June 28, 2012, 3:16 PM — In this column two weeks ago I mentioned that a friend on a mail list had asked, "What do people use to rip a DVD to their hard drive so they can, for example, watch it on a laptop or a tablet? This was something I'd assumed would come up in a Google search, but I had a surprisingly hard time finding a solution."
I asked for your solutions and I got a huge amount of feedback.
If the DVD is encrypted several people recommended using DVDDecrypter (Windows; free) to remove copy protection, but according to Wikipedia "certain uses may be illegal under the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act unless making copies which are covered under the Fair Use doctrine." So, be careful what you rip.
To convert the DVD content to a smaller file a few folks recommended Freemake Video Converter (Windows, free), which can convert unprotected DVDs to AVI, WMV, MP4, MPEG, MKV, FLV, SWF, and 3GP. This app can also convert video to Flash and HTML5 video (Ogg, WebM, H.264), and supported output devices include iPod Classic, iPod Touch, iPod Nano, iPod 5G, iPhone, iPad, Sony PSP, PS2, PS3, BlackBerry, Samsung, Nokia, Xbox, Apple TV, and Android devices.
Wondershare DVD Ripper Platinum (Windows and OS X; $40), which supports a huge range of output devices and video formats, was highly recommended by reader Rachel Wolf.