manassas va. The US has a certain grey area here… the tools are currently free to use and not being prosecuted for being publicly available.

I thought it would be helpful for people stopping by, not yet up to speed on the ease and convenience of storing and playing your DVDs from hard disk. There are several paths you can consider, including compressing the disk into other formats, but with available disk space on either your mini, other mac or external drives, you can easily create a full-quality copy for your personal use.

In my experience the easiest tool to use for the task is MacTheRipper. In about 30 minutes, you can archive a DVD to a your system making it available for playback without needing the DVD. This is a great way for families to protect DVDs likely to get trashed by young kids (ahem) or simply for ease of use in your Mac home theater.

This will not be a deeply technical piece, but rather something you can follow along and get going with quickly. There are a great deal of options you might be interested in within the program, but for that I will simply steer you towards the excellent documentation included in the disk image.

You first need to get the software.

If you plan on ripping more than an occasional disk, you might want to start by first changing your system preferences to open MacTheRipper instead of DVD player each time you insert a new disk.


The next thing is to insert a DVD… after it has been scanned, you should see something like this:


The default for MacTheRipper is for the full disk. If you would like to alter that to conserve space, you can choose the Mode tab and select from the various options. Some offer a further level of selection so if you want the 4:3 vs 16:9 .vob you’ll want to browse about…


In my current configuration, I’ve been selecting only the feature. This eliminates the menus and extras from the DVD and lets you cut to the chase to simply watch the movie. The current screen shot still has Full Disk Extraction selected…

There is an option on the initial screen that lets you attempt to disable the UOPs or User operation prohibition – the limits placed on your DVD to prevent you from skipping the various warnings or even previews. I’ve had limited success with this, each disk is different and will require some trial and error if this is an important thing to remove.

MacTheRipper is also capable of defeating the region encoding and Macrovision to allow for your backups. For the most part these options will simply work. Again, there is a considerable amount of helpful information to be found within the documentation.

The last thing you need to do here is click Go! You’ll be prompted for a save location and the disk will begin to get backed up. A disk usually takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to rip.

While the disk is ripping you might want to consider how you plan to access and play it later on. You can open the Apple DVD player and chose the OPEN VIDEO_TS FOLDER… browse to the recently saved location and pick the folder. Hit play and you are in business.

We’ve mentioned Matinee a few times here already, and it’s been the nicest way I’ve found to playback your saved DVDs. Once you’ve set the location for your saved media, it provides an intuitive interface to located and play from your collection.

That’s pretty much the deal. It’s simple to do, though takes a bit of time per disk as well as an appropriate storage solution. I’ve actually played saved disks from local, firewire and network drive and they’ve all worked quite well.

Have fun!

— Jonathan Greene

Have you ordered your Mac mini yet?

13 Responses to “Easy DVD Archives”

  1. B.Greenway Says:

    Hmm, reading this reminded me of a disc that I had tried to archive once with DVD stink, err shrink. Shrink couldnā€™t do it, and Mac the ripper could. There’s a tick in the plus column.

  2. Jonathan Greene Says:

    It’s under active development… getting better with each release!

  3. HTmini » Blog Archive » MacHTPC: Backing up your DVD’s easily Says:

    […] y to get your DVD’s onto your storage solution for the best experience! Here’s a good tutorial by MacHTPC on how to use MacTheRipper to make uncompressed backups […]

  4. atmaspheric | endeavors » Blog Archive » Easy DVD Archives? Says:

    […] Easy DVD Archives? If you’ve been trying to find a way to archive your collection for playback without the DVD, MacHTPC has the answer for you. […]

  5. James Says:

    Been doing some research on this subject lately, and have heard very positive reviews on Roxio’s Popcorn (which I just ordered). You basically save your DVD with MacTheRipper and then have Popcorn make a compressed copy onto a single DVD-R. An excellent backup method.

