Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to Convert DVD to iPod Format

Do you have a ton of DVD’s? Are you interesting in watching them on your iPod, iPhone or Apple TV? The free multi-platform open-source software Handbrake is everything you need to rip DVD’s into MPEG-4 video files for these purposes.

System Requirements:

  • An iPod, iPhone or Apple TV.
  • 500 MHz processor or better with at least 16MB of video RAM.
  • QuickTime 7.0.3 or later.
  • iTunes 6.0.1 or later.
1) Download and install HandBrake. If you download version 0.9.2 you must be running Leopard. If you are using Tiger or older, you should download 0.9.1

To download installation files for other operating systems, go to the developers Website:

2) Place the DVD you wish to rip into your DVD drive and open HandBrake you just installed. If your computer tries to play the DVD automatically, close the program so that only HandBrake is accessing the DVD.

3) Click the Source button in the top left corner. Then choose your DVD drive and click Open. At this point HandBrake will begin to scan the DVD. This could take a couple minutes.

4) Click the drop down box next to Title and choose the longest title if you wish to copy the entire DVD (this does not apply to Episode based DVDs).

5) The default Destination is the Desktop. Change this to wherever you wish to save the DVD file.

6) If the presets are not already displayed on the right side of the window, click the Toggle Presets button in the upper right corner to display them.

7) For the iPhone and iPod Touch you should choose iPhone / iPod Touch.
If you have an iPod video or iPod classic and want high resolution (much larger file size, good for 160GB versions) choose iPod High-Rez.

Lastly, if you have an iPod Video or iPod classic and want smaller files (good for 80GB versions) choose iPod Low-Rez.

TIP: For better quality, choose 2-pass encoding. This will take longer to encode but will look better.

8.) Click the Audio & Subtitles tab. Here you should choose the language you prefer under “Track 1:”. Also, be sure toset Subtitles to None. The Sample rate should be between 32 and 48 while the Bitrate should be set between 112 and 160.

9) At this point you should be ready to begin ripping your DVD. Click Start to begin.

10) Once your DVD is finished ripping all you need to do is add it to your iTunes library (or whatever iPod manager you use) and then transfer it to your iPod.


If you have trouble with the video and audio settings from the presets, you should try the following settings instead. These settings are more strict and should work on any iPod with video capabilities.

File format: MP4 file Codecs: MPEG-4 Video/AAC Audio Average bitrate (kbps): 700 (again lower numbers mean less quality and smaller files) Check 2-pass encoding Picture settings -> set Width: 320 and the height will auto adjust to something close to 240 (will be lower for widescreen movies).

Once you find the settings that work the best for you, you can save them as a custom preset.

Additional Reading:

Video Tutorial:


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