How to Convert a DVD to MP4 or MKV Format

With the standardization of streaming platforms, the physical format is getting closer to extinction. As with cassette tapes and VHS tapes, the DVD will end up disappearing sooner rather than later to become a nostalgic collector’s item. When this happens , DVD players will also stop being manufactured, but then … How can we see all those DVD discs that we have at home?

If we also take into account that DVDs with their corresponding boxes take up a considerable space -especially if we have a large collection- it is vitally important to make a backup . The good thing about all this is that if we manage to extract the content of the DVD and store it on a hard drive, we will not only solve our space problem at home, but we will also avoid losing the DVD due to deterioration caused by the inevitable passage of time. All are advantages!

How to Rip a DVD: Prerequisites

In order to extract a DVD and convert it to a digital video format such as MP4 or MKV we will need a couple of things:

  • A conversion softwareto backup DVD.
  • A complement to be able to extract protected DVDs.

In the case of conversion applications, we can find many programs on the market designed for this task. They usually have a price of around 50 or 60 euros, although there are also free programs that work wonderfully such as Handbrake. It is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac systems, and can be downloaded directly from its official website .

When it comes to disc protection, nearly all official store-bought DVDs include some form of copy protection to prevent piracy. The issue of backups is part of what is called the “gray zone”: in some countries it is legal for certain uses such as private copying, while in others it is simply illegal and bypassing the anti-copy system can even carry penalties of jail. Note: You can consult the regulation by country on the right of private copy in the following Wikipedia link .

For this same reason, no program to rip DVDs can include this functionality natively. If we are working with Handbrake, for example, we can bypass the copy blocking simply by downloading the libdvdcss.dll file . This file is available on the official page of the VLC player and can be downloaded in both its 32-bit version (for old PCs) and 64-bit version (modern computers).

  • Download libdvdcss.dll (32-bit)
  • Download libdvdcss.dll (64-bit)

Once the file is downloaded, we just have to move it to the folder where the Handbrake program is installed. By default this folder is located at C: \ Program Files \ Handbrake .

Once this is done, we will be ready to extract any DVD to our PC in MP4 or MKV video format. Let’s go there!

How to rip and convert a DVD to MP4 with Handbrake

Now that we have everything in place, ripping and converting DVDs with Handbrake is pretty easy. Let’s see how it works.

Step # 1: Insert the DVD

First of all, open the DVD player tray on your computer and insert the disc you want to copy. Give it a few seconds to read the contents of the disc and then open the Handbrake program.

From the application’s start screen, in the ” Source Selection ” menu , click on the DVD drive where the disc is located.

Now Handbrake will start to scan the disk. This is a process that can take around a couple of minutes. On the contrary, if you have not correctly installed the libdvdcss.dll file, you will get a read error and you will not be able to proceed further.

Step # 2: Choose the content you want to copy

The next step will be to choose the parts of the DVD that we want to extract. We will carry out all these adjustments from the ” Sources ” section.

Most DVDs include more content than the movie, such as deleted scenes, interviews, and bonus material. If we open the drop-down we can choose which part of the DVD content we are going to extract. Usually the track with the longest duration is the one that contains the movie .

Unfortunately, if we want to copy all this content we will have to do the extraction individually. This means that if we have a DVD of a series we have to copy all the episodes one by one.

Apart from this, DVDs are also usually divided into ” Angles ” and ” Chapters “. Angles are used to introduce different versions of the same scene, such as the opening text in Star Wars movies, which is often adapted to the language in which the film is dubbed. The chapters for their part represent the different scenes or “blocks” into which the video track is divided.

If you don’t want to make any changes in this regard, simply select the longest track from the “Title” drop-down and leave the angle and chapter settings as they are by default.

Step # 3: Choose the folder where you are going to extract the DVD

Next, in the ” Save as ” menu, click on ” Browse ” to select the path where the file will be saved once it has been converted to MP4 format.

Step # 4: Set the video format and quality

Now it’s time to review the settings that will determine the quality of the backup. From the upper options menu, click on the ” Settings ” icon .

This will open a drop-down on the right side of the screen. If we click on “General” we can select the quality of reproduction, according to its resolution and frames per second. By default the application will extract the content in FullHD quality and 30fps. If you want to change any of these values ​​this is the time to do it.

Keep in mind that the higher the quality, the heavier the resulting file will be, and the longer the program will need to copy the DVD.

Likewise, from the general tab of ” Summary ” we can also choose the video format. The format used by default is MP4, although MKV and the WebM format are also available.

Step # 5: Select the audio and subtitles

When it comes to movies or series, most DVDs offer multiple languages ​​and subtitle options. To be able to choose the language that interests us and add the corresponding subtitles in case it has them, we have to follow these steps:

  • In the main menu, click on the ” Audio” tab . From here you can select the desired audio track, as well as other options such as codec or bitrate.
  • In the main menu, click on the ” Subtitles” tab . From here you can choose the subtitles or even add custom subtitles from the “Import subtitle” button. You can also burn the subtitles in the video that are copied to a separate file.

Step # 6: Start the DVD copy

Once you have all the options to your liking, you just have to click on the green button ” Start coding ” that you will see in the upper area of ​​the screen. This will activate the extraction process, which may take a longer or shorter duration depending on the quality and length of footage of the film, series or video in question.

As you can see, it is not very complicated, and the truth is that Handbrake works wonderfully for this type of task. As always, for any questions or queries, do not hesitate to visit the comments area. We read in the next post!


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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