We’ve all been there; a smudge or a scratch has ruined the last remaining DVD copy of a family birthday party, wedding, or important event such as a graduation. The memories are gone for good.
For some people, preserving memories backing up important home movie DVDs is a priority. Just about any basic laptop is now powerful enough to “rip” a home DVD, and external hard drives are cheap and can hold hundreds of hours of footage. And creating an archive of videos is no harder than creating a library for photo albums and a safe storage place for the negatives.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside. To get a copy of the movie data off a disc and on to your computer for storage or archiving, you need what is known as a “DVD ripper”. This is a piece of software that can be downloaded from the Internet. The problem is in finding the right software.
Before we get stuck into discussing what is the right DVD ripper software for you, it is worth noting that in Australia, making copies of commercial DVDs (such as films) is illegal, even for personal use, so don’t do it! The DVD-ripping software itself is perfectly legal, however, and, of course, you’re allowed to “rip” and make as many copies of your own home movie footage as you like. If you are considering downloading DVD ripping software, it should be for this purpose alone.
The best-known is not necessarily the best
When it comes to DVD ripper software, there are a number of options on the market. Some of the most popular ones are completely free to download and use, such as Handbrake, but as the old adage goes “you get what you pay for.” Often, those free tools are complex to use, slow in DVD conversion or has limited output formats.
For general ease of use, the best alternative is WinX DVD Ripper Platinum.
Ease of use and versatility are the hallmarks of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum. It has an easy-to-follow UX that looks and feels much like most other commercial pieces of software you may use.
It also has a comprehensive feature set. WinX DVD Ripper Platinum comes with 210 different video codecs – the most available on any DVD ripper software. There are also 350 pre-set profiles. This means that any device that you own – whether it be iPhone, iPad, Xbox, PlayStation, or PC, you can set the software to rip the DVD specifically for it and its screen.
WinX DVD Ripper Platinum also has some advanced technology that allows users to save scratched or heavily worn discs – perfect for those very old DVDs that you’re really worried about losing.
Finally, WinX DVD Ripper Platinum typically takes less than 10 minutes to copy an hour’s worth of DVD footage, and won’t push the CPU processor – the maximum temperature will be 34C. That means you’ll be able to do other things on your computer while WinX DVD Ripper Platinum works its magic. Read our review.
WinX DVD Ripper Platinum stands out
The biggest name among the free DVD ripping tools is Handbrake. For years now, Handbrake has been the go-to for advanced users that want to archive their DVD-based footage and home movies.
So let’s compare the user experience.
On loading Handbrake up, you are presented with something like what you’ll see below. On the screen there is option after option, window after window, and tab after tab. It very much looks like advanced software, and for most users, before you’re able to copy the contents of a DVD to the computer, you’re going to need to dig around in the help documentation, or look up some tutorials online.
WinX DVD Ripper Platinum offers a completely different experience. Once the software is loaded you are presented with a simple, visually accessible menu screen, and an easy-to-follow three-step set of instructions for copying a DVD. Simply insert your home DVD and press the button on the top left, and you are just about done. No need for tutorials or help guides for this one.
Supported DVDs: You’ll face some other challenges in trying to use Handbrake to archive your DVDs, too. For example, Handbrake struggles to read and copy DVDs that are old, scratched, or damaged.
Output Formats: The software is also limited in the number of file formats that it can export. It will rip to an MP4 format, which will be sufficient for many devices, but if you want to watch your footage on a device that doesn’t support MP4, your other options are limited.
Video Quality: Perhaps most significantly, Handbrake only keeps DVD video quality to around 70 per cent of what’s on the disc. In many cases, home DVDs already have poor quality footage, because they were shot on older, outdated cameras, or were perhaps transferred from VHS to DVD. That loss of 30 per cent to the footage quality can make a substantial difference to the viewing experience.
An alternative to Handbrake for anyone looking to simply create an archive of their home movies should consider WinX DVD Ripper Platinum because it is easier to use, and its feature set makes it far more versatile for those discs that have suffered from the passage of time.