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How to Copy DVDs to Your Mac Using HandBrake

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Copy DVDs to Your Mac: VLC and HandBrake
Copy DVDs to Your Mac: VLC and HandBrake

HandBrake: When this guide was written, the current version of HandBrake was 0.9.4.

Copying DVDs to your Mac using HandBrake can be a great idea for many reasons. First, DVDs can be easily damaged, especially if a DVD is one your children like to watch over and over and over. By creating a copy that can be loaded into your iTunes library, you can easily use your Mac to watch a DVD without any wear or tear on the DVD itself.

The other great reason for copying a DVD is to convert it to another video format, say to watch on your iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, or even the iPad. Copying a DVD is relatively easy, but you will need some software to make the process possible.

There are many different software tools you can use for copying DVDs. In this article, we will use free applications that are readily available.

What You Need to Copy DVDs

VLC: This is an open source media player that can play back many different types of audio and video file formats, including DVD. VLC is different than the DVD player that Apple bundles with your Mac in that it can pass the DVD data to other applications. The DVD player included with a Mac is primarily just for viewing DVDs, not extracting the video data. You can download VLC from the developer's web site.

HandBrake: Another open source application, HandBrake is a transcoder that can convert audio and video from one format to another. This makes it a pretty good choice for converting DVDs to a format better attuned for use on your iPod, iPhone, AppleTV, or iPad, or just to store the video on your Mac. You can download HandBrake from the developer's web site. One thing to note about the HandBrake download: It's available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. It's tempting to grab the 64-bit version, but since VLC for the Mac is not yet available in a 64-bit version, you're better off getting the 32-bit version of HandBrake.

Install the Software

HandBrake needs the VLC application, so be sure to install it first. To install VLC and HandBrake, drag the icon for each application (one at a time) to your Applications folder.

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