Ripit: The new age DVD ripping application for the Mac

by Milind Alvares

Ripit: The new age DVD ripping application for the Mac

by Milind Alvares on October 20, 2008

With the introduction of Core Animation in Leopard, Mac applications have taken a leap to the next level of eye candy effects. The latest to follow this trend is Ripit, a DVD ripper that brings simplicity and a cool UI to the boring process of ripping a DVD.

Ripit DVD ripper for the mac

The Interview
A small group of like minded individuals found each other by the magic of the Internet and have begun working on some amazing projects at Indy Hall Labs. Sounds very much like how the Smoking Apples team got together, doesn’t it? The goal of the team (theirs, not ours) is to bring some fun new applications that are not only good to look at but provide improved usability by means of innovative user interfaces and capable engines that drive them from the inside.

However, ‘the Labs’ is not your average company. “The idea is that small apps should be built kinda like the way movies are built: Someone with an idea assembles financing from the community, secures talent by paying outright or with equity, the team builds the product and then releases it.  After that, the team breaks up and the participants are free to reassemble themselves to build something different. The ‘labs is the facilitator that greases the wheels of this process, and handles all of the boring payment-processing/accounting/stuff and cuts checks to the participants/investors when profits roll in. We’re working out the details as we go”, explains Jason Allum, lead developer of Ripit. 

Ripit is the first project out the door for this incredibly talented group. “It was a ton of fun to build”, says Jason. “With RipIt, we decided to take a new approach to both the UI design (keeping things simple) as well as the design of the actual Rip engine.”

Jason then explains the core functionality inside Ripit. “RipIt works by emulating a DVD player, down to the instructions and registers. It follows the program of the disc, copying all of the nooks and crannies that are accessible to a player, and deftly skipping around the bits that are placed there precisely to confuse other, lesser rippers. We’ve integrated failure feedback mechanisms into RipIt, so that in the rare event that something does go wrong, you can report all of the information that our engineers will need to fix the problem – this usually takes less than a week. We’ve also integrated DiscIdent, a new service that uses “fingerprinting” techniques to provide metadata (in this case, disc titles) for the discs you insert.”

Wowed by all of this, I asked what the possibilities of doing all this in a Windows environment would be. “It’s not so much a matter of whether these things could be built on Windows, but whether anyone here wants to do it!” With that, I knew Ripit was in good hands. Jason mentioned some great new projects that they have in the works and I can’t wait to review every single one of them! That said, let’s go back to what we came here to do…

Ripit, the review
ripit disc interfaceI slipped in a DVD of The Lord of the Rings and launched the application. Ripit immediately recognised the disc and labelled it appropriately. The beauty of the interface is that it has just two buttons—Rip and Eject. I guess they really meant it when they said they would have a simple UI!

Clicking the Rip button starts the ripping process, which shows the percentage completed, time remaining, and the disc starts to spin! A single Stop button then adorns the little window.

“The Ripit engine has been tested with over 11,000 discs (at the time I write this) with only 10 discs that are known to fail”, says Jason. Wait a minute—what! As Jason explained earlier, Ripit anonymously reports back any successful or failed disc back to the developers. Of course, you can turn this off in the preferences if you so choose.

Performance
ripit dvd ripper progress interfaceWith the small footprint that this app takes up, the performance is nothing short of stunning. Ripit takes up just 21MB of RAM and uses up a maximum of 18% CPU on my Core Duo 2.0GHz iMac. A 6.7GB DVD took 25 minutes to complete.

Once the rip is complete, you can either eject the disc or show the movie saved on your hard drive. The file is saved as a .dvdmedia file in your movies folder. This file opens up in DVD Player complete with all the menus and other DVD features. 

The missing bits
Ripit cannot rip into ‘MP4’ video that is suitable for iTunes and a lot of other portable devices, including the iPods and iPhone. “We believe that with disk space becoming cheaper by the day, there is significant value in keeping the original movie with all of its subtitles, menus, alternate angles, and audio intact.”

However, after having gone through the unique feedback page (and getting further confirmation from Jason), it appears that they are already working on an H.264 ripper that will export directly to iTunes. I eagerly await this feature. 

Conclusion
If DVD ripping means anything to you, I highly recommend giving Ripit a serious look. The smooth interface, the responsive attitude of the developers, and the features planned for the future may just make this little app the ultimate ripper for the Mac. Ripit costs $18.99 for a single user license, and you can take it for a spin for seven days for free before you’re expected to spend the dough.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan

Nice interview! It’s great to know what the developers themselves are thinking. It gives you a sense of what each button means, and the reason why they put it there (Something that we don’t usually get from our big fruit company) Thank you for the interview smoking apples, and hope to see more of these.

