Ripping Software To Try
DVD Decrypter is a freeware DVD backup tool that copies the VOB and IFO files to your hard drive, so you can burn them onto a disc or convert them to another video format with a tool like DVD Shrink. DVD Decrypter was one of the most popular DVD ripping tools, and other developers have produced tools to work with it, like RipIt4Me (a wizard-style interface that creates configuration files to make it easier to use DVD Decrypter and DVD Shrink together.) Unfortunately, Macrovision bought the rights to the code and discontinued distribution.
RipIt4Me is an interface for other utilities that walks you through the most useful options to set.
A good alternative for backing up DVDs is DVDFab Platinum from DVDIdle, because it's very straightforward to use. It includes both DVDFab Express, which compresses a DVD onto one blank DVD (including the menu and extras), and DVDFab Gold, which lets you back up to two DVD blanks or to your hard drive, or create an ISO image to burn later. It removes subtitles and extra language soundtracks, and you can set the default language so you don't have to pick it each time. There's also a more basic version called DVDFab Decrypter, available free from DVDIdle.
DVDFab has a very straightforward interface, even when you want to choose how to back up your DVD.
If you want to convert video to view on a wide range of platforms, Xilisoft's DVD Ripper Platinum gives you a huge range of choices. As well as producing output in the DivX, XviD, AVI, Video CD, SVCD, WMV and ASF formats, it can encode at the right resolution and in the right codecs. And that's not just for common portable players like the iPod and PSP, but also for iRiver, Archos and Zen players, and for mobile phones.
It even has settings for specific Pocket PC models, to cope with the different screen sizes. It's one of the fastest rippers, and the interface gives you plenty of information about the video you're working with. As usual, you can pick the soundtrack language you want and remove subtitles; you can also choose from among multiple camera angles if present, or pick individual chapters.