How to rip DVDs and Blu-ray discs with MakeMKV and Handbrake

“In a recent article, I explained how you can rip DVDs with the free HandBrake,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Macworld. “While the solution I describe in that article is easy to use, you might want to consider another way of ripping discs. You can do this using the free MakeMKV, and then using HandBrake.”

This has several advantages:
• There’s no need to install additional tools from the command line, as I explained in the “How to rip DVDs with HandBrake” article.
• You can also rip Blu-ray discs with MakeMKV and then convert these files to iTunes-compatible files.
• If you don’t want to store your videos in iTunes, you can play them with the free VLC media player, and you can view them in the iOS version of VLC as well.
• And if you use Plex to manage and view videos, then you can use the MKV file as is; Plex can read and play this type of file, and it’s got great apps for iOS and the Apple TV.

McElhearn writes, “Here’s how to use MakeMKV to rip optical discs, and how to convert them with HandBrake.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s time-consuming, but if you have a large library of BR/DVDs that you’ve purchased over the years, it can be well worth it.

HandBrake 1.0.0 released after 13 years in development – December 27, 2016


  1. The source article is at this link:

    You can do this using the free MakeMKV, and then using HandBrake.

    MacMKV is not free. It provides 30 days of preview then costs $50. Kirk’s article provides a workaround link where you can download a developer’s registration key. But it too is time limited. Therefore, you’d have to pick up a new key after each previous key expires its beta period.

  2. This is where we stand:
    The BetaMax Decision of the SCOTUS said you can back up media you have purchased- otherwise it is OK to copy your CDs or whatever for personal use. It is not OK to copy stuff you do not own or to go into production and distribution.

    The DMCA makes it illegal to break encryption, but that has not been tested in the courts to my knowledge.

    Make MKV works well on BluRays but yields large files. You should pay the developer for their work- do not keep hacking trial codes.

    A lower cost alternative for regular DVDs is RipIt which works very well.

    1. Addendum:
      Ripping the Blu Rays in the background to a scratch drive is no big deal- I do it while working on my computer. When you get a bunch, do a batch queue in Handbrake or Turbo 264- which also does a nice job. Does not take significant resources- it will work on a Mac mini or a Mac Pro.

      I am out of town every weekend and usually start the transcode of a batch just as I am heading out and let them finish over the weekend. When I get back, I load the Metadata & Artwork with iFlicks 2 (which can also transcode, but I have not tried it) then drop the finished file on my ProBox which holds 4 HDs and is connected by USB 3to my Mac.

  3. Old but applicable, be sure to flip through all 7 pages:

    Media distribution companies like Apple have decided that streaming to thin client machines with miniscule on-board storage minimizes their costs while also making file copy difficult. Hence iOS and Apple TV media content rentals.

    Articles like this remind us that there is another world out there that Apple does not comprehend. In this world outside of major metropolitan areas, internet service providers do not always provide inexpensive fast service. Regional ISPs have no real competition and are rapidly consolidating into an oligarchy. Those people who would like to watch an occasional classic movie in high def have no real choice but to find their content on disc. Those people who love live sports have no choice but to subsidize 200 unprofitable “reality TV” and shopping channels. And those people who love the realism of 4K are paying to subsidize the modernization of video and distribution technologies. Thankfully in the real world there are still video rental shops and RedBox machines every convenient street corner, Blu Ray players cost $50 to start, and used BluRay discs are less than the cost of your fancy Charbucks coffee.

    So why mess with the hassle of a patchwork of subscriptions when popping in a disc is so easy? I guess there are some people who just think that cutting one cord and then tying themselves up with a mess of other cord is really a big leap forward.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

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