Multiplatform, Multithreaded DVD to MKV and MP4 Video Converter – Freeware

by on April 30th, 2010

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Convert DVD into high quality MKV or MP4. Mp4 can be used for iPod. HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.

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Supported Inputs

Any DVD-like source: VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD (unencrypted–protection methods including CSS are not supported internally and must be handled externally with third-party software and libraries), and some .VOB and .TS files
Any multimedia file it can get libavformat to read and libavcodec to decode.


File Format: MP4 and MKV
Video: MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora
Audio: AAC, CoreAudio AAC (OS X Only), MP3, or Vorbis. AC-3 pass-through, DTS pass-thorugh (MKV only)

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  • Chapter selection
  • Subtitles
  • Integrated bitrate calculator
  • Picture deinterlacing, cropping and scaling
  • Live Video Preivew
Higher Resolution MPEG4s on the iPod Video

Handbrake can be used to rip movies from DVD directly to a format that the iPod can use. It requires that you download the Handbrake source, make a change, and compile it.

Handbrake source is available via CVS, and instructions are provided on the app’s download page. You’ll also need to download something called jam that downloads and compiles other bits and pieces Handbrake needs. Copy the jam executable into the Handbrake folder created when you obtained the CVS source.

Next, find a file in the Handbrake source named libhb/encx264.c and open it in a text editor. Two lines need to be added in the hb_work_object_t * hb_work_encx264_init function. You might want to place these lines on lines 63 and 64 of the file:

param.b_cabac = 0;
param.i_level_idc = 13;

Save that file and close it.

Start Terminal, cd to the Handbrake source folder, and run ./jam. Make sure you’re connected to the network when you do that. After that, a Handbrake executable will be created in the Handbrake source root that can transcode movies directly to iPod-understandable format.

Also, the bitrate in the hint is much too high. There is a rule-of-thumb formula to use to calculate the bitrate:

Formula to calculate Bitrate

(width * height * FPS * Q) / 1024

width = pixel width of the picture
height = pixel height of the picture
FPS = source DVD’s frames per second
Q = bits per pixel quality for the codec. A good setting for MPEG4 is .23, and a good setting for H.264 is .15. You can change those to suit your tastes.

For a 720 x 304 widescreen movie at 24 FPS, the equation looks like this:

(720 * 304 * 24 * .15) / 1024 = ~770

An average bitrate of 770 kbps will produce a very good quality movie.

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Download Handbrake – DVD to MKV and Mp4 Converter

Direct Download Links

Windows XP, Vista, Win7

For Mac OS X 10.5 / 10.6 – Download (64bit Intel)
For Mac OS X 10.5 / 10.6 – Download (32bit Intel)
For Mac OS X 10.5 / 10.6 – Download (PPC)

For Ubuntu 9.10 deb – Download (32bit)
For Ubuntu 9.10 deb – Download (64bit)

For Fedora 12 rpm – Download (32bit)
For Fedora 12 rpm – Download (64bit)

Download Handbrake – Official Download Page
Handbrake Homepage

Higher Resolution MPEG4s on the iPod Video – Hint source