Ripping DVDs

Yesterday I realized that I have a fairly large number of DVDs that I never watch for the simple reason that it’s too much work to find the DVD and turn on the DVD player (yes, I know … very sad :yum:). So I started to look around for what to use for ripping them and found pages that just listed different programs without much mentioning of how well they work.

So I’m hoping that someone here has some experience with this, or perhaps point me to some resource where I can find out more.

My idea is

  • rip the DVDs on my Mac mini
  • move the files to my Synology
  • play them using my Apple TV

Things I don’t have a clue about:

  • what software to use on my mini
  • what software to use on my Synology (the builtin stuff? Plex? …?)
  • what software to use on my Apple TV
  • what resolution the rip them in (720, 1080, …?)
  • is there some copy protection stuff that could cause problems?
  • anything else that don’t even know that it could be an issue

As you can see I have zero knowledge about this and I expected to find a lot of tutorials when I searched for info … but I failed … to my big surprise.

Does anyone have some advise?

Probably not the correct forum to ask about this. Try… search for “Handbrake”

You should check out this guide to ripping DVDs on Macworld -

I would imagine there’s a bunch of guides to running Plex on Synology and to setting up the AppleTV app.

Regarding Plex, Casey Liss has advice on how to name and the folder structure to use when storing movies and tv shows. Casey does run the Plex server on a Synology.

And Don Melton has a script he’s developed for making transcoding faster and better. Jason Snell has a blog post at six colors:

As far as ripping DVD’s I do that for both archival purposes as well as the convenience of having them available both for iOS and Mac. I use the following:

MDRP - works well at copying DVD’s - it can both rip an iso version which includes everything or a dvdmedia version which is just the movie. It can also rip and duplicate in one session. I like it because using Handbrake the ripped DVD can be converted to an iOS item (MDRP also allows that option).

For Blueray I use Aiseesoft Mac Blu-Ray Player to get the DVD to mount on the Mac, then use MakeMKV to convert it to a file that can be loaded onto iOS or viewed on the Mac.

Mainly I use these as a means of providing backups of my DVD collection for archival purposes but I have some educational videos that are easier to work with from files on my Mac or a separate hard drive rather than having to run around and find my DVD player and hook it up.

Lastly, with Catalina I had a terrible time figuring out where the DVD Player app disappeared - learned from a website to enter the name into Spotlight search to find it, then put that into the CD/DVD options as the default program to open up when a DVD is inserted (System Preferences - CDs & DVDs option).

Hope this helps. I am not familiar with Synology or Plex so I can’t provide any information. Good luck.

I have used MDRP and iVI Pro which will pull movies into iTunes and has a lot of variables if you want to tweak (or have subtitles like some movies). iVI Pro also will look up the movie and import the data for you as well as let you select the poster if there a few out there. Though watching the movies through iTunes is a little more cumbersome that I would like, it works. I have tried to use Plex, but having the server and trying to set things up was not as easy as I expected, but others have liked it.

Virtually all DVDs are copy protected. I use MakeMKV to produce mkv files that bypass the copy protection; it’s free to use for DVDs but for a nominal amount of money can be used to rip Blu Ray discs as well.

The mkv files are pretty large, and I use iTunes as my media system, so I convert the mkv files to m4v using the free program Handbrake. Handbrake, which has extensive documentation, provides preset configurations to configure resolutions you might want. You can also define your own configuration. Be advised that Handbrake transcoding will load your mini heavily, even getting its fan working audibly!

My process is predicated on using iTunes—I have no idea what “Synology” is so I have no advice for you there. I use Plex for over the air recording of news, PBS, etc. but don’t use it for a media center as it is clunky and bug-ridden compared to iTunes (no prize itself!).

The key takeaway for you is probably the use of makeMKV to get around DVD copy protection. Be wary of the many programs claiming this ability while charging you non-trivial bucks.

