Ripping DVDs on Linux using AcidRip

April 29, 2007

One of the main reasons for moving to Linux from than Windoze was to be able to use the Linux based MythTV PVR (Personal Video Recorder). Since the Linux machine will hold lots of recorded TV it might as well hold a bunch of ripped DVDs as well. Finding a good Linux DVD ripper that gives you just enough control to get a great rip was harder than I thought it should be.

I’ve been playing around with AcidRip for a while now - playing with lots of the settings after reading about all the ins and outs of video encoding. AcidRip does some really useful stuff for you like automagically doing crop detection so you don’t end up wasting oodles of disk and time encoding the black bars at the top and bottom. It also lets you do a preview as well, which is mighty useful for checking that you’ve got the right crop settings and that you’ve actually chosen the correct sound track. Another bonus is that it encodes directly from the DVD.

Under the hood AcipRip uses mencoder which is the other half of the popular video player mplayer. This means you can play with your hearts content with the huge array of settings that mencoder supports. If you are happy using the LAVC or XVID encoding algorithms then AcidRip should work great for you. There are several articles floating on the internet about how to use it which were useful for the high level bits.

There are some down sides though. It doesn’t look like AcipRip has been updated for a while and support on the AcidRip forum at Source Forge was almost non-existent. Also, it doesn’t really support any of the others encoders very well at all. I tried to use the newer X264 encoding but AcidRip doesn’t understand how to do anything more than a single pass encoding, which is by all means useless if you want a good quality encoding. Fortunately my XBox Media Center doesn’t fully support X264 encoding yet so I’m ripping using XVID, which AcidRip supports pretty well.

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