Andrew Steele

The DVD Ripping Guide

Last update: 2018/12/26

This guide intends to provide some useful information about ripping DVD movies. Although most discs are simply a case of popping the disc in the drive, selecting the various quality settings, and then clicking Start, there can also be difficulties with some discs that require extra attention.

Region Coding

Region coding is applied to many commercial discs to prevent DVDs from one area of the world being played in another. The regions are set as follows:

It is important to be aware of the region of both the disc and the hardware, as errors can appear at inopportune times when the region code has not been set, or is set incorrectly.

Copy Protection

Copy protection is included on many commercial film and television DVDs, and is useful to know about.

Content Scramble System (CSS)

CSS utilises a 40-bit stream cipher to scramble the content of the disc, and was first introduced in 1996. At the time, the encryption used was somewhat difficult to break due to the undocumented format and computing power available. The only devices able to read the content were officially licensed players.

The CSS encryption was broken in 1999, and now is able to be subjected to a brute-force attack which can break the encryption in a few seconds.

Analog Protection System

Analog Protection System (sometimes also known as Copyguard) prevents video tapes copied from a source DVD being watched by producing a garbled output. This is done by inserting a signal into the output which is identified by the video player.

ARccOS

ARccOS (Advanced Regional Copy Control Operating Solution) is a copy-protection developed by Sony and used by their discs. It is used in conjunction with CSS and works by deliberately introducing corrupted sectors of the disc which standard DVD players mostly ignore, but copying software reads.

Although most standard DVD players do not read the area of the disc where these are located, some players require firmware updates to work with ARccOS protected discs.

Handbrake + libdvdcss2

Handbrake is a video conversion application, which is able to rip the contents of a DVD to various file formats. On its own, it can not rip encrypted DVDs which includes most bought media.

libdvdcss2 is a library which provides the ability to crack the CSS copy protection. Once installed, it can be used by Handbrake to break the disc encryption and allow the disc to be ripped.

AnyDVD

AnyDVD is a proprietary application for Windows, and one of the few DVD decryption programs that works with most discs and is updated regularly.

After installation, the first step is to reboot the computer. This is important to ensure that the application is working correctly. It works by sitting as a layer between the DVD drive and any other application being run such as VLC, and allows the encryption and copy protection measures to be stripped off on the fly. However, it also supports ripping the disc contents into a folder on the computer itself.

Setting the settings

There are a number of setting within AnyDVD that should be known about and configured, depending on the desired result.

The first step is to set the DVD drive region. This is important as it can save possibly issues cropping up later on. If the region is not set, AnyDVD has to attempt a brute force crack of the encryption which on some discs works fine, on others it can take a long time, and on others it may not work at all.

Chapters which are of a small length can also be removed to prevent polluting the title listing by setting the slider to ‘Remove titles shorter than …’. This is also useful for removing irritating piracy warnings. It is also possible to use it to avoid bad titles which have unreadable sectors which are added in an attempt to prevent copying.

DVD Decrypter

DVD Decrypter is an old piece of software from 2005 which is still able to do a reasonable job. Although it can crack copy protection on many discs, newer DVDs may be problematic. It does have the advantage however of being able to rip individual titles from the discs rather than as an entire block such as AnyDVD.

Problems, Answers and Suggestions

My television show DVD comes as one long episode rather than individual episodes. How can I split it to the individual episodes?

Some badly mastered DVDs provide multiple television episodes as a single file with chapters being used to separate the episodes. Handbrake can be used to rip based on chapters rather than title if the aim is to rip to watchable files. Alternatively, to rip and produce a usable DVD structure, use DVD Decrypter to try and extract each individual episode in IFO mode.

When inserting my disc, it lists a massive number of titles. Which ones are the correct ones?

The DVD specification allows ninety-nine titles to be listed by a disc. On a DVD player with a menu, this would not be a problem as the user will simply select which episode they wish to watch, and the episode selection will link to the correct title. When ripping a disc however, the correct title will be wanted by the user. Selecting the wrong one may result in duplicate episodes, or episodes which are cut short.

The reason ninety-nine titles are often displayed is that the disc manufacturer wants to make copying inconvenient, and deliberately corrupts the title listing table, to spam it with a list of mostly useless titles. The best way around this is to run the disc through AnyDVD which fix up the title listing table.