I own J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" reboot. The DVD's bought and paid for. Needless to say, I'm not about to give Apple another $14.99 so I can watch the movie on my iPhone or iPod Touch. That's as ludicrous as buying the MP3s of an album I already purchased on CD.
Alas, though it's easy to turn a CD into iPod-friendly digital media--iTunes can do it, as can Windows Media Player--ripping a DVD requires a bit more muscle. That's why I tested the latest versions of two popular products: WinX DVD Ripper Platinum ($29.95) and Wondershare DVD Ripper Platinum ($39.95). (Apparently platinum is the, um, gold standard when it comes to ripping utilities.)
Basically, I wanted to see how well the two tools handled a new release like "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and an older one like "Back to the Future." Again, these are movies I own; I believe creating a digital copy constitutes fair use, same as ripping a CD does.
For these fairly informal tests, I opted for medium-quality MPEG-4 conversion using preselected "iPhone" profiles. Also, my system has a quad-core AMD processor with 6GB of RAM, so performance results will undoubtedly vary unless you have similar hardware.
From a feature standpoint, the two programs are pretty similar. Both give you an abundance of conversion options, meaning you can rip your DVDs for viewing on devices other than just the iPhone and iPod (everything from Apple TV to Zune).… Read more