Monday, December 18, 2006

Moving DVDs to iPod, and Casette Tapes to MP3s

Last summer, before traveling to a work conference, my wife got a video iPod. It was both her birthday and anniversary present.

Unfortunately, the software that the Circuit City salesperson recommended for moving DVD movies and shows to the iPod is terrible. It has too many shortcomings to list. There is a free alternative. It may require two steps, but does allow you to do nice things like record any show from a DVD that has more than one show it.

Originally Handbrake is for the Mac OS, and on that platform works well in one step with a nice interface. With Windows XP things are more complicated:
  • Two Simple Steps: First, use Handbrake to change the movie to a nice computer file. The main interface for the Windows XP version (download it here) of Handbrake is still under development, so this produces an AVI file but neglects to put on that extension so you should do that manually. Second, use Videora to change the AVI file to a file type and screen size the iPod likes.
  • One Complicated Step: Use the link above entitled "download it here" to not only find the most current version, but also read about how to use the command line interface to force Handbrake to create an MP4 format file of the desired screen size. This is complicated because command line parameters depend upon the screen size of the original DVD.
I have not done this process in a while, but was reminded of it today when I came across an article about using free software to change casette tapes into MP3 files.