Ripit looks like a great app with a fantastic UI, but without any encoding, I don’t see myself wanting to store 7GB movie files on my 80GB hard drive, not be able to play them on my iPhone, and basically store MPEG2 video when I could have the same quality at less than 1/4th the cost in terms of space. Will wait till we see that h264 encoder to make my decision.

   

Ashwin

Awesome! An interesting post with review + interview. The UI and the DVD spinning animation looks a lot like Disco.

We should choose what all items to rip from the original DVD. I might not want to keep Arabic, Hebrew and Spanish languages plus some stupid game (exclusive DVD feature :P) in my HDD.

   

Vids

Looks nice this app. I really like how the interface of mac applications look different, yet they work so welll together. I mean, in windows they always have that boring toolbar, with the same stupid floppy disc icon for the save. Ripit looks nice. Will check out the demo and see. Can it rip from CSS copy protected DVDs?

   

tbw

Why get this when mac the ripper is free?

   

Nordic

I’ve been using Ripit trial for the last three days and I love it! The interface is too good and I like the way it automatically labels your discs. If they just get the mp4 encoding built in I will be happy to pay the $20.

   

Lantz

I was a Mac the Ripper user until Handbrake came along. Handbrake just does so much for free that it’s hard to spend $20 on this. I wish Apple would just buy Handbrake and add it to iTunes.

   

Milind Alvares

The only thing holding back Ripit is its lack of Mp4 encoder. But I’ve been told that this is coming soon, and a very good one at that.

MacTheRipper is a poorly supported application and has produced a lot of failed rips in my experience (and many others).

   

Norm

I second the recommendation of Handbrake. I’ve never had a problem with it. I usually rip all my new DVD’s to iPhone format and watch at least part of them on my iPhone, depending on where I am when I want to continue watching.

   

scrammer

Has no one ever heard of DVD Shrink (and AnyDVD) on the Windows side of the fence? So far the Mac has absolutley nothing to compare to it. Mac has great video editing tools and Handbrake it the best for converting DVD files to avi or mp4 but why hasn’t anyone given the masses functionality allowing users to compress a DVD9 into a DVD5? Sure Popcron is out there but with it creating strange copies that don’t play on all machines DVD Shrink just works and when coupled with AnyDVD will rip absolutely anything (for free!!) and the Mac arena has nothing to compare to it? Rip It reminds me of a funkier paid version of Mac The Ripper…

   

Mike

Sounds like a nice utility. But is it respecting the DRM components of the DVD? Is it legal to rip a commercial DVD that has DRM encoded?

Mike

   

Milind Alvares

@Scrammer: DVD-Shrink produces some horrible results. The artifacts and the pixelation is simply, well, I wouldn’t use it. It would be much better to reencode the stuff to H264 @ 2GB than make an MPEG2 DVD5.

@Mike: Ripit can go through almost all the DVDs out there, copyrighted ones included. It reports back unsuccessful rips, which the team then personally buys, breaks the protection and releases it into the next update.

   

Steven Trudell

When it rips, what does it save the movie as? Can you burn the file in iDVD? Will you be coming out with a version that just rips the movie without the extras? How about a version that saves it as an avi file?

   

Milind Alvares

It saves the movie as a DVD media file. This is basically a folder which the video_ts and audio_ts folders encapsulated in a single file. Very much like how the iPhoto library behaves. If you double click it, it will launch in DVDplayer. You can also burn the file using Disk Utility or something along those lines. No need for iDVD as the menus are the same as in the original DVD.

You cannot save it without the extras, although I’m told this feature, along with that of saving it as an mp4 are coming soon. Do check out the demo, which is fully functional for 7 days.

   

Adam Nilsson

@Vids:
MacTheRipper hasn’t been free for a long time. It’s (3.x) donationware now and only the older 2.6.6 version is downloadable on their site. To be honest the 3.x branch seems like it’s not even worth paying for seeing as I pirated it and took it for a spin. The application closes itself as soon as it faces any serious protection (like ARccOS). Do your research before you speak bad about this app.

   

Milind Alvares

@Adam: I think you want to refer to commenter ‘tbw’ instead of ‘Vids’. Thanks for making us realise that the comment author name is confusing though. :)

   

drx1

I’ve had failed DVD rips on Handbrake, though I’m only running 10.4.11/OSX, not 10.5, which is annoying that they require 10.5x for the latest from Handbrake, but then hey, its a ‘free’ app. Usually the failed DVD’s come up with a <> … maybe just coincidence, but its odd

O yeah, it “is” legal to copy and backup your own DVDs. I have a huge library (for my space) … and having them on the computer (and having that backedup) can be a huge space saver. Also getting video’s via iTunes is great, though sometimes the quality is not the best (as with their low bit rate MP4s… which is the fault of the recording industry of America … otherwise known as retarded gestapo!).

