DVDs on iPhone

Recently, I began taking the train into Boston. The train ride is about 50 minutes, so I have a decent amount of time to read, listen to music or podcasts. Sometimes, however, I wouldn’t mind watching one of my many purchased DVDs on the way.  Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to make this happen.
Note, I am only transfering DVDs that I own. I can’t comment on the details of copyright law, but since I am watching a DVD that I paid for and own, and I don’t leave it around once I watch it, I figure I’m in fair use territory. I’m no lawyer, however, so ymmv.

I’m on a Mac, so this process is based on that. The utility I use, Handbrake, has a Windows version, but I never used it.

1. Get yourself a copy of Handbrake. Handbrake is a great utility for converting video formats.

2. Insert your DVD into your machine. The DVD Player will fire up, but exit it as soon as it comes up. You won’t use it for this process.

3. Run Handbrake. Click Source and select your DVD volume.

4. Handbrake will think for a while while it figures out some information on your DVD. In the presets, select iPhone / iPod Touch. For some reason, Handbrake thinks the iPhone’s screen size is 480×368, but it actually is 480×320. To fix this, click Picture Settings… and fix the width/height to make sure both numbers are equal or less than the actual screen size.

5. Click Start and wait a while. It takes about 40 minutes per 50 minutes of DVD to convert on my MBP. Both cores will be pegged at 100% during the process.

6. When done, you will have an MP4 file on your Desktop unless you changed the destination before starting the transformation process.

7. Add the MP4 file to your iTunes library (iTunes -> File -> Add to Library…).

8. Sync with your iPhone/iPod, and you’re done.

Happy viewing!






2 responses to “DVDs on iPhone”

  1. Dave Avatar

    One thing to be careful of is that Handbrake will only convert one title at a time. Usually it defaults to the longest one since that will most likely be the feature (movie). However, if you are converting a TV show or documentary set, there are often multiple titles (one for each episode).
    When there are multiple titles, you should start the first one as above. For the other titles, select the title, choose the screen size again, and select Queue instead of Start. This way you can setup multiple titles for conversion without waiting around to hit Start between each.

  2. D. Claussen Avatar
    D. Claussen

    Another suggestion – take a look at Elgato’s Turbo.264. Just got one and it frees up your processors and does the conversion a bit faster. Plus it can handle batch processing so you can set it up to convert 4 movies while you’re sleeping. It also works with iMovie, Quicktime and other apps to speed conversions.
    Just a suggestion. I don’t work for them or get any kickbacks, although I’d be open to it. =)

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