The procedures that I’ve outlined on the Video Conversion Page for getting videos from DVDs to your Zune requires a two step process:
- Rip video from DVD to a file on your PC using a DVD Ripper program.
- Convert video file from VOB format to WMV file format for your Zune.
For me, this process works fine since I don’t do a lot of DVD to WMV file conversions (I mainly convert recorded TV shows to WMV format). If you do a lot of DVD conversions, it might be worth purchasing a commercial video converter which can do these two steps in a single operation. I do suggest you check out the trial versions of the commercial converters before buying just to make sure the final product is what you want and that it doesn’t require transcoding during syncing.
Now, there is a freeware solution available that is suppose to operate much like these commercial converters. The application is called DVD-WMV, and it is suppose to read a DVD and do all the necessary steps to create a WMV file. In actuality, DVD-WMV is a front end to several independent freeware programs (DVD Decrypter, DGindex, AC3 delay Corrector, Avisynth and Windows Media Encoder 9). So, it’s automating the two steps that I’ve described. It also seems to be doing a few more things with the audio syncing that I’ve never had to do with my conversions.
As a test, I decided to try DVD-WMV on my WinXP laptop system. I first downloaded the installer program from www.dvd-wmv.com web site. This installer will install the required DVD Decrypter, DGindex, AC3 delay Corrector, Avisynth freeware programs, but you are responsible for installing Windows Media Encoder 9 and a MPEG2 Video Codec yourself. Since I already have WME9 and a MPEG2 Video Codec installed on my laptop, I was good to go.
The interface for DVD-WMV looks pretty nice, and screenshots of the application can be found on the dvd-wmv.com web site. There’s a checklist on the left of the main application window that shows the progress of the conversion process. You can also initiate the different steps separately by clicking on their links.
I tested DVD-WMV using two different DVDs, and the software seemed to crash during step 1 (DVD ripping) on one particular DVD, and stopped at step 5 (Encode to WMV) for the 2nd DVD. If I manually encode the ripped VOB file that DVD-WMV created (using WME9) it works fine, but when I use the DVD-WMV application it errors with the following message:
I tried adjusting some of the settings in DVD-WMV and also searching the postings on the dvd-wmv.com forums but couldn’t find a viable solution. So, I’m stuck with this application not being able to successfully process a DVD video. I suspect that the issue must be with the AC3Filter audio plugin that was installed by DVD-WMV, since that is one component that I don’t mess with when I manually do video encoding using WME9.
I also need to note that the last build release of DVD-WMV was dated Dec 2006. So with that being over one year ago, there may be some bugs in DVD-WMV that have not been fixed. In any case, I can’t recommend using this one-step solution for DVD-to-WMV file conversion. I know a lot of people recommend this tool, but I just couldn’t get it to work on my WinXP system. If you’ve had good luck with this program or can give me some advice on how to get around the issue above, please let me know!