To convert your dvd into avi files you can use any one of a dozen programs, most of which are free. AutoGK is one, Xvid4PSP (misleading name), SUPER, FairUseWizard, etc. Look at the conversion program list over at www.videohelp.com
Can’t answer about your external drive. It may be riplocked (ripping speed locked in the firmware)…you’d have to tell us what model Sony you have.
Everyone got here at the same time!