You pay good money for your DVDs, but they’re hardly the only format you need these days. These five ripping tools ensure you can back them up, keep them on your media server, and load them on your favorite portable player.

Photo by jonasj.

DVD Shrink (Windows, Free)

DVD Shrink is a free and capable ripping tool that excels at, as the name would imply, shrinking DVDs. DVDs come in two common formats: DVD-5 (4.7GB) and DVD-9 (8.5GB); the Reauthor mode in DVD Shrink helps you to ditch disc extras and strip most larger DVDs down to fit into a standard (and less expensive) DVD-5 disc. DVD Shrink does a good job handling many protection schemes, but hasn’t been updated to remove some of the newest schemes.

DVD Fab (Windows, $50)

DVD Fab is a commercial DVD ripper that supports the removal of all current DVD copy protections. In addition to being current on protection schemes, it boasts a large array of options for stripping and repacking your DVDs once the copy protection is removed. You can rip the entire disc, rip only the main movie, or split it into pieces—among other options. Like DVD Shrink, DVD Fab also supports compressing DVD-9 discs to fit on DVD-5 discs.

Handbrake (Windows/Mac/Linux, Free)

Handbrake is a DVD-ripping tool with a strong emphasis on not just ripping media but recoding it for playback on computers, portable devices, and other non-disc based systems. Handbrake can help you convert DVDs and other MPEG-based video into MP4 and MKV files. You can tweak settings like video frame rate and audio codec playback to your heart’s content with Handbrake, and even batch encode all your media at one time to make filling up your iPod or other device relatively painless. The one major shortcoming of Handbrake is that it doesn’t have any copy protection removal tools built in, which means you may occasionally need to use a 3rd-party stripping tool to prepare your DVD for conversion.

AnyDVD (Windows, $60 per year)

AnyDVD is another commercial entry in this week’s Hive Five. It’s not cheap, with a one year license running $60—although the multi-year discounts quickly stack up—but it can boast that it stays on top of current protection and encryption schemes to make sure you’re never locked out of your own discs. In addition to stripping protections from the disc, it also has the ability to control DVD playback speed so that DVDs played on media center computers will play slower and quieter, and it allows you to remove things like forced subtitles, warning screens, and disc material you don’t want.

DVD Decrypter (Windows, Free)

Although DVD Decrypter hasn’t been updated since 2005, it still works on a significant number of DVDs and has a strong following resulting from both its original user base and new users who find it cuts through the copy protection on their current DVDs protected with CSS, Macrovision content protection, region codes, and other hindrances.

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Think of Wine as a compatibility layer for running Windows programs. Wine does not require Microsoft Windows, as it is a completely free alternative implementation of the Windows API consisting of 100% non-Microsoft code, however Wine can optionally use native Windows DLLs if they are available. Wine provides both a development toolkit for porting Windows source code to Unix as well as a program loader, allowing many unmodified Windows programs to run on x86-based Unixes, including Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and Solaris.
Wine benefits
Last but not least, Wine can provide benefits over Windows right now:

* Wine makes it possible to take advantage of all the Unix strong points (stability, flexibility, remote administration) while still using the Windows applications you depend on.
* Unix has always made it possible to write powerful scripts. Wine makes it possible to call Windows applications from scripts that can also leverage the Unix environment to its full extent.
* Wine makes it possible to access Windows applications remotely, even if they are a few thousand miles away.
* Wine makes it economical to use thin clients: simply install Wine on a Linux server, and voila, you can access these Windows applications from any X terminal.
* Wine can also be used to make existing Windows applications available on the Web by using VNC and its Java client.
* Wine is Open Source Software, so you can extend it to suit your needs or have one of many companies do it for you.
What’s new in this release (see below for details):
– Control panel improvements and new appwiz panel.
– Restructurations of state handling in Direct3D.
– Support for timer queue functions.
– Many MSXML improvements.
– Several fixes to Solaris support.
– Various bug fixes.

Developer Wine
[view all products from developer]
Product Homepage Wine
Date Added December 22, 2009, 10:10 GMT
License Free (Freeware)
Week / All Time Downloads 307 / 14,519
Size 15.3MB
OS Support Linux, Unix

 

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