Using Handbrake, a Tool to Convert DVD to iPod Format

You may be looking at your iPod and your DVD library and wondering how you can get those movies onto your iPod. There are a number of programs that can help you do this.

One of them is called Handbrake. It runs on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux and converts DVDs to iPod and iPhone-playable video formats. This guide tells you how to get video from your DVDs onto your iPod using Handbrake.

Be sure to only use this process with DVDs that you own. Doing this with someone else’s DVDs is theft.

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Download Handbrake

Start by downloading Handbrake. The latest version works on Mac OS X 10.5, Windows 2000/XP/Vista, and Linux. Previous versions work on other operating systems, but are no longer supported.

Once you've installed Handbrake, get the DVD you want to add to your iPod and insert it into your computer. Depending on how your computer is configured, your DVD player software may try to launch automatically. If it does, quit it and launch Handbrake instead.

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Scan DVD

Once your DVD has been inserted, navigate to it and select it (select the DVD itself, not its tracks or contents).

Handbrake will detect it and scan its contents. Once this is done, you'll be able to choose whether to rip part of the DVD or all of its contents. If you're converting a feature film, ripping the entire DVD probably makes sense, whereas with a TV show, you may just want a few episodes.

Handbrake also allows you to rip alternate audio and video tracks, such as subtitles.

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Select Conversion Options

Once the DVD is scanned, the easiest way to quickly convert the DVD to an iPod format is to choose from the selection of device presets in the sidebar tray of Handbrake. This list includes the iPod, iPhone/iPod touch, Apple TV, and many more devices. If you select the device that you plan to watch the movie on, Handbrake will automatically choose all the settings you need – from encoding options to screen resolution.

Leaving these options as is makes sense unless you’re experienced and know exactly what you're looking for. In most cases where you're creating iPod or iPhone videos, you’ll want to export an MP4 file and use AVC/H.264 Video/AAC audio encoding, since all of those things are the standards for iPods and iPhones.

There are a number of other options, including ripping subtitle tracks along with your movie.

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Select File Destination and Convert

Tell Handbrake where to save the file (choosing the Movies folder is usually fine, though the desktop is also an easy place to find the file).

Once you’ve got all your settings, straight, click "start" at the top to begin the rip.

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Wait for Processing

Handbrake now extracts the video from the DVD and converts it to the iPod video format. How long this takes will depend on your settings and the length of the video, but expect it to take anywhere from 30-120 minutes, based on your settings.

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Sync your iPod or iPhone

When the DVD to iPod conversion is finished, you’ve got an iPod or iPhone-compatible version of your file. To add it to your iPod, drag it into the Movies section of your iTunes library.

Once it's there, sync it to your iPod or iPhone for later viewing and you're done!