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How to Rip a Blu-ray Disc With MakeMKV

If you are looking to make digital backups of your favorite Blu-ray movies, you can find few better tools than MakeMKV, a freeware video transcoder that is quick and easy to use. Like HandBrake, MakeMKV is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. However, unlike HandBrake, it includes its own set of decryption tools. Here’s how it works.

Disclaimer: In order to let you make copies of your Blu-ray movies, MakeMKV uses built-in decryption tools that circumvent digital rights management technology. Such procedures currently occupy something of a legal gray area. You probably won't face any legal consequences if you rip your legally purchased Blu-ray movie collection for your own use, but we're just going to present the instructions and let you decide for yourself whether to follow these steps. PCWorld is not responsible for any damages that result from this how-to.

1. Download and install MakeMKV. The program is completely free during the beta-testing phase, but that may change when the final release is available, so get the software while you can.

2. Put a Blu-ray movie into your PC’s Blu-ray drive, and click the Blu-ray button in the middle of the screen.

MakeMKV can rip copies of your Blu-ray movies to your PC.

3. MakeMKV will scan the disc to identify the titles to rip.

4. When the software is done, select the location for your movie in the Output Folder menu box, click Make MKV, and wait. Expect an average Blu-ray disc to take at least 30 minutes to rip to your hard drive.

That's pretty much it! MakeMKV undoubtedly offers one of the easiest ways to rip a Blu-ray disc, and it's a great tool for beginners who may be new to Blu-ray video transcoders.

However, be aware that the output file is in the MKV (Matroska) file format, and it won’t play just anywhere. This compact file format is about 40 percent smaller than a traditional Blu-ray data disc, but playback demands a media player that is capable of handling MKV files. Try Videolan’s VLC Player if you don’t already have it installed.

MakeMKV does not come with a lot of video or audio options to allow you to tweak the quality or file size of your finished movie; for a free video converter, though, it does the job well. If you want to burn the resulting MKV backup to a DVD or Blu-ray disc so that it will play on a DVD player, you need a tool such as E.M. Total Video2Dvd to convert the MKV file to a smaller, DVD-friendly format.

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