How to rip DVD movies and play them on your netbook
The problem is however, how do you get a DVD movie onto your netbook if the netbook doesn’t have a DVD drive.
Simple. You copy the movie onto your desktop PC or DVD-equipped notebook computer and then copy the movie onto your netbook using a USB flash drive or network connection.
That’s not quite as easy as it sounds because Hollywood DVD movies have what’s called Content Scrambling System or CSS. It’s a copy protection mechanism meant to prevent you from doing this. However, in 1999, a 16-year-old Norweign kid called Jon Lech Johansen cracked the CSS and made it possible to rip the movie from a DVD.
Now today, ripping DVD movies is illegal in most countries but in practice, if you’re ripping a DVD movie you’ve purchased for your own use and you’re not planning on selling it (yep, that’s called Piracy), it’s highly unlikely you’ll get caught. Basically, it’s up to you to know the legal situation about DVD copying in your country and decide whether to do it or not.
That said, here’s what you need: (just do a Google search)
1) A DVD ripping tool such as DVD Decrypter or SmartRipper.
2) A video converter tool such as SUPER or MediaCoder.
3) A video player tool called Media Player Classic.
4) A video codec pack called FFdshow.
First up, you need to rip the DVD movie – the most important thing is to make sure you rip the movie as a single VOB file. DVD movies by default are divided up into 1GB chunks but in order to make playback easy, you need to check the ripping software and look for an option to create a single VOB file out of the rip.
Next, while it is possible to use the VOB file, it could be anywhere up to 8GB in size, which is pretty big – unnecessarily big. That’s where a video converter tool like Super or MediaCoder comes into play. You use this to convert the movie into a leaner, more efficient version – try converting the video to XviD, DivX or MPEG2 – all of these options can give very good quality results at much lower bit rates than most DVD movies. (Using MPEG2, you just need to reduce the video bit rate – that will drop the quality slightly but still give you a decent reduction in file size).
Once you’ve got your final my-movie.mpg or .avi, copy it to a flash drive and onto your netbook’s hard drive.
Now, you need to install Media Player Classic and FFdshow onto your netbook. Media Player Classic will play the movie for you and FFdshow will provide the audio and video codecs necessarily to see the vision and hear the audio.
What about H.264?
I don’t recommend the use of H.264 for netbooks. First up, it requires considerably more horsepower than MPEG2 or DivX/XviD and that means your netbook’s battery (if you’re using it to play the movies) will run down faster. Secondly, it takes forever to create an H.264 video – as much as three times compared with an MPEG2 movie using some tools.
And thirdly, the chances of it playing back on your netbook are slim – at least playing back without stuttering. The 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor is not a bad chip but H.264 playback is so demanding, you might find, depending on the video frame size of your video, that it cannot play it back at the correct frame speed without dropping frames right, left and centre.
- Q&A – Are netbooks fast enough to play 720p video?
- Q&A – My Windows XP netbook won’t play DVD movies. How do I fix this?
- Q&A – How do I get movies onto a USB flash drive?
- Q&A – Is it true TVs can now play videos without a DVD player?
- Q&A – How do I get my netbook to play 720p video?
- Four free little-known uses for DVD-R
- Q&A – Samsung Media@2.0 playing 16:9 video as 4:3. Is this right?
- Why Blu-ray may succeed afterall
- HOW TO: Turn your netbook into a surround-sound DVD player
- PC User December 2008 – Creating your own HD movies on DVD