People do have rights. When you buy something, you own it, your may not have full rights (lets say to give it out to all your friends, or play said media in an establishment as an attraction)… but, you do have the right to breath and nobody can take that away from you… nor can they legally tax it.

One nice thing, since I do have the DVD media, I like HB since it saves space (and does reduce the quality a bit) – so if/when these guys get the MP4 option -that should rock! :)

   

MacTruck

I agree that if there were an option to reduce the quality to save space and play vids on my iphone it would totally be worth the $18. I’ll keep an eye on this app and purchase when updated.

   

Stompy

@scammer DVDShrink (freeware version) hasn’t worked on newer copy protection schemes for quite a while. AnyDVD isn’t freeware, AFAIK.

Still, if you have links disproving any of this, I’d welcome them.

   

S. Hall

Can you rip the TS file to a DVD in Toast 8? Or is there another application that will do that?

   

t5tr

What a insightful interview, and a “to the point” review! Congratulations to both of you, Jason and Milind! :)

The simple and functional user interface of Ripit can make the user feel as if he is in front of his standard DVD player. After being presented to the way the core functionality of RipIt was implemented, we can now say that RipIt works by emulating a DVD player in 2 levels: up to the user interface and down to the instructions and registers.

I’m a DVD Remaster Pro user, so before buying RipIt I was initially concerned if it was really needed to put another app into the dock.

I don’t use this kind of app every month, so I’m more like a casual user which (prior to RipIt) was almost always in need to read some notes to make not coasters but a useful copy.

So today I’ve started the DVD Remaster app and followed its update process, on which I was pleased to know that besides improvements to the H.264 encoding, on its latest incarnation (DVD Remaster 4.5) has also included direct support for DVDs extracted with RipIt.

Yes, DVDs extracted with RipIt can be used as source on DVD Remaster.

And as stated on its developer’s page, “DVD Remaster is a full featured application for Mac OS X which recompresses large DVDs so that they fit on standard DVD5 or video players.”

As a side note, I would like to say that from the use of these 2 Mac gems, comes both great power and responsibility: so be fast, keep it for good use and enjoy peace of mind. ;)

   

Imagine Engine

A good review of RipIt. Though while I enjoy finding more software for my Mac in the case of ripping content I believe Handbrake is better suited to the task. It’s not only free but also offers settings to export the video for use on Apple TV, iPhone, iPod Touch, etc. RipIt only duplicates the DVD to be used on a DVD player, not to be used on any other device thus will not drop into the iTunes Movies section.

   

wagwan

mactheripper and handbrake won’t rip newer dvds with the lastest protection. i know i ve tried ripping disney films to no avail. so i was curious when i stumbled across ripit. gave it a try with jungle book and it was simple enough. shrank the result with dvd2one and burnt with disk utility.piece of piss. and it works. to my knowledge ripit is the only ripper for the mac that will rip the latest dvds…and it’s free!

   

CMG

I am not a techno geek and I tried to backup my son’s DVD collection (legally owned) for so long…all application I tried (freeware and not, Mac and windows) were quite cumbersome, at least to me. RipIt is so easy that is not even funny…after three days of trial I bought it and it’s probably the best app I own. In order to recompress and burn I use it along with DVDremaster Pro or Toast 7

   

Nick

Using RipIt to rip the DVD and then using Handbrake to convert into into whatever format required (in my case for the iPhone) works very well. You get RipIt’s ability to rip almost any dvd coupled with Handbrake’s ability to convert into almost any format. Of course you need to run each program one after the other but it’s not that inconvient.

   

Jeff

‘ve been trying for two weeks to get the developer (info@ripitapp.com) to answer my email on a payment inquiry. No go. Not so much as a reply. Not a good sign. Sounds like another decent product/bad company combination. I’m very disappointed.

   

Milind Alvares

That is surprising. The Indyhall team has been very quick in their support requests. I’ll check up and see what’s up.

   

CMG

I found another little gem. After trying, with no result, to rip a legally owned Disney DVD with Ripit I checked Mac DVDRipper Pro and it worked like a charm. Got it at Maczot promo for less than 6 bucks

   

Mike

The successful rip claims made by RipIt are way overstated.

The very first DVD I tried to rip failed. The second DVD I tried to rip, “successfully” ripped according to RipIt but when playing the movie it was a jumble with chapters out of order and in some cases duplicated chapters.

I evaluated RipIt as I am looking for something that will help improve the conversion of the 700+ DVD library for easy access through Plex. RipIt is definitely not it.
If you’re thinking about buying it, make SURE you take full advantage of the trial period to test it on DVDs. You’re likely to find, as I did, that about 40% of DVDs don’t work. Many of those will rip, but when you go to watch them … well … you’ll find the rips are a mess.

   

rip dvd on mac

i have a bunch of dvd to be ripped , but i did not how to do that? does this works?

   

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