This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Fengtao Software, the makers of DVDFab DVD Ripper. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author, who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how we still buy films and TV on disc. DVDs have been around for 20 years, which makes it quite an old medium. Although there is a move towards media being all digital download, quite a lot of video media is still delivered on disc. People still have players, and new releases are still launched on disc. But quite a lot of us watch our films either online or on media players in our TVs.
Digital files are easier to store and watch than discs, so there is a definite need for good software for ripping videos from discs. In this article we review the DVDFab DVD Ripper and look at how well it reads, encodes and copies movies from discs and puts them into the digital realm.
Rip It Up and Start Again
DVD Ripper is actually part of an overall DVD and Bluray utility suite called DVDFab 10. The software is comprised of four modules: Copy, Ripper, Converter and Creator. Each module can be purchased individually (or licensed for a period of time), and that license is checked over the Internet each time you run the software. Our focus in this article is the Ripper module.
To download and install the DVDFab software you must go to this link for Windows (or the Mac version) and run it. The installer loads the entire suite, but you can choose to activate any of the four modules.
Note:during installation there is a really fun animation which makes the install fly by. It makes for a refreshing change from the usual boring status bars.
You select the Ripper module by clicking on the buttons at the top of the screen. Although there are settings you can make in the Common Settings menu (top-right on the down arrow), mostly you can just use it right “out of the box” with the default settings.
Simply slip in a disc, and it will be scanned and analysed. Once that is done, you can rip it to the hard disk of your computer by pressing the Start button.
The quality of rip is really very good “right out of the box” with no tweaking. In a side-by-side test of a ripped DVD, it was hard to tell which was which except for the giveaway watermark on the digital file.
Often DVD rippers give you a lot of options to tweak, and although that seems like a “free lunch” to have the output file be any size you would like, quality comes at a premium, and that means comparative file size. The best balance of file size and quality in output files is about 800Mb in size, and sure enough that’s what you get out of a rip from DVD Ripper.
The people at Fengtao clearly know what they are doing, as the quality of the rips without any tweaking or messing about with settings is top notch. Usually getting good results needs a bit of fiddling, but the software’s best guess is definitely good enough. But then they’ve been making this kind of software for thirteen years now, so they have certainly learned something about video quality along the way.
There are common settings you can adjust, but the software doesn’t really give you much direct access to the guts of the encoding, which is actually a good thing. If you just want the software to work and do its job, you can run it as is and get a fine encode. There are a few options you can adjust, but these have more to do with locations of files and such.
One of the main things you will want to alter is the format which the DVD is ripped to, and you can do that easily by accessing the video formats menu.
Using the software is very easy. Slip a disc into the drive, and it is read and analyzed automatically. The main movie is identified (usually because it is the longest thing on the disc), and you are able to look at the audio tracks and subtitles to see which you want to have ripped along with the file. The look and feel of the software is clean and efficient and leads you to an expectation of a solid tool rather than a toy.
That said, you can change the look and feel of the software on the fly by using the little t-shirt button on the top-right. Some of these are beautiful, but some are just clean and businesslike.
Another nice thing about DVD Ripper is that it successfully ignores that annoying region coding on discs, allowing you to back up or digitally store your movies from other countries as well as ones from your own. We tried it on region 2 and region 1 (usually hard to rip), and it handled both without any complaints.
This has always been a bugbear for movie fans, and it’s nice to have that problem taken care of, to save you having to resort to more devious means to view movies you already own on your display devices of choice.
We’ve seen a lot of rippers over the years, and they vary quite widely in price and quality. Often the quality is good, but they are slow, or they don’t do all types of discs, only those from the region you are resident in, or the quality is bad, but they are fast.
DVD Ripper is good and solid, and as a side benefit it looks good on screen and performs pretty solidly with almost everything you throw at it. Also, looking at the quality it puts out, it does a pretty fast encoding job, and by that we mean the encode takes about half the amount of time as the movie takes to watch in real time. That may not sound fast, but it really is, especially considering it’s one pass.
Obviously it should go without saying that backup and copying of DVDs or Blurays is not something you should do if you don’t already own the discs, but that’s common sense. This software is not meant for piracy but for backup and transfer of your movies from one display device to another.
It’s very easy to try before you buy, as the suite will allow you thirty days to evaluate the modules before you have to commit to a purchase. All tools function as they would in a licensed version of the product, but the output is watermarked intermittently with the name of the software. Obviously once you activate the softwarem this watermark is removed. Incidentally, in the full version you can intentionally watermark your encodes, should this be a feature you need.
If you like the trial, DVDFab DVD Ripper costs a minimum of $49 for a one-year license, or at the top end you can pay $74.90 for a lifetime subscription. It’s available for both Mac and Windows.
With the code FAB-LZG-OFF, you can receive 20% off on all DVDFab products.
If you have any questions or comments about DVDFab 10 and DVD Ripper, please leave them in the comments below.
Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He later moved to a career in media, doing web design, video and animation for clients as diverse as Disney Channel UK, Microsoft Developer Network and the UK Government's Central Office of Information and Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council. He's designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.