Advice on what to do

I am very new to all of this so go easy on me…

I am going to put all my DVD’s onto my multimedia PC that I built. I have around 2TB’s of hard drive space.

I have been playing around with various ripping and conversion software. I tried ripping a DVD to a .ISO file and use the Elby VirtualDrive software but ran into some problems with the software locking up and corrupting my DVD drive drivers so I am probably going to avoid that rought. I tried using WinAVI to convert the .VOB files to MPEG or AVI but noticed that it just converted the files seperately and did not pack them into one file.

My first question is what software would you guys recommend for either:
A. ripping a DVD to a single file (such as AVI or MPEG) or
B. ripping a DVD to multiple files (like most software seems to do, i.e. a VIDEO_TS folder with several .vob, .ifo, .bup files) and then converting/compressing all those into a single (AVI, MPEG, whatever) format.

My second question is which format is best for maintaining Video and Audio quality, audio channels, and possibly the surround sound encoding?


The best quality is obtained ripping DVD in the same way they are in the disc, aka a bunch of ifo bup and vob files.

With avi you can obtain a rather good (but not the best) quality, and you can also retain surround audio, but the best remain the DVD format.

One of the best rippers is DVD Decrypter, but being not updated anymore more and more of the latest movies can’t be ripped with it. Good alternative are DVDFab decrypter or Anydvd.

Just to add to geno’s advice.

DVD Shrink (free) or CloneDVD ($$) are the other possiblility , along with AnyDVD - to remove protection.

BTW when you get an avi file & an audio file from Winavi you can easily merge these together with Virtualdubmod. Just ensure that the video mode is set to Direct Stream Copy.

Hmmm, Ok did a little digging on my own. Correct me if I am wronge…so I can use DVD Decrypter or DVDFab and then use say AutoGK to compress the files to an AVI so I have one single file? Any idea how bad audio/video quality might be?

If anyone knows of a better software to convert the various VOB, BUP, and IFO files to one file please let me know.


I have a media server (Dlink 320) and use my spare PC as the sourse of files. I use the mp4 format using Videora to convert. Its free software and can compress a film down to about 1gig, TV shows around 200mb. I have discovered that the files are usable on my ipod video too :slight_smile: Hope this is usefull


Sweet I will have to check that out.

My eventual goal is to have the machine hooked up to my HDTV. I am working on getting some type of remote control system or possibly use my TREO 650 as the remote.

If you want to play your movie on a HDTV, the only option for you is the vob files. Avi will become heavily pixelated. They consume less space on HD, but have also a video quality lower than original DVD (aka vob).

Hmmm, good point. I had thought about this. I may try using the Elby Virtual Clone drive 2 again or maybe Daemon Tools.

You don’t need any virtual drive.

If you rip with files instead of ISO, the disc space will be the same, but you can play movies directly from the HD without any virtual drive.

Ok, I am new to how all this works. Now correct me if I am wrong in what I am saying…
Rip the VOBs, IFO, BUP, and PCG files from the DVD to the hard drive. Don’t convert them to any other format. Whats a good player then that will open the ripped DVD and now the correct sequence to play the files in? Also what if the dvd is ripped to VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders? How does the player know to match all those back up together correctly?

What about MPEG-2 format? Is that worth it?

A good player is PowerDVD. Another good player (and freeware) is media player classic.

You don’t need to create AUDIO_TS and VIDEO_TS folders if you plan to use a computer player to read these movies; only standalones need to have these folders. These folders contain vob, ifo and bup files, and a player such powerdvd can read directly from the folder without any conversion. You can name each folder with the movie title, or what you want.

Moreover, VOB files are mpeg-2 files. If you want the best quality you shouldn’t do any conversion and leave files as they are.

Finally, what are PCG files? How do you obtain these?

I tried using a copy of PowerDVD that I have. When I play a VOB file the sound is very choppy and stuttery. The video quality is fine but the sound is crap.

thats odd…what did you rip the dvd with…the above advice has been pretty rock solid?

What are your system specs (particularlly memory, video card and processor)? I can recall having similar problems with power dvd and win dvd back when I was running lesser systems. Fyi here are other players. You might want to try some of the free ones to see if any work for you.

System Specs
AMD Athlon XP 3000+
Nvidia GeForce 6600 256 MB RAM
Using on board sound

I tried media player classic and VLC media player and they both worked like a charm.

Obviouslly your system specs were not the problem. The system that I was talking about was a celeron with a radion 7000 64Mb vid card. I’m running two athlon xp systems (2400 and 2500@3200) both with radion 8500 cards and both play dvd flawlessly.