Ripping and burning DVDs on the Mac

Friends often ask me what tools to use for ripping and burning DVDs on the Mac environment. After much research and testing, here are my thoughts on a recommended toolset for the Mac:
I had been using tools from SlySoft (AnyDVD and CloneDVD) on the Windows platform. (http://www.slysoft.com/en/)
My current toolset on the Mac:
Ripping tool: “RipIt” from The Little App Factory (http://thelittleappfactory.com/ripit/)
It was a winner of the 2009 MacWorld Editors’ Choice Awards. Is sells for about $20.
It rips all data from a DVD into a “DVD Media Document” by the name of the ripped DVD. Double clicking on that document will get your movie played by the “DVD Player” application on the Mac. This document is really a package (or directory). If you right click on it in Finder and then chose the “Show Package Contents” command you will see a “VIDEO_TS” and perhaps an “AUDIO_TS” folder with all the ripped contents.
Burning tool: “Disco” from http://www.discoapp.com/. Is sells for about $20.
In order to burn a DVD from a VIDEO_TS folder you need to create a UDF formatted disc image. There is a program included in Mac OS X called “hdiutil” that should in theory accomplish this task. I did not see any reports of people successfully using this tool on Snow Leopard. If “hdiutil” did generate a good UFD disk image, burning a DVD could be accomplished within the finder functionality.
Disco can in a single step both generate the UDF disc image and burn a DVD. So far it has worked well for me. Here is a pointer to a review of an earlier version of Disco: http://www.themaccore.com/files/discoreveiw.html
Note: The above tools will create a 1:1 copy of a DVD. Copying DVDs longer than ~4GB will require dual layer (DL) discs. There are two separate, and incompatible recordable DVD standards. The “-R” DVDs were introduced by Pioneer in 1997. The “+R” DVDs were introduced by the DVD+RW Alliance (headed by Sony, Phillips, Mitsubishi, and Thompson) in 2002. Not all home DVD players play all formats (-R or +R); in particular the DL ones. For more detailed information on this see the “Ad Terras Per Aspera” blog article: “How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media”: “http://adterrasperaspera.com/blog/2006/10/30/how-to-choose-cddvd-archival-media”
The Superdrive DVD burners on MacBooks (at least on mine) can handle DVD+R DL media, but not DVD-R DL. That is an issue for me because my Denon DVD player cannot read DVD+R nor DVD+R DL discs.
In short, make sure your burner can burn dual layer media discs that your home DVD player can read.
As I stated above, RipIt and Disco do not support compressing a 7GB DVD to fit into a single layer DVD. This requires a toolset that supports compression and transcoding. For this I’m using “Evom”, a free tool also from The Little App Factory (http://thelittleappfactory.com/evom).
Evom is designed for downloading internet videos (YouTube™ and such) to iTunes and iPod. You can also use it to transcode your ripped DVD to play on an AppleTV or iPhone.
Another tool that will perform compression and transcoding is “Popcorn” from Roxio. It sells for about $50. I have not tested this tool as the Ripit/Disco/Evom toolset is meeting all my needs.

Friends often ask me what tools to use for ripping and burning DVDs on the Mac environment. After much research and testing, here are my thoughts on a recommended toolset for the Mac:

I had been using tools from SlySoft (AnyDVD and CloneDVD) on the Windows platform.

My current toolset on the Mac:

Ripping tool: “RipIt” from The Little App Factory.

RipIt was a winner of the 2009 MacWorld Editors’ Choice Awards. Is sells for about $20.

It rips all data from a DVD into a “DVD Media Document” by the name of the ripped DVD. Double clicking on that document will get your movie played by the “DVD Player” application on the Mac. This document is really a package (or directory). If you right click on it in Finder and then chose the “Show Package Contents” command you will see a “VIDEO_TS” and perhaps an “AUDIO_TS” folder with all the ripped contents.

Burning tool:Disco” Is sells for about $20.

In order to burn a DVD (that will play on a home DVD player) from a VIDEO_TS folder you need to create a UDF formatted disc image. There is a program included in Mac OS X called “hdiutil” that should in theory accomplish this task. I did not see any reports of people successfully using this tool on Snow Leopard. If “hdiutil” did generate a good UFD disk image, burning a DVD could be accomplished within the finder functionality.

Disco can in a single step both generate the UDF disc image and burn a DVD. So far it has worked well for me. Here is a review of an earlier version of Disco.

Note: The above tools will create a 1:1 copy of a DVD. Copying DVDs longer than ~4GB will require dual layer (DL) discs. There are two separate, and incompatible recordable DVD standards. The “-R” DVDs were introduced by Pioneer in 1997. The “+R” DVDs were introduced by the DVD+RW Alliance (headed by Sony, Phillips, Mitsubishi, and Thompson) in 2002. Not all home DVD players play all formats (-R or +R); in particular the DL ones. For more detailed information on this see the “Ad Terras Per Aspera” blog article: “How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media”.

The Superdrive DVD burners on MacBooks (at least on mine) can handle DVD+R DL media, but not DVD-R DL. That is an issue for me because my Denon DVD player cannot read DVD+R nor DVD+R DL discs.

In short, make sure your burner can burn dual layer media discs that your home DVD player can read.

As I stated above, RipIt and Disco do not support compressing a 7GB DVD to fit into a single layer DVD. This requires a toolset that supports compression and transcoding. For this I’m using “Evom”, a free tool also from The Little App Factory.

Evom is designed for downloading internet videos (YouTube™ and such) to iTunes and iPod. You can also use it to transcode your ripped DVD to play on an AppleTV or iPhone.

Another tool that will perform compression and transcoding is “Popcorn” from Roxio and it sells for about $50. I have not tested this tool as the Ripit/Disco/Evom toolset is meeting all my needs.

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