The program is one of those endless Beta things, with updates about every 90 days…

Another vote for Mac DVD Ripper Pro, it works well. You might also look at the products from iSkySoft.

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I do this ALL the time with the DVDs I own. Got tired of the kids leaving them all over the living room. I rip them using Handbrake, then I have them on an external drive that feeds all of my Apple TVs in the house. Great way to do this…


@das Their latest version 9 provides a special option that will convert DVDs to HD. Just trying it now but it looks promising. It is my go-to app for my DVDs because it is smooth and it saves wear and tear on the disks themselves. Also allows use of the ripped movies on my iPad Pro. I never copy other people’s disks, just for personal use and backup.

Does this actually do anything useful? DVD’s don’t have HD content, so you’re really seeing the results of an upscaling algorithm which may or may not work as well as the upscaler built-in to your TV or stream-box player.

And the upscaler will definitely make your files larger.

@Shamino I think you are right. Looked like a good option but didn’t seem to do much for the one DVD I used it on yesterday. Thanks. Still a very good app for the primary task.

Thanks for answers, now I’ve got a few things to try out when the weather isn’t fun (like today, 11° and rain)

I have been ripping DVDs to view on my Mac Mini attached to a large screen TV for many many years. As others have mentioned, Handbrake works ok, but sometimes does not convert the entire movie or TV shows and the endings get lost. For the past several years I have been using Wondershare’s VideoConverter App , also called UniConverter, with no problems. Excellent software and good tech support for questions. I’ve use Plex nowadays to organize and access movies but I have found that the naming convention is unreliable for TV shows. For movies it works great. So I have a large library of movies that I can access from the MacMini via the Plex app and also the Plex app for the Apple TV. Have fun!

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I just started doing exactly this. I am using MakeMKV to rip the DVD’s & Blu-rays with my Mac Mini, and I save them on a folder on my Synology. The great thing about MakeMKV is it is an exact copy of the source, so you don’t lose any resolution, and storage is cheap enough that I wouldn’t recommend you changing the resolution down to save space, when in the future you may just have to re-rip the show. I use the Plex Media Server on the Synology to share out the movies and TV shows. You need to use the naming convention that Plex recommends for it to work best, otherwise you are going to spend a lot of time trying to match the file to the correct TV episode or movie title.

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You shouldn’t be needing Aiseesoft Mac Blu-Ray Player if all you are going to do is rip the disc. I find that MakeMKV sees the disc in the player without additional software.

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@damfino Yes, thank you. I use the Aiseesoft Mac Blu-Ray Player also so I can watch the bluray DVD as well. I had not really seen before that MakeMKV would recognize the disk. Thank you.

What do you use to “feed” the videos to several ATVs? I use iTunes on a Mac with Homesharing activated and the Computers app on the ATV. Unlike Plex, this allows me to watch movies purchased from the iTunes Store as well as ripped DVDs etc.
The movies are stored on an external hard drive and added to the iTunes library without copying the files to the Mac (advanced settings in iTunes). It also means I can download Store purchases/rentals to the Mac at off-peak times and not run into Australia’'s woeful internet limitations trying to stream content directly to the ATV at peak times.

Hi Michael:

If you rip your video and move them over to iTunes (or an alias) that should feed your Apple TVs. My ATVs are all connected to my home network (many using E-Net) and I simply choose the computer icon in the ATV menu and there are my rips, properly split up between TV Shows, Movies, etc…
You sound like you are doing the same thing I am, so I am not sure what your question is?
My ripped videos stuff is on a separate external drive connected to my Mac.


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Please note that the downloaded program recommended has the name MDRP but when opened gives the name Mac DVDRipper Pro. There is also a completely different (and inferior) program called MacX DVDRipper Pro.

I haven’t ripped any DVDs recently, but I used to use Mac the Ripper. It has a complicated (almost secret) licencing system. It worked well for me, and an advantage I found over MDRP is that it can remove the region coding.