Converting DVDs to Videos

I just created a new page called “Ripping DVDs” which explains how to pull the video data off a DVD and copy it to your PC’s hard drive. Once you have this file (with the .VOB extension) you can use it with the procedure outlined in the Video Conversion Page to convert it to a WMV file for the Zune. Now, the Windows Media Encoder Batch program that I discuss on the conversion page doesn’t filter for .VOB files when you select the video source file, but you can make VOB file selectable by using the “All Files” filter in the file selection box.

Note, that there are several commercial video converters that advertise they can read a DVD directly without the need to ripping the video data to the PC hard drive. So if you don’t want to do this two-step method (ripping then converting), do a Google search for one of those all-in-one converters. If you find one that you like, I suggest you download and test the trial version to make sure you like the interface and that it can create a WMV file that won’t transcode when you sync with your Zune device. Normally these commercial converters go for $35 to $45 US, and that cost really isn’t that much if you’re planning to convert a lot of DVDs to WMV files for the Zune and you want something easy to use.

For a recommendation, I would suggest you take a look at the software called Aimersoft DVD Ripper which can read a DVD and convert selected video tracks directly to WMV format for the Zune (and various other devices). I downloaded and tested the trial version, and it actually was very easy to use and worked well. The generated WMV file did not transcode during syncing with my Zune, and the video/audio quality was great. Since I don’t do a lot of DVD conversions, I plan to stick with using Windows Media Encoder as my primary tool. However, I would purchase the Aimersoft DVD Ripper if I was planning to convert a stack of DVDs.

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