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Want to back of your DVDs or re-encode your home movies for YouTube, your iPod or Zune?

Handbrake Our DVD collection - which consists mostly of kids DVDs - is marred by scratches that made each ~$20USD investment a complete waste of money. That was until someone (and sorry, I don't remember who it was...) recommended an open source video conversion utility named Handbrake! Handbrake is a slick little application that allows you to rip your DVDs or other digital video formats and either make simple digital backups or re-encode them for various digital media players (be it a computer, mobile device, or DMPs like the Apple iPod, Microsoft Zune, etc.

And - being a relative A/V n00b - this free, multi-OS supporting application makes it really easy!

Form the product website:

Supported Sources:

  • Any DVD-like source: VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD (unencrypted--protection methods including CSS are not supported internally and must be handled externally with third-party software and libraries), and some .VOB and .TS files
  • Most any multimedia file it can get libavformat to read and libavcodec to decode.


  • File format: MP4 and MKV
  • Video: MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora (1 or 2 passes or constant quantizer/rate encoding)
  • Audio: AAC, MP3, Vorbis or AC-3 and DTS pass-through (supports encoding of several audio tracks)

Misc features:

  • Chapter selection
  • Basic subtitle support (burned into the picture)
  • Integrated bitrate calculator
  • Picture deinterlacing, cropping and scaling
  • Grayscale encoding

I highly recommend this application for parents who don't want to see their DVD collection become a pile of scratched coasters and for those of you - like me - who want to take your DVDs with you on the road and playback on your Zune (or hopefully iPod Touch after my birthday)!

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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Except where otherwise noted, by Chris Toohey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.