Ripping DVDs with Linux

Under Windows I never could rip DVDs in a working fashion; I have, under my XP Prof installation, about 40 tools installed which all promise easy ripping, but none of them work. You can rip the VOBs, but then they have wrong language, wrong subtitles and ofcourse they are 4+ gb big. When trying to make ‘ok VOB rips’ into AVI’s or MPG’s I tried integrated tools or non-integrated tools; both had the same effect; it didn’t work. After hours of ‘transcoding’ there would be a file ‘bla.avi’, which would be, in reality complete crap.

Under Linux, I hoped, things might be better. At first, this appeared not the be the case ; I have been, for hours, muttering around with dvdrip which wouldn’t compile (well, GTK-Perl wouldn’t). This is probably because of that bastard x86_64 architecture of mine.

Anyway; it seemed that mplayer has native support of ripping dvds 🙂 And ofcourse, mplayer rocks!

So, how-to very easily rip dvds with mplayer:

– get mplayer source (from
– try ./configure
– if you have gcc 4 installed, configure will whine about that it cannot continue; you can switch off the check for gcc; don’t, because with gcc 4, mplayer won’t compile; instead, install compat-gcc-32 and run ./configure –cc=gcc32
– after compilation, there are two binaries; mplayer and mencoder
– to check out what you want to rip with which language and which subtitles (if any), use;

mplayer dvd://NUMBER -alang LANG -slang LANG

For instance (for english and track 1);

mplayer dvd://1 -alang en -slang en

You will see something like this;

There are 22 titles on this DVD.
There are 37 chapters in this DVD title.
There are 1 angles in this DVD title.
DVD successfully opened.
Selected DVD audio channel: 128 language: en
Selected DVD subtitle channel: 0 language: en

– repeat the previous step until you have exactly what you want to rip
– to start ripping, use the following command:

./mencoder dvd://4 -alang en -slang en -ovc lavc -oac lavc -o test.avi

You can set the aspect ratio, I always use;

./mencoder dvd://4 -aspect 16:9 -alang en -slang en -ovc lavc -oac lavc -o test.avi

If you don’t include it, your movie might appear ‘squared’ and when playing fullscreen, this is not that nice 🙂

– the above won’t rip the subtitles though; you need to use the following to get the actual subtitles;

./mencoder dvd://4 -aspect 16:9-alang en -slang en -ovc lavc -oac lavc -vobsubout subtitles -vobsuboutindex 0 -sid 0 -o test.avi 

where the vobsuboutindex and sid numbers are the number you saw when playing the movie with mplayer here;

Selected DVD subtitle channel: 0 language: en

– when finished ripping, you can play the movie with:

mplayer test.avi -vobsub subtitles

That’s all !

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