How Do I Get DVD Content Onto My PC?

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Danw12321 asked the Answer Line forum how to rip video from a homemade DVD to a PC.

Copying from a homemade DVD is a lot easier than doing it from a commercial one. It's also a lot more legal. Commercial DVDs come copy-protected to keep you from doing this.

The copy protection isn't very strong, and was broken soon after DVDs became commercially available. But that doesn't make it legal to copy protected DVDs, and whatever I think about the issue (I think you should be able to make copies for personal use), I don't use Answer Line to promote illegal behavior. So I'll stick to unprotected, homemade DVDs.

And you might not even have to rip a video from a homemade DVD--at least if it was made in your home. The source material from the camera, or from whatever media the camera records onto, will almost certainly look better than the DVD, and can't possibly look worse. If you don't already know how to port the video from your camera to your PC, check your camera's manual for instructions.

But if it's a homemade DVD made elsewhere--for instance, a video of your daughter's ice skating competition or your brother's home movies--that's not an option. If you want to create your own edit, watch it on your phone, or simply view it without the disc, you're going to need to rip the DVD.

Don't look to Microsoft's Movie Maker programs--the ones that come bundled with XP and Vista--to do this job. True, the current, unbundled-but-free Movie Maker Live can import video from DVDs, but it's so clumsy at the job you're better off just skipping it.

So I'm recommending the free version of Digiarty Software's WinX DVD Ripper. It's another one of those

simple, no-cost programs that just does what it's supposed to do, and does it easily, saving any of the video programs off a DVD to one of several formats, including AVI, MPEG, and MOV. The $40 Platinum version--on sale for $30 as I write this--allows you to rip to various portable devices (including iPhones) and can rip without quality loss. (I found the quality loss in the free version acceptable.)

Read the original forum discussion.

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This story, "How Do I Get DVD Content Onto My PC?" was originally published by PCWorld.

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