SmartRipper is a free DVD application that you can use to create backups of DVDs on your hard drive. If you’ve got a big DVD collection and need a backup, then this is the sort of program you should be looking for. However, be warned that is only intended for backup purposes and not for duplicating commercial DVDs. The popularity of this program on Softonic is no doubt due to the fact that it is able to bypass many DVD encryption methods. However, development of SmartRipper recently ceased due to the legal implications of this so be sure that you only use the software to backup DVDs on which you own the copyright.
The first thing to know is that SmartRipper does not install itself on your machine. The download simply consists of the binary files including the SmartRipper.exe. All you have to do though is double click on the SmartRipper disk icon and the program interface pops up immediately. Unless you’ve got a DVD disk ready in your drive, the first thing you’ll receive is an error message saying ‘No DVD found’.
To use the program, simply insert a disc into your DVD-ROM drive. SmartRipper will automatically detect it and a short authentication process takes place to ensure that all files are readable. Once done, you’re presented with the main window. The program supports three copy modes: ‘Movie’ (copy the movie only), ‘Files’ (copy selected files only) and ‘Backup’ (copy whole disk). Obviously, the most flexible option is ‘Files’ mode since it allows you to select and deselect the check boxes next to the parts of the DVD you want to save. If you’re new to DVD ripping though, make sure that you know what you are ripping as it may not be clear from the file names on the DVD exactly which ones you want. If you’re unsure what you need from the disk, just start in ‘Backup’ mode and it will save absolutely everything on the disk.
Advanced users will be particularly impressed by SmartRipper. In the bottom half of the screen, the program gives you a breakdown of the technical data relating to each file on the disk. It automatically displays statistics such as the aspect ratio, display mode, resolution and max/min/average bitrate for every chapter. This is not much use for the average user but for multimedia specialists, it could prove useful if you plan to edit the DVD footage later. However, its advanced features go way beyond this, enabling you to refine almost every aspect of the ripping process.
A good example is the way it grabs the audio tracks. In ‘File’ mode, there are three options to choose from – ‘Direct stream copy’, ‘Demux to extra file’ and ‘Extract to new VOB (VOB means DVD Video Object – in other words, data on the DVD)’. ‘Direct stream copy’ does the standard ripper job of taking the 1:1 audio track from the disc. ‘Demux to extra file’ is a great option if you want to save the soundtrack without the video. It enables you to save the audio in a separate file away from the rest of the contents of the DVD. You can only save in WAV format but you could easily convert this to Mp3 with a simple converter. Finally, ‘Extract to new VOB’ does a similar job but the saved file will still be a valid VOB file. This means it can still be re-burned onto a DVD and is really useful if you want to extract the audio, edit it and then replace it back on a disc.
SmartRipper can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. It’s this wide appeal which makes this program one of the most popular DVD Rippers on Softonic.
Pros: Suitable for both beginners and advanced users, Many advanced options
Cons: Skin is very plain, Interface dated, No help files for advanced features