  6. Jonathan Greene Says:

    You might also try DVD Fast Copy which I think lets you do the same thing…

  7. Tim Houghton Says:

    I’d also recommend compressing the ripped DVD folder. The newly released Popcorn has already been mentioned, but DVD2OneX is the established leader in this field.

    PS I in the latest reply I believe you actually meant Fast DVD Copy.

  8. Jonathan Greene Says:

    You are correct on Fast DVD Copy… I do not do much compressing of my DVDs… šŸ˜‰ I prefer to play them at full quality from the HD.

  9. gregspeck Says:

    The use of DVD2One will further conserve disc space. Good video is possible with a 2 g file. I archive to DVD at 4.2 and save to firewire disc at 1.9g or so. I have over 120 moveis on a 300g Maxtor that way.

  10. Mac HTPC - The Mac Mini HTPC » Blog Archive » Mac Media On the Go Says:

    […] n=no,menubar=no,status=yes,left=0,top=0′);return false”> In my case, I’ve got a pretty handy selection of archived DVDs sitting on my mini waiting for Matinee to q […]

  11. CTFoundation Says:

    DVDFastCopy – BEWARE. Do not buy this.

    This is a general notice for all those thinking of purchasing DVD FAST COPY – Do Not Buy It.

    We purchased this to back up DVD’s of our educational programmes for our Children’s Centre. We have 4 Mac OS X computers in the Centre and two Mac experts working with us part time. Both technicians failed to get the DVDFastCopy to work and several blank DVD’s later, we wrote to the manufacturers at Velan, who categorically stated that, as in their FAQ’s page, “we do not give refunds to anyone, and we will stick to it.”.

    We sent them information on our company, telling them we are a non-profit organisation and work on a voluntary basis for handicapped children – for this reason finances are extremely limited but they still would not allow us a refund. We sent several requests for assistance and the replies that (eventually) came back simply told us to read the Troubleshooting page.
    Our technicians have since used DVD compression/burning software, both of which work perfectly well with our Mac OSX.

    Our advice is not to buy this programme at the rather inflated price of $100 and to be prepared to receive no sympathy whatsoever from them at all when it does not work. The sales support simply tell you to read the FAQ’s. If you wish you can buy this software yourself but we are sure you will find the same. Our advice is certainly to try the Trial before you buy. Please see the other reviews in Macrumors etc. and you will see others have had the same results.

    One important thing to note also is that FAST DVD COPY this application will NOT, as specified in their Troubleshooting page (page 18) burn a VIDEO_TS folder created with any other applications other than their own, which means that if you have a VIDEO_TS folder ripped with any other application then it will also not work.

    On the last page (21) of the Help Guide, FAST DVD Copy also state that if any errors occur whilst reading the DVD then it must be due to the fact that your DVD is dirty or scratched. Several emails to their Online help also gave us the same information. They also tried to blame our Superdrive, connection and battery power. Why then, did every single DVD we then compressed and burned using our colleague’s software on our Macs work perfectly well? It is simply a “get Out” clause for a shoddy piece of software.

    One wonders, looking at their site, why it is that they provide no contact information, no company registered address. It is impossible to contact them. I am afraid that we were rather duped into purchasing this from their glossy advertising pages.

    The most disheartening thing is we explained to them from the beginning that we had limited resources. It seems Velan not only produce products of low quality, they also care little for those struggling to help others less fortunate than themselves but for making a quick profit from an absolutely useless piece of software. It is a total sham, I’m afraid.

  12. Diana Says:

    hi, i just read your post and mactheripper really helped i actually got all the movies onto my computer but now the problem is that i don’t know how to get them onto a dvd.

  13. Karthik Says:

    I burnt a few dvds (mostly movies) in a moserbaer writable dvd . When i tried to play it in the macmini , the dvd slides back out . I’ve been having this problem and its been getting on my nerves lately. Is there any bug fix for this or is the macmini’s CD writer dvd reader combo just not compatible ???????

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