Handbrake 0.8.5b1 http://handbrake.m0k.org/ Mac/Windows/Linux, Free Our recommended DVD conversion solution for Windows users is actually the same tool we recommended in our last article for Mac users: Handbrake, which provides an integrated solution that performs that extraction of unprotected DVD content and handles the conversion of it into an Apple-ready format. With the addition of the DVD43 application described above, Handbrake can easily convert most commercial DVDs to an Apple-ready format as efficiently on Windows as it can on the Mac. Handbrake has the advantage of being free, being actively developed, and supporting a wide variety of Apple-ready formats, including the higher resolutions offered by the Apple TV. Handbrake also offers anamorphic encoding, the ability to queue up multiple tracks from a DVD (particularly useful for TV shows on DVD), support for the conversion of chapter markers from a DVD and the ability to downmix a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound track into a Dolby Pro-Logic II Surround track compatible with the Apple TV. Using Handbrake is relatively straightforward, with built-in presets included for the iPod and the Apple TV. The available presets use the following settings: * iPod 1.33:1 - 1000 kbps average bitrate, 640 x 480 maximum resolution * iPod 1.78:1 - 1000 kbps average bitrate, 640 x 352 maximum resolution * iPod 2.35:1 - 1000 kbps average bitrate, 640 x 272 maximum resolution * Apple TV - 3000 kbps average birate, 720 x 480 maximum native resolution, anamorphic encoding enabled All presets also provide the encoding of chapter markers, 160kbps AAC audio and the downconversion of 5.1 Dolby Digital (AC3) audio tracks to Dolby Pro Logic II. These presets can of course be further customized, and you can save any of the pre-sets or your customized settings as the program’s default settings. Handbrake has a number of advanced features, and settings that can be customized and tweaked to create content for different uses. However, for the purpose of this article, we will be focusing only on those features that are directly relevant to converting videos for the iPod, iPhone or Apple TV. In terms of actual use, simply insert a DVD and start Handbrake. You will be prompted to either choose a physical DVD or point Handbrake to a DVD ISO image that has previously been stored on your hard drive: Click the BROWSE button to locate the DVD disc or ISO DVD image. Note that when selecting a physical DVD, you must select to the VIDEO_TS folder directly, as shown in the example below. Handbrake will then simply read the inserted DVD or DVD folder/image and you will be presented with the main settings screen: The presets described above can be accessed from the “Presets” menu on the menu bar, which will show the available pre-sets for iPod and Apple TV encoding: The top portion of the Handbrake screen allows you to select the specific source tracks that you wish to encode. The “Browse” button will allow you to select a different DVD disc or folder/image, much like the initial screen shown when you first run Handbrake. The second drop-down list allows you to select the specific titles that you wish to extract and convert. To extract specific chapters from a given title, simply enter the chapter numbers in the “Chapters” field, using the format shown. Note that it’s important to select the correct title, as most DVDs will have more than one. For movies, the main feature is not necessarily the first title, but will generally be the longest title. The length of each title in hours, minutes, and seconds is shown to help you determine which ones you want to encode. By default, all chapters of the current title will be encoded, but you can use the “Chapters” drop-down entries to limit these if you only want to encode part of a given title for whatever reason. Note that if you want to encode more than one title from a DVD, you will need to either do them manually one at a time, or use the Handbrake “Queue” system, which we will discuss further on.