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The Best Freeware to Convert a DVD to the Mac Format

written by: normaking•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 10/6/2010

So you would like to rip a set of movies to store on your MacBook's hard drive while you are jetting off to an exotic location. Or you might need to make a digital copy of your wedding video. Handbrake offers you a free way to convert DVD formats to Mac native files that even your iPod can play.

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    Disclaimer & Legal Speak

    This article and the reviews in it should only be used to convert and store DVDs that you already own on your Macintosh. BrightHub or the writer is not responsible for what you do with this information. Respect art and don't pirate. Back to the review…

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    Why digitize a DVD?

    There can be a number of reasons why you would want to convert a DVD to a format that you can store and stock on your computer. One of the biggest reasons used to be the convenience of having all your important videos at hand on your hard drive but with the advent of media sharing websites like YouTube and how easy FaceBook had made uploading videos, the biggest reason that everyone I asked indicated sharing their media was priority number one. Of course most of these people would be referring to home videos and the like. If you'd like to rip (as the tech savvy kids of today call it) your DVDs onto your Mac's hard drive then the process as well as the software used that has been reviewed below will be more than enough. The only thing that will change is the content of the media.

    If you're a frequent traveller then you definitely don't want to be hankering around with a box of DVDs on the plane and converting your DVDs to a MAc friendly format is a much better way to do it. Once your videos are digitized you are also protected in case the DVD gets lost somewhere as your precious memories (or money spent) will still be there with you. The same works for the iPod as Handbrake, the software we'll be taking a look at, can make doing that a one click operation.

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    HandBrake makes ripping DVDs easy

    handbrake1 HandBrake is a free, open source application that makes converting your DVDs to a Mac or even an iPod/iPhone friendly format a breeze. There is nothing more that comes as easy and yet features so many powerful features. This is one of those few pieces of software that is as good for the novice as it is for the pro. If you would like to keep the video converting process fairly simple, all you need to do not touch the toggle that says Advanced Settings which by the way happens to feature some amazing options like the ability to adjust frame rate on the fly with its built in motion adjusting algorithm. With that set, converting DVDs to any format is easy. Just add the discs to the queue and press the start button that is on the top left of the window. If you would like to get your video in a certain format then click on the Toggle Presets button on the top right opens up a drawer to the right of the main pane that allows you to choose what format you would like to get your video in. HandBrake is extremely versatile and you shouldn't have any problems.

    presets However, in certain cases some region locked DVDs may not work so you can have a look at RipIt which has yet to ever fail me. The company behind it has so much faith in the application that they say they'll buy the DVD that you couldn't rip so they can fix the problem. Quite a guarantee isn't it?