Convert your DVD movies to DivX backups

If you've got loads of DVDs and want to ensure you never lose the cinema magic stored on those discs, this is the workshop for you. WINDOWS shows you how to convert your DVD movies into DivX backups with minimal fuss.

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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  July 12, 2009

Now that the legal stuff is out of the way, you can go about converting your DVDs to DivX. There are a number of requirements you need to fulfill before setting off on your way. Firstly, it’s wise to convert DVDs to DivX with quite a fast PC. It’s also advisable to have 7-10 Gbytes of free hard drive space for this process. (Obviously, you’ll need a DVD-ROM drive as well.)

Here’s what else you will need to make the backups: DivX 7, which you can purchase at www.divx.com for US $19.99. You’ll also need an AC3 Codec which you can download for free at www.sourceforge.net, a DVD Burner and optionally Slysoft AnyDVD (www.slysoft.com) or InterVideo DVD Copy 6. Once you have what you need, here’s how you go about making the conversion and backups.

STEP 1: Install the necessary software

Download and install DivX Pro from the DivX website. This package installs the Divx Pro codec, the DivX Media Player application, and Divx Converter, which lets you create DivX Media files by simply dragging and dropping files onto the Converter application. DivX Pro also includes a web player and pro codec. This converter lets you drag and drop video files for automatic batch conversion, including AVI files compressed with different codecs (as long as these codecs are already present on your system) and VOB files from DVDs. If you can already view and hear your media in Windows, you have these codecs. However, you might also need to download the AC3 audio codec used in many DVD-Videos.

STEP 2: Convert the DVD

If you want to convert your DVD-Video to DivX Media you’ll need to ‘rip’ the contents to your hard drive with a DVD-ripping application. Software you can use is Slysoft’s AnyDVD that decrypts DVD-Video so the copy protection is rendered essentially invisible to you, and you can then copy the VIDEO_TS folder, where the DVD content resides, by simply dragging it to your hard drive.

Once you’ve done this, you can then simply drop the files onto DivX Converter and select an encoding profile. It’s recommend that you use the Home Theater profile, which encodes standard DVD resolution video (720x480) at a bit rate of 1250KB/s. If you drop a handful of media files onto Converter, it will allow you to encode them as individual files or create a single DivX Media file with an automatically generated menu.

It won’t do this with VOB files; instead, it will simply create one file from all the consecutive VOBs. A VOB file (Video Object) is a container format in DVD-Video media that contains the actual Video, Audio, Subtitle, and Menu contents in stream form. In order to take advantage of some of the more advanced features of DivX Media—including compression of an entire DVD with menus and all—you’ll need to use InterVideo’s DVD Copy 6.

STEP 3: Select your source files

DVD Copy 6 will not copy CSS-encrypted commercial DVDs, so we’re going to assume you’ve already copied and decrypted the VIDEO_TS folder to your hard drive using AnyDVD or a similar app. Launch DVD Copy 6 and begin the three-step conversion process with the Source menu. Click the file-browser button, navigate to the VIDEO_TS folder on your hard drive (or to your optical drive with an unencrypted DVD), and click OK to select it.

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