No matter how old we feel when we write it down: CDs and DVDs become outdated at a murder rate, music and movies listen and watch, we usually stream or play off the hard drive. But what if you still have movies on DVD and music on CD? Then you have to convert them, also called ripping.
Tip 01: Disk space
Before we get started, it is important to first check if you have sufficient disk space. Music does not take up much space, but of course, films do. If you are going to digitize a collection of films, then you really need a few hundred GB. We, therefore, recommend that you use an external hard drive or a nas. The latter is also extra useful because many nas’ and have a built-in media server so that a smart TV has easy access to all films, series and music files on your nas.
Tip 02: Illegal?
There is still a lot of uncertainty about whether or not you can make a copy of a CD or DVD for your own use. Fortunately, the rules are pretty clear. ‘Making a copy of music or film (CD or DVD) is allowed if it is intended for commercial purposes and is exclusively intended for you. You cannot make a copy of a computer game or other software, not even for personal use. ‘ There is a side note here: if a CD or DVD is protected against copying or ripping (converting to a digital file), then this protection may not be circumvented or disabled, not even for making a copy of it. Now it is, of course, the question of who will ever find out if you do not share the files, but it is good to know the rules.
Insert a CD and iTunes knows exactly what to do
Tip 03: Set up iTunes
iTunes may not be the most popular software in the world (softly), but it is a fantastic program for ripping your music CDs. Before we put the program to work, it is important that we first adjust a number of settings. Start iTunes, then click Edit at the top of the menu and Preferences in the pop-up menu. In the General tab, you see the option at cd places. Click on the drop-down menu and select Import CD and eject.
Normally that is very annoying, but if you want to quickly convert your collection, this is ideal. Click Import settings and decide whether you want your music in aac format (.m4a) or mp3 format. Aac is better quality, but with mp3 you might be more familiar. Finally, click on Settings from the dropdown on Custom and specify the sound you want. Note, the higher the bit rate, the larger the file. If you have no idea what this means, you can also simply choose High Quality (128 kbps) at Institution. Click OK and again on OK to apply the settings.
Tip 04: Insert CD
The nice thing about this set is that you have to do little else than post the CD and watch how iTunes converts this into a digital file. The great thing about iTunes is that the program has access to a gigantic database, which automatically brings in album, artist and track names, just like the album cover. Now there is a chance that iTunes Hyper the Pipe Hurray will not find Father Moeskroen, but in that case, you can fill in the information yourself. Once the information is loaded, iTunes will immediately start converting the CD to digital files. A separate file is created for each issue. The converted files are saved in the iTunes folder within the Music library on your hard drive.
Tip 05: Library
That it all works so easily is not the only reason that we have chosen iTunes as a program to convert music. During the rip, iTunes adds the music directly to your iTunes library and that means everything is neatly organized. In the program, you will see your library in the left-hand window, where you can click on Artists, Albums, Numbers, and Genres so on. iTunes has a terrible reputation, but here the program is just very good at it.
Tip 06: Download software
Where the ripping of a CD has always been pretty easy, it was different for a long time for DVD. It is still true that when you search for software for ripping a DVD, you encounter a lot of rubbish. The program we recommend is WinX DVD Ripper. We say immediately: this program is not free. We have used various free programs over the years and we always run into the same problems: they are buggy, extremely slow, crash at every turn and/or put a logo on your video unless you choose the paid version.
WinX DVD Ripper costs 30 Euros and that is huge if you only want to convert one DVD (in that case a slow program is not a problem). However, we go for your entire DVD collection and then the good software is just important. WinX DVD Ripper also easily bypasses most of the DRM thresholds (which is not allowed) and that saves you a lot of hassle. Note, purchase the product via this URL and not via the homepage, otherwise, you pay 60 Euros instead of 30.
Free programs are often buggy, slow, crash or put a logo about your video
Tip 07: Set up software
Just as with iTunes, we first change the settings to ensure that the video file is generated exactly as we want. Start WinX DVD Ripper and then click on Options at the top. You can now specify in what language you want the audio file of your DVD to be ripped as standard, but do not worry, this can be done later with the actual ripping. More important here is that you can indicate where you want the file to be saved.
This is especially important if you have too little space on your hard drive to rip a DVD first before you copy it to your external hard drive or NAS. In that case, you can immediately choose the right location here. You can also indicate whether you want your PC to be shut down when the ripping is done. This is interesting because ripping can sometimes take some time. Thanks to this option, you can go to bed safely once the ripping has started.
Tip 08: Select profile
Now it’s time to place the DVD you want to rip into the DVD player. Unlike iTunes, WinX DVD Ripper will not take any action itself. When you have placed the DVD, click the Disc button at the top left. Then you indicate how you want to design the file. If you want to rip the movies to look at your smartphone, you can indicate that. The file will then be smaller (but the quality also slightly less). We go for MP4 Video because we can then decide ourselves on which device we watch the video and the maximum quality is saved. Then you can also indicate how high you want the quality with the help of a slider. The higher the quality, the longer the software will need. Once you have made your choice, click on OK.
Tip 09: Select tracks
What is important to know is that a DVD contains a lot more than just the movie you watch. The pre-pieces, the bloopers, and all the other bonus material are all separate tracks on a DVD, as songs are tracks on a CD. It is, of course, important that you choose the track of the film and not the bonus material and so on. Fortunately, you can easily recognize that track, because it is the longest track on the DVD. Place a checkmark in front of it. Then you see two drop-down menus in that track. The left menu is for the audio, the right menu is for the subtitle.
Choose the language you want in both menus or choose Subtitle disabled if you do not want subtitles. Now click on the Set tag at the top, and then you can give the DVD a name and fill in some extra information so that the program in which you are going to view the video can show you more data. When you have set everything up, click Run to actually rip the file. And now you’ll see exactly why we’re so excited about WinX DVD Ripper because where other software does half an hour to sometimes an hour about ripping a DVD, this program gets the job done in ten minutes (unless you’re Lord of the Rings rip).