No libdvdcss? Curse you, Handbrake!
August 9, 2009 5:40 PM   Subscribe

What's the best (free) way to back up DVDs these days?

Back when I had a Mac, I used to use Handbrake to rip DVDs to MPEG4 files- It was quick and easy, you select the titles you wanted to rip and (shazam!) it ripped them for you to the format you wanted.
However, I'm using a PC now, and it's a couple years later. I've installed Handbrake, but much to my frustration they no longer include libdvdcss, which is needed to rip most DVDs. They do say it automatically detects an copy of libdvdcss on Linux and OSX, but I can't even find a Windows binary of the libary online to see if that would work.

So, what's a good, free (as in beer) program to rip DVDs to MPEGs these days? Everything I see people talking about online seems to either (a) involve multiple programs to decrypt and re-encode or (b) is something you pay money for. With the open-source community out there, I can't believe there isn't some slick program that can both decrypt and encode- is there some way I can just feed a copy of libdvdcss to Handbrake to get it to work, or is there another program out there now?
posted by dunkadunc to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
If you can find a copy, DVDShrink is probably worth a look - though I believe it may have become illegal in some (US?) jurisdictions and you may have to jump through a couple of hoops to get the installer.

It'll copy the DVD as-is to an image file, or shrink it to fit a single-layer disc, and/or strip menus and extras and suchlike.
posted by pompomtom at 5:50 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

DVD Decrypter to any of the programs featured in the MPEG-4 Encoder GUIs forum over at GUIs for Avisynth and a command-line encoder are the most powerful and least problematic transcoding solution: no VFW b-frame hacks, no ffmpeg bugs, etc.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:50 PM on August 9, 2009

Best answer: You can install DVD43. It's a driver that decrypts DVDs on the fly, so that whatever application (ie handbrake) that is reading the disk gets the unencrypted data. It may not be enough on newer discs, which have bad sectors and bogus files to trip up DVD backup software. I don't know how well handbrake deals with that on its own.
posted by Good Brain at 6:31 PM on August 9, 2009

dvdfab hasn't let me down yet.

Handbrake and DVDShrink can't bust through copyprotected discs on their own. you can fun dvd decrypter (old, doesn't work with new dvds) or dvdfab to first create a folder of files and then use handbrake to convert into a digital format on your computer or dvdshrink to shrink it down to fit on a standard dvd.
posted by royalsong at 6:54 PM on August 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

DVD Decrypter is great and will do just what you want (it can demux to MPEG, rip VOBs, or just make an ISO), but it hasn't been updated in years and as such falls prey to the fake-bad-blocks trick most modern DVDs use for copy protection.
posted by neckro23 at 7:15 PM on August 9, 2009

I used the original DVD Decrypter until 2007 when it started having problems with new releases. I went to DVD Fab Decrypter V3.0.7, which is free, but I'm not sure if you can get it anymore as I know it's become commercialware. As far as burning the files, I use DVDShrink to shrink and/or clean up the files and have it burn directly with DVD Decrypter.

DVD Fab has let me down one time and that was with Wall-E. I found that extracting just one specific track pulled out the whole movie. That was important to me as Disney puts a phenomenal amount of promotional garbage on their DVDs before the menus.

There is nothing I'm aware of that does everything in one giant swoop and is actually good.
posted by crapmatic at 8:12 PM on August 9, 2009

Try RipIt4Me. It will scan the disk for any protected sectors, and then insert a list of those sectors into DVDDecrypter, so it will avoid trying to pick them up. Once DVDD has done it's thing, it will remove any junk that got missed. Then try AutoGK to convert from DVD format to whatever. This isn't completely one click but it's easy enough to automate with AutoIt (which I did some time ago and have since lost the binaries to :( ).
posted by Solomon at 12:54 AM on August 10, 2009

Best answer: Seconding Handbrake + DVD43, as recommended by Good Brain. It's worked on every DVD I've tried.
posted by JMOZ at 5:41 AM on August 10, 2009

DVDFab is free and does a nice job. Personally I dropped the bucks to unlock the direct decode and encrypt stuff and it was well worth it, though I had 100+ discs I wanted to encode and put in a box in the basement.
posted by phearlez at 7:43 AM on August 10, 2009

Best answer: FYI, HandBrake on Windows has never had libdvdcss support, even before we removed it from the other platforms. Technical issues getting the dll to play nice with Cygwin. For that matter, libdvdcss doesn't even handle most forms of copy protection, just CSS stripping, so you're always better off ripping first with a dedicated app for that purpose before using HandBrake, even in OS X or Linux.

While I'm sure this isn't what you want to hear, the best way to rip a DVD is using AnyDVD, which is a commercial app. They are the only ones who make a real, sustained effort to keep up with the studios' shenanigans.

Oh yeah, if you're comfortable with the command line, MPlayer is pretty good about dumping .VOBs, especially when it's using libdvdnav to parse the structure.
posted by jbrjake at 10:00 AM on August 10, 